The Cotswolds and South West England Travel Guide

Filed under Destination Guides, featured

by Alison Plummer

The Cotswolds and the South West offer some of England’s most beautiful scenery, gardens, historic houses and coastlines, with accommodation in all the best locations for rewarding holidays at every level. Spend time exploring the villages and towns, from the honey-coloured stone cottages of the Cotswolds to the fishing villages of the intriguing Cornish coast and from the Georgian splendour of ‘Jane Austen’s Bath’ to the urban buzz of the port city of Bristol.

The irresistible Cotswolds region includes the counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire with beautiful Bath at its southern tip and Cheltenham and Cirencester at its heart. Bristol offers the best of all worlds with a thriving dining, arts and contemporary cultural scene.

Dorset is famous for its Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and rural ‘Thomas Hardy’ backdrops, while the moorlands of Dartmoor and Exmoor define glorious Devon, together with farmland, woodlands, harbours, beaches and atmospheric estuaries (think Daphne du Maurier). Artists, potters and sculptors such as Barbara Hepworth have long enjoyed love affairs with Cornwall, not to mention sailors, surfers and, now, foodies with a clutch of celebrity chefs starring Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw and Jamie Oliver.

12 Things You Must Do

Go Roman

See what the Romans did for us with their legacy of the Roman Baths, a must-see in Bath, featuring the Sacred Spring and Roman Temple and Bath House. Elsewhere, the remains of the Chedworth Roman Villa at Chedworth, Gloucestershire, is one of the grandest villas found in Britain with stunning mosaics.

Think contemporary

England is not all ‘olde worlde’. Style mavens flock to the Hauser and Wirth Gallery, Bruton, Somerset, an 18th century farm converted into a contemporary art space. The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, St Ives, Cornwall, is a must-see, while the cutting-edge Tate St Ives gallery reopens in 2017.

Get stoned

Wonder at the prehistoric ‘standing stone’ circles of Stonehenge and Avebury, near Salisbury, the Rollright Stones, Long Compton in the Cotswolds or Boswens Menhir, near the Tregeseal circle, St Just, Cornwall. See Dorset’s incredible Jurassic Coast where rock layers reveal history spanning 185 million years.

Hug a tree

England does trees like nowhere else with fabulous woodlands and ancient forests. Visit Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, the setting for scenes in Star Wars and J.R.R.Tolkien’s inspiration for Middle Earth. Arboretums in the Cotswolds include Batsford near Moreton-in-Marsh and Westonbirt near Tetbury.

Walk this way

Make the most of hundreds of miles of marked walking trails and woodland or field rambles. The 600 mile (965km) Southwest Coastal Path begins in Somerset, ends in Dorset and includes the entire length of the Devon and Cornish coasts with easy access along the way for short and long hikes.

Eat like a local

Thanks to passionate producers, each region has its specialities. Think asparagus in the Cotswolds, hand-made cheeses, artisan bakeries, local meats, signature crab, lobster, mussels and seafood of the Cornish, Devon and Dorset coasts, clotted cream and ice cream. Visit farm shops (many have good cafes) to see why local is the buzzword.

Follow a film trail

Trace Graham Winston’s 18th century Cornish Poldark saga, the new BBC remake of the blockbuster TV series starring Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson. Visit film locations included Charlestown near St Austell, Church Cove at Gunwallow on The Lizard Peninsula, Porthgwarra Cove, Bodmin Moor, Padstow, St Agnes Head, Truro.

Aim high for top views

Drift over Bristol and the neighbouring countryside in a hot air balloon; walk the 6 mile/9.5km Bath Skyline Walk; climb to the castle high on Cornwall’s St Michael’s Mount; climb the Lizard Lighthouse in Cornwall; walk to the chalk ‘White Horse’ on the Wiltshire Downs.

Ride a steam train

Chuff chuff buffs are spoiled for choice in the southwest with Toddington Narrow Gauge Railway, Gloucestershire; the Dean Forest Railway; the Avon Valley Railway, Bristol; the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway, Devon; the Dartmouth Steam railway, Devon; the Swanage Railway, Dorset, to name just a few.

