"The best part was hiking in the beautiful English countryside, seeing the wildflowers, trees, lambs and sheep. It was really fun to see the small villages, the churches, and to eat the delicious food at the restaurants. We also really enjoyed the other people on the trip. Rogan really made the trip unique because he showed us the places that were special to him growing up. He really knew the English history, and we learned a lot as we toured. Eating ice cream amidst the hail storm was fun! I really liked England at the end of the trip, and I want to go back!"- Susan Gandy
"Rogan did a great job introducing us to people and places that we normally would never be able to see or experience. The food was very good and I ate way too much!"- Katie Jewett
Take in the amazing views of a bucolic landscape replete with historic sights.
Visit Stonehenge, one of the world's most well-known prehistoric monuments.
Wander through honey-colored villages en route to the region's coziest pubs and B&Bs.
Welcome to the Cotswolds, an area of southwestern England which is famous for its gently sloping green hills and ancient, picture-postcard towns and villages. The term originates from Cod, meaning thirteenth century Anglo Saxon land owner and Wold, meaning area of high land – hence Cod-Wold, or Cotswolds. It is the largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in the country, and its quintessentially English charm spans six counties: primarily Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, while also reaching into parts of Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire and Warwickshire.
The Cotswolds is famous for its honey-colored limestone, which was used to construct the villages and lively market towns. The warm, serene color of the aforementioned limestone blends wonderfully with the surrounding greenery of the English countryside – a significant contributing factor to the distinctive beauty of the Cotswolds. The Cotswolds was initially built as a centre for the wool trade in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries – it has transcended time beautifully and exists today as one of the most treasured destinations in the UK and indeed the world. Nowhere else can one find such unique and heart-warming preservation on such an extensive scale.
This tour will start you off in the elegant northern Cotswold town of Broadway, a wonderful first viewing of what to expect on our tour– charming, honey-colored buildings seemingly unchanged in centuries while quaint boutiques & cafes serving cream teas exist aplenty in this delightful little town.
Over the course of the tour we shall visit old castles, quaint English gardens, country estates, beautiful historic cities & spa towns bursting with culture. Visit Bath Spa, with its Roman baths & beautiful Royal Crescent being the highlight. Hike through gorgeous, rolling green English countryside, enjoy cream teas in charming hidden cafes, visit Neolithic burial mounds & old hilltop fortifications, eat in many a lovely English pub (a staple of British culture), wander quiet cobbled streets of villages straight out of a Laurie Lee novel or Wordsworth poem and of course, explore areas off the tourist trail that only a local guide could reveal to you.
Travel independently to Broadway. Check into your lovely, classic English hotel. Meet your guides and group at 7:00 pm for an orientation, cocktails and dinner.
We begin the day by touring the beautiful town of Chipping Campden and its surroundings. After lunch we’ll enjoy a quick hike to Broadway tower, a famous eighteenth century folly. A private tour of a Cold War era bunker rounds out the day before returning to Broadway.
Enjoy the first of our lovely ‘Cotswold Circular Walks’, the Stanton, Snowshill and The Edge loop walk. This six-mile loop walk leads us between two of the most picturesque villages in the Cotswolds. We will hike over hilltops, down valleys and through shaded woodlands. This walk is slightly more challenging than others in the series. Our efforts are rewarded by some of the most splendid views in the country. Indeed, one of our favorite pubs, The Mount Inn, is conveniently located at the end of the walk. We can also visit Snowshill Manor, a lovely National Trust manor house with gardens, if time permits. Overnight in a charming Bed & Breakfast in Stanton.
