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“A walk to remember forever… Every aspect exceeded our expectations…We highly recommend Active England and this opportunity to see what I believe is some of the most beautiful country in the world.” D.E
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Return to Nature and the English Countryside on an 11-day, 10-night tour tracing the full length of the rolling Cotswold hills. 102 miles of magical walking from Chipping Campden in the North to Bath in the South, leading you from one breath-taking view to the next, immersing you in the Cotswolds’ iconic history and heritage and championing England in all its glory.
Journey on foot, at your own pace, in your own time. Walk through the Cotswolds along canals, rivers and meadows into our incredible towns and cities with all the logistics taken care of so you can relax and enjoy the journey.
Flexible Walking Distance Options Each Day
Don’t feel obliged to walk the full distance each day. There are shorter options for guests, with opportunities to spend more time at the iconic sites, castles, manors, gardens and in the towns for those wishing to walk fewer miles each day.
Cotswolds Way Walking - Guided Itinerary
Pre-Trip (optional)Golden-stoned Broadway Village
Many guests choose to arrive the day before the start of the tour, to settle in and wander around the local area. We recommend guests taking the train to Moreton in Marsh (a 1.5 hour direct journey from London), where we can pick you up and take you to your hotel in Broadway, a beautiful little village sat just off the Cotswolds escarpment. Staying in the same hotel in Broadway for the first three nights means you don’t have to pack or move your luggage each day.
Day 1Meet and Greet. Chipping Campden, Broadway Tower and Village
After your train journey from London Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh (a 1.5 hour direct journey) we collect you from the station and head straight into the Cotswolds to visit the iconic Chipping Campden, with its golden-stoned buildings, where we begin our walk. We walk up Dover’s Hill, named after Robert Dover, who began the annual Cotswold ‘Olimpicks’ here over 400 years ago. This event is still held each year, with popular ‘sports’ including shin-kicking and hay-bale lifting. We walk on to the stunning Broadway Tower with its panoramic views all the way to Wales, perfect for a coffee stop. We walk down into Broadway itself for lunch and, in the afternoon, there is the option to continue onto the village of Stanton or to visit, or by support vehicle, the beautiful gardens at Snowshill Manor. We stay in the Broadway Hotel, right in the centre of the village, with great restaurant options for dinner in town.
Mileage: 6-10.5 miles
Day 2Hailes Abbey, Sudely Castle, Winchcombe
The tour winds its way through the picturesque countryside towards the 13th Century Cistercian Abbey at Hailes, and its beautiful Norman church with pre-1300 murals, hand painted onto the wall. We lunch at Hailes Fruit Farm and continue in the afternoon towards Winchcombe. There is the option, instead of walking in the afternoon, to visit Sudeley Castle – the only private castle in England to have a queen buried within its grounds – Catherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s six wives. We finish the day in the golden-stoned town of Winchcombe and travel back into Broadway for the evening, enjoying a group curry night out.
Mileage: 6-8 miles
Day 3Belas Knap, Cleeve Hill, Cheltenham Spa and the Devil’s Chimney
We walk South towards Belas Knap, a Neolithic burial site over 5,500 years old, before walking onto Cleeve Hill for beautiful views over the Spa town of Cheltenham and lunch at the golf club. In the afternoon we walk along the escarpment, where you can see all the way to Wales. We pass a prominent Tor known locally as the ‘Devil’s Chimney’, before heading downhill through Dowdeswell reservoir and woodland. We finish outside the Spa town of Cheltenham where we stay for the next two nights. There is the option for guests to head straight into Cheltenham after lunch, and tonight guests dine on their own, with a wealth of great restaurant options in town and within easy walking distance.
Mileage: 7-11 miles
Day 4The source of the Thames, Crickley Hill Woodland Park and the Severn Vale
This morning we begin from the outskirts of Cheltenham, following the rolling hills to find the elusive source of the Thames, stopping at the Seven Springs for coffee. We eat lunch at the Star Bistro within the grounds of the Ullenwood estate before continuing in the afternoon to the National Trust woodland at Crickley Hill. The forests overlook the Severn Vale, with magnificent views towards Robinswood Hill and May Hill, as well as the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains of Wales beyond. From here we return to your hotel in Cheltenham for a relaxing evening in town.
Mileage: 5-10 miles
Day 5Roman Villa, Cheese Rolling, Glorious views from Painswick Beacon and the Rococo Gardens
Much of today’s walk is through beautiful woodland, along the ridgeline and past the remains of a Roman Villa as we near Painswick. We walk along the top of Cooper’s Hill, and peer down the incredibly steep slope, famous around the world for the annual tradition of ‘cheese-rolling’. Contestants launch themselves down this slope at a run, chasing and tumbling after a local Gloucestershire cheese, all before cheering crowds in their thousands! We lunch at the Royal William pub before heading to the Painswick Beacon – probably one of the best views of the trip – surrounded by an Iron Age fort dating to between 400BC–AD43. We end the day on a gentle downhill into the beautiful little town of Painswick famous for its Rococo gardens, before heading to our hotel in our support vehicle. Those wanting to explore the gardens for longer can head straight there for the whole afternoon. We stay in the nearby Bear at Rodborough Hotel for the next two nights, having a group dinner in their restaurant this evening, serving up some British classics.
Mileage: 5-8.5 miles
Day 6Stroud, Iron Age Hillforts and Neolithic Long Barrows
After a short transfer into Painswick we walk up to Haresfield Beacon for wonderful views along the River Severn and towards the Forest of Dean. We lunch in Stroud, a town known for its curation of the arts, before continuing South in the afternoon. Our walk passes both an Iron Age Hillfort and Nympsfield Long Barrow, a burial mound constructed in the Neolithic period and surrounded by legends and bizarre stories, including one that it was a refuge for lepers. We finish at an impressive Chambered Barrow, Hetty Pegler’s Tump, so named after the landowner in the 17th century who began its excavations. We return to The Bear Hotel in the afternoon where guests can enjoy a relaxed evening and dine at their leisure.
