Fairford

Fairford is a small Gloucestershire town along the River Coln just six miles east of Cirencester.  The town is nearby the Cotswold Water Park and is principally known for its wonderfully preserved churches and its proximity to the RAF Fairford air base.

Fairford was originally a river-crossing town which traded in wool.  During the Middle Ages it became very profitable and was able to construct the impressive Saint Mary Church.  Saint Mary’s set of 28 stained glass windows is the most complete set of medieval stained glass windows in all of England.  The structure of the church has been marvelously preserved relatively unaltered over all these years.

Another highlight is the 19th century church St. Thomas of Canterbury.  This lovely church includes an organ and stained glass windows, as well as a gargoyle in the churchyard dedicated to the memory of a boy who jumped off the roof and died.

The largest military air show in the world is held annually at the neighboring air base, RAF Fairford.  The Royal International Air Tattoo is held each July and attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators.  Definitely expect the roads around Fairford to be backed up in the summer; the air show is an exciting event; if you’re in the Cotswolds in July you may wish to include it on your to-do list!

fairford

Tetbury

Tetbury Tourist Information Guide

Tetbury is a mid-sized Cotswold town located in Gloucestershire.  It was founded in 681 by an Anglo-Saxon who built a monastery there, most likely Ine of Wessex.  Tetbury established its importance in the wool industry in medieval times.  To this day the Tetbury Woolsack Races pay testament to the history of the town.  Contestants in the races on Woolsack Day run up a steep hill carrying a 60 pound sack of wool.

Tetbury is perhaps best known for its shopping.  While antique shops are a popular attraction throughout the Cotswolds, Tetbury is regarded as the premier town to buy antiques with over thirty stores to choose from.  People travel from all over England and throughout the world to shop in Tetbury.  You will also find plenty of tea houses, pubs and inns along Tetbury’s streets in which to relax or stay.  Nearly all the shops in Tetbury are locally owned.  In the town centre you’ll come across the Market House, an intriguing building that seems to stand on stilts.  The House contains the clock and dolphins which you see featured on the town’s emblem.  Also popular and located in the city centre is the Tetbury Police Museum which exhibits the history of the policing trade in the county since 1839.

If you want to get out and see the countryside, just east of the town you can enjoy Preston Park which follows the Railway Yard Path toward Long Newnton.  You can enjoy both long and short walks as well as picnics here at the picnic tables.

Another attraction just outside of Tetbury is Westonbirt Arboretum.  The 600 acre park showcases over 16,000 exotic and rare trees and offers many woodland paths for you to amble along.  The arboretum holds many events including pop concerts, charity walks, fireworks and a yearly Festival of the Tree.

Also of interest (although less accessible) is the Highgrove House where Princes Charles, William and Harry live.  The House is less than a mile from Tetbury and is closed to the public, but occasionally you can get in on garden tours.  It is not uncommon to see one of the princes visiting town!

One magnificent house with lovely grounds you can explore is Chavenage House on the edge of town.  This Elizabethan style manor is located near the National Arboretum and was constructed on 600 acres of land with 17 miles of paths which are open to the public.  Many tourists and locals consider the grounds of Chavenage to be as glorious as the Arboretum itself, particularly during the autumn as the foliage changes colours.

The Cotswold Water Park is within easy reach of Tetbury and contains the largest inland body of water in the country.  Here you can partake in a variety of activities and sports and relax in the tranquility of nature.

Tetbury is a haven for antique shoppers but also offers a wide variety of activities both in town and in the immediate surrounding area for people with diverse interests.  There is plenty to see and do here that can keep you busy for days!

Tetbury Wikipedia

Cotswold Water Park

The Cotswold Water Park near Cirencester is one of the more unique highlights of the Cotswolds is the UK’s largest water park consisting of 147 lakes set in 40 square miles of land.  The lakes were once gravel quarries which were “de-watered” but have been permitted to refill naturally.  You can fish in 74 of the lakes and enjoy walking or biking on 150km of paths!  Many of the lakes are privately owned but plenty are open to the public.

You will find public car parks and picnic sites in a number of locations including Neigh Bridge, Clayhill Copse, Bridge Car Park, Lakeside Car Park, Waterhay Car Park, Gateway Centre Car Park and Riverside Car Park.  These car parks provide access to secluded walkways, playgrounds for children and tables for picnics.

The sporting activities you can participate in at the Cotswold Water Park are practically endless.  You can enjoy aerial adventure, angling, cycling, farm visits, golf, paintball, walks along sculpture trails, wilderness training, canoeing and kayaking, diving, sailing, snorkeling, swimming, waterskiing and windsurfing.  Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran at any of these sports, you are sure to have a great time in a beautiful country setting.

Accommodations are conveniently available in the neighboring area including hotels, bed and breakfasts, caravan sites and more.  Cotswold Water Park is an exciting and accessible diversion for the whole family!

Cotswold Water Park

Official Cotswold Water Park Website 

Painswick

The small town of Painswick in Gloucestershire has been settled since the Iron Age.  It sits atop a hill overlooking the Stroud valleys.  The town features narrow streets and medieval architecture typical of the Cotswolds.

Painswick is best known for its 15th century church, St. Mary’s.  The spire was added in the 17th century and in 1792, 99 yew trees were planted in the churchyard.  Yew trees are commonly planted in church yards in the UK (and church yards are frequently built surrounding yew groves) due to the fact that yew trees can live for centuries or possibly longer.  The seeming immortality of the yew tree makes it a symbol of immortality in Christianity.  All 99 yew trees planted in St. Mary’s church yard in the 18th century are still alive today.  The church has an organ and thirteen bells.  Architectural historian Clifton-Taylor describes St. Mary’s yard as “the grandest churchyard in England” for its yew grove and its well crafted tombs and monuments.

There are a number of bed and breakfast estates in Painswick where you can stay.  Any churchyard enthusiast would be remiss not to include a day at Painswick on his or her to-do list while visiting the scenic Cotswolds!

Painswick

Nearby you can visit Painswick Rococo Garden.

 

Naunton

Naunton is a tiny hamlet in Gloucestershire in the Cotswolds.  It is nearest to Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham, Guiting Power and Bourton-on-the-Water.  Bourton-on-the-Water in turn is a short walk from Upper and Lower Slaughter.  The village is spread out across the bottom of the Windrush Valley and probably has existed in some form or another for 2000 years.  As of a decade ago, there were less than 400 people living in Naunton.

The Church of St. Andrew in town was built in the 15th century on the site of an older, demolished Saxon church.  The Church has two sun dials designed in the 18th century.  The Latin inscription over one reads “Lux Umbra Dei,” which means “Light is the shadow of God.”  The pulpit inside, carved in the 15th century, is beautifully crafted, as are the gargoyles on the exterior.

There are a number of lovely, tranquil walks around Naunton leading through the countryside and to the neighboring towns.  During the spring and summer, the Windrush Valley blooms with exquisite flowers including cowslips, yellow rattle and orchids.  This is a quiet and secluded valley in which to enjoy a pleasant stroll.  When you feel ready to retire, you can return to the Black Horse Inn to enjoy refreshments and relax.

Naunton