The Cotswolds are a vast area covering approximately 800 square miles. They’re defined by their rolling hills, or ‘wolds’, and the region runs across six different stunning English counties: Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Warwickshire, Somerset, and Worcestershire. The Cotswolds were designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 – and it’s easy to see why. Brimming with beautiful countryside and chocolate box villages, every corner of the region will charm you. But where can you find the very best views in the region?
Located near Cheltenham, Cleeve Hill offers incredible panoramic views of the Cotswolds. It’s the highest point in Gloucestershire (1,083 feet above sea level) and can be climbed from a walk beginning in Cheltenham itself. Once at the top you will be afforded wondrous views of the spa town, its surrounding villages, the nearby River Severn, and also of Winchcombe. If you fancy another great hill walk in Cheltenham, you should also consider the nearby Leckhampton Hill, which is extremely popular with dog walkers.
The Bourton-on-the-Water Bridges
The stone bridges positioned across the River Windrush in Bourton-on-the-water are one of the most iconic sights in the whole of the Cotswolds, and are undoubtedly one of the region’s very best views. Often described as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’, the bridges date back to 1654 and offer visitors a true slice of traditional Cotswold history.
No analysis of the best views of the Cotswolds is complete without mentioning the incomparable Broadway Tower. Often referred to as the ‘Highest Little Castle’ in the Cotswolds, the Tower’s base stands 1,024 feet (312 meters) above sea level. On a clear day, many visitors have claimed to have seen views that stretch across an incredible sixteen counties. Located on the Cotswold Way, Broadway Tower is a paradise for walkers.
Visitors to Chipping Campden, Broadway, Weston Sub Edge, and Evesham often go walking up Dover’s Hill. It is a natural amphitheater, which is managed by the National Trust. Because of its position 230 meters above sea level, Dover Hill’s views are truly breathtaking. Interestingly, because of its shape, the hill was also home to the original English Olympic Games. As the British Olympic Association notes, when referring to Dover’s Hill: “This was the pre-dawn of the Olympic Movement, and the Cotswold Games began the historical thread in Britain that was ultimately to lead to the creation of the modern Olympics”.
In 1974 Crickley Hill became a biological and geological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Gloucestershire. It is a prominent spur of the Cotswold escarpment, which is today managed by the National Trust. Standing 896 feet above sea level, views from the top of Crickley Hill are magnificent. Walkers can see Robinswood Hill and May Hill, and on to the Brecon Beacons in Wales.
The Cotswolds are world-famous for their enviable landscapes and beautiful scenery. It seems that no matter what hill you climb, or what village you venture into, every Cotswold view is inspiring and unique.