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A locals guide to the best places to stay in the cotswolds 

So your flights are booked to England. You are staying in London for a couple of nights & then you plan to venture out to visit the English countryside. At the top of your bucket list is the Cotswolds! (You have excellent taste) Once you have decided that a vacation in England wouldn't be complete without wandering through the Cotswolds you then start to look into where to stay. This can become a little daunting once you realise the Cotswolds is 800 square miles, is 90 odd miles long by 25 miles wide. How will you get there? How will you travel around? Where should you stay? Where is it best to base yourself? Should you stay in a country house hotel, in a market town or in a cottage? The questions seem to be mounting up......

This is when it is easier to ask a local & Lucy from Cotswolds Guided Tours is on hand to help!

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How to reach the Cotswolds ?
The majority of people visiting the Cotswolds either do so as a day trip from London or Oxford or they decide to stay a few days. Lucy & Richard are often told that the Cotswolds roads are tiny & that Brits 'drive on the wrong side of the road' whatever your reason we understand that renting a car is not for everyone. The likelihood will be that you will arrive by train. There are limited train stations within the Cotswolds, the most popular ones are Moreton in Marsh in the North, Cheltenham Spa in the West & Kemble in the South. These are not the only stations but the ones most used by travellers.
Moreton in Marsh is a 90 minute train ride from London Paddington. There is an hourly service 7 days a week & the train provider is Great Western Railways. Cheltenham Spa is perfect station to arrive at for those travelling up from Bristol & Bath. Services to Cheltenham Spa are run by Great Western Railways & CrossCountry. From London the journey to Cheltenham Spa takes just under two hours. Lastly Kemble is the nearest rail station to Cirencester (located in the centre of the Cotswolds) & takes 1 hour 15 minutes to reach central London. 
Alternatively if you are staying in Oxford, Moreton in Marsh is easily reach by train in just over 30 minutes. This makes for an easy day trip for those wanting the convenience of a  city break but with the Cotswolds on your doorstep. 
How to travel around the Cotswolds without a car? So now you have arrived in the Cotswolds by train. The next big question is how you plan to explore all the region has to offer....Perhaps you plan to lace up your hiking boots & take in one of the famous walking trails. Or perhaps you plan to rely on local buses with the odd taxi here & there to transport you to some of the bigger sites. There are definitely local buses, however they only connect a handful of towns. If you are super organised then you could visit a couple a day, but really we would recommend booking a guided tour. (I know you might think that of course we would say that!) Honestly it is the easiest way to navigate the region, to make the most of your visit without relying on taxis & buses. However to try to be as impartial as possible I have mentioned local buses in my 'Places to stay' sections below.... 
Best Places to Stay in the Cotswolds At this point, I want to be clear that what follows is not an exhaustive list of every possible place to stay in each market town. I have chosen some of mine & our guests favourites. We would also recommend checking reviews to ensure that the accommodation offers what you are looking for. The Cotswolds has so much to offer, it may be that glamping is your thing, or you prefer a hotel with a spa or perhaps you love the cosiness of a local pub where you can kick off those muddy boots & warm your feet by the fire. I have tried to offer something for everyone but will keep this list up to date as & when we receive recommendations from our tour guests. Plus it is worth noting that as we are based in the North Cotswolds, outside of Moreton in Marsh our recommendations are centred around villages & towns in the North Cotswolds area.
Why stay in Moreton in Marsh Moreton in Marsh small market town in the Evenlode Valley Moreton-in-Marsh is within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This Cotswold market town stands at the crossroads of the Fosse Way Roman road & is served by the local railway station & a couple of local bus routes. Moreton is a great stop for those travelling by train, with many hotels located a short walk from the railway station, which links travellers South to Oxford & London Paddington or North to Worcester & Hereford. Moreton in Marsh, dates back 1000 years to the Saxon era. With elegant 17th and 18th Century buildings along the wide main street, one building of note, a former manor house is where King Charles I took refuge during the Civil War. In the centre is the Redesdale Hall dating from 1887 which is the town’s main public hall with its arches (now bricked up) that originally provided shelter for dairy farmers & vegetable growers selling their items at the market.  There is a weekly market every Tuesday, selling a variety of handmade items, local produce & general market fare. Tolkien fans will love popping into the Bell Inn, believed to the the inspiration for the Prancing Pony Inn. 
Hotels in Moreton in Marsh
Moreton in Marsh is a super popular choice for guests on our Cotswolds tours because of its great transport links. You have the railway station, so it is easily reach for those on a day trip from London or Oxford. Also you have a couple of local buses connecting you to Stratford Upon Avon, Cheltenham & Shipston on Stour. Moreton in Marsh has a great collection of places to stay, working in alphabetical order: Acacia Bed & Breakfast, Moreton in Marsh is a cosy 18th Century three-storey Cotswold stone house. you have a single & double room (with shared facilities) or a twin ensuite room. Enjoy a full English breakfast before your day out exploring. Bell Inn public House, Moreton in Marsh, five recently refurbished spacious & airy rooms – each with ensuite shower rooms, complimentary toiletries, flat screen TV, hospitality trays, free WiFi. Manor House Hotel, is an enchanting 16th Century Cotswold retreat where you can both indulge and relax in a homely atmosphere. 35 beautifully designed bedrooms, a 2 AA Rosette restaurant &  with views overlooking their stunning gardens. The Redesdale Arms, with it's central location the award winning 34 bedroom 3* hotel offers a mixture of doubles, twins and junior suites with sofa beds. The rooms are spread between the original main building, dating back to 1650, and to the rear of the building in the original stable block or courtyard. The White Hart Royal Hotel, a former 16th century coaching inn and is as comfortable and elegant today as it was in its coaching heyday. Rooms vary is size & shape offering a selection of small doubles, deluxe & superior options. A historic hotel with a characterful and intriguing past, with on site bar & restaurant. 
Why stay in Stow on the Wold