Taste top drops

Traditionally apple cider country, microbreweries are booming as are vineyards with wine tasting at Three Choirs, Newent, Gloucestershire and others. Gin is trending news, visit Plymouth Gin, Plymouth, Britain’s oldest working distillery; slip east to the transformed Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstoke Mill, Hampshire (book a cocktail-making masterclass).

Find a perfect pub

Many ‘public houses’ were once coaching inns, stops for travellers, horses and coaches. Today the quest for the perfect pub is a national sport and they come in all shapes and sizes from haunts for real ale fans to upmarket foodie pubs.

Mind your manors

Stately homes, castles and gardens are part of the fabric of England. Some are icons also many smaller properties, places of interest and open spaces with ancient connections. Planning to see a few, consider an English Heritage Pass, National Trust Touring Pass.


England is divided into counties and collective regions. The Cotswold Hills area includes parts of six counties, Bristol and Bath are cities in the county of Somerset which, together with Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Wiltshire are counties of the wider South West region.

The Cotswolds

The rolling hills of the Cotswolds are home to a network of historic market towns including Cirencester, Stroud, Tetbury and Tewkesbury. Larger centres are Gloucester, the horse-racing capital of Cheltenham and the city of Bath. Standouts include photogenic Bibury, Broadway, Chipping Campden, Castle Combe and Northleach, while Sudeley Castle, Berkeley Castle, Longleat, Kelmscott Manor (home of William Morris) and Buscot Park are some places of note to visit. Famous gardens include Hidcote, Kiftsgate Court, Barnsley House Garden, Bourton House Garden, Painswick Rococo Garden, Highgrove House Garden (home of Prince Charles) and Stourhead.


Balancing Victorian architecture, green spaces and the lively cultural and bar/dining scene that a university brings, Bristol is a city best discovered on foot. At its heart is Harbourside with cobbled streets, converted warehouses, bars, waterside restaurants and the Watershed, a cinema and digital media complex. Independent shops and traders feature prominently in Bristol from the historic St. Nicholas Market to Park Street in Clifton, which leads to the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Art spaces abound and The Guild offers arts and crafts by local designers while At-Bristol is an interactive science centre.


This stylish city is a designated World Heritage Site (one of a kind in the UK), chosen by the Romans for its natural springs and loved by all, including novelist Jane Austen, for its setting and imposing architecture. Must-sees include the Roman Baths, the Georgian splendour of The Circus and The Royal Crescent, the neoclassical architecture of Pulteney Bridge and Bath Abbey. Visit the Assembly Rooms, home to an impressive Fashion Museum, the Jane Austen Centre and the fascinating Holbourne Museum. The modern spin on ‘taking the waters’ is a spa session at Thermae Bath Spa.


One of the UKs top holiday spots, with seaside destinations including dynamic St Ives, Padstow, Bude and many surf beaches on the northern Atlantic coast. Around rugged Lands End, the south coast faces the Bristol Channel with turquoise bays, tiny fishing villages, harbours and estuaries such as Falmouth, Fowey, St Austell Bay and Penzance on Mount’s Bay, home of St Michael’s Mount. There are some wonderful gardens – the Lost Gardens of Heligan, the futuristic Eden Project with plants from around the world, Lanhydrock House and Garden and medieval Cothele, Calstock.

Devon, Dorset and Wiltshire

There’s a wild side to Devon, villages to escape to down tiny side roads with high hedges, the spectacular moorlands of Dartmoor and Exmoor. There’s arty Totnes, the central city hub of Exeter, the market towns of Bideford, Barnstaple and Tavistock, gorgeous Dartmouth and resorts on both Devon coasts. Neighbouring Dorset offers rural bliss and the intrigue of the Jurassic Coast, historic Lyme Regis and Dorchester, plus plentiful seafood offerings and seasonal oysters, farmed or fresh. Wiltshire harbours iconic Stonehenge, Salibury Cathedral, Lacock Abbey, Old Sarum and the rolling chalk downs.


Now England can dine out on delicious seasonal produce in celebrity chef restaurants and any number of local cafes, restaurants and foodie pubs doing it right. The default position is the Sunday roast, fried fish and chips, pies in pastry or topped with mash. Choose carefully.

