The Cotswolds are celebrated the world over for being one of the most picturesque and beautiful corners of England. The region’s amazing views, peace and tranquility, and outstanding food and accommodation make it a dream walking holiday destination. You’ve probably heard of some of the Cotswolds most famous attractions and tourist hot spots. But what are some of the area’s hidden gems and best-kept secrets?
1. Cotswold Lavender
When you think of the Cotswolds you probably imagine rolling green hills and picture-perfect villages. But what about lavender fields? Planted in the year 2000, Cotswold Lavender is a farm consisting of 53 acres of stunning lavender fields, located in Snowshill. Standing over 1,000 feet above sea level, the fields overlook nearby Broadway and the Vale of Evesham. And once they’re in full bloom, walking the fields is a majestic experience.
2. Tyndale Monument, North Nibley
The Cotswolds are known for their many important historical sites, but perhaps you haven’t heard of Tyndale Monument. This tower, built in North Nibley, celebrated the life of William Tyndale, a translator of the New Testament who died a martyr in 1538. The tower was constructed in 1866 and is 111 feet fall. Climbing the hill to reach the tower is a wonderful hike. And once there you can even ascend the 121 stairs to the top of the tower.
The village of Stinchcombe certainly isn’t as well known as the Cotswold villages of Bibury, Broadway, Kingham, or Bourton-on-the-Water, but it’s just as beautiful. This true hidden gem is located on the road between Dursley and North Nibley and has a population of less than 500 inhabitants. Berkeley Castle and the Jensen Museum are less than a ten-minute drive away from the center of Stinchcombe.
4. Snowshill Manor
The National Trust’s Snowshill Manor and Garden is a Cotswold manor house packed with many hidden treasures. The Manor has an illustrious history. In fact, King Henry VIII included it in his dowry to Catherine Parr. Over the centuries the house has been modified and developed, but its main body dates from around early in the 16th century. Today the Manor is home to a number of highly peculiar artifacts, including toys, tapestries, paintings, clocks, and marine instruments, which were amassed by the Manor’s former owner, Charles Paget Wade. ‘Let nothing perish’ was the motto by which Wade lived, and when visiting Snowshill Manor, you’ll understand that he certainly meant that!
5. Thames Head, Kemble
Did you know that London’s River Thames begins in Kemble? The site, in Gloucestershire, is traditionally identified as the source of the capital’s famous river. It is located in Trewsbury Mead – a meadow adjacent to the village of Kemble. Meadow stands 360 feet (110 meters) above sea level, and if you want to see where the Thames begins, this is the place. You can access the meadow via the Wysis Way footpath. On the fringes of the Cotswolds AONB, it is marked by a monument, which is engraved as follows: “The Conservators of the River Thames 1857-1974. This stone was placed here to mark the Source of the River Thames”.