12 Day Self-guided Cotswold Way Walking Tour

At a Glance

A more relaxed approach to tackling the Cotswold Way National Trail, over nearly two weeks.

Our longest Cotswold Way walking tour covers the stunning 102 miles over 12 days from the quiet, beautiful Chipping Campden in the North to the Roman city of Bath in the South. Hiking the Cotswold Way will deliver picture-perfect views of honey-stoned Cotswold villages, quaint market towns and rolling hills crisscrossed by tiny country lanes. While away the hours on quiet hiking trails and revel in what the English countryside has to offer.

Whichever time of year you walk the Cotswold Way, history and heritage will accompany you along the route. Hailes Abbey, Sudeley Castle and Dyrham Park are just three attractions that you can visit as you walk.

Staying in some of our favourite inns, pubs and hotels, our 12-day self-guided Cotswold Way walking tour delivers an unforgettable experience of the Cotswolds.

Covering 7-11 miles each day, this tour is the perfect match for guests preferring to walk this national trail at a more leisurely pace, spending more time absorbing what the Cotswolds has to offer. We also offer self-guided walking tours of the Cotswold Way over 8-days and 10-days.

  • Rewarding walking and spectacular views – perhaps the ultimate walking tour in the Cotswolds.
  • Make your way through old English woodlands and across open grassland pastures dotted with sheep.
  • Stroll through classic Cotswold villages including Winchcombe, Broadway and Painswick.
  • Visit the historic city of Bath at the walk’s end and take in the striking Royal Cresent and world-famous Roman baths.

Your Itinerary

After arriving at Moreton-in-Marsh railway station, our friendly local guide will be on hand to welcome you and transfer you to the start of the Cotswold Way at Chipping Campden. Before you set off we’ll ensure you have all the necessary information to make your Cotswold Way hike truly memorable. The waymarked way heads out of Chipping Campden to Dover’s Hill – the site of the annual Cotswold Olimpik Games – an event which stretches back nearly 400 years. From there, it’s onwards to the turreted Broadway Tower and its stunning views across what feels like much of South-West England and Wales. Today’s walk continues with a descent into the idyllic village of Broadway and its wide main street flanked by independent shops and cafes. A short hike to Stanton brings your day one on the Cotswold Way to a close. 

10.5 miles

Day two on the Cotswold Way and today’s walk meanders through endlessly beautiful scenery in the North Cotswolds. Make time to explore the 13th-century Hailes Abbey before lunching at nearby Hayles Fruit Farm. From there it’s onto the large village (or small town) of Winchombe. Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe oozes history as does the Neolithic burial site of Belas Knap. 

7.5 miles

From Winchcombe, your walk continues to wriggle South along the Cotswold Way. Today’s destination is the small village of Dowdeswell. The Cotswold escarpment is at its most dramatic here, with far-reaching views over Cheltenham to the River Severn Estuary and beyond. The walk finishes overlooking the spa town of Cheltenham at Cleeve Hill – the highest point in the Cotswolds.

11 miles

Leaving Dowdeswell, you’ll quickly come across ‘Devil’s Chimney’, a tor known locally for its excellent views. After pausing here, the path takes a downhill course through Dowdeswell Reservoir. We suggest pausing for a coffee break at Seven Springs, although you’ll find several excellent lunch options here. A notable one is the Star Bistro, which is situated within the magnificent grounds of the Ullenwood estate. Alternatively, you can opt to continue your trek to the National Trust woodland at Crickley Hill, where you’ll find a fantastic café. From there, it’s a short walk to your lodgings in the verdant village of Birdlip.

10 miles

The morning hike takes you past the remnants of an ancient Roman villa at Great Whitcombe, followed by a picturesque walk along Cooper’s Hill – renowned globally for the maverick ‘cheese-rolling’ event. After feasting a delicious lunch at the Royal William pub, you’ll trek uphill towards the Painswick Beacon, where you can explore an Iron Age fort and relish another stunning view. A leisurely downhill walk will lead you to the small village of Painswick, famous for its stunning Rococo Gardens and rich historical heritage.