Broadway Deli, 29 High Street, Broadway, Worcestershire (

This Cotswold powerhouse of local and deli produce serves great coffee and deliciously different choices on the light lunch menu including vegetarian options, juices. (Lunch 12pm-4pm). The deli section really rocks and there’s food-to-go such as salad boxes, filled rolls and baguettes, home-made lasagne, quiches.

Clayton’s Kitchen, 15A, George Street, Bath. (

Open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner with light bites, set menus or the works. Seasonal a la carte offerings from Michelin-starred chef Rob Clayton –  Godminster cheddar bon bons with cider and apple chutney; honey roast duck breast with pak choi, cassis sauce.

The Daffodil, 18-20 Suffolk Parade, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (

In a former 1920’s cinema, think sweeping staircases and art deco glamour for the surroundings, classic dishes with a twist for the food. Two-course and bar menus, ‘matinee’ afternoon tea, a la carte, lobster dinner, tasting and pudding menus –comfort food and a side of pizzazz.

Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen, 1 Middle Street, Port Isaac, Cornwall (

Foodies know Restaurant Nathan Outlaw here (degustation menu and four-course lunch menu), but there’s also the fabulous Fish Kitchen. Porthilly oysters followed by seafood plates, tapas-style, such as beer-cured salmon, cucumber and seaweed; cuttlefish curry, chickpeas, aubergine and spinach. Chunky chips as a side.

The Ox, Basement, 43 Corn Street, Bristol (www.theox.bristol).

When you just fancy a steak, find this icon for meat-lovers in a basement beneath Bristol’s Commercial Rooms. British to the bone, this steak and cocktail bar serves a wide range of dishes as well the signature steaks (fish, duck, vegetarian) small plates and charcuterie.

Porthminster Café, Porthminster Beach, St Ives, Cornwall (

Known for delicious Asian and Mediterranean seafood dishes, this award-winning café is open for coffee (from 9am) breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Porthmeor Café, Porthmeor Beach, St Ives ( is also open all day with tapas dishes served 12 noon to 9pm.

Fifteen, On The Beach, Watergate Bay, Cornwall (

Serving Italian with a Cornish twist, this glass-fronted restaurant overlooking the bay is an iconic Jamie Oliver special with ingredients sourced solely from Cornwall and Italy. (All profits go to Fifteen’s Cornwall Food Foundation for managing a chef apprentice programme.)

Crab House Café, Ferryman’s Way, Portland Road, Wyke Regis, Dorset (

The South West has numerous seafood cafes and ‘crab shacks’. Overlooking Chesil Beach, the no-nonsense Crab House serves daily seafood specials depending on the local catch. Think spicy whole crab; turbot steak with saffron cream and mussels; Megrim sole baked with chilli and lime; oysters.

Foodie Pubs

No list of places to eat would be complete without pubs and asking your concierge or host for local recommendations is the best possible advice. Examples include The Wheatsheaf Inn, West End, Northleach, Gloucestershire (; Rick Stein’s The Cornish Arms, St Merryn, Padstow, Cornwall (

Food Made by Bob, 26 Market Place, Cirencester (

Fresh seasonal food from this high-end deli and café, open for breakfast, coffee, lunch, tea as well as supper on Friday. Chef loves Italian, sourcing ingredients from Sardinia as well as locally and preparing all dishes on site (and in sight) in the open kitchen.


Real ale, craft beers and cider are synonymous with England but cocktails and wine are kings too, in happening city bars often in old buildings converted into sleek contemporary spaces.

Colonna and Smalls, 6 Chapel Row, Bath (

Always a favourite with seasonal coffees from around the world brewed with passion and served as espresso or filter (drink it black for the full flavour). Also in town, Colonna and Hunter, 14-15 Milsom Place, for brunch, lunch and craft beers as well as coffee.

Sub13, 4 Edgar Buildings, George Street, Bath (

Just the place for a nightcap, this is a favourite cocktail bar in Bath, now also with a Perrier-Jouet Champagne Bar. Mixology, bubbly, DJs for cool sounds and dancing – Sub13 opens 5pm to 12am Monday to Wednesday, until 1am Thursday and 3am, Friday and Saturday.