Lucy & Richard only live a short distance from Stow on the Wold & the great news is that we can collect you free from this location if you are booked on to one of our Private Cotswolds Tours! At nearly 800ft Stow on the wold is the highest of the Gloucestershire Cotswolds Market Towns and famous as a centre for antiques. As you will see the town radiates from the market square surrounded by a beautiful selection of buildings. Originally called Stow St Edwards or Edwards Stow after the towns patron saint it is often referred to as Stow on the Wold where the wind blows cold because of this hillside location. 

You will see as we walk around many references to the wool trade, Sheep Street is a good example. During its hay day as many as 20,000 sheep would be driven into the market square on sale days. Markets have taken place here since 1107 when Henry 1 granted a royal charter for a weekly market and over time Stow became one of the most flourishing wool markets in the country. Many of the buildings in the market square date back to the 17th and 18th century.  The stone cross in the centre records the significant English Civil war battle which took place in neighbouring Donnington, the last main battle of the English civil war. 200 Royalist soldiers, who support King Charles 1, were slaughtered in the square and over 1500 soldiers were kept prisoner overnight in St Edwards Church. Such was the bloodshed that it is claimed that ducks were seen swimming in the blood giving rise to the name Digbeth St meaning Duck's Bath. At the bottom of this short street you will find the oldest inn in England & that leads nicely on to.....

 

Hotels in Stow on the Wold The Bell Inn, a country style pub, with boutique rooms & seasonal menu, located on Park Street a short walk from the market square. The rooms at the Kings Arms are all stylishly decorated in contemporary Cotswold country style with modern ensuite bathrooms. Each has a TV, hairdryer and tea and coffee making facilities. The main building accommodates seven ensuite bedrooms, some with a steep climb up the original staircase which is rewarded with a view out across Market Square. The three split-level ‘stable’ rooms are in the courtyard on the site of the original coaching inn stables. These have a sitting room, TV, hot drink making facilities and ensuite bathroom downstairs, and a bedroom upstairs. Across the market square you will find the small but mighty Lucy's Tearooms, with two charming & comfortable B&B rooms, a delicious breakfast & onsite tearooms. Opposite you have the village green & the medieval stocks, here you will find the aptly named Old Stocks Inn, this recently refurbished the 17th-century coaching inn offers boutique luxury in a stunning location. With a selection of rooms, onsite restaurant & coffee shop it is easy to relax & soak up the charm of the Cotswolds. The Stag is also located in the heart of Stow on the Wold, with 22 rooms, a bar & restaurant they have a walled garden & courtyard, ideal to relax with a glass of wine after a day exploring the region. Stow Lodge, a 17th century manor house has been owned by the Hartley family for over sixty years. It retains plenty of old world charm and character, with traditional décor and furnishings throughout. Tastefully furnished ensuite bedrooms are situated in the main hotel or coach house, the property is set back from the market square in beautiful gardens.