7 miles

Follow the Cotswold Way signs from your accommodation and out of the village, West through the sloping woodland at Standish. Some of the Beech trees here are over 200 years old. Look out for Buzzards soaring high above your head or delicate wildflowers and butterflies down at ground level. Continue through open grassland to your accommodation at Stonehouse on the outskirts of the artistic town of Stroud.

9 miles

From Stonehouse, the Cotswold continue through the regal-sounding King’s Stanley – an attractive village surrounded by Cotswold hills. The afternoon’s itinerary is steeped in ancient history, taking you past an Iron Age hillfort and Hetty Pegler’s Tump, a partially reconstructed Neolithic chambered mound overlooking the Severn Valley.

9.5 miles

With a 7-mile walk on the menu today, your arrival in Bath is getting ever nearer. Leaving Dursley you’ll also come across the striking Tyndale Monument, standing 111 feet tall atop a hill called ‘Nibley Knoll’. 

7 miles

This morning’s trail starts from Wotton-under-Edge and takes you through more breathtaking countryside and picturesque Cotswold villages. We suggest stopping for lunch at The Fox Inn in Hawkesbury Upton, a local favourite, before exploring the Tudor manor of Horton Court which dates back to around 1185. This manor has been used as a filming location for Poldark and Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. After that, you’ll walk through Dodington Park, an exquisite estate designed by the renowned English gardener Capability Brown, before reaching the village of Old Sodbury at day’s end.

13 miles

Your penultimate day of the walking tour starts with a pleasant hike towards the perimeter wall of the 17th-century Dyrham House. This beautiful William and Mary mansion is situated in an ancient deer park. Take a moment to explore the estate and visit the traditional tearoom café before continuing on the trail. Rest up at Cold Ashton before tomorrow’s final push to the finish in Bath.

8.5 miles

The last day on the Cotswold Way leads you via the southernmost point of the Cotswold ridgeline towards Bath, passing several battle sites from the English Civil War along the way. As you reach Bath, make sure to explore some of the iconic local landmarks such as the Royal Crescent, the Roman baths, and the Jane Austen Museum. After a long day of sightseeing, unwind and relax at your hotel in the heart of the city, the perfect place to celebrate the end of your journey.

10 miles

After enjoying a relaxed (and well-deserved breakfast), you can depart Bath at your leisure. using the various public transport options available. Alternatively, some guests prefer to extend their stay in Bath, exploring the city’s renowned restaurants, theatres, galleries, and canals. If you need any assistance with booking additional nights’ accommodation or arranging onward travel, we would be delighted to help you.

Gallery

Handpicked Accommodation

Cleeve Hill
Rising Sun Cheltenham

Cleeve Hill, Cheltenham

The Rising Sun
Perched on top of Cleeve Hill, the highest point in the Cotswolds, The Rising Sun is a lovely Cotswold stone building in a fabulous location with spectacular views. This traditional country hotel blends contemporary decor with original features, and offers a friendly welcome and tasty food and drink.

Birdlip

Birdlip

The Royal George
Sitting in the quintessentially English village of Birdlip, the Royal George Hotel is a beautiful village inn hotel that makes an ideal base to explore the Cotswolds. This 18th century inn built from Cotswolds stone has spectacular views, beautiful gardens, tastefully decorated rooms, and a bar and restaurant.

Wotton
The Swan Hotel, Wotton

Wotton-under-Edge

Swan Hotel
This 17th century coaching inn is situated in a beautiful and historic town on the edge of the Cotswold Way, and enjoys stunning views of the Southern Cotswolds. The hotel seamlessly blends modern comforts with traditional touches, and has a light and airy restaurant offering freshly cooked food, and cosy bar with a range of real ales from local breweries.

Bath
The Francis Hotel, Bath

Bath

The Francis Hotel
A Grade I listed building with a history of hospitality, this Georgian getaway offers a quintessential retreat in a coveted position moments from the most popular sights of the great British spa city.

What our guides say...

A fantastic walking tour! Scenic beauty, history and heritage, great stays and tasty food – Oh, and the challenge of walking 100 miles, of course!

Rik
  • All accommodation as indicated on the itinerary
  • All breakfasts
  • GPS routes, provided via RideWithGPS (app available for Apple or Android)
  • All baggage transportation
  • All gratuities for baggage, porters and hotel service

We have handpicked the best family run, independent and country hotels, pubs and guest houses right on the Cotswolds Way. In perfect rural settings and directly along the trail, allowing you to walk into and out of your hotels as much as possible. Cosy and with informal dining, these 3* country hotels are friendly and relaxed, with great menus with locally sourced food and ales.

