If queues at airports are putting you off travelling far – new research reveals more than half of Brits are happy with a hassle-free ‘staycation’ in the UK – the Cotswolds is a countryside escape perfect for late summer and early autumn.
Less than two hours from London, Leicester, Birmingham and Bournemouth, Cirencester is a great option for those who have all the need to get away but with little time on their hands. The historic town, surrounded by some England’s most green and pleasant land, also boasts enough restaurants, bars, farmers’ markets and shops to keep you occupied for your stress-free escape.
Small but perfectly formed for a weekend of mooching, Cirencester is peppered with artisan coffee shops, wine bars and gift shops. See our guide on where to stay and what to do…
1) It’s achingly pretty
Nowhere feels quite as English as the Cotswolds. The town itself has a cobbled market place, soft sandy coloured buildings, bunting above head and at its centre, the cathedral-like St John the Baptist church. A magnet for sightseers, the soaring spire and honey-coloured fascade is truly beauitufl. Before swooning over the picturesque villages that lie just minutes outside of Cirencester….
2) It has seriously gorgeous places to stay
A stone’s throw from Cirencester centre. the ancient Saxon town of Winchcombe, Mill Street Cottage is perfect for families looking to explore the Cotswolds in style. Located within a wooded hollow, the cottage dates back 200 years and features exposed brick work and cottage gardens and is beautifully finished creating the perfect retreat.
The cottage is ideal for walkers and cyclists with access to the Cotswold Way. Those who travel a bit further afield can bring their little ones for a day on the water punting in Oxford.
This two bedroom cottage sleeps four and features a whirlpool bath and shower and an open fire in the lounge. If the weather is fine guests can guests can have a BBQ on the south facing patio.Prices from £923 for 7 nights. Short breaks available from £658.
For more information visit: https://www.holidaycottages.co.uk/gloucestershire
3) It has spas
Once you’ve walked and shopped till you’ve dropped, take the weight off aching feet for an afternoon tea and spa time at the Kings Head, which sits in the shadow of the iconic St John Baptist church.
The vaulted underground spa is set in the historic caverns of this ancient building. From muscle melting massages to the serene wet room where couples or friends can relax in the colour sensory room with hot tub and sauna, the Kings Head is a historic little slice of heaven. Drift off under fur throws in the waterbed-laden relaxation room and then head back into town for more mooching.
4) It’s a great base for exploring the Cotswolds
If cosy inns, pretty villages and rolling countryside float your row boat, then the Cotswolds is your staycation nirvana.
Bibury is a charming, typically Cotswold, village just a short drive from Cirencester and has often been referred to as the prettiest tow in England. Attractions include Bibury include Arlington Row, a row of weavers cottages built of local stone next to the River Coln. Inside the 15th century Catherine Wheel pub there are exposed original ship’s timber beams, prints and photographs of old Bibury and blazing log fires. Stay at Bibury Cottages for lovely self-catering accommodation.
For antiques and afternoon teas, head for Stow-on-the-Wold where you can find good pubs and pretty winding streets. Try this little hideaway, a converted bar on the fringes of the village
5) It’s a foodies paradise
Check out the local farmers’ markets and food festivals. Jamie Oliver’s Feastival happens in late August (Friday 25th – Sunday 27th August), Oxford Food Festival and Moreton Beer Festival in early September and just about every marketplace.