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Join Like-minded Active People for a week in the Cotswolds
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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.
No Hassle Self-Guided Walking Tours
Journey on foot, at your own pace, in your own time. We take all the hassle out of walking by including all luggage transfers, organising and booking all accommodation, providing maps, GPS instructions, and recommending incredible iconic palaces, castles, estates, ancient sites and more to visit along the way. Walk through the Cotswolds along canals, rivers and meadows into our incredible towns and cities.
English Long-Distance Walking National Trails
Step back in time on this idyllic long distance self-guided walk through the heart of the English countryside, along routes used since prehistoric times, winding through villages, tracing ridgelines, down into woodlands and valleys, and with panoramic views around every corner. These linear journeys are the perfect way to discover England at its finest, hassle free.
Cotswolds Way Self Guided Itinerary
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. We will set you up for your week and orient you to the area, giving you maps, GPS routes and all the information you’ll need for a wonderful walking trip. Your walk begins by heading out of Chipping Campden and 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. The trail continues on to the stunning Broadway Tower with its panoramic views all the way to Wales, perfect for a coffee stop. Following this, the path leads you down into Broadway itself for lunch and, in the afternoon, you continue onto the village of Stanton and your first night’s stay.
Mileage: 10.5 miles
Day 2Hailes Abbey, Sudeley 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 recommend having lunch at Hailes Fruit farm, just around the corner from the abbey, and continuing in the afternoon towards Winchcombe. Tonight’s stay is in Winchcombe and there is the option to visit Sudeley Castle on the outskirts of the village – the only private castle in England to have a queen buried within its grounds – Catherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s six wives.
Mileage: 8 miles
Day 3Belas Knap, Cleeve Hill, Cheltenham Spa and the Devil’s Chimney
Walk South in the morning 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 the trail continues along the escarpment, where you can see all the way to Wales. You’ll pass a prominent Tor known locally as the ‘Devil’s Chimney’, before heading downhill through Dowdeswell reservoir and woodland. Your accommodation for the evening is on the outskirts of the spa town of Cheltenham alongside the trail.
Mileage: 11 miles
Day 4The source of the Thames, Crickley Hill Woodland Park and the Severn Vale
Starting out from your accommodation, the trail follows the rolling hills towards the elusive source of the Thames, with a coffee stop at the Seven Springs. There are several options for lunch, and we can recommend eating at the Star Bistro within the grounds of the Ullenwood estate before continuing in the afternoon to the National Trust woodland at Crickley Hill, which also has a great cafe. 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. The route takes you directly to your accommodation in Birdlip.
Mileage: 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 at Great Whitcombe. 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! 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. End the day on a gentle downhill into the beautiful little town of Painswick and your hotel for the evening. Painswick is famous for its Rococo gardens which are well worth exploring!
Mileage: 7 miles
Day 6Stroud, Iron Age Hillforts and Neolithic Long Barrows
Walk out of Painswick for wonderful views along the River Severn and towards the Forest of Dean. Lunch in Stroud, a town known for its curation of the arts, before continuing south in the afternoon. The trail 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. You will also see an impressive Chambered Barrow, Hetty Pegler’s Tump, so named after the landowner in the 17th century who began its excavations. Today’s finish is in Kings Stanley and your hotel, the King’s Head.
Mileage: 9 miles
Day 7Tyndale Monument, Burial Mounds, and Cotswold Pub Lunches
Neolithic Long Barrows and Hill Forts dot this ancient escarpment and the path passes several of these burial chambers. You will also come across 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 who was born nearby. After a traditional Cotswolds pub lunch in the Black Horse at North Nibley, the afternoon walk takes you to the door of your hotel, The Swan in Wotton Under Edge.
Mileage: 15 miles
Day 8Cotswolds Villages, Horton Court (Poldark!), Dodington Park and Capability Brown
Walk out in the morning along the valley and through a series of classic golden-stoned Cotswold villages. We recommend having lunch in the Fox Inn at Hawkesbury Upton. Your afternoon walk takes you 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 trail continues through Dodington Park in the afternoon, a beautiful Capability Brown designed estate and on to Old Sodbury where you stay tonight.
Mileage: 13 miles
Day 9Old Sodbury, Dyrham House and Estate
Stoll out from Old Sodbury though arable fields and farms towards a great coffee stop in Tormarton at the Major’s Retreat. The trail leads to the perimeter wall of Dyrham House – a 17th century William and Mary mansion nestled within an ancient deer park. Lunch at their traditional tearoom café and enjoy a look around the estate in the afternoon. Your afternoon walk is a lovely 3 miles to your hotel in Cold Ashton.
Mileage 9 miles
Day 10Downhill into Bath, the World Heritage City, home to the Roman Baths
Your hotel is perched on the southernmost point of the Cotswold ridgeline and today’s walk drops into Bath’s valley. You’ll pass several battle sites from the English Civil War and past the Granville Monument, erected to commemorate the heroism of the Civil War Royalist Commander Sir Bevil Grenville during the Battle of Landsdown. We recommend lunch at the Old Crown Inn, and in the afternoon your walk will lead you into and around the city of Bath to finish at Bath’s Abbey. There is much to see in Bath, from the incredible architectural highlights, including the striking Royal Crescent and the Roman Baths, as well as the Jane Austen Museum in the afternoon. The Francis Hotel is in the centre of Bath, and the perfect place to rest your feet and celebrate the end of your journey.
Mileage: 10 miles
Morning, Day 11Farewells and Ongoing Travel
Our guides will help with any ongoing travel arrangements. Many choose to stay on in Bath, to explore the Roman Baths and more of the cities 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
Maps, Route Instructions, Comprehensive GPS routes (Ride With GPS) to follow on your phones
International Flights and travel to and from the start / end of tour
Items of a personal nature
Lunches, dinners and café stops
Gratuity for your local guide
Entry into all iconic points of interest, including: Hailes Abbey, Sudely Castle, Newark Park, Horton Court, Dyrham Park
Why choose a self-guided walking tour?
With exceptionally well-planned routes, our self-guided tours are designed to suit the independent traveler or groups of travelers; those who wish to travel at their own pace and speed. With GPS instructions 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.
Where are the Cotswolds?
The Cotswolds stretches 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. 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.