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8 Day Self-guided Cotswold Way Walking Tour

At a Glance

Tackle the Cotswold Way, a long distance walking trail across the Cotswold National Landscape

102 miles of magical walking from Chipping Campden in the North to Bath in the South. Discover England in all its rural splendour, with this self-guided walking tour of the Cotswold Way. Stretching the entire length of the Cotswolds, from the quintessential market town of Chipping Campden to the Roman city of Bath, walk through honey-coloured villages and busy little market towns, over rolling hills and down quaint country lanes.

Along the way, marvel at Neolithic monuments and historic monuments. See the tranquil ruin of Hailes Abbey and the magnificent Sudeley Castle. Roam the National Trust’s beautiful Dyrham Park and discover some of the world’s best-preserved Roman ruins in the stunning city of Bath.

Feasting on fantastic local cuisine, resting up each night in some of our favourite handpicked Cotswold hotels and with all the support you might need for a fantastic self-guided tour, Active England promises an unforgettable walking adventure.

This Cotswold Way walk covers 10-17 miles each day. We also offer self-guided walking tours of the Cotswold Way over 10-days and 12-days.

  • Marvel at the spectacular views from the highest point in the Cotswolds, Broadway Tower. 
  • Enjoy walking through picturesque Cotswolds villages, including Winchcombe, Broadway and Painswick..
  • Breathtaking scenery from high elevation points along the Cotswold Way, with far reaching views to Wales. 
  • Visit Bath and the famous landmarks such as the Striking Royal Crescent and famous Roman baths. 
  • Stay in local village pubs and cosy Bed and Breakfast accommodation

Your Itinerary

Arriving into Moreton-in-Marsh railway station, our friendly local guide will transfer you straight to the Cotswold market town of Chipping Campden. Among the golden-stone buildings, we introduce you to the area and provide all the information you’ll need for a memorable walking trip. Your tour then begins in earnest with a hike up Dover’s Hill. Site of the annual Cotswold Olimpick Games, popular ‘sports’ such as shin-kicking and tug o’ war have taken place here for 400 years. The trail then continues toward the stunning Broadway Tower. With its panoramic views all the way to Wales, it’s a perfect place for a quick coffee, before continuing into Broadway itself. As the afternoon draws to a close, you’ll end your first day in in the sleepy village of Stanton.

11 miles – 1300ft elevation

Today’s walk winds through gorgeous countryside toward the 13th century Cistercian abbey at Hailes, where you’ll find a beautiful Norman church adorned with fascinating hand-painted pre-1300 murals. Well worth exploring, we also recommend lunching at the nearby Hayles Fruit Farm, before continuing south toward the picturesque town of Winchcombe. During the afternoon, there’ll be chance to visit the magnificent Grade I Listed Sudeley Castle and the 5,500-year-old Neolithic burial site of Belas Knap, before ending the walk on Cleeve Hill. The highest point in the Cotswolds, after enjoying beautiful views over the spa town of Cheltenham you’ll rest up for the evening.

14 miles – 1800ft elevation

Hopping straight onto the trail, today’s walk begins on the Cotswold escarpment, offering spectacular views all the way to Wales. On route, you’ll pass a prominent Tor known locally as the ‘Devil’s Chimney’, before heading downhill through Dowdeswell reservoir. We suggest making a coffee stop at the Seven Springs, although there are also several excellent options here for lunch. The Star Bistro is particularly appealing, set within the majestic grounds of the Ullenwood estate. Alternatively, continue to the National Trust woodland at Crickley Hill, which has a fantastic café. From here, you’ll walk straight to your accommodation in the leafy village of Birdlip.

16.5 miles – 1900ft elevation

Passing the historic remains of a Roman villa at Great Whitcombe, this morning’s walk takes you along the top of Cooper’s Hill, famous around the world for the annual tradition of ‘cheese-rolling’. After lunching at the excellent Royal William pub, hike up to the Painswick Beacon, where you’ll find an Iron Age fort and one of the best views of the trip. A gentle downhill walk then leads you into Painswick itself, a historic town known for its beautiful Rococo Gardens. Today’s walk finishes with a visit to the artistic haven of Stroud, before bringing you into the attractive village of Kings Stanley.

17 miles – 1600ft Elevation

This morning’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. As you continue south, you’ll also happen upon the striking Tyndale Monument, standing 111 feet tall atop a hill called ‘Nibley Knoll’. After enjoying a traditional Cotswold lunch in the Black Horse pub at North Nibley, the afternoon sees you take a picturesque hike straight to the door of your next hotel in Wotton-under-Edge.

12 miles – 1800ft elevation

Setting out from Wotton-under-Edge, this morning’s trail winds through lush countryside and picture-perfect Cotswold villages. We recommend lunching at The Fox Inn in Hawkesbury Upton, a local favourite, before paying a visit to Horton Court. Well worth exploring, this Tudor manor dates to around 1185, and has been used as a filming location for both Poldark and Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. From here you’ll walk through Dodington Park, a beautiful estate designed by celebrated English gardener Capability Brown, before continuing to the village of Old Sodbury. Today’s walk ends with a stroll through arable fields and farms toward Tormarton, where you’ll be able to enjoy an excellent pint of local ale in The Major’s Retreat, and when you’re ready for some R&R, your next hotel.

15 miles – 1700ft elevation

Your final day of walking begins with a hike to the perimeter wall of Dyrham House, a 17th century William and Mary mansion nestled within an ancient deer park. Pausing for a look around the estate and a visit to its traditional tearoom café, the trail then takes you via the southernmost point of the Cotswold ridgeline toward Bath, passing several battle sites from the English Civil War along the way. On arrival into Bath, be sure to seek out some of the many iconic local landmarks, from the striking Royal Crescent and the famous Roman baths to the Jane Austen Museum. Once you’ve had your fill of sightseeing, the city centre is the perfect place to put your feet up and celebrate the end of your journey.

17 miles – 1300ft elevation

After a relaxed breakfast, depart at your own leisure with the various public transport options available in Bath. Alternatively, many guests choose to stay on in Bath, spending a little extra time exploring the city’s celebrated restaurants, theatres, galleries and canals. If you would like to organise any additional nights’ accommodation or assistance with booking onward we would be very happy to help.

Map

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...

We give you the routes, you set the pace and explore at your leisure. If you’d like to walk shorter & slower, this trip can be extended over 10 days or more.

Rick
  • 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-hard, 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 12-17 miles. Rewarding views are guaranteed!

If you’d prefer to walk shorter routes each day, this trip can be extended to 10 days or more.

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 Cotswolds 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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