The Cotswold Gardens Experience
2020 Trip: July 4 – 11
We also offered this special trip in 2013.
In 2020, at the request of several travelers, we’re offering this special variation of our Cotswolds Experience week. This week has many of the same features of our primary Cotswolds trip, but we’ll have an additional focus on gardens. One day we’ll make a longer day trip to the southern Cotswolds to visit two special gardens. Garden-lovers will find this a very compatible group!
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. Some of England’s most spectacular gardens are in the Cotswolds, and we’ll visit at least eight of them during this week.
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. Kathy has a special interest in gardens.
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. The village is decorated with flowers, and there’s even a “secret garden” dedicated to Ernest Wilson, a famous plant collector from Chipping Campden.
Highlights of our special “Gardens” week in the Cotswolds include:
- Picturesque villages and towns as intriguing as their names: Chipping Campden, Broadway, Moreton-in-Marsh, Bourton-on-the-Hill, and Snowshill
- The beautiful English gardens at Hidcote Manor, Kiftsgate, and Bourton House.
- The intriguing manor house at Snowshill with the eclectic collections of Charles Wade and the lovely garden below the house.
- The arboretum at Batsford and the lavender farm at Snowshill.
- Sudeley Castle, one of England’s most famous castles, with a history extending almost 1000 years. Lots of gardens too!
- 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 and prehistoric ruins at the Rollright Stones, a circle of 77 stones that dates to 3000 BC.
- A day in the southern Cotswolds, including the village of Painswick, the Abbey House gardens at Malmesbury, and the Painswick Rococo garden.
- Typical British experiences, including strolls in the countryside and visits to several pubs.
Learn more about the Cotswolds and gardens in the Cotswolds:
Garden Experiences in Cornwall and the Cotswolds (Kathy’s blog)
A Cotswolds Experience: Kiftsgate Court Gardens (Kathy’s blog)
Experience the Cotswolds with European Experiences (Kathy’s guest post on the Anglotopia website)
We highly recommend spending a few days (or more!) in London before joining us for a week in the English countryside. You might also enjoy time in nearby Oxford or Stratford upon Avon, both of which include special gardens.
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.