The 5 Hidden Gems of the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds attract nature lovers and walking enthusiasts from around the world, not to mention thousands of tourists looking to visit some of the most beautiful areas that England has to offer. There are so many historically rich and interesting places to visit that it’s hard to make your way to every single ‘must see’ location. The best thing about the Cotswolds is that there seems to be an endless supply of places to explore. Whilst there are definitely those staple places that people will have ensured are on their Cotswolds summer to-do list, we’ve decided put together a list of the top five hidden gems that you may not have otherwise considered:
1. Fairford, St Mary’s Church:
Famous for its beautiful and completely intact medieval stained glass, St Mary’s church in Fairford is by far one of the most exquisite ‘wool’ churches in England. Re-built at the expense of a wealthy wool merchant around 1490, the church was lucky enough to receive the charity of the wool merchants in Fairford, resulting in a stunning structure of perpendicular style.
The exceptional stained glass is the reason this hidden gem is number one on our list. St Mary’s is the only church left in England with its complete set of medieval stained glass, each arranged in a sequence to tell biblical stories.
2. Rollright Stones:
Located on the Oxfordshire/ Warwickshire border, the Rollright Stones is an ancient site made up of three elements: The King’s Men stone circle, the King Stone, and the Whispering Knights.
Constructed from local limestone that the area is famous for, these Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments should definitely be added to your Cotswolds itinerary. With so much historical significance, these monuments represent the change in British culture as agriculture spread through Britain.
Image Credit:English Heritage
3. Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway:
Primarily built in the early 1900s, this old steam train experience offers a fantastic opportunity to travel through the beautiful villages and landscapes of the Cotswolds.
Covering 25 miles of fantastic scenery between Laverton and Cheltenham Racecourse, some of the iconic views you will encounter include: Hayles Abbey founded in 1246, splendid views over the Vale of Evesham, hamlets of Stanley Pontlarge and Far Stanley, Tewkesbury Abbey and views of Cleeve Hill, the highest point of the Cotswolds.
4. Winchcombe, St Peter’s Church:
Another one of the great wool churches in England, this church is another testament to the wealth of the wool merchants in medieval England. The church has many attractions, the most sought after of which are the 40 gargoyle carvings, depicting demonic creatures and what is believed to be caricatures of locally important people of the time.
The altar is made of 14th century vestments stitched by Catherine of Aragon, making this fantastic iconic structure another one of the culturally and historically rich hidden gems of the Cotswolds.
5. Bibury trout farm:
One of Britain’s oldest trout farms, this hidden gem was founded in 1902 to ensure the local rivers and streams were stocked with the native Brown Trout. It is situated in the Coln valley, of which the pure waters are essential in running the hatchery which is responsible for spawning 6 million trout ova a year.
The beautiful village of Bibury is a reason in itself to visit the trout farm, referred by William Morris as ‘the most beautiful village in England’. The trouts leaping from the water is a sight to behold as they jump to get the food thrown by visitors. Bibury trout farm is great for the whole family, so this summer why don’t you walk the stunning grounds, feed trout, or fish for your supper!