The Cotswolds are one of the most stunningly beautiful areas in England. The rolling hills and golden stone has been the inspiration for many a sonnet, sonata and sketch in its time. The Oxfordshire Cotswolds are a must visit area for those with an interest in nature and the beauty that accompanies it. Here are just some of our favourite attractions!
As has already been stated, the Cotswolds are a truly special example of natural wonder; indeed the whole Cotswolds area was named an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966. That doesn’t mean however, that there aren’t some special examples of man-made beauty too. The Garden’s at Rousham are one such example. The grounds of Rousham house represent the first phase of English landscape design and remain almost unchanged since their initial design by William Kent in the 18th century. While tours of the house at Rousham are open only to pre-booked large groups, the gardens remain open all year round and provide an un-commercialised (there’s no shop or tea-room!) peaceful and relaxing experience.
St Oswald’s Church
For a different kind of beauty, why not pay a visit to the isolated St Oswald’s Church? This 13th century church is located on its own near the tiny village of Swinbrook. In 1904 the church was found to be built on the base of a Roman house or temple. In modern times this small place of worship also features several uncovered Roman mosaics and, nearby, the remains of the medieval village that St Oswald’s once served. The main attraction of St Oswald’s however, is the striking beauty of the lonely church in the dramatic countryside and so is best visited when the weather fits the mood.
Closer to civilisation, on the border of the Wychwood National Nature Reserve, can be found the town of Witney, home to – not only Hardwick Parks – but also the Wychwood Brewery. This famous brewery has been producing beer since 1983 and is the UK’s largest producer of organic ale. For those interested, Wychwood offer a two-hour tour experience that covers the whole brewing process – from raw ingredients to the finished product. The tour also includes a tasting session and the brewery shop and is an experience unsuitable for children under 12.
Foxholes Nature Reserve
Diving back into the Cotswolds, near the hamlets of Bould and Bruern and north of the Cotswold gateway town of Burford is the Foxholes Nature Reserve. Run by the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust, this reserve features stunning and atmospheric ancient forestland and is a great place to walk and experience everything British woodland has to offer. During the spring, the woods are carpeted with lush bluebells – certainly a sight to behold.
Burford – The Gateway to the Cotswolds
Burford is the most popular town in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds – so much so that it’s considered the gateway to the Cotswolds from the East and was voted the 6th best place to live in the world by Forbes magazine in 2009.
Steeped in history, Burford has barely changed since Georgian times – a period in which the town was an important coach stop on the journey between Oxford and the West Country. The high street at Burford is considered one of the finest in the Cotswolds, sloping down to a bridge crossing the River Windrush while golden Cotswold stone buildings look on.
Hardwick Parks makes a great home base from which to explore the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, being just a short drive away. Book today and guarantee an incredible 2018 holiday!