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Situated in the heart of England, the area known as the Cotswolds is famous for its charming towns and villages as well as its history, culture and intense natural beauty. What follows is a guide to some of the most enchanting towns and villages in the Cotswolds and an insight into what these destinations offer.

Bourton-on-the-Water

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Image by Dariusz via Flickr

 
This picturesque village is one of the most popular destinations in the whole of the Cotswolds, especially among families with young children. The River Windrush runs through the village and is spanned by a series of low bridges. One of the most enchanting attractions here is the Model Village, while Birdland Park and Gardens is a great place to get back to nature.

Stratford-Upon-Avon

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This quaint village is famous as the birthplace of William Shakespeare and most people travel here to visit the home of The Bard. The town features a number of well-preserved buildings dating back to the 16th century, while the gently flowing River Avon, which runs through the town, is particularly picturesque. After admiring Tutor buildings such as the cottage of Anne Hathaway and Mary Arden’s House, visitors can wander through the pretty Bancroft Gardens on the bank of the River Avon and catch a performance of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Oxford

Oxford-England-UK

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With its impressive collection of colleges, churches and other magnificent buildings, Oxford is a great place for lovers of architecture to explore. Wandering along the cobbled streets in the oldest parts of Oxford is a real treat and this is the best way to get a feel for the area. Some of the main highlights here include Christ Church College, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Oxford and Cherwell Boat House, where visitors can hire a boat and try their hands at punting along the River Thames.

Cheltenham

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Image by Keith 2006 via Flickr

 
The town of Cheltenham was founded in the 18th century and is famous for its spa waters and inspiring architecture. Strolling along the Promenade here is a popular pastime among both local people and visitors and there are plenty of shops sells books, shoes and other items to browse in along the way. The Montpellier area of the town is a popular evening hangout as it boasts trendy wine bars and cafes, while Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum is one of the town’s most popular landmarks.

Cirencester

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Image by Bruno Girin via Flickr

 
No trip to this part of the world would be complete without visiting Cirencester, which is often referred to as the ‘Capital of the Cotswolds’. The town features an intriguing blend of beautiful architecture, lively nightlife, interesting attractions and exciting markets for visitors to explore, while Cirencester is also well connected to the rest of the Cotswolds. The Market Place is the heart of Cirencester and is surrounded by prominent landmarks such as the St John the Baptist, which dates back to the 15th century. Strolling along Park, Thomas and Coxwell streets is a great way to enjoy the town’s architecture and unique feel, while the Corinium Museum provides an interesting insight into local history and culture.

Of course, these are just a few of the destinations in the Cotswolds that are waiting to be discovered. The great things about this part of England is that the roads and lanes that wind through the countryside are in excellent condition and there is always something new waiting around the next corner, making this the ideal areas for exploring independently.

Hugo writes about travel destinations in the UK and hotels in Liverpool and other destinations. He is an avid reader of all things travel and has visited all the corners of the British Isles.