Day four starts with another favorite circular walk, the Winchcombe and Belas Knap loop walk. This two mile scenic walk takes you from the delightfully unspoiled town of Winchcombe, along Cotswold Way routes old and new, up to one of the area’s most intriguing ancient monuments – Belas Knap. This walk is a combination of history and scenery that will leave you eager to discover more of the National Trail and the inspirational landscape through which it runs. After our short hike we will find Sudeley Castle (the site of the burial chamber of Henry VIII’s final wife, Catherine Parr) and its famous gardens. Finish the day with a visit to Haile’s Abbey, a thirteenth century Cistercian abbey built by the brother of Henry III. In the evening we will leave the Cotswolds and drive west to the Malvern Hills, an 8-mile long set of hills across the Vale of Evesham. Overnight in a beautiful Abbey Hotel in Great Malvern.
Today begins with a private tour of Birtsmorton Court, a fine example of a moated grange, much of which was built in the fifteenth century. Then it’s off to the hills for the longest and most difficult hike of the trip – The Malvern Hills End-to-End hike, with lunch at the Malvern Hills Hotel. Commanding splendid rural views, this is a lovely ridge walk. A line drawn due east from Worcestershire Beacon (the highest point on the ridge at 1,395ft. above sea level) will hit no higher point until the Ural Mountains of Russia. The town of Great Malvern itself is lovely, home to the grave of Charles Darwin’s young daughter (located outside the Great Malvern Priory, founded in 1085). Her untimely death pushed Darwin to forego his Christianity & question life’s deeper meaning. An alternative to the walk can be offered: a tour of the Morgan Motor Company Ltd. Overnight back at the Abbey Hotel.
Spend the day visiting some of the most delightful villages of the northern Cotswolds; Bourton-on-the-Water, with a visit to The Model Village, the only Grade II listed model village in the country; Stow-on-the-Wold, with the oldest pub in Britain, Porch House, dating back to AD 947 and complete with witch marks and a leper pit; and the Slaughters, both upper and lower. Overnight in a gorgeous hotel in Painswick known locally as the “Queen of the Cotswolds.”
Day seven is the third of our circular walks – the Cranham Coopers & the Beechwoods. This beautiful little four mile walk takes you through one of England’s most treasured habitats, beech woodlands, and leads you around the hill of perhaps the Cotswolds’ most iconic traditions, cheese-rolling. Follow these four short miles through the cathedral-like calm of Buckholt Wood, richly carpeted by bluebells in May, and onto Cooper’s Hill, the site of the infamous Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling competition each June, where for over two hundred years the foolhardy have risked their necks for cheese and glory. We will incorporate a quick visit to the Great Witcombe Roman Villa en route. Return to Painswick.
We’ll drive as well as walk while we explore the rural retreats of British royalty. The day will begin with a drive through Slad, the home of Laurie Lee and then onto Woodchester Mansion, a nineteenth century Victorian Gothic masterpiece mysteriously abandoned mid-construction in 1873. For lunch, dine at The Ragged Cot, near Minchinhampton Common, reputed to be one of the most haunted buildings in England. En route observe donkeys, cows and many an animal as they roam free to graze – it is not uncommon to have to stop your car while a herd of cattle casually cross the road. An afternoon visit to Westonbirt Arboretum, arguably the most beautiful arboretum in the country completes the day. We will end in Tetbury, a lovely market town with the perfect pub for dinner, the Snooty Fox. Overnight at a sixteenth century town house in Tetbury.
Start the day by visiting Highgrove and its gardens, the home of Prince Charles, the future King of England. Have lunch at the Hare & Hounds. Spend the afternoon walking our final Cotswold walk, Journey’s End: The Walk into Bath. This four mile walk offers a true sense of pilgrimage as the trail slides from open hilltop and around farmland into the heart of Bath with its crescendo at the majestic splendor of Bath Abbey, (where Edgar, the first ‘King of the English’ was crowned in AD 973), and the southern end of the Cotswold Way. Overnight at centrally located hotel in Bath.
This gorgeous spa city is a favorite amongst Brits and visitors alike, and rightfully so. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is positioned at the southern end of the Cotswolds. Start the day with a walking tour of the city’s most famous sites, then onto our glorious finish, Stonehenge. We’ll embark on Stonehenge’s Stone Access Tour during the evening. Return to our hotel in Bath.