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Cotswold Way...Best Company for Self-Guided Trip

Friends and I are hoping to walk the Cotswold Way in June 2022. Seems like there are several companies that offer self-guided trips for this. Any recommendations for the best one(s)?

Posted by
17869 posts

I'm sorry--upon rereading I see that you want to walk! Never mind.

o you mean small-group (van) tours? I believe Rick mentions both Mad Max (originating in Bath) and Go Cotswolds (originating in Moreton-on-Marsh, a short train trip from Oxford). I took a Go Cotswolds tour and enjoyed it a lot.

I know at least one person on the forum has praised the Secret Cottage tour. Here's one earlier post, but you will probably find others via the Search box at the top of this screen:
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/secret-cottage-tour-of-the-cotswold-england

Posted by
176 posts

Don't know if it's the best since we've only used the one but Cotswod Walks worked perfectly well for us.

Posted by
4601 posts

When I researched visiting the Cotswolds, I decided tours weren't necessary. We had a rental car and stayed in Chipping Campden for six nights, spent two days touring the Cotswolds from one end to the other, also day trips to Oxford, Blenheim Palace and Stratford Upon Avon.
Stayed at the Volunteer Inn, which had great lodging prices and the best pub in town. Also, it had a great Indian restaurant.

Posted by
1178 posts

We didn’t use a company but had someone at volunteer in Chipping Camden make arrangements for luggage transfer. We then stayed there and in two other places we found on our own. We only did part of the trail.

If you do the trail, download the online map. We got confused the first day.

Posted by
11904 posts

A couple of the responses do not understand the term "self-guided". To clarify, it is not a tour. It means walking on your own, without a guide, but booking a package that includes accommodations, luggage transfers, transport where needed, and detailed walking instructions and maps.

For the Cotswold Way, most of the companies offer a variety of options in length and walking distance covered each day, as well as a choice between walking the whole way (102 miles?) or doing a shorter segment.

The above-mentioned Mac's Adventures is popular. We have not used them ourselves, but I did correspond with them regarding a walk on the balconies above the French Riviera, and they were very responsive to my questions.

We have done two self-guided walks in the U.K. with Celtic Trails and were very pleased. They were flexible and offered solutions to our changing plans when we asked. They offer walks of 3 to 11 days' duration, and, in addition to a linear point-to -point walk, they offer a loop from Moreton-on-Marsh that focuses on some of the prettiest villages. Some of this would use other paths than the actual Cotswold Way. Here is the link for that if you are interested:

https://www.celtictrailswalkingholidays.co.uk/walking-holidays/cotswold-round/

We have friends who have used Contours for walks in the U.K. and highly recommend them.

And I am sure there are many more.

Also, not self-guided, but our favorite U.K. walking company (HF Holidays) offers a 10-day Cotswold trip, staying in one of their country houses and utilizing transport to access the start and finish of each day's walk. This type of trip removes any concerns about getting lost! And we enjoy the camaraderie of the other guests (mainly Brits, but we have also met Canadians, French, and other nationalities). If you decide to consider this option, note that the price quoted is inclusive of all meals---breakfast (your choice of full English or something lighter), packed lunch, and four-course dinner (with choice of mains), and the food has always been high quality. Evenings are often livened up with a speaker program, slideshow, or pub games. We did so well at one of those we were rewarded with the designation "honorary Brits" by our team.

Posted by
456 posts

I'm also a fan of HF Holidays. We did a self-guided walking trip with them based at their property in Glencoe. As Lola noted, all meals are included and the food excellent. We used their suggested maps and hikes, which range from easy to difficult, and used our own car to get to the different trail heads. HF Holidays does have 3 and 4 day self-guided Cotswold walking trips based at their property in Bourton-on-the-Water.

Posted by
5609 posts

I've booked self-guided walking tours with Contours Walking Holidays in northern England and Scotland and have been very satisfied with the service and accommodations. However, I have not walked the Cotswolds. Overnight accommodations were very satisfactory and Contours was very responsive with advice and service including maps and guidebooks/instructions. We could add layover days.

https://www.contours.co.uk/cotswold-way

Cotswold Way A self-guided walking holiday from Chipping Campden to
Bath through the beautiful Cotswolds.

7 to 14 nights 102 miles Easy / Moderate to Demanding / Strenuous

From £630 per person

Posted by
2603 posts

You really don’t need a company. My friend and I walked it a few years ago, planned the whole thing myself. There are two books that I used to help plan....Cotswold Way by Tricia & Bob Hayne and the other one is The CotswoldWay National Trail Companion. I know of an excellent company that would transfer your luggage from B&B to B&B/hotel, you would only need to take a day bag with you. If you want ant information please PM me, I would be glad to help. I was 65=and my friend was 71 when we walked the trail, our husbands thought we were crazy.