The rambling limestone uplands of the Cotswolds are the source of the mellow, honey-coloured stone that gives the region’s towns and villages their distinctive character. Enjoy this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as we travel from Bourton-on-the-Water, through idyllic countryside to Broadway and the market town of Stow-on-the-Wold, the highest town in the Cotswolds.
We meet at 10.30am in Bourton-in-the-Water. This gorgeous village follows the gently meandering River Windrush as it flows under a series of low bridges right through its centre. After time to buy morning refreshments, sit back and enjoy an entertaining coach tour through the tiny villages and rolling farmland of this picturesque region.
Sheep were once the backbone of the economy, not just of the Cotswolds but of England. It is no coincidence that the Chancellor of the Exchequer still sits on a woolsack in Parliament! Much of the profit from the wool trade went into building the magnificent churches and manor houses in this area. We pass the wonderful Jacobean manor house of Stanway, nestling at the foot of the hills and surrounded by an elaborate gatehouse, church and tithe barn and drive through the picturesque village of Stanton, once belonging to Catherine Parr, the only wife to survive marriage to Henry VIII!
For lunch we arrive at the ‘Jewel of the Cotswolds’, Broadway. It is one of the prettiest villages in the area and was inspiration to such artists as Henry James, J M Barrie and William Morris. There is ample choice of pubs, restaurants and cafés for lunch; or there are seats around the Green at the bottom of the main street for those who prefer to enjoy a packed lunch. Don’t forget to visit the public toilets in the car park behind the shops-their awards for Best Loo are proudly displayed in the facilities!
After lunch, it’s up to the highest town in the Cotswolds, Stow-on-the-Wold, with its huge market place and narrow passageways, a reminder of the sheep sales that once took place here. Today, there are craft and antique shops and a great choice of cafés for afternoon tea. You’ll be heading home or back to your hotel by 4-45pm.
This is a great day out for groups who like to see a lot without walking too far, with plenty of opportunities for gift shopping.