The Draper’s Arms, 447 Gloucester Road, Bristol (

For purists, this independent micropub – no brewing onsite – goes back to basics specialising only in real ales and farmhouse ciders, no spirits, lagers, fizzy ciders or Guinness!  Bristol is a craft beer-loving city with many pubs and drinking places such as The Beer Emporium (

The Milk Thistle, Quay Head House, Colston Avenue, Bristol (

Cocktail-lovers look no further than this bar, lounge and meeting space in an impressive historic building. Changing cocktail menu, standards, wine, champagne and a handful of craft beers. Milk Thistle is the sister of Hyde & Co ( Bristol’s prohibition speakeasy also specialising in cocktails.

The Fleece Inn, Bretforton, Evesham, Worcestershire (

The UK’s only National Trust pub dates from the 15th century and is atmospheric with beams and flagstones. Remarkably it remained in the same family until 1977. Real ale enthusiasts delight in drops including Uley Brewery Pig’s Ear; The Ark is the pub’s own cider.

The Yellow Canary, 12 Fore Street, St Ives, Cornwall (

There are many cafes in St Ives, but regulars return to the Yellow Canary for coffee from Cornish roaster Origin. The owner blends seasonal coffees according to regular customer tastes, to be enjoyed with (or without) breakfast, cakes and pastries, crab sandwiches, Cornish cream teas.

Bean Shot, The Old Mill, Station Road, Bruton, Somerset (

The brainchild of Australian Nick Law, Bean Shot is an artisan coffee roaster with a café so you can enjoy the results first-hand, trying different blends. Close to the renowned Hauser and Wirth Gallery, Bean Shot also sells coffee-making equipment and holds barista classes.

Gylly Beach Café, Cliff Road, Falmouth, Cornwall (

Right on Gyllyngvase Beach, this contemporary cafe is a place for any time of day to enjoy coffee and a freshly-baked brownie or two, lunch, afternoon tea and, as day morphs into evening, dinner, drinks and maybe laid-back live music.

New Brewery Arts Cafe, Brewery Court, Cirencester (

This former brewery from the 1820’s has been transformed into an arts centre, complete with gallery and craft centre and a café for, breakfast, lunch and tea. Enjoy Teapigs special teas, certified Forest Alliance English breakfast tea and fairtrade coffee from Wiltshire’s Bespoke Coffee.

Time For Tea

Most tearooms serve Devonshire-style cream teas and you can enjoy ‘proper’ afternoon tea in many surroundings. The Regency Tea Room at the Jane Austen Museum, Bath; the cosy, character-filled Well Walk Tea Room, Cheltenham; The Scarlet Champagne Afternoon Tea at the Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall.


Major cities have shopping malls with big-names stores, but the South West is also hive of independent shops with memorabilia and local crafts, vinyl. Find antique shops and collectables everywhere and garden centres selling much more than plants. Also look at galleries for local paintings, arts and crafts.

Bicester Designer Village, Bicester, Oxfordshire (

On the eastern edge of the Cotswolds, this custom village is a designer retail outlet with more than 130 lifestyle and fashion boutiques offering savings on big-name designers. Labels include Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Mulberry, Chloe, Dolce & Gabanna, Fendi, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade New York.

St Nicholas Market, The Exchange, Corn Street, Bristol, Somerset (

Covered markets with independent retailers. Find gifts and vintage at the Nails Market on Fridays and Saturdays, local produce and street food at the Friday Food Market and the Bristol Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays. Also find historic covered ‘Pannier Markets’ in Tavistock and Barnstaple, both in Devon.  

Stokes Croft and Gloucester Road, Bristol, Somerset.

Lined with independent local shops and cafes, just the place to hunt for vintage, retro and shabby chic. Stokes Croft is famous for its ‘Banksy’ street art and hunt down those vinyl records at Idle Hands, 74 Stokes Croft. Gloucester Road also has home wares, toys, health and beauty.

Barn Antiques Centre, Long Marston, Warwickshire (

In the North Cotswolds with over 40 experienced dealers occupying a large area with two floors of antiques, retro items, jewellery, collectables, furniture and kitchenalia. There’s also a bistro called Violettes, and an interiors shop. Find antiques and collectables shops all around the South West.

