Cotswold villages are some of the most beautiful in Britain, and at one time epitomised the outsider’s view of the country. Honey-coloured cottages line narrow streets with a bubbling brook running through the centre or ducks floating on the village pond. You could nip in to a cosy pub or tiny tearooms for your drink of choice – and you still can.
If you’re staying at CLC World’s Club Resort – De Vere’s Cotswold Water Park – then you may find yourself exploring one of these seven pretty Cotswold villages.
There’s a name to conjure with. It derives from the Old English word ‘slothre’ meaning ‘muddy place’; however, there’s nothing swampy about Lower Slaughter. The gorgeous honey-coloured stone is in evidence along the most romantic street in Britain, Copse Hill Road (main image).
Upper Slaughter Manor Gardens, just across the river, has five acres of glorious landscape gardens and fine specimen trees to explore and a highly acclaimed restaurant.
If you’re a fan of Father Brown, you may recognise the village as the fictional Kembleford. A peaceful village with golden cottages and limestone walls dotting the rolling hills that surround it, it is quintessential England. The village green overlooks the Norman church, an idyllic spot to lay out the picnic blanket and enjoy some cream scones.
The picturesque village of Mickleton is rumoured to be the inspiration behind Tolkien’s Weathertop’ in Lord of the Rings. It lies where the Cotswolds meets Shakespeare Country and has an abundance of black and white thatched cottages interspersed with limestone architecture.
Head for the hills and enjoy spectacular views over the Vale of Evesham, passing through two pretty hamlets and two spectacular open-gardens.
Once described by William Morris as ‘the most beautiful village in England’, this village has graced the lid of many a chocolate box. Bibury is one of England’s most iconic hamlets and home to some of the most photographed houses in the country, including Arlington Row.
Arlington Row consists of 14th century weavers’ cottages and is instantly recognisable as a symbol of The Cotswolds.
The River Windrush trickles through the village of Bourton-on-the-Water, which is known as ‘the Venice of the Cotswolds’ for its small bridges. It also has quaint museums and tea rooms, cosy pubs and the houses look as if they’ve come straight from the pages of a book.
The Model Village is a one-ninth scale replica village of Bourton-on-the-Water. You can even hear choirs coming from the miniature church.
The village has a long history with evidence strongly linking it back to the Roman occupation. These days, the village is scattered with cosy timber-framed cottages and pretty Victorian houses. If you’re walking to the village from Bredon Hill, pop into The Star Inn, a popular, dog-friendly pub for a pint and a tasty home-made meal.
The village of Castle Combe is a much-loved place to visit and has been used as a backdrop for films such as Warhorse and Stardust, and as Poirot’s retirement village in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. The Town Bridge is one of the most photographed places in the village and the classic view is from across the bridge by the old weavers’ cottages, looking up Water Street towards the church.