Private Cotswolds Tours
The vision of England as a land of gentle hills, thatched cottages, rose gardens, sheep grazing safely in the fields – this can all be found in the Cotswolds, just 90 minutes drive from London.
Small Cotswold towns and villages provide a warm welcome for the visitor, with antique and craft shops to browse, small museums to enjoy, and everything from vintage car collections to rare breed farms to occupy you. A pub lunch is a treat at the Swan, the Trout at Tadpole Bridge or the Fuzzy Duck, or afternoon tea at Huffkins or Badgers Hall (yes, those are all real names).
The Cotswolds area has some of the finest gardens in England, and historic houses open to the public range from the grandeur of Blenheim Palace to the more intimate atmosphere of Kelmscott Manor, home to the artist/designer William Morris.
Below are just a few of my favourite places to visit; you can mix and match them as you wish, and if you want to get off the beaten track, it’s very easy to do so in the Cotswolds.
These private tours are by car, for up to 6 people, with your own driver-guide. Tour prices range between £660-£695.
A Cotswold tour to introduce you to the landscape and some of the loveliest villages, including Burford and Bourton on the Water. There’ll be time for browsing the shops, visiting historic churches, a pub lunch, maybe a riverside walk, and if you are a Downton Abbey fan, we could stop at a couple of film locations as well.
Hidcote Manor & Kiftsgate Court gardens
Hidcote Manor garden, designed in the early 20th century by Lawrence Johnston, is one of the finest gardens in England – my favourite. Just down the hill, the garden at Kiftsgate Court was created by three generations of women and is the perfect partner to Hidcote – quite different but every bit as lovely.
Blenheim Palace & the Cotswolds
Blenheim Palace was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, and is the home of the Duke of Marlborough. It is surrounded by parkland designed in the 18th century by “Capability” Brown, and by lovely formal gardens, a rose garden and a woodland garden.
We would have time to visit the historic town of Woodstock, and to tour further afield in the Cotswolds.
Cotswold Arts & Crafts
The Cotswolds was an important centre for the Arts & Crafts Movement over a 100 years ago, and remains home to many designers and crafts-people. Chipping Campden and Broadway have small museums celebrating designers and metalworkers such as C R Ashbee, George Hart, and Robert Welch; the Guild of Handicraft; and furniture-designer Gordon Russell.
Chipping Campden and Broadway are also two of the most beautiful Cotswold towns.
Kelmscott Manor & the Cotswolds
For fans of the 19th century pioneer of the Arts & Crafts Movement, William Morris, after touring some of the smaller Cotswold villages and stopping for a pub lunch, we can visit Morris’s summer home Kelmscott Manor.
Kelmscott Manor is only open in the summer months, and only on Wednesdays and Saturdays,
Downton Abbey & the Cotswolds
Visit a village on the edge of the Cotswolds where many Downton Abbey scenes were filmed, and have lunch in a pub that appears in the programme, before going on to see Highclere Castle, the house that appears as Downton Abbey in the Tv series.
Highclere Castle has very specific opening dates – check with me or their website.
The Cotswolds is a particularly rich area for garden visits. Below are some photos of just a few possibilities.