Come to Moreton-in-Marsh and you’ll find independent businesses, antiques and interiors shops, cafés and food outlets such as the Cotswold Cheese Company, continuing the town’s long history of hospitality and trade.

Moreton was the site of Iron and Bronze Age settlements, and the Roman Fosse Way lies below the High Street. Like many a Cotswold town, Moreton evolved from the 13th century as it accommodated a market, with burgage plots for businesses, public houses, coaching inns, and older properties built along its length. The traditions have hardly changed since King Charles I stayed at the White Hart ( in 1645. The Stratford and Moreton Tramway stopped here in the 1800s to deliver Black Country coal for distribution around the Cotswolds. When the railway line was created, Moreton-in-Marsh’s station was one of the first in Britain.

Most noted for... Its Tuesday market – the largest open-air market in the Cotswolds – and, of course, the historic Moreton Show, which is one of the biggest one-day agricultural shows in the country (

While you’re here... Visit Batsford and its arboretum, one of the largest private collections of trees in the country, and beautiful all year round. (

But try not to... Miss the Wellington Aviation Museum in the British School House. Open on Sundays, it commemorates the bomber crews who trained at Moreton-in-Marsh RAF station during the Second World War. (

Who’s who:

The six Mitford sisters (Nancy, Jessica, Unity, Diana, Pamela and Deborah) lived in nearby Batsford Park for a while after their father inherited the vast house and estate. Variously achieving notoriety and fame for their associations with fascism, novel-writing, poultry-keeping and the nobility, they were the “It Girls” of their age. Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate was inspired by the Moreton area. Redesdale Market Hall, built in 1887, honours the family’s contributions over the years as benefactors of Moreton.

Birds galore

Cotswold Falconry Centre was set up to promote greater knowledge of birds of prey and the art of falconry. With 60 species to see, regular flying displays and successful breeding programmes, there’s lots to learn. (


Sezincote is a unique 200-year-old building, said to be the inspiration for the Brighton Pavilion. It looks like a Moghul palace reminiscent of Rajasthan, with a large central dome and minarets made from copper. The house a tribute to John Cockerell, who served with the East India Company army. The garden features include Brahmin bulls and snakes set among temples, grottoes, pools and waterfalls. (

Population: 5,000

Eat at: The Manor House Hotel (01608 650501)

Why? Choose an informal meal at the Beagle bar or Beagle brasserie or go for the full formal eating experience at the Mulberry restaurant.

Drink at: The Bell Inn (01608 651887)

Why? Honoured by a blue plaque, The Bell was reputedly the inspiration for the ‘Prancing Pony’ in author JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

Stay at: Redesdale Arms Hotel (01608 650308)

Why? The award-winning 34-bedroom Redesdale Arms is a 17th-century hotel, offering an international mix of food.