Burford Garden Company, Burford, Gloucestershire (

Eclectic shopping which has grown from the original plant centre – gorgeous notebooks and journals, books, bath and body products, some clothes, throws and rugs, candles, an art gallery, dinnerware, deli and kitchen shop, toy shop. Now also a ‘blue room’ for perfect accessorising

Daylesford Organic Farmshop, Gloucestershire (

Well-heeled foodies of the Cotswolds adore Daylesford’s organic produce with over 100 varieties of seasonal fruit, vegetables, herbs and Daylesford Cheddar cheese. Apart from the farm shop, there’s great food at the café, a day spa and wide range of cooking classes on offer.

Artisan Quarter, Bath (

Walcot Road and The London Road area are known locally as the Artisan Quarter with independent shops for vintage clothes, designer homewares, cafes and galleries. Browse for antiques at the Old Bank Antiques Centre and, in Bath over a weekend, visit the Saturday flea market.

Montpellier, Cheltenham (

Montpellier Walk has Cheltenham’s most elegant independent shops, both architecturally and in their content. Browse for women and men’s fashion, shoes, home and gifts, jewellery, art and photography with little brasseries and cafes for respite from the decisions of a delightful few hours of shopping.

Leach Pottery – Studio and Museum, Higher Stennack, St Ives, Cornwall (

See exhibitions and shop for work by local and international potters at the restored Leach pottery, run by John Bedding. Bernard Leach was a major figure working from this studio set up in 1920, using the West’s first Japanese wood-fired kiln for his signature work.

Lobbs Farm Shop, Heligan, St Austell, Cornwall (

Irresistible farm shop next to the Lost Gardens of Heligan, selling home-grown produce from the Kestle Farm, home-made ready meals, Cornish Yarg Cheese, home-made sausages, pies smoked fish and deli items. Look for local crafts as the Countryside Barn Dairy here holds frequent craft fairs.


Rain or shine, the great outdoors beckons with walks, themed trails, bike rides and scenic golf courses. Horse riding takes you through the countryside across moorland and wide-open spaces, while diving, sailing, surfing and watersports are rewarding coastal activities. All kinds of extreme sports and experiences are also available.

Cotswolds Riding, Washpool Equestrian Centre, Stanton, Nr Broadway, Worcestershire (

With fifty horses and ponies, Jill Carenza’s Equestrian can cater for any level of riding skill. Riders love a climb up high on the Cotswold Hills from the beautiful villages of Stanton and Stanway to follow miles of trails off the beaten track on accompanied rides.

Cheddar Gorge X-treme (

Go rock climbing and caving in Britain’s biggest, most famous gorge. The caving involves crawling into caves, climbing down a long steel ladder using a lifeline, traversing and more to delight adventurers. Climbing is up a buttress with ropes with seven routes to choose from.

Where to play golf

The English love their golf and their courses are often very scenic. Some are: Trevose Golf and Country Club, Cornwall (; St Enodoc, Rock, Wadebridge, Cornwall (; the Bristol Golf Club, Somerset (; Cotswold Edge Golf Course, Gloucestershire (; Bath Golf Club (

Dive Action, Cornwall (

Based on Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula, Dive Action has dives all year to areas including the Manacles for reefs, walls and pinnacles and the Lizard with wrecks and plenty of marine life for experienced divers. Other sites include Penzance and Mounts Bay, Hayle and St Ives Bay.

Walking with Rosie in the Slad (

Wonderful 4 mile (6.4km) stroll through author Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie country, across fields, along tracks and over 13 stiles. Begin at Bull’s Cross and follow the AA map directions, Visit the Woolpack Inn, Laurie Lee’s local, on Slad Road, Stroud, overlooking the Slad Valley.

Freewinds Yacht Charter, Falmouth Premier Marina, Cornwall (

If sailing is your passion then the South West coastlines deliver. Family-run Freewinds is one Cornish company specialising in 34ft-46-ft sailing yachts for day sailing, bareboat and skippered charters – maybe to the idyllic Scilly Isles for some of the best sailing in the British Isles.

Extreme West, Devon (

The sky is the limit with sky-diving, zip-wires, off-road driving, rally driving, sports car experiences, coasteering (climbing, jumping, caving scrambling over cliffs), sea-kayaking safaris, kite-bugging, kite landboarding, guided bike rides. Extreme West is a provider of experience and adventure days, not all as challenging.

