Living in The Cotswolds: Things to Do and See in The Cotswolds, England
The Cotswolds—The Largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England & Wales
Everything You Wanted to Know About Living in Cotswolds
The Cotswolds, the largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England & Wales, has prospered ever since the wool trade brought huge wealth to the region. A huge proportion of the area’s architecture—from the many imposing stately homes to the traditional thatched cottages—are constructed from the attractive, fudge-coloured, locally mined Oolitic limestone known as Cotswold Stone.
Pretty towns and villages sit nestled within gorgeous, unspoilt countryside and distinctive gently rolling hills, yet are generally well connected by road and rail to the regional hubs as well as further afield. From some parts of the Cotswolds, it is even possible to commute daily to London. Offering a great rural setting, accessibility, community spirit, renowned schools and a good quality of life, the Cotswolds is an idyllic place to live, popular with young families and retirees alike, as well as being a natural choice for weekend residents and holidaymakers.
The Strutt & Parker offices of Cirencester, Moreton-in-Marsh, Banbury and Oxford cover the entire Cotswolds district between them and work alongside our National Country House Department, who are very active in the area. The Strutt & Parker teams have all types of property for sale in the Cotswolds, from chocolate box cottages and traditional townhouses to rural retreats, farms, and country estates.
Key Towns and Villages in Cotswolds
On the western edge of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham is a spa town which traditionally prospered as a destination for rich holiday-makers thanks to its mineral spring. Brimming with beautiful architecture and located on the small River Chelt, its popularity, as both a place to live and a place to visit, comes as no surprise. The particularly attractive Montpellier district of the town is well-known for its luxury and specialist shops and restaurants and is a key shopping centre for the region.
Cirencester is a market town and the largest town in the Cotswolds, known for the Royal Agricultural University, the best and most famous of its kind. Cirencester is a popular tourist destination thanks to its location on the River Churn and its fascinating history—in Roman times it was the country’s second largest town. It is home to lots of independent and interesting shops, particularly in its quaint and attractive shopping centre, Bishops Walk.
The town sits in the centre of an important road network, meaning that it is very accessible to much of the surrounding region.
The small, picturesque town of Tetbury sits amongst beautiful rolling hills in the south of the Cotswolds. Tucked away on the site of an ancient hill fort, this charming town is conveniently located within 15 minutes of the motorway. It is known for its antiques shops and also has a good selection of other thriving local businesses. Each October the town hosts the Tetbury Music Festival, a four-day celebration of classical music.
Stow-on-the-Wold is a delightful small market town. With the market square dominating the centre, the town is home to lots of lovely and well-used traditional pubs as well as many antique shops and art galleries. Just a few miles down the road is the popular Daylesford Organic Farm shop, so successful that it has opened three sister shops in London and Surrey.
In the centre of the Cotswolds district, Northleach is another small market town with many historic and beautiful houses, some dating back as far as the 15th Century. At the heart of the town is the striking church of St Peter and St Paul.
Moreton-in-Marsh is an attractive town with a notably wide main street lined with interesting shops and a good choice of cafés and eateries. In the town centre is Redesdale Market Hall, built in 1887, which is still used today although the weekly market is now held outside. The annual Moreton-in-Marsh Show—a one-day agricultural and horse show held in September—attracts over 20,000 visitors, transforming the town.
Chipping Campden is perhaps the quintessential Cotswold town—even in the context of the region it is particularly attractive. The High Street is made up almost entirely of one single terrace of buildings from different eras, but all built in the classic Cotswold stone. The town inspired, in part, the Arts and Crafts movement, with pioneer William Morris living in Chipping Campden in later life. The Court Barn Museum is testament to this. Unsurprisingly, it is a popular tourist spot, with many hotels, art galleries, specialist shops, and cafés to cater for its many visitors.
Kingham is a popular, unspoilt village in Oxfordshire, right on the eastern edge of the Cotswolds. It has a village shop, a station with direct trains to London as well as many other destinations, and an award winning pub and restaurant; the Kingham Plough.
To the south, Burford is a small medieval town, often called the gateway to the Cotswolds. The River Windrush winds through the north of the town, and the quaint, higgledy-piggledy buildings lining the streets house a broad range of everyday amenities as well as many interesting and luxury shops, including a popular delicatessen.
Schools in Cotswolds
The Cotswolds has so many fantastic schools, including some of the most famous and well-renowned in the country.
For a comprehensive list of schools, we recommend the Good Schools Guide.
The Cotswolds has no motorways going through the region itself, yet three motorways create a triangle around it, connecting it to the rest of the country. The region is served by a few key rail stations and additional smaller stations. London is generally less than 90 minutes by train from most of the district.
The nearest airports are Bristol and Birmingham. The London airports, particularly Heathrow, are also within easy driving distance from the Cotswolds.
The traditional and still very important leisure activities are, of course, walking, cycling, and generally escaping the hustle and bustle of daily life out amongst the glorious scenery and rolling hills. National hunt racing, hunting, shooting, and golf are also very popular and widespread activities in the Cotswolds, all enjoyed with a stunning backdrop. This unspoilt countryside is punctuated with quintessentially English villages and small towns, providing markets to be explored, museums and galleries to be visited and a wealth of cafés, pubs, and restaurants to be enjoyed.
With the tourist trade being central to the Cotswolds, there are naturally many attractions to supplement the natural beauty—Blenheim Palace, Berkeley Castle & Estate and Chavenage House, near Tetbury, are just a few of many stately homes and National Trust properties in the area. To the north, Broadway Tower continues to be a popular and well frequented landmark.
There is extensive shopping in the Cotswolds, with the traditional tourist towns offering a fantastic selection of interesting, independent, specialist, and vintage shops. Cheltenham and Oxford are bigger shopping destinations, still retaining the luxury, independent quality of Cotswolds shopping.
Why we love Cotswolds
The Cotswolds are ideally located, close enough to London yet also far enough away. The friendly villages and bustling towns have the atmosphere and amenities that you expect but are also surrounded by beautiful open countryside.
How Many People Live in Cotswolds?
What Languages Are Spoken in Cotswolds?
What is the Currency in Cotswolds?
Currency: GBP (Pound sterling)