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Hidden gems in the Cotswolds

Posted: Thu, 6th Apr 2023

Despite its well-known reputation as a beautiful region, there are still some lesser-known places to be found in the Cotswolds. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is within easy distance of London and boasts plenty of delicious dining experiences, breath-taking villages and abundant historical houses. Make the most of hidden gems and secret spots and explore the best the Cotswolds has to offer, from ancient trees to independently owned shops.

The Oldest Chemist in England, Burford

With a spectacular high street giving enchanting glimpses of the stores and leafy roads below, Burford is famously referred to as having the loveliest main street in all of England, not to mention the Cotswolds. Around the centre of the high street lies the well-known independent chemist, Robert Reavley, which has been operating for over two centuries. Other attractions of Burford – lovingly nicknamed ‘Gateway to the Cotswolds’ – include its proximity to the exquisite hamlets of the Barringtons.

The town also features remarkable wisteria, a regional museum and majestic tombs from when Burford grew affluent from the proceeds of wool. Check out our visitor’s guide to Burford, click here!

The Police Museum & Courtroom, Tetbury

Set in the picturesque town of Tetbury in the Cotswolds, the Police Museum invites all visitors to explore its two floors and learn about the history of policing in the area and beyond. Established in the late 1960s upon the relocation of Tetbury Magistrates Court to Cirencester, this museum houses a faithful replication of a courtroom and a traditional jail cell! Click here, to find more hidden gems in Tetbury.

The village of Stinchcombe

Stinchcombe, an off-the-beaten-path village, boasts a small population of just a few hundred and one church. However, its charm is found in its peaceful seclusion. Nearby, exciting visitor attractions such as Berkeley Castle and Dr Jenner’s House can be reached in less than 10 minutes.

The Historic water wheels of Nailsworth

Tucked away in the Cotswolds, on the road from Stroud to picturesque Tetbury, lies the charming town of Nailsworth. Boasting multiple independent cafes and restaurants and breath-taking riverside routes, it is certainly worth a detour on your Cotswolds’ excursion, if only for a short period of time. Thanks to its involvement in the lucrative wool trade in the past, Nailsworth prospered, leaving more mills per square mile than anywhere else in the nation.

The Cirencester Roman Amphitheatre

Cirencester, known as the ‘Capital of the Cotswolds’, is an interesting town in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has many wonderful restaurants and shops. In Roman times, it was known as Corinium Dobunnorum and it once had a large Roman amphitheatre with a capacity of 8,000 spectators. Today, this ancient monument is a tranquil area that provides respite from the hectic nature of the bustling market town. Be sure to pay a visit to Octavia’s Bookshop during your time here. Click here to find out more activities to do in this remarkable town.

The Perry and Dawes Almshouses, Wotton-Under-Edge

Wotton-under-Edge must be the perfect example of a ‘hidden gem of the Cotswolds’. It was once home to around 40 pubs, some in people’s front rooms, but today it has wonderful cafes, beautiful streets and a visitor centre showing small exhibitions about the town. But perhaps the town’s most closely guarded secret is the Perry and Dawes Almshouses. Located behind a timber facade on Church Street, they are thought to have been built in the 17th century.

The yew trees of Stow-on-the-Wold

If you spend any time scrolling through Instagram photos of the villages of the Cotswolds, you’re likely to come across images of the legendary yew tree in Stow-on-the-Wold. These trees have a long history and are found in graveyards that date back to pre-Christianity. It’s believed that the yews of Stow-on-the-Wold are as old as St Edward’s Church, built in the 11th-15th centuries. Furthermore, it is rumoured that J.R.R. Tolkien was inspired by this yew tree door when he wrote the Doors of Durin for The Lord of the Rings. For more information about this stunning secret spot, check out our guide.

Model Village, Bourton-on-the-Water

Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the top destinations to visit in the Cotswolds, but did you know it also has the only Grade II listed model village in England? Constructed in the 1930s over a period of five years, this charmingly precise miniature village of 1/9 scale was unveiled to the public on the Coronation Day of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937. It was the vision of a previous publican of the Old New Inn and boasts tiny bonsai trees and a replica of the River Windrush!

The Tyndale Monument, North Nibley

The impressive Tyndale Monument is perched atop the rolling green hills near North Nibley, a picturesque village in the Cotswolds. Standing 111 feet tall, it was erected in 1866 to honour William Tyndale, most renowned for his translation of the New Testament. Visitors can easily reach the Monument by parking in the village and then ascending the 121 steps to the top, where a sweeping vista of verdant woods and tiny homes can be seen as a reward for their efforts. Inside you will find a tranquil courtyard, a small chapel and a sign with a list of regulations for residents. This is displayed on the wall of the porch.

The Legend of the 99 yews, Painswick

Painswick, renowned for its scenic beauty, is not only known for its breath-taking structures but also its legendary tales. Dubbed the ‘Queen of the Cotswolds’, this charming town is home to 99 yew trees in its churchyard. Legends say that a 100th tree was planted and suddenly died shortly after.

Snowshill Manor

Snowshill Manor is one of the most unique spots in the Cotswolds. Found in the village with the same name (the fictional village of Bridget Jones’ parents in the film Bridget Jones’ Diary), close to the beautiful Cotswold village of Broadway, Snowshill Manor is a creation of the eclectic architect, poet and artist, Charles Paget Wade. He bought the property in 1919 with the intention of having it be a home for his ever-growing collection. He took an interest not just in objects of value, but even everyday objects. Now managed by the National Trust, it is a collection of all kinds of objects, from spinning wheels to bicycles.

Painswick Rococo Garden

Visiting the Painswick Rococo Garden on the outskirts of charming Painswick is a must for those passionate about historical gardens. Enjoyable for the whole family, the 18th-century gardens offer a wide array of follies, an Art in the Garden exhibition that takes place in August each year and an unforgettable anniversary maze. To find out more things to do around Painswick, click here!

Have you prepared yourself to discover those covert treasures that have been highlighted in this blog? We have a diverse selection of exceptional and unique cottages available – click the link to find out more!

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