The gently rolling green hills and postcard-perfect villages, with their honey coloured stone mansions, ancient churches and thatched cottages, make the Cotswolds one of the most quintessentially English of all the UK's regions. And thus, a hugely attractive region for visitors seeking ye olde world English charm.
The popularity of this beautiful region makes it, unfortunately, one of the places in the UK you're most likely to be overcharged for accommodation. But our list of the best places to stay in the Cotswolds should help protect you!
If you've ever fancied a snack mid-afternoon, the Cotswolds is for you - cream teas and proper afternoon teas are big here. Likewise if you like your landscape neat, your beams exposed and your pubs and inns rustic and friendly. Though of course the popularity of the area with visitors has significantly increased the number of book, art and antiques boutiques. And with all this farmland, the Cotswolds also host a myriad of farmer's markets, so this is a great destination for foodies. And all of these beautiful villages, historic towns and stately homes are within easy striking distance of London - and other major centres.
The beautiful country houses were mostly built during the Middle Ages, when the Cotswolds grew wealthy off the back of the wool trade with the continent. Which is why, as well as building beautiful homes, much money was spent furnishing the region with exquisite churches.
Some of the Cotswold's best known towns are Burford, Stow-on-the-Wold, Chipping Norton, Cirencester and Broadway. If you're at all interested in art and design, you might like to visit Chipping Campden, the birthplace of the Arts and Crafts movement, founded by William Morris at the end of the 19th Century.
Bill Bryson says you can't do the Cotswolds without a car. But he's not totally right, you can do a lot of it on foot, along gently rolling hills and valleys.
Burford, The Cotswolds
Charming 14th century inn. Cotswold charm. Award-winning restaurant. Stone-paved garden, lawn, rose-lined walkway. Michelin recommended bar. Comfortable bedrooms.
Lower Slaughter, The Cotswolds
Country house hotel. Cotswold stone, beamed ceilings, views over the gardens. Restaurant, bar, riverside terrace. Comfortable light bedrooms.
Stow on the Wold, The Cotswolds
Britain's Oldest Inn (c.947AD) offers thirteen comfortable rooms in its English Heritage listed building. Each room comes with handmade toiletries, free WiFi and breakfast in the morning. This tenth-century inn resides in the Cotswolds, offering outstandingly beautiful walks to its guests.
Ilmington, The Cotswolds
Pretty and charming 400 year old stone-built inn overlooking the Stour Valley on the village green - good value with pretty rooms and plenty of character.
Cosy and characterful traditional English Inn, with funky rooms and great gastropub food in the heart of the Cotswolds.
A chic restaurant-with-rooms in a picture-perfect Cotswold village
Stylish informality in a listed period house, renovated by ambitious owners into a mellow bolthole, with excellent food in a panelled dining room. Relaxed retreat and the perfect base for exploring the Cotswolds.
Gloucestershire, The Cotswolds
A glorious countryside pub with fantastic and acclaimed food, a garden, and cosy rustic rooms. Two dining areas, garden, bar, sitting room and fireplace. The perfect spot for a stop over or a great choice for a special gathering; the venue can cater for 150.
Painswick, The Cotswolds
Hip hotel in the Cotswolds. Contemporary interiors in a traditional country backdrop. Bright comfortable bedrooms. Restaurant, bar, cookery lessons.
nr Moreton-in-Marsh, The Cotswolds
Charming countryside B&B with scenic backdrop. Spacious and cosy rooms. Log fires, flagstone floors, four poster beds. Restaurant and garden.
In a village lost in time, home to the Mitfords, the last of whom owns this charactful inn on a riverbank in the Windrush valley. Gastropub food, boutique elegance in the bedrooms.
Broad Campden, The Cotswolds
Delightful B&B in sleepy Cotswold village. Pretty rooms in an ancient house, some with separate entrances, and views over the lovely garden. Good sit out terrace in summer.
Northleach, The Cotswolds
Popular, luxurious and imaginatively decorated converted inn - of which the Cotswolds abounds. Except the rooms here are super comfortable and the food exceptional. Family friendly.
Chipping Campden, The Cotswolds
A historic des res in the heart of Chipping Campden, this 28-room hotel has a modern vibe and excellent bistro – just right for those who want mod cons while taking in olde world England.
Cirencester, The Cotswolds
One of the most beautifully situated hotels in the Cotswolds - a Jacobean manor on the trout filled Rover Coln. Classic Cotswold village, much photographed.
Witney, The Cotswolds
Renovated old mill in 60 acres of woodland and orchards. Traditional charm, period features. Antiques and modern comfort. Dining room with gastro pub. Riverside gardens fishing.
Bourton on the Water, The Cotswolds
Elegant 17th century mansion turned hotel in very pretty, classic Cotswold village, overlooking the river. Traditional yet stylish interior, lovely bedrooms and fabulous walled garden.
Moreton in Marsh, The Cotswolds
16th century manor house in the centre of picturesque Moreton in Marsh. Classic yet contemporary rooms and Apple Cottage Suite with its own private garden and hot tub. Award winning fine dining. A chic yet relaxed spot and ideal base for exploring the Cotswolds.
nr Cheltenham, The Cotswolds
Hip hangout in the Cotswold countryside for escaping urbanites - more for grown ups than nearby Calcot, with an award-winning spa. Glorious grounds, gourmet dining.
Burford, The Cotswolds
Cosy 17th century townhouse. Centre of Burford. Comfortable, elegant interiors. Antiques, linens, bright colours. Garden room, garden courtyard, dining room.
Burford (Nether Westcote)
Newly converted inn in the modern gastropub with rooms tradition - practical and countrified, with lush garden, simple, cosy bedrooms and gourmet cooking.
Lower Slaughter, The Cotswolds
Manor house hotel country escape. Gardens, lawns. Elegant public rooms, individually decorated bedrooms, restaurant.
Buckland nr Broadway, The Cotswolds
Classic old traditional manor house in peaceful grounds, with attractive rooms. Timeless elegance, men dress for dinner, and no keys to the doors. Quiet, good food.
Upper Slaughter, The Cotswolds
Elegant but understated country manor. Honey-coloured stone, parkland, walled garden & lake. Michelin-starred restaurant, spacious bedrooms.
Broadway, The Cotswolds
Newly refurbished country house hotel in the heart of Cotswold country. Oak beams, wooden panelling and open fires complement stylish modern interiors, with tablets as standard for every room, and great facilities for families. Fantastic bolt hole for a pampering country weekend.
Mellow Cotswold house with a famous garden, good food and a sybaritic spa. A popular rural escape for urbanites in a lovely part of the Cotswolds.
Tetbury, The Cotswolds
Superb all-round hotel in its own estate: the perfect retreat for families or couples with top notch rooms, spa, indoor pool, and great dining.