Cotswolds

Area guide

The Cotswolds, the largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England & Wales, has prospered ever since the wool trade brought huge wealth to the region.

Moreton-in-Marsh

Fosse House, High Street
Moreton-In-Marsh
GL56 0LH

+44 1608 650 502

Cirencester

15 Dyer Street
Cirencester
GL7 2PP

+44 1285 653 101

Oxford

269 Banbury Road
Oxford
OX2 7LL

+44 1865 366 660

A huge proportion of the area’s architecture, from the many imposing stately homes to the traditional thatched cottages, are constructed from the attractive, fudge-coloured, locally mined Oolitic limestone, known as Cotswold Stone.

Towns in the Cotswolds are almost picturesque, with pretty settlements nestled within gorgeous, unspoilt countryside and distinctive gently rolling hills. Despite the rural location, transportation in the Cotswolds is still generally efficient, with the area well connected by road and rail to the regional hubs as well as further afield. From some parts of the Cotswolds, it is even possible to commute daily to London. Offering a great rural setting, accessibility, community spirit, renowned schools and a good quality of life, the Cotswolds is an idyllic place to live, popular with young families and retirees alike, as well as being a natural choice for weekend residents and holidaymakers.

The Strutt & Parker offices of Cirencester, Moreton-in-Marsh, Banbury and Oxford cover the entire Cotswolds district between them and work alongside our National Country House Department, who are very active in the area. The Strutt & Parker teams have all types of property for sale in the Cotswolds, from chocolate box cottages and traditional townhouses to rural retreats, farms and country estates.

Things to do in the Cotswolds

The traditional and still very important leisure activities are, of course, walking, cycling and generally escaping the hustle and bustle of daily life out amongst the glorious scenery and rolling hills. National hunt racing, hunting, shooting and golf are also very popular things to do in the Cotswolds and widespread activities in the Cotswolds, all enjoyed with a stunning backdrop. This unspoilt countryside is punctuated with quintessentially English villages and small towns, providing markets to be explored, museums and galleries to be visited and a wealth of cafés, pubs and restaurants to be enjoyed.

Explore local landmarks
With the tourist trade being central to the area, there are naturally many things to do in the Cotswolds to supplement the natural beauty; Blenheim Palace, Berkeley Castle & Estate and Chavenage House, near Tetbury, are just a few of many stately homes and National Trust properties in the area. To the North, Broadway Tower continues to be a popular and well frequented landmark.

Sample spectacular shopping
Shopping is by far one of the most popular things to do in the Cotswolds, with the traditional tourist towns offering a fantastic selection of interesting, independent, specialist and vintage shops. Cheltenham and Oxford are bigger shopping destinations, still retaining the luxury, independent quality of Cotswolds shopping.

Why we love the Cotswolds

Our teams in Cirencester, Moreton in Marsh, Oxford and Banbury recommend the following things to do in the Cotswolds.

Pubs
There is no end of fantastic gastro pubs in the Cotswolds, providing the ideal stopping point on a country walk, or a place to spend a cosy afternoon with the family, and dogs! Among some of the best are The Potting Shed in Crudwell, near Cirencester, the Horse and Groom in Bourton on the Hill, The Snowshill Arms, the Kings Arms in Didmarton, the Wheatsheaf in Northleach and the Kings Head in Bledington.

Annual events
Among the wealth of annual events in the Cotswolds, the Strutt & Parker teams love the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival, the Blenheim Triathlon, the Longborough Festival Opera and the Moreton in Marsh show Agricultural and Horse show.

Beautiful walks for all
Getting up close and personal is by far one of the best things to do in the Cotswolds if you’re looking to make the most of your time in the area. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or are looking for a light few miles to take in the glorious sights, there are a wide-variety of different walks that cater every individual, all of which still manage to capture the breath-taking beauty.

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Properties for sale in Cheltenham

Properties to rent in Cheltenham

Key villages & towns in Cotswolds

Schools in the area

With the area situated across several countries, schools in the Cotswolds are aplenty, each with its own unique offering to suit the needs of children and their families.

The Cotswolds has so many fantastic schools, including some of the most famous and well-renowned in the country. In Minchinhampton, near Stroud, the mixed Beaudesert Park School is the biggest prep in Gloucestershire and is keen on outdoor activites. Minchinhampton CofE is a very popular state primary.

Nearby Bath has the Downside School, a Catholic school particularly strong for music, and, in a village nearby, Monkton Combe School is a mixed private school, well entwined with the village’s thriving community.

Cheltnham has the biggest diversity in schools in Cotswolds: Dean Close School is a small and cosy mixed private school which excels in drama. Cheltenham College is high-tech and based in a beautiful building while The Cheltenham Ladies’ College is all-round high-flying with an excellent and widespread reputation. A few state primaries in Cheltenham get impressive Ofsted reports, including St James CofE and Holy Apostles CofE. Pate’s Grammar is also highly recommended.

Cirencester’s Hatherop Castle is a successful mixed prep school which holds a Gold Arts Mark for its music and drama offering. Westonbirt School, in Tetbury, is a small and friendly girls’ school with a good academic and extra-curricular track record, in a fabulous setting. State secondary schools in the Cotswolds are also highly regarded, with Cirencester Deer Park and Cirencester Kingshill both holding very good reputations.

Other excellent schools in the Cotswolds include Kitebrook, a prep school in Moreton-in-Marsh, St Hugh’s near Faringdon, Pinewood in Shrivenham, on the Oxfordshire – Wiltshire border, and the Oxford Schools.

For a more comprehensive list of schools in the area we recommend the Good Schools Guide.

Transport links

By train

The region is served by a few key rail stations and additional smaller stations. Kemble station (serving Cirencester) is 80 minutes to London Paddington, with direct services running every two hours and intermediate indirect services taking slightly longer. Both Kingham and Moreton have twice hourly direct services to Paddington, taking 90 minutes and one hour 40 respectively. Trains to London Marylebone from both Bicester North and Banbury stations take just over 50 minutes, and run three times an hour.

More locally, rail connections are generally very convenient; twice hourly direct services to Oxford are 35 minutes from Moreton and just under half an hour from Kingham. There are three services an hour from Kemble to Bath, taking around one hour 10, usually involving a change.

By train

The Cotswolds, in a way, has the perfect balance: it has no motorways going through the region itself, yet the M4, M5 and M40 create a triangle around it, providing easy access to London, South Wales, the West Country, the Midlands and onwards to the national motorway network. Within the Cotswolds, a range of decent A-roads keep residents and tourists moving.

The Cotswolds are ideally located, close enough to London, yet also far enough away. The friendly villages and bustling towns have the atmosphere and amenities that you expect but are also surrounded by beautiful open countryside.