Mileage: 6-10 miles
Day 7Tyndale Monument, Burial Mounds, and Cotswold Pub Lunches
Today is considered one of the more challenging days as we follow the ridgeline South, dipping into towns and villages. Neolithic Long Barrows and Hill Forts dot this ancient escarpment and we pass several of these burial chambers on our walk. We also walk past the striking Tyndale Monument, standing 111 feet tall atop a hill called ‘Nibley Knoll’ and built in honour of William Tyndale, who translated the New Testament and was born nearby. After a traditional Cotswolds pub lunch, there is the option to take the support vehicle directly to our hotel. Guests wishing to walk the full route can walk right to the front door of The Swan in Wotton Under Edge where we stay for the next two nights and dine as a group this evening.
Mileage: 5-9 miles
Day 8Cotswolds Villages, Horton Court (Poldark!), Dodington Park and Capability Brown
We walk out from our hotel in the morning along the valley and through a series of classic golden-stoned Cotswold villages. Lunch is in the Fox Inn at Hawkesbury Upton and our afternoon walk takes us through open countryside right up to the back door of Horton Court. This manor with Tudor origins has an incredible Norman Hall dated to around 1185. It has also been used as a filming location for the famous ‘Poldark’ series and Hilary Mantel’s ‘Wolf Hall’. The walk continues through Dodington Park in the afternoon, a beautiful Capability Brown designed estate. We drive the short distance back to our hotel in Wotton Under the Edge for a relaxed evening where guests can dine on their own.
Mileage: 6-11 miles
Day 9Old Sodbury, Dyrham House and Estate
We stroll from Little Sodbury though arable fields and farms towards our coffee stop at Tormarton. The trail leads to the perimeter wall of Dyrham House – a 17th century William and Mary mansion nestled within an ancient deer park. We lunch at their traditional tearoom café where guests wishing to rest their feet have the option to look around the estate in the afternoon and those wishing to continue walking journey on to Cold Ashton, a further 3 miles. We travel into the famous Regency town of Bath and our hotel, The Francis, at its centre. Bath is known for its cuisine and guests dine on their own in town this evening, with a great variety of restaurants within easy walking distance.
Mileage: 7-10 miles
Day 10Downhill into Bath, the World Heritage City, home to the Roman Baths
We transfer North out of Bath and begin our walk along the southernmost point of the Cotswold ridgeline as it drops into the valley. We pass several battle sites from the English Civil War and past the Grenville Monument, erected to commemorate the heroism of the Civil War Royalist commander Sir Bevil Grenville during the Battle of Landsdown. After lunch at the Old Crown Inn, our walk takes us into and around the city of Bath where we tour around the incredible architectural highlights, including the striking Royal Crescent and, for those that wish, to the Jane Austen Museum in the afternoon. There is the option today for a shorter morning walk and a longer afternoon exploring Bath. We finish at our hotel and have our final night’s dinner in the Brasserie Blanc in the centre of the city.
Mileage: 5-10 miles
Morning, Day 11Farewells and Ongoing Travel
Our guides will meet you after breakfast and help with any ongoing travel arrangements. Many choose to stay on in Bath, to explore the Roman Baths and more of the city’s celebrated restaurants, theatres, galleries, canals and more. Please ask if you would like help to organise and book extra days in Bath. There are also regular departures from Bath Spa station, only a short walk from your hotel, for an easy and direct 1.5 hour journey into London.
Download Detailed Intinerary
For full information about this tour and to find out all you need to know, download your copy of the detailed itinerary by clicking the button below.
Choose Between Country Accommodation or Prestige Accommodation (additional fee)
End of Tour Location
10 Night’s Accommodation
All Breakfasts, 3 Dinners
Entry into all iconic points of interest, including: Hailes Abbey, Sudely Castle, Newark Park, Horton Court, Dyrham Park
International Flights and travel to and from the start / end of the tour
Items of a personal nature
Lunches and café stops
7 dinners which are not with the group
Gratuity for your local guide
Where are the Cotswolds?
The Cotswolds stretch from Bath in the South to Stratford Upon Avon in the North, and across to Oxford in the East. It is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, its rolling hills and its historic towns and villages, built from the golden Cotswold stone.
How do I get to the Cotswolds from near London?
Our walking holidays are designed to be completely relaxing and hassle-free and that included getting to the start point! Taking the train from London, Bristol or the Midlands is an easy 60-90 minute direct journey into the Cotswolds and to the start of our walking tours. We’ll meet you off the train and set you up for your tour.
What are the Cotswolds?
The Cotswolds are a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, covering a limestone escarpment of rolling green hills and picturesque valleys in the south west of England. It is a quintessentially British area with historical landmarks and pockets of singular beauty throughout.
What is the Cotswold Way?
The Cotswold Way is a long distance footpath, one of 15 National Trails in England and Wales, managed to a very high standard by Natural England. It is a 102 mile route, though on our guided tours you can choose whether or not to walk the full distance, with shorter options available each day, spending more time at the iconic sites along the route.
What are the hotels like along the Cotswold Way?
We have handpicked the best family run, independent and country hotels and pubs right on the Cotswold Way. In perfect rural settings, we stay in each hotel twice, so you don’t have to pack up your stuff every day and allowing us to walk into and out of our hotels as much as possible. Cosy and with informal dining, these country hotels are friendly and relaxed, with great menus with locally sourced food and ales.