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If you were to imagine an idealised version of the English countryside, with quaint villages, rolling hills and a patchwork quilt of small fields then you would already be close to picturing the Cotswolds. Even if you’ve never visited, you’ve almost certainly seen it on the big screen. The area is so quintessentially English that it’s often used as a location for motion pictures.
Pride and Prejudice, Remains of the Day and Bridget Jones’ Diary have all used it as a backdrop. Think of a movie with an idyllic countryside setting and there’s a high likelihood that it’s been filmed in the Cotswolds.
The Cotswolds is England’s largest officially designated ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. This means that the British Government regard this area’s landscape to be so precious and outstanding that it must be preserved. The Cotswolds also has the largest number of conservation areas of any region in Britain, totalling 144 sites. The unique character of these rural Cotswold sites is considered to have such cultural and historical importance that their heritage is protected.
Experience the beauty of the Cotswolds first-hand with an Active England cycle tour.
SLEEPY VILLAGES AND MARKET TOWNS
Visiting the traditional limestone villages of the Cotswolds is like taking a step into the past. Their names alone conjure up visions of a bygone age: Bourton-on-the-water, Moreton-in-Marsh and Stow-on-the-Wold. And they don’t disappoint, with their wide village greens, cobbled streets and thatched cottages showcasing England’s fine rural beauty.
The market town of Chipping Campden is particularly noteworthy due to its links to William Morris and the Arts and Craft Movement. So too is Burford, with stunning examples of Elizabethan and Jacobean architecture as well as the Augustinian hospital dating back to the 13th century. Like living museums, you can walk down their streets and you’ll see that behind every door lies a trail of history and intrigue.
Find out more about cycling through Cotswolds towns and villages on our cycle tours.