Backpacking In England: Highlights Of The Cotswolds
Would you like to experience the heart of England? Read on to discover the Highlights of The Cotswolds and make sure to include this picturesque spot on your backpacking travels…
For hiking and backpacking enthusiasts, there aren’t too many more attractive destinations than England. Modestly sized yet full of a range of beautiful settings, the country lends itself perfectly to trekking vacations. And one of the best areas to explore on foot, or roving from place to place, is the stunning expanse known as the Cotswolds, spread out to the west and northwest of the capital city of London.
Some might argue that the Cotswolds’ greatest impact can be made if you simply venture through the area at random, or at least without too specific a plan. There are little views off to the side of a winding road that can be among the best aspects of the trip. For those who would like to mark a few points on the map for a backpacking excursion though, we’re taking a look at some of the highlights of the area.
Cotswold Way National Trail
This is primarily about marking points on the map, as stated, but there are numerous established trails through the Cotswolds, so we want to start by pointing to one of the well-known ones. The Cotswold Way National Trail has been officially recognized since 2007, and is a 102-mile walk. It starts in Bath and winds past several pretty towns and landmarks, all in the regions of Gloucestershire and Somerset.
We’re going to point out just a couple of the most noteworthy towns you’ll see along the way with several routes through the Cotswolds. Burford is certainly one, featuring buildings dating back to the 1600s, a medieval bridge over the River Windrush, and an idyllic High Street. The city is somewhat known for its antique shops, but for purposes of a backpacking trip it mostly makes for an attractive and quintessentially English place to pass through.
Bourton on Water
This is another town that ought to be mentioned, and in fact another one on the River Windrush. It ranked first on a list of the best Cotswold towns and villages to visit, which noted that it’s sometimes called the Venice of the Cotswolds. The same idyllic images of old homes and shops, some of them near the water’s edge, are simply intoxicating, and the village is also known for the Birdland Parks and Gardens, which are inhabited by over 500 birds.
Broadway Tower is rather incredible. Situated outside of the village of Broadway (another picturesque town you may want to devote some attention to), it’s a compact vertical fortress built in the late 1700s. Standing at about 65 feet high, it provides views of much of the Cotswolds region for those who enter and climb to the top.
Cheltenham is another highlight, perhaps for the end of a journey through the Cotswolds. It’s a well-known resort town toward the northern end of the region, though it’s perhaps best recognized for its legendary horse races. The Grand National and the Cheltenham Races are the most famous of British races, drawing crowds, betting activity, and festival atmospheres, which makes this a very entertaining stop on your journey.
Hidcote Manor Garden
If you’re looking for a garden that perfectly captures your image of the perfect English countryside, Hidcote Manor Garden is the attraction for you. Built around an old stone house, it’s a garden separated into different sections and different styles, and expanding outward into a looser outdoor area. It perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the region.
Additional Set Hikes
Perhaps most important of all is the establishment of additional beautiful hikes through the region. There’s something to be said for designing your own route based on some of the attractions above and others you may read about, but certain paths are known for a reason. You may well want to take advantage of some of the known hikes through the Cotswolds.