Bristol & Bath Railway Path (

Constructed along the former Midland Railway line, this 13-mile (20.9km) mostly flat path is for cyclists and walkers, with access for disabled users. There are still some stations to look at and entry and exit points for tearooms and pubs.

The South West Coast Path (

No matter which beach you visit in the South West there is access to the coastal path, the longest National Trail in the UK. Go for a short stroll or longer hike between bays to appreciate the fabulous scenery and invigorating sea air.


The Brit culture is very creative and you’ll find local theatre performances in many small towns, plus comedy, live music and film. Everything is historic here so museums are bursting with details of local history, the people and their lives. Local arts and crafts can be seen in galleries everywhere.

Exeter Phoenix, Bradninch Place, Gandy Street, Exeter, Devon (

Stand-up comedy, theatre, film –this could be the place you see BFG, in the Roald Dahl centenary celebrations. Impressive multi-artform complex with a cinema, auditorium for theatre performances and music, art galleries, artist studios, editing suites, print workshop and a café bar.

Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, Penzance, Cornwall (

An open-air theatre in a dramatic setting The Minack is perched on the cliffs above Porthcurno Beach attracting 80,000 people to top performances through the year and another 120,000 who just look around. Seasonal programme shows everything from Roald Dahl to Shakespeare.

The Holbourne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath (

Admission to this special art museum is free and its significant, eclectic art collection fascinating. Currently showing an exhibition of Georgian pastels and ‘Stubbs and the Wild’ an exhibition of George Stubbs’ paintings of exotic wild animals and horses, of course.

The Bristol Old Vic, King Street, Bristol (

Much-loved by theatre buffs and actors alike, the Old Vic keeps itself young at heart encouraging young performers and with a fresh programme designed to reach a wide audience through drama, music and comedy. Coming soon –Out of Sky, a Gothic tale of lost love.

The Tobacco Factory, Raleigh Road, Bristol (

Exhibitions, events, live music, dance and theatre in a range of performance spaces. There’s always something new and different and Bristolians look forward to hearing just what’s coming next. The current focus is on attracting guest directors and world class actors and musicians.

Lyme Regis Museum, Lyme Regis, Dorset (

Housed in a fascinating building, local history is well told through photos, prints and objects, while the amazing fossils of the Jurassic Coast are explained in the geological galleries. The Writers’ Gallery covers the town’s literary connections from Jane to Austen to John Fowles.

Broadway Tower, Broadway, Worcstershire (

Designed by Capability Brown, this was a holiday destination for William Morris and members of the Arts and Crafts movement, explained in an exhibition on the middle floor. The top is dedicated to the Royal Observer Corps as the tower was a lookout in World War Two.


14 -20 August 2016

Fowey Regatta and Carnival Week, Fowey, Cornwall (

Annual event deemed one of the UK’s best local regattas with sailing events, races and Troys, a type of boat built only in Fowey.  There’s a carnival procession, Red Arrows air display, firework display over the harbour – oh, and a giant Cornish pasty arrives by boat.

26-28 August, 2016

The Big Feastival, Kingham, Oxfordshire

Music meets food in the Cotswolds as Jamie Oliver and a huge line-up of chefs and entertainers appear at Alex James’ farm, near Kingham, Oxfordshire. Watch chefs such as Jamie, Raymond Blanc and Nathan Outlaw demonstrate their cooking skills and enjoy food markets and street food.

29 Aug 2016

Newlyn Fish Festival, Penzance, Cornwall (

Help to raise money for the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen at this fish-fest in a premier fishing port with cooking demos, great food, fish auctions and the Great Cornish Fish Off cooking competition. Also a chance to see traditional fishing luggers.

3 September 2016

Bristol Craft Beer Festival (

Celebrating its status as a craft beer capital, Bristol’s BCBF will be held at Motion’s Skate Park, staged by the people who organise the uber-successful London Craft Beer Festival, it will showcase 30 breweries and 200 or more craft beers.