Places to Stay in the Cotswolds | Guided Tours
Places to stay in Chipping Campden This beautiful high street with buildings that seem to be hustling for space and leaning every which way is the perfect back drop for a few nights stay in the heart of a thriving community. Chipping, meaning market & Campden, meaning valley with enclosures. Just knowing the meaning behind the name, helps one to visualise that this is a market town in the bottom of the valley! If you approach this town from the South or West, you are rewarded first with a sight of the impressive tower of St. James Church. One of a handful of 'wool churches' in the Cotswolds. Small boutique shops & restaurants line the main street along with the accommodation we would recommend.
Hotels in Chipping Campden A wonderful selection of places to stay can be found in the historic market town of Chipping Campden, we have listed some of our favourites. The Cotswold House Hotel & Spa, is an award-winning Grade II listed town house, complete with a tranquil spa, with 28 rooms, a relaxed bistro & formal dining. Noel Arms, has 28 guestrooms featuring complimentary WiFi, private bathrooms with shower/tub combinations. There is an on-site restaurant & bar, complimentary English breakfast is included with your stay. Woolmarket House, a luxury award-winning boutique-style bed and breakfast accommodation in Chipping Campden. Full of period charm, the four rooms feature designer fabrics, treasured-antiques, large comfy beds, in-room entertainment, contemporary ensuite bathrooms and gorgeous eco-friendly products to pamper yourself with, the perfect country escape.
Places to stay in Broadway 

Broadway is a large village, located 5 miles South East of Evesham. Broadway as its name suggested has a broad, sweeping street. It made its mark as a coaching stop & has a selection of fine inns & hotels. In 1250 the village had received a charter to host a market, essentially making Broadway a market town. However, with the fierce competition of neighbouring Chipping Campden, Broadway's market throughout the Middle Ages struggled to survive. During its hay-day in 1700-1800s it was noted that 7 (!) horse drawn coaches stopped off in Broadway for refreshment, truly a traffic jam it would seem in years gone by. The properties along the main street date back to mainly the 17th & 18th century. The opening of the London to Worcester railway line soon brought the coaching era to a close, although this line has long since gone recently the Great Western Steam Railway line has been extended to now stop in Broadway. The line, which runs from Spring to late Summer has regular steam & diesel services connecting Broadway to Cheltenham Race Course. A magical way to spend the day. The area is noted for its connection with William Morris, one of the founders of the Arts & Crafts movement. The increasing number of visitors that the original railway line brought to Broadway has continued to grow ever since & Broadway has obtained a reputation of being a 'show village'. Spend a leisurely day in Broadway, with its wonderful architecture along the High Street & fabulous residential properties in the Upper High Street, you also have a fantastic array of independent shops, tearooms, restaurants & museums. At the base of the main street, just beyond the war memorial is the large village green, turn left here and find one of our favourite Cotswolds pubs, The Crown & Trumpet. It is possible to walk out of Broadway to enjoy the handsome properties at Bury End, along with the wonderful old church of St Eadburgha (1 mile from the town) which lies at the foot of the road that leads on up to Snowshill village. At the entrance to the church yard you will find the lychgate, in memory of American artist Francis Davis Millet, who tragically died on the Titanic.

Broadway lies astride the Cotswolds way, so whether you are a walker in hiking boots, or dressed up to the nines to visit the antique shops, you will be welcomed in the wonderful village. Located 6 miles east of Chipping Campden it makes for a wonderful walk across the fields, via the iconic Broadway Tower to enjoy a day soaking up the countryside with a touch of retail therapy. You will notice as you explore Broadway there are numerous art galleries, Broadway has always appealed to artists, in 1880s a famous group of Anglo-American artists, Alfred parsons, John Singer Sargent & Edwin Abbey fell in love with Broadway. They had been keen to escape the Industrial Revolution surging throughout England & like William Morris, were inspired by the perfection of this location. 

Hotels in Broadway

If Broadway sounds like a good fit for you, we would recommend the following options:

The beautiful & friendly Abbots Grange is tucked away at the bottom of the high street. This fabulous retreat has lovely views over the surrounding countryside. The majestic Lygon Arms, this towering building dominates the main street. Step inside & you are transported back in history. Filled with olde-worlde charm & a great menu perfect for a few nights stay. Next up you have the Broadway Hotel, this part timber-framed building located right in the heart of the village with views over the village green. At the top end of the high street, you have The Olive Branch guest house. Set in a quiet part of the street, within easy walk of all the amenities with a handful of rooms you are guaranteed a warm welcome. Lastly do consider Russell’s of Broadway a restaurant with rooms (7 in total) tucked away off the main street perfect for fans of fish & chips…how very English!

Places to stay in Bourton on the Water
Probably the most famous village in the Cotswolds & likely to be a village that many think of when planning a trip to the region. The cottages that line the river Windrush & its crystal-clear shallow waters are made up of little shops & tearooms. Occupied by the Romans & later as a farming community, this village is now aim distinctly at the tourist market. With a selection of eateries, pubs & accommodation it is well served for the thousands of visitors that return year after year.