This tour is rated moderate, meaning it’s appropriate for guests who enjoy a good, all-day walk and can handle an incline or two. We cover varied terrain, but not too severe. We’ll enjoy some rolling hills and a few steeper walks which are more demanding. Daily distances range from 7-11 miles. Rewarding views are guaranteed!

If you’d prefer longer walks, we offer Self-Guided walks of the Cotswold Way over 8 or 10 days.

We’ll provide walking poles if required.

Pick-up location: Moreton-in-Marsh railway station. Our walking holidays are designed to be completely stress-free, with the start of our tours sitting within easy reach of London, Bristol or the Midlands. This tour begins from Moreton-in-Marsh, a direct 1.5-hour train journey out of London.

End-of-tour location: This tour ends at your hotel in Bath. Bath Railway Station has direct rail links to London Paddington. From Paddington, the Heathrow Express can be taken straight to London Heathrow airport. Alternatively, we have a number of 4* / 5* hotel partners in London, if guests would prefer to stay a little longer. Buses or direct taxi transfers to London Heathrow are also possible from Bath.

Where are the Cotswolds?
The Cotswolds National Landscape (previously referred to as Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – AONB) stretches from Bath in the South to Stratford Upon Avon in the North, and across to Oxford in the East. An iconic pocket of England with breath-taking natural beauty, rolling hills and historic towns and villages, built from the golden Cotswold stone.

How long is the Cotswold Way?

Extending from the quintessentially English market town of Chipping Campden to the Roman city of Bath, the 102 mile (164 km) Cotswold Way has existed as a promoted long-distance walk and had its 50th anniversary in 2020.

What is the best way to get out of London into the Cotswolds?
The best way into the Cotswolds from London and most major cities is by a direct train from Paddington into Oxford, Moreton-in-Marsh or Bath Spa. Our trips begin from mainline stations so you can arrive relaxed, refreshed and ready to start your tour. If you prefer to drive, please confirm with our team the best place to park for each tour.

How hilly are the Cotswolds?
The Cotswolds are a range of hills, with its name stemming from ‘Cote’ meaning sheep enclosure and ‘wold’ meaning hills. There are therefore lots of hills and incredible views from the top! However, you will able to miss out some of the steeper inclines – or add in some hillier walk for those looking to stretch their legs. There are routes for everyone and with our routes your guide will tailor your tour to your preferences.

Why choose a self-guided holiday?
With exceptionally well-planned routes, our self-guided tours are designed to suit the experienced, independent traveller or groups of travellers; those who wish to walk at their own pace and speed. With Ride With GPS and maps, we detail all of the points of interests, lunch stops, cafes – and of course pubs! Walk at your leisure, safe in the knowledge that a support team and emergency support vehicle is always on standby. Our guide highlights the key differences between self-guided and guided travel.

Make this trip private

Our private tours offer complete freedom to customize your trip. Base your tour on one of our scheduled departures, or tailor a bespoke experience to match your every expectation. We love combining our knowledge of England with our expertise in planning and delivering the best adventure trips.

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Carbon Footprint

What’s the Number?
Nearly everything has a carbon footprint. Together with ecollective, we’ve measured the carbon impact of not only every tour we operate but our entire business. We’ve taken into account greenhouse gas emissions across the business including office, travel, website, vehicles, accommodation, activities, food, suppliers…

What does the number mean?
We’re going to improve this by measuring and reducing our footprint each year. That means working with our suppliers to make changes that have a more positive impact on us and the planet. What does this look like in reality?

  • Redesign trips to reduce our carbon impact
  • Working closely with all our suppliers across England to join us on our decarbonisation journey
  • Switching up our vehicle fleet to electric
  • Investing in projects that permanently remove carbon from the atmosphere for any emissions that remain.

We’ve got a long way to go but we’re on our way to net-zero

We’re committed to reducing our impact on the planet and working towards a sustainable future. We’ve taken ownership of our carbon footprint and are on a mission to reduce our emissions year on year.

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