The Cotswolds, United Kingdom

Britain’s largest designated area of natural beauty, the Cotswolds covers an area roughly bounded by Oxford to the east, Cheltenham to the west, Stratford to the north and Bath to the south. Long before the tourist invasion, the Romans left their legacy in towns such as Cirencester, and remains of villas and forts can be seen from Bury Hill to Woodchester. Today, besides sheep, the area is home to some of the country’s most scenic towns and villages – all thatched cottages, ducks waddling across village greens and honey-hued churches. Other sensory delights include strolls on the beautiful banks of the River Wye, or following Fosse Way, the arrow-straight Roman road that still pierces through the loveliest landscapes imaginable.

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  • Smith Extra on arrival

    Enjoy extras such as a picnic lunch, champagne or spa treatments, on the house

Getting there

  • Planes

    Airports closest to the region are Bristol, where easyJet ( flies from Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Newcastle; and Birmingham, which has connections from Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Jersey with BMI Baby (
  • Trains

    Direct trains from London Paddington run regularly to Cotswold stations, including Chippenham, Kemble, Kingham, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stroud, Gloucester and Cheltenham. Most journeys will only take an hour or two.
  • Automobiles

    From London, the Cotswolds is a couple of hours away along the M4; the nearby M5 offers access from Bristol and Birmingham. It’s worth taking a car to the region: the country-lane driving is unparalleled.
  • Taxis

    The smaller towns have limited taxi services – book in advance. Hotel staff will know the best local firms.

Room 1 at Barnsley House, Cotswolds

Room 1 at Barnsley House, Cotswolds

Judging by the amount of A-list nuptials that take place at this Cotswolds boutique hotel, chocolate-box-pretty countryside combined with cool cutting-edge furnishings seem to be essentials when it comes to it’s-time-to-tie-the-knot allure – just ask Liz Hurley. This spa-spangled manor house understands the value of a decent bathroom, and doesn’t let its 17th-century heritage get in the way of marvellous modern trappings. Perfectly pitched at weekending lovers, light and airy Room 1 is equipped for an especially dirty pair, thanks to a twinset of freestanding tubs (facing a TV so, if conversation stalls, you can watch while you wash).

Find out more about Barnsley House