Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: 32 reasons why it deserves its designation

The pretty Cotswold village of Castle Combe (c) Kevin Eaves / Shutterstock

The pretty Cotswold village of Castle Combe (c) Kevin Eaves / Shutterstock - Credit: Archant

One of the most beautiful landscapes in the UK with its vibrant towns and charming villages, bags of history and intrigue, vast countryside and impressive architecture, we choose 32 reasons why the Cotswolds is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Lower Slaughter, the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

1. The Cotswolds are famed for their fairytale villages.

Arlington Row cottages, Bibury

2. From the charming cottages of Arlington Row, Bibury

Castle Combe

3. ...to perhaps the most photographed village of them all…

Bourton on the Water (15)

4. ...it’s easy too see why residents and visitors alike enjoy village life so much.

Broadway. Worcestershire.

5. The honey-coloured cottages of Broadway are bound to give you major house envy...

Vacant House Down our Lane in Swinbrook

6. ...or perhaps this beautiful house in the Oxfordshire village of Swinbrook will…

The Hill in the Morning, Burford

7. ...or the Cotswold stone properties on The Hill, Burford.

Digbeth Street

8. There’s always plenty to see and do in the vibrant Cotswold market towns including Stow-on-the-Wold

Wine merchant in Chipping Campden

9. ...Chipping Campden...

Chipping Norton, England

10. ...Chipping Norton...

Burford Closeup, Cotswolds

11. ...and also Burford.

Ragley Hall, Warwickshire

12. The Cotswolds are also home to some of the UK’s most striking stately homes.

Snowshill Manor

13. Including Snowshill Manor, home to Charles Wade’s quirky and extraordinary treasures from his past…

Charlecote Manor

14. ...and Charlecote Park which has been at the heart of the Lucy family for over 900 years…

Rodmarton Manor, Gloucestershire

15. ...and the gorgeous gardens of Rodmarton Manor are just waiting to be explored.

Sudeley Castle

16. You can explore Sudeley Castle, the only private castle in England to have a Queen (Katherine Parr) within its grounds...

Blenheim Palace

17. ...or Blenheim Palace, the home of the Dukes of Malborough and birthplace of war-time Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill.

Minster Lovell Ruins

18. You can admire the ruins of Minster Lovell Hall, a former 15th century manor house…

rollright stones

19. ...the wondrous Rollright Stones...

Hailes Abbey

20. ...or perhaps the impressive ruins of Hailes Abbey, near Winchcombe’s town centre...

Crickley Hill - 15

21. The region is home to over 50 per cent of the UK’s Jurassic unimproved limestone grassland. The limestone grassland of Crickley Hill is rich in plant life, beech woodlands and steep valleys...

One Woman & Her Dog

22. ...while the vast landscape of limestone grassland at Cleeve Common is popular with walkers...

... towards Selsley Common.

23. ...Rodborough Common...

Duke of Burgundy (Hamearis lucina)

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24. ...is inhabited by rare butterflies such as Chalkhill Blue and the Duke of Burgundy.

Stanton Drew-091

25. There are plenty of countryside walks to enjoy in the Cotswolds…

Cotswolds

26. ...you could even begin at the start of The Cotswold Way National Trail in Chipping Campden.

P1010372

27. The region is a pleasure to explore in the spring, especially when soaking in the pink and white blossom adorning the trees at Westonbirt Arboretum

The Fleece Inn, Bretforton

28. ...or on a countryside pub walk in the summer, resting and refuelling at The Fleece Inn, Bretforton...

Deep in the woods. Woodchester park

29. Admire the autumnal hues at Cheltenham’s Pitville Park...

Shadows of Autumn

30. ...or wrap up warm and wonder round Woodchester Park in the winter

Cirencester

31. The UK is home to 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty...

32. ...and we’re glad to be living in one of the most special!