The Cotswolds Experience
2017 Trips: July 22 – 29; July 29 – August 5
2018 Trips: July 14 – 21; July 21 – 28
This trip was launched in 2010. We hosted groups in 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2016.
The Cotswolds is an unusually beautiful, mostly rural area located in west-central England, about an hour and a half from London. The Cotswolds are best known for rolling hills, gentle streams, grazing sheep, and well-preserved villages constructed of honey-colored limestone. This was the first place our family visited in the English countryside and we’ve returned many times over the past twenty-five years. We always enjoy spending time here and sharing this very special place with our European Experience travelers.
Our groups base in Chipping Campden in the northern Cotswolds, a welcoming village with a population of about 2500 people. The attractive “High Street” includes a variety of shops, pubs and restaurants and an old market hall built in 1627.
Highlights of our week in the Cotswolds include:
- Picturesque villages and towns as intriguing as their names: Chipping Campden, Broadway, Moreton-in-Marsh, Upper Slaughter, Lower Slaughter and Winchcombe
- The beautiful English gardens at Hidcote Manor and Kiftsgate and the lavender farm at Snowshill.
- Sudeley Castle, one of England’s most famous castles, with a history extending almost 1000 years. One of its best known residents was Katherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s six wives.
- Blenheim Palace, one of England’s largest country houses, with extensive parks and gardens. Home of the Dukes of Marlborough since 1705, it was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- The ruins of Hailes Abbey, a 13th century abbey dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539.
- Prehistoric ruins at the Rollright Stones, a circle of 77 stones that dates to 3000 BC.
- Market day at Moreton-on Marsh.
- A visit to a small farm outside Moreton, worked by the same family for three generations. We’ll have lunch with our hosts in the garden of their home.
- Typical British experiences, including strolls in the countryside and visits to several pubs.
On Wednesday we enjoy a day “beyond” our home base, traveling a bit further to experience another special place. One optional excursion is a day in Stratford-upon-Avon, a lively town just north of the Cotswolds, known for its most famous resident, William Shakespeare. We also offer a day in the architecturally-rich city of Oxford, about an hour to the east, home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world. There’s always the option to have a day on your own in Chipping Campden, including a variety of interesting walks.
Learn more about the Cotswolds and The Cotswolds Experience:
A Cotswolds Experience: A Walk Along the Cotswold Way (Kathy’s blog)
A Cotswolds Experience: Kiftsgate Court Gardens (Kathy’s blog)
We highly recommend spending a few days (or more!) in London before joining us for a week in the English countryside. The Cotswolds are easily accessible from London’s Paddington station, a 1-1/2 hour trip. We’ll meet the train from London at the Moreton-in-Marsh train station at 3:00 pm on the first Saturday. We’ll return you to the station after breakfast the following Saturday morning.
Our good friend Pauline Kenny loves the Cotswolds as much as we do. Her website Cotswolder provides additional information and photos of the Cotswolds.