In around 50AD the Romans were invading throughout Britain, making their mark on the landscape, Bourton on the Water took its name from the Saxon word 'burgh' meaning camp or fort & 'ton' meaning settlement. So, this was where the Romans had their camp, or more aptly their 'Fort on the Water' The area known as 'Lansdowne' was where the camp was located, over the years there have been archaeological digs. One of the best finds to date, were a collection (some 300) currency bars which dated back to 300BC & are housed in the British Museum. You may wonder why the Romans decided to set up a camp here? Well the simple answer, the land was fertile, the water rain clear, the Romans were in the process of building the 'Fosseway' a major trading route connecting the South Coast to Lincolnshire (some 188 miles) so this made Bourton on the Water a strategic importance.

 

Three of the main stay attractions in Bourton on the Water include The 'Motor Museum' housed in an old mill adjacent to the river on the west side of the village. A "collection of rare vehicles and classic memorabilia will give you a nostalgic glimpse into life on the road." The museum was established in 1978 by Mike Cavanagh, who had amassed an impressive collection over a period of 20 years whilst living in South Africa. On returning to the UK & finding the Old Mill up for sale, he believed this would be the perfect location to house his collection & from then the museum was borne. On the east side of the village, you will find the 'Old New Inn' and the renowned 'Model Village' this fabulous depiction of Bourton on the Water's buildings at 1/9th scale. Created from local Cotswold stone by highly skilled craftsmen it is the only Grade II listed model village in the country a replica of the buildings that existed in Bourton-on-the-Water in the 1930s. The Old New Inn, also offers (life size!) accommodation for those wishing to spend the night in the famous village. Lastly you can visit the Cotswolds Perfumery, which has been blending perfumes for over 50 years. A fabulous example of a Cotswolds entrepreneur, John Stephen's who turned his hobby into a business in 1965. In present day you can book in for perfumery courses, explore the shop & soak up the atmosphere of this oaked beamed 300 year old, Grade II listed building.

 

As you wander through Bourton on the Water you will note the little bridges trapezing over the River Windrush, there are 5 in total in the centre of the village. Locally the village is described as the 'Venice of the Cotswolds' (although there won't be a gondola in sight!) Over the August Bank Holiday weekend an unusual sport takes place in the river, 'Football in the Water' where two local teams compete in the freezing knee-high water. Beware on occasions it would appear that the players are just as happy to get the spectators as wet as they can, as they are to score a goal.

Hotels in Bourton on the Water

If Bourton on the Water sounds like a good fit for you, we would recommend considering the following options:

The Chester House hotel is centrally located in Bourton-on-the-Water. Set one road back from the River Windrush, this privately run hotel has 22 ensuite bedrooms for you to relax and unwind. The Lansdowne is an award-winning guest house located just a five-minute walk from the centre of the village. They have 14 ensuite rooms each individually decorated and the choice of double, twin, single or superior rooms for that extra special stay. Or try the Old New Inn. Dating back to 1712, this former coaching inn has recently undergone extensive refurbishment to provide eight high quality bedrooms, all ensuite, and fitting for today’s discerning traveller. There is a light and airy breakfast room, where, a locally produced and sourced menu offers great breakfasts before you depart for a day of sight-seeing. Or do consider Coombe House B&B where you are guaranteed a warm welcome from Dawn & David in this wonderful Bed & Breakfast a short walk from the centre of the village. Finally, do check out Harrington House, set back from the river down a quiet side street this impressive building has a number of rooms that have recently been refurbished a stylish escape in the form of a traditional country retreat.

Taking a Private Cotswolds tour or a Small Group Cotswolds tour 
Now that you have an idea on the best places to stay in the Cotswolds then you can combine this with the best tour in the Cotswolds! Lucy & Richard are locals who love where they live. Their business started out of a passion to meet travellers and share the region they love with visitors. This hobby has turned into a full time business & year on year they are thrilled to meet people & share the regions quirky history, fun facts & hidden gems....along the the famous & well-loved villages too! So if you want to make the most of your vacation book a tour with Cotswolds Guided Tours. They have a selection of private Cotswold tour options from a one day 6 hour tour up to a 3 day 'Conquer the Cotswolds tour'. There is also a small group two day Cotswolds tour. Visiting all the best places in the North & South Costwolds. This tour departs on set dates throughout the year from Moreton in Marsh Railway Station. So whatever your budget, make sure you reach out...oh & book in advance, these tours sell out fast!
Cotswold Tours
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