9-18 September

Jane Austen Festival, Bath (

All about Austen with talks, readings, a masked ball, Pride and Prejudice, the 20- minute version. Also mask-making for the ball; a ‘Rummaging Through the Reticule’ talk; a ’Beastly Bath’ tour; ‘Prospect of summers by the sea’ day trip to Sidmouth and Lyme Regis.

23- 25 September 2016

Great Cornish Food Festival, Truro (

Celebrating the fabulous food and produce Cornwall has to offer at Truro’s Lemon Quay for three days of eating, drinking, shopping and entertainment. More than 100 food experts including brewers, bakers, butchers, cheese makers and chocolatiers will showcase their work and delicious produce.

10-24 September 2016

St Ives September Festival, Cornwall (

One of Cornwall’s top cultural experiences “delivering a full spectrum of arts from classical to world music, folk and jazz to flamenco, from poetry to theatre, talks and art exhibitions”. Includes Fairport Convention, An Evening With Rick Wakeman (highly recommended), The Whitetop Mountain Band.

17 March 2017

Cheltenham Gold Cup (

With race days through the year, Cheltenham is a race-goers favourite location and the Gold Cup is the biggest annual event attracting crowds from around the world. The racecourse has many facilities including a shopping village; check out race days to coincide with your visit.

31 May-3 June 2017

Royal Bath & West Show (

Essentially an agricultural show with all the works including horse show-jumping, 125 trade stalls and food from street food to eat on the go to produce to buy to take home. The show also hosts the British Cheese Awards and British Cider Championships.

June 2017

Glastonbury Festival (

One hundred and sixty thousand people watched Adele live at the 2016 Glastonbury Festival, now one of the greatest enduring festivals on earth. How it has grown and how those who go love the atmosphere and the event, despite the mud. Book early for 2017.

24 HOURS In the Cotswolds

Taking Cheltenham as a base, this is a drive itinerary visiting some of the loveliest towns and villages of the North Cotswolds.


Breakfast (or as early as available)


Take the B4632 road to Winchcombe. The road climbs to high on the edge of the Cotswold escarpment where Cleeve Hill is the highest point of the Cotswolds at 330m. Arrive at Winchcombe which has a picturesque but narrow main street. Browse the streetscape and little shops.


Visit beautiful Sudeley Castle & Gardens ( open from March to 30 October 2016, 10am-5pm. This was once the home of Henry V111’s last wife, Katherine Parr, who is buried in the castle’s 15th century church.

Also nearby:

Toddington Steam Railway.

Stanton and Stanway where Stanway House has the highest fountain in Britain.

Stanway Mill, a working flour mill dating back to 1291.

Hailles Abbey, the ruins of a Cistercian Abbey dating from 1245/6.


Continue on the B4632 to Broadway, a perfect Cotswold village with a lengthy main street lined with galleries and shops including antiques and a goldsmith. Also to visit, are the Gordon Russell Design Museum and the Ashmolean Museum Broadway.


There are many cafes, restaurants, pubs and hotels in Broadway including:

The Broadway Deli, 29 High Street, Broadway ( The Broadway Hotel, The Green, High Street, Broadway (

The Crown and Trumpet, Church Street, Broadway (


Broadway Tower

Snowshill Manor

Cotswold Lavender (summer)


Follow the A44 (Oxford direction), then the B4081 to Chipping Campden, a former wool market town and one of the most beautiful streetscapes in the Cotswolds. Visit the Court Barn Museum which tells the story of the Arts & Crafts movement and the designers and craftspeople who were drawn here to work.


Hidcote Gardens

Kifstgate Court Gardens


Return to the A44 and continue to Stow-on-The Wold. Park in the main square to take a look around.


Take the B4068 road via Naunton to return to Cheltenham joining the A40. Too hungry to last until Cheltenham? Find a famous dining pub in Naunton called the Hollow Bottom ( a favourite with the local horse racing set.


Return to Cheltenham and dine city-style at The Daffodil ( an art-deco brasserie and bar with seasonal menus.

Lumiere ( stars local and British produce and with vegetarian menus; the acclaimed Prithvi ( is based on Indian classics.

After a big day out a relaxing nightcap at your hotel might be in order – The Gold Cup Bar at the Queens Hotel Cheltenham MGallery or Soho Bar (

You must be logged in to post a comment Login