We're planning on staying 2 nights in the Cotswolds - looking at either the Noel Arms in Chipping Campden or the Stow Lodge in Stow on the wold. Any opinions on which town is a better base and/or which hotel is nicer. Thanks
I traveled in the area by bus several years ago. As I recall, both towns had bus service. If you are thinking of going to Stratford-upon-Avon, Chipping Campden has frequent bus (coach) service to that town. Last year, from Warwick, I traveled by bus roundtrip to Stratford and Chipping Campden on the same day. You can buy bus day-passes at a reasonable rate and use them for the entire area.
In 2000 we stayed at a Bed and Breakfast in Chipping Camden (no longer open). The town is quiet and seems more focused on the residents rather than the tourists.
Stow-On-The-Wold has a more bustling commercial center and more going on.
I'll also be travelling in the Cotswolds this fall, and decided on Stow for my "home base" as it seemed a bit more central. Which town you choose will probably depend to some extent on which transportation options you're using? Moreton is the only town served by rail, but you can reach the others by Bus. If you have a Car, then any of the towns would be good.
It's difficult to recommend a particular Hotel, as individual preferences and budgets differ. The Noel Arms and Stow Lodge both appear to be great choices. However, they're both a bit beyond my budget so wouldn't be my preference; I travel "solo" these days, so normally choose Rick's $$ or sometimes $ listings.
We stayed in Chipping Campden in June and visited Stow-on-the-Wold while driving around. I would stay in Chipping again if we went back...it's an almost perfect mix of good restaurants/amenities and has a less touristy feel than Stow. Stow would probably be my second choice however so you probably can't go wrong. We stayed at Badgers Hall and it was an ideal place with GREAT food...if you don't stay there try to make it to a tea. We also liked the 8 Bells pub for dinner.
We visited many of the Cotswolds towns in one day...after a while they begin to look alike so I'd recommend a mix of a couple/few larger towns like Bourton-on-the-water and Stow, and a couple/few of the smaller towns like Snowshill and Lower Slaughter (eat lunch outside at the main hotel). If you're driving, rent the smallest car you can and try to get a GPS. Have fun!
If you end up choosing Chipping Campden I highly recommend the Dragon House B&B from the book...I know you mentioned the Noel Arms, but Dragon House is GORGEOUS, the owners fantastic, and literally right across the street from the Noel Arms on the High Street. On a 17 day trek through England,it was the best place we stayed.