22nd September, 2017
The Cotswolds typifies charming English villages – the golden stone of the chocolate box cottages mean that towns such as Chipping Campden and Cirencester are some of the most photographed in the UK. It isn’t just the towns that make it, of course, but the rolling wolds and trickling rivers that paint the perfect picture of rural England. The Cotswolds are eternally popular and have been one of our most successful destinations over the past few years. The wonderful thing about the little English villages is that theres always more to uncover, so we’ve picked out some of our favourite hidden gems – the places that aren’t in your average guidebook.
Bantam Tea Rooms
As one of our favourite partners, we often book our guests into the Bantam Tea Rooms for a night or two. Even if you aren’t lucky enough to stay here, the Bantam is worth visiting for their delicious homemade cakes, speciality teas and warm welcome. Bantam is one of the cutest stops on the route – encapsulating all the quaint English charm one looks for in the Cotswolds. We at the Carter Company must admit that we often indulge if we find ourselves in Chipping Campden – we highly recommend the scones… For those who prefer coffee to tea – never fear! The Cotswolds has something for you too. The Campden Coffee Company is a favourite among the locals, serving some of the best coffee in the area.
While visitors to the Cotswolds may be familiar with Westonbirt, the larger Arboretum in Tetbury, we recommend a visit to Batsford Arboretum in Moreton-in-Marsh. Batsford is smaller and quite romantic – the perfect place for a couples afternoon out. Batsford actually has a bigger collection of trees and shrubs than Westonbirt and also has a fantastic garden centre on site.
The Fosse Way
There is no lack of history in the Cotswolds, but few realise that some of the roads through Cirencester and Moreton-in-Marsh actually date back to Roman times. The Fosse Way was once the main thoroughfare from Lincoln to Exeter and most of this ancient track still survives. For a part, the Fosse Way runs as Moreton's high street, before becoming the main road out of Cirencester. In between, its grassy track or simply field. The Fosse Way was built to be incredibly straight, supposedly so that the Romans could not be ambushed at corners, and is thus easy to trace on OS maps and fun to follow as a walker. Bear in mind though that you are likely walking a route first laid over two thousand years ago!
Cotswolds Lavender Farm
Snowshill is best known for the Manor and Gardens, but they are not the little villages only claim to fame. Just outside of the sleepy village of Snowshill sits the Cotswold Lavender Farm – a sea of purple fragrant flowers. The fields of lavender are simply an incredible sight, the scent is gorgeous and the bees that waft in the breeze add to the scene. We recommend visiting before the harvest, but even if you miss this, the shop is something to behold – they sell everything possible Lavender themed! Do check the opening times as this is a working farm and isn't always open.