The South Cotswolds Ring Walking Tour
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7 – 14 miles (11 – 20 km) per day
B&B Accommodation, Village Inns & Luxury Hostels
Walking Tour Overview
The South Cotswold Ring begins and ends in the beautiful town of Cheltenham. It takes you first of all to Winchcombe and its castle at Sudeley before striking south to Bourton-on-the-Water and then to the lesser known villages towards the south of the area: Northleach with its fine wool church and sets of brasses and its museum of mechanical music; Chedworth and its celebrated Roman villa; Cirencester, once the second town of Roman Britain; and onward to Painswick as you pass through a succession of charming and untouched villages and hamlets. This is a little more challenging than some of our other walks because the distances on the whole are greater but the rewards are great. Transfers can be built in to the route if you wish to reduce the daily distances.
This beautiful route can include Burford and so turn it into a 8 night holiday. Similarly, you may walk directly from Cheltenham to Bourton (17 miles) and omit Winchcombe. Upgrades are available in Cheltenham, Bourton, Northleach, Cirencester, and Painswick. Please ask for more details.
- Stroll through landscaped Sherborne Park.
- Carefully selected accommodation at which to stay.
- This beautiful route can include Burford and so turn it into a 8 night holiday.
- Panoramic views towards Gloucester, the Malvern Hills and the Black Mountains in Wales.
- From £870 per person 7 nights in a mixture of hotels, inns and first class B+B’s.
- Best time to go: March – September
- 7 nights B&B accommodation or upgrades to hotels.
- Luggage transfers each walking day.
- Route notes & maps.
- Local back-up.
*Upgraded accommodation is available upon request, please ask for a quote.
Day 1: Arrive in Cheltenham
Overnight in Cheltenham, a beautiful town celebrated for its Regency architecture and fine shops and restaurants.
Day 2: Cheltenham to Winchcombe (11 km - 7 miles)
Over Cleeve Hill to pass the Neolithic tomb at Belas Knap and so down to Winchcombe, home to Sudeley Castle. Overnight Winchcombe.
Day 3: Winchcombe to Bourton-on-the-Water (21 km - 13 miles)
Cross the old Salt Way to descend to the beautiful villages of Guiting Power (church with gorgeous golden Norman doorway) and Naunton, with its ancient dovecote overlooking the River Windrush , which you then follow into Bourton-on-the-Water. Overnight Bourton.
Day 4: Bourton-on-the-Water to Northleach (17 km - 11 miles)
The route weaves around Bourton lakes, then crosses the hills to Sherborne. Stroll through landscaped Sherborne Park and continue to the tranquil and historic village of Northleach, with its glorious wool church, mechanical music museum and air of timelessness. Overnight Northleach.
Day 5: Northleach to Cirencester (22 kms - 14 miles)
Head for Chedworth with its welcoming pub (and nearby Roman villa, one of the best preserved in the country), before continuing to Cirencester, after London the second town of Roman Britain, with its excellent Corinium Museum and its majestic market square overlooked by the huge and recently restored parish chruch.
Day 6: Cirencester to Painswick (21km - 13.5 miles)
A stroll through the 18th century landscape of Cirencester Park brings you to Sapperton, once a centre for William Morris’s Arts & Crafts Movement. Follow the old Thames & Severn Canal, and then walk through perfect rural England to Painswick, ‘Queen of the Cotswolds’, noted for its fascinating churchyard and the Rococo Garden.
Day 7: Painswick to Cheltenham (20kms - 13 miles)
Walk through the countryside immortalized in Laurie Lee’s ‘Cider with Rosie’ to Sheepscombe (which features in the book), which straddles an enchanting valley. The Cotswold Way takes you along the Cotswold Edge, with panoramic views towards Gloucester, the Malvern Hills and the Black Mountains in Wales. Overnight Cheltenham.
Day 8: Departure
Departure after breakfast.
This is a little more challenging than some of our other walks because the distances on the whole are greater but the rewards are great.
Distance: 70 miles/112 kms.
Duration: 7 nights, 6 days walking.
Maximum/minimum daily distances: 22 kms/14 miles/11 kms/7 miles.
There are different categories of accommodation available from B&B accommodation to Village Inns to small & luxury hotels. Ensuite rooms are booked where possible, in some B&B’s a private bathroom may be necessary.
B&B accommodation is generally in guesthouses, often private residences where some of the rooms are used for guests. They are also often smaller in size than Inns or hotels. All of our selected B&Bs will give you a warm welcome with a hearty breakfast for you in the morning. Because these are often private residences, there may not be the facilities you would expect to find in dedicated accommodation establishments. And they do not generally have options for dining in the evening.
Village Inns are generally larger, they may cater for only guests or they may also be a pub which also has guest rooms. They generally tend to have more in the way of facilities and have some kind of bar or dining options and are generally larger establishments than B&B’s
Hotels are usually the biggest of the establishments that we use and are more dedicated just to accommodation than B&B’s or Inns. There is a wide variety of hotels in The Cotswolds ranging from small hotels, to hotels with restaurants, to award winning luxury hotels.
Arriving By Train:
The Cotswolds are at the heart of the British rail network. Direct trains travel from London Paddington to Cheltenham Spa frequently.
Arriving By Plane:
Nearest airport: Bristol Airport (53.3 miles).
Other nearby airports: Birmingham Airport (56.9 miles / 91km), London Heathrow: (94 miles). From London Heathrow, you can take the Heathrow Express train directly to London Paddington from where you can then take a direct train to Cheltenham Spa.
We are happy to arrange private transfers to you starting accommodation, please contact us for further details.
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A 5-night self-guided classic walking holiday with accommodation in manors and luxury hotels