Population: 4,200

Eat at:

The Swan, Southrop (01367 850174)

Why? This village pub’s menu varies with the seasonal produce available from their kitchen garden and farm but can feature delights such as spiced lamb pie.

Drink at:

The Eight Bells (01285 711321)

Why? Part local, part modern and with good beer always guaranteed, this 300-year-old Arkell’s Brewery pub blends tradition and charm perfectly.

Stay at:

The Bull Hotel (01285 712535)

Why? This 15th-century Market Square coaching inn has interiors and bedrooms designed by Jo Titchener, combining country chic with vintage cool.

Fairford can be dated back to 850AD but, like much of this area, there’s evidence of Iron Age farming, a Bronze Age barrow, and an Anglo-Saxon cemetery. Modern-day Fairford is set along the River Coln, a well-loved conservation area for anglers and walkers, and renowned for its wildlife. The educational charity, the Ernest Cook Trust, is based in Fairford and owns much of the farmland and woodland round the town. Fairford has elegant Georgian architecture, and particularly remarkable Grade II listed buildings; Fairford Mill and the old Market Place are two of its prettiest spots. Watch out for the Wednesday market, and occasional Continental specials, plus the indoor country market at the community centre. The town centre is lively, with its own bookshop, independent retailers, and restaurants and coffee shops.

Most noted for… The world-famous Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford.

While you’re here… Get busy in Cotswold Water Park, an area bigger than the Norfolk Broads, with 170 lakes and 40 square miles. waterpark.org

But try not to… Miss the memorial to the church cat, Tiddles, in the churchyard. She became so much part of the congregation that when she died in 1980, locals honoured her.

Who’s who

Brilliant academic, John Keble, one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement, was born in Fairford in 1792. Former Cotswold Life contributor, the writer and historian June Lewis-Jones, taught at Farmor’s School and lived in the village. She published many books, such as Tiddles and the Nursing Nun, dedicated to the famous church cat.

St Mary’s Church

Wealthy merchant John Tame of Fairford Manor was St Mary’s benefactor. He had the Grade I listed church built in 1497, and it’s noteworthy for its perpendicular Gothic style, fine stone carvings and misericords. The jewel in the crown has to be the 28 remarkable and beautiful stained-glass windows, attributed to King Henry VII’s master glazier, Bernard Flower. St Mary’s is the only parish church in England to have a complete set of medieval stained-glass windows. They survived the Reformation and World War II by being whitewashed in the first instance and entirely removed in the second.

Fairford Festival

The Fairford Festival takes place in June. In a packed three days, you can enjoy a huge variety of activities such as live music spanning many genres, games, cooking competitions, historical displays and a writing competition for children. fairfordfestival.org.uk