We’ve all seen photos or videos of picturesque, sandstone villages in the English countryside. Time seems to stand still in the Cotswolds, and while the region teems with little villages (often with fun names), if you’re short on time in the country but want to make the most of a trip to the Cotswolds, Cycling for Softies, a specialist in European holidays, analyzed all Cotswolds villages to find which towns are a can’t-miss this season and beyond.
Here are five Cotswolds towns and villages beckoning you to explore its charming streets, pubs, restaurants, inns, churches and more:
This small town is the epitome of the Cotswolds region, with a terraced high street dating back to around the 14th century and homes built in that signature Cotswolds stone lining the roads. Come winter, the town debuts its Christmas market, taking place on the first Saturday in December yearly. Stalls of local artisans and craftspeople invites visitors and locals to discover festive decorations and goodies on offer. Year-round highlights of the town include St. James’ Church, which features medieval details and grand monuments. You’ll find historic inns and hotels here, as well as restaurants and pubs serving classic roasts.
Located more than 2,600 feet above sea level, Stow-on-the-Wold sits on a hilltop overlooking the countryside. Loved by both historians and adventurers, this medieval village sits at the junction of six historic roads, including Fosse Way, built by the Romans. In the center of town, expect old English pubs with cozy fireplaces and flagstone floors, perfect for a winter escape. Come winter, the Christmas Tree Festival at St. Edward’s church welcomes all in early December. Dates are yet to be confirmed, but expect beautifully decorated trees and a special celebration service on the final day. Of course, one of the most iconic sites in the town is the door to St. Edward’s Church, flanked by two ancient yew trees that seem to have embedded themselves into the structure of the church. In summer, head into one of several ice cream shops, like Roly’s Fudge Pantry, to taste unique flavors before walking the streets in the sunshine.
Upper and Lower Slaughter
Connected by River Eye, these lesser-known villages are as historic as they are pretty. Recorded in the Domesday Book in the 12th century, both towns hold many great sites. Lower Slaughter features a mill appearing as if it emerged from a fairytale, its water wheel spinning in the river. The village was recently featured in the 2020 adaptation of Emma. Upstream is the Upper Slaughter, known as one of a few Thankful Villages because it lost no men in World War I. The town also lost no men in World War II. Don’t forget to visit St. Peter’s Church, dating back to the 12th century, the Old School House and Eyford House, said to have been where John Milton was inspired to write his epic poem “Paradise Lost.”
Largely situated in the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this town features some thriving high streets featuring charming tea shops, independent gift stores and more. The town offers many views of Severn Valley which, in winter, is covered in a blanket of snow. In winter, the town hosts Christmas Under the Edge, this year on Dec. 2, where Morris dancing, carol singing and even an appearance from Santa is expected.
One of the Cotswolds’ most popular towns, Bourton-on-the-Water teems with local shops and cafés. The town is the perfect pre-Christmas destination thanks to its Victorian Christmas Shop, on the town’s high street, where Christmas decorations and gifts await. A visit to town isn’t complete without stopping in at The Hawkstone Arms, the town’s own brewery which uses sustainable production methods and makes the most of locally grown grains, hops and apples to make the finest ciders and beers in the region.
Whether it's the people, the craic (fun) or the coasts, travelers always find something to love about the island of Ireland. What fills your heart?
As another phenomenal year of travel comes to an end, it’s time, as always, for Global Traveler to celebrate and award those who do it best as we announce the 2023 winners of the GT Tested Reader Survey awards. But that's not the only cause for celebration here: We've hit another major milestone, as this marks our 20th year honoring the best of the best inn world of travel!
The highly anticipated GT Tested Reader Survey has more reason to celebrate in 2024 than ever before. This year marks the 20th anniversary of our GT Tested Reader Survey awards, with many of the winning brands earning milestone accolades for years of dedicated and consistent service.
Exclusive Sailing with Global Traveler
Global Traveler Announces the Winners of the 2023 Outstanding Diversity & Inclusion in Travel Awards
For its third year, Global Traveler awards the airline, cruise line and hotel brand best representing diversity, equity and inclusion within the travel industry. Over the past year Global Traveler analyzed many airlines, cruise lines and hotel brands to determine which companies prove most committed to changing the world through diversity and inclusion.
London welcomes its newest boutique hotel just in time for the holiday season. The Chelsea Townhouse, located on Chelsea’s exclusive Cadogan Gardens, sits within proximity to its sister hotel, 11 Cadogan Gardens, and joins the Iconic Luxury Hotels portfolio.
Embracing a life well lived often means embracing a life well-traveled. Every journey becomes a canvas for experiences that shape our lives and at the heart of every adventure lies the indispensable companion: quality luggage.
The Tampa EDITION recently launched two new offerings this festive season. Book the Holiday in the Sun promotion and receive complimentary valet, $50 in food and beverage credit, $50 in spa credit, and a signature EDITION Le Labo amenity. This offer runs through Jan. 5. Book here.