Planning a self-catering break in the UK? Well, I know there are lots of great destinations to choose from, but I’d recommend heading to the Cotswolds. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this region has so many different things to offer holidaymakers.
I mean, how often can you describe a place as one of the most beautiful spots in the country, and in the same breath claim it is home to some of the prettiest cities, most stunning walks and a host of other attractions? The Cotswolds somehow manages to achieve all this.
To give you a better idea of the amazing places you can visit, I’ve put together a quick guide to my personal favourites. I hope it helps!
Cotswold Wildlife Park
I love wildlife parks and zoos, which is why I couldn’t resist adding this place to my list. You can see all kinds of animals here (as you probably expected!), but what really interests me is that there are a lot of ways you can get that little bit closer to them.
For example, once a day there’s a ‘meet the giraffes’ session, which allows you to see these amazing creatures at eye level – a pretty incredible experience. And, of course, if you have children, they’re bound to absolutely love this. You can also meet giant tortoises, lemurs and more, so there’s plenty of scope for a memorable day out.
Plus, mums and dads may be interested in the beautiful gardens that can also be found here – definitely well worth a look!
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Blenheim Palace is arguably one of the most important historical buildings in the region. You’ll find it in Woodstock, around 8 miles from Oxford, with the palace itself nestled in an impressive 2,000 acres of landscaped grounds.
This is a really popular place for tourists to visit, thanks to its combination of attractions. Of course, exploring the impossibly grand rooms, adorned with beautiful furniture and paintings, is one of the key reasons to come here, but there is much else besides. For example, you can take a stroll the beautiful gardens, discover the Churchill exhibition – Sir Winston Churchill was born here, you see – and discover the amazing creatures in the Butterfly House.
Oxford is a gorgeous city, and I think it’s a great place to visit on any holiday. One of the things I like most about it is that while it has loads of different attractions, it is small enough to still be easy to explore without having to rely heavily on public transport.
Top places to visit while you are here include the colleges of Oxford University – with Magdalen College being particularly popular – as well as the Ashmolean museum, the Pitt Rivers museum and the Botanic Gardens. It is also well worth giving punting a go, while there are countless lovely little pubs too – some personal favourites include The Victoria in Jericho, The Gardeners Arms (which is quite unusual in that it only serves vegan and vegetarian food) and The Royal Oak.
Another fantastic place to head to while you’re staying in the Cotswolds is Stratford-upon-Avon. Being Shakespeare’s birthplace, it celebrates all its associations with the bard to the max. You can visit the house where he was born, his final home (New Place), the home of his daughter (Nash’s House) and much more.
It’s also lovely to simply take a gentle walk along the river, possibly enjoying some local fish and chips while you do. There are plenty of quaint little tea shops as well, which are perfect for relaxing in between sightseeing trips.