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Trip to Cotswolds-seeking advice

We (two) are planning a trip to England and will stay in Cotswold Villages; We will not have a car. Plan to stay for a week in a village and then move along to another village for a week; maximum of 3 villages. Time frame: Spring '23.
Advice requested from anyone that has done a similar trip. Any specific Village recommendations appreciated.
All lessons learned greatly appreciated.

Harold & Marly

Posted by
3209 posts

The Cotswolds is a pretty big area extending from roughly Stratford Upon Avon in the north then south to Chippenham/Bath, and from Cheltenham east to almost Oxford. Most of the smaller villages can be seen in a couple hours at most; some even less than that. Towns like Bath and Stratford Upon Avon require a couple days. A suggestion is to research the villages you’d like to visit, then check public transportation between them. That should help you figure out the places to use as bases to get to the places you want to visit. Someone from the UK will probably already know where the transportation are. With the time you have, possibly consider visiting an area other than the Cotswolds. No matter how cute, charming, quaint, or whatever term you use to describe them, after X number of villages they’ll all look the same.

Posted by
18889 posts

What Jaime said (about little villages beginning to look the same after a certain point). Even if you are huge hikers, I would recommend splitting your time so you have more variety of scenery. Two or three weeks in the Cotswolds would drive me around the bend--and I did like the area. If I'd had more time I'd have liked to spend several days there and try to do some walking.

Moreton-in-Marsh is the bus-transportation hub of the Cotswolds. It would be the logical place to stay for visitors without a car if they want to be in the Cotswolds rather than just take a one-day bus tour (as I did) while staying outside the area.

Posted by
25742 posts

above advice is good.

I grew up in the Cotswolds and know the area, especially the Gloucestershire area, like the back of my hand.

But your question is quite broad. What do you hope to do for a week at a time in a village? Do you want to rent a house or flat and self cater or do you want hotels or B&Bs? Are you elderly or young? Do you like walking or hiking or neither? Have you visited England before? Do you prefer streams and rivers or hills and gardens?

Help us help you.

Posted by
4871 posts

We did a 4 week drive tour of England and S. Wales in 2017 and it was wonderful.
We stayed at the Volunteer Inn in Chipping Campden for six nights and used it as a base to visit the Cotswolds (you can see it well in two full days with a car). Also, we visited Oxford, Blenheim Palace and Stratford Upon Avon.

Rail transport is not available to most Cotswolds cities or towns. I suggest that you rent a car in Oxford. If not look a tours. There may be some bus transport, but I could never find enough to expect to rely on that.

Here is my detailed review of our trip. 28 days in Britain and Celebrity Eclipse home
https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=599139

Posted by
821 posts

Hello from Wisconsin,
The Cotswolds' villages are lovely. A week in one might be fun. My wife and I felt we had exhausted each one we visited in a couple hours of walking around. If you are a hiker there are trails connecting the villages. I would pick a village that has either many restaurants, or a substantial grocery store within walking distance. A substantial Grocer in the middle of a cute village is not common as the limited parking is taken by tourists making it difficult to sell celery. Or will you be consistently taking meals at a bed and breakfast Three weeks in three villages could be a bit too much time in one type of setting.

I regularly recommend travelers slow down. In your case I would recommend, not speeding up, but shifting location to a place outside of the Cotswolds for at least one of you three weeks.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
23 posts

I also love the Cotswolds but 3 weeks is waaay too long. I'm certain you would be looking for a change of region after a week. What about castles? I might be wrong but I don't think there are any in the Cotswolds, nearest one is Warwick I think, and I believe you need a mortgage for the tickets now.
Have you considered moving on to another area after your first week. Plenty of history in the big cities, industrial in those in the north. Lake District, Peak District or North Wales for an experience of upland Britain. Of course London is a mix of historical and modern.
If you hire a car, but not for the London bit, you will see a lot more

Posted by
29 posts

To all, thank you very much for your very candid advice; exactly what we needed!
Based upon your inputs we have modified our plans to simply spend two weeks in the City of Bath and take day trips from an apartment in the city.

I don't think that we will get bored in Bath. Seems to be several day tours available.

Again, thanks to all!

Harold & Marly

Posted by
3209 posts

If using Bath as a base, reconsider a rental car. A couple days in Bath is all you need to see the city. With a rental car you wouldn’t need to be concerned with bus or train schedules thereby giving you more time to spend wherever you go. Possible days trips from bath include, Stonehenge (if you want to see it), Avebury, Wells, Salisbury, Glastonbury, Cheddar Gorge, Cardiff/Tintern Abbey/Chepstow castle, Malmebury Abbey, Stroud, Castle Combe, and any number of Cotswold villages. We used Bath as a base for 5 days back in 2005 and even with a rental car, you’d be surprised how much time is spent getting back to Bath from those day trips. Two one-week bases might be better, e.g. Bath and Moreton-in-Marsh. No matter what you ultimately decide to do, you’ll have fun.

Posted by
91 posts

We have been to the Cotswolds several times with no car. We took the train from London to Moreton in Marsh, caught the Pulham bus to Stow on the Wold where we stayed for several days .(There are 2 bus companies , both with limited service in different areas). Then we caught the Johnson bus back to Moreton and once stayed there before catching the Johnson's bus to Chipping Campden and then stayed in Chipping .Other times we just made the connection between the 2 buses without staying in Moreton
Our focus was to walk so we walked to various villages from each location.
We also have done day trips to other villages by bus and even to Stratford on Avon.
Staying in Bath for 2 weeks seems way too much in my opinion.
Check out the links below for bus info. Easy once you get the hang of it although the schedules are limited and require planning ahead.
In any case enjoy!

https://www.pulhamscoaches.com/bus/

https://www.johnsonscoaches.co.uk/contentfiles/files/1_2_3.pdf

Posted by
4871 posts

Check out the Brooks Guesthouse for a great B&B in Bath. Also, the Scallop Shell restaurant with the best fish and chips in the country.

Posted by
2785 posts

I assume you've looking at the Mad Max day tours from Bath? Lots of good options.

Posted by
23 posts

I don't think you will regret trimming down your Cotswold trip, but again, 2 weeks in Bath is a long time. For a 3 week UK break I would be limiting each location to 4 or 5 nights and travelling round. As said previously, don't miss out the north, places like York, Peak District, Lake District, Liverpool, Chester, Bakewell. Are you going to London at all, there is loads to see and do there.