Many famous people have lived in the Cotswolds over the centuries, and a number of celebrities still live there today. There are many appeals to the Cotswolds: the market towns are lovely and have a charming, historical atmosphere; the rolling hillsides, rivers and forests are some of the most beautiful land in the United Kingdom; and there is a feeling that you are connected to the past when you are in the region. It is expensive to live in the Cotswolds, which is why many of the people who can afford to do so are among the rich and famous. Here are a few of the Cotswolds’ glamorous residents.
Lily Allen, daughter of Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen, is a famous actress and pop star in Britain. She released her first studio album in 2006, followed by another in 2009. In 2010, she purchased a home in the Cotswolds in the village of Overtown, which is just several miles from Painswick.
Hugh Grant is one of the most popular actors in Britain and is known around the world for his roles in films such as Sense and Sensibility, Love Actually, and Knotting Hill. Hugh Grant purchased a home in the Cotswolds in 2003. The manor was purchased for £2m and is a large estate constructed of distinctive yellow Cotswolds stone. It was the home of the Tyndale family from 1561 to 1768, and is listed as a Grade II Manor House. The house has very nice grounds with a lovely green lawn.
Alex James is a musician who became famous as the bass player for Blur. He used to live in London, but currently resides in Chipping Norton at Church Heath Farm. On 200 acres of land he lives and raises sheep and cows and makes cheese. The farmhouse where he lives may have been constructed in the 18th century, later expanded and improved on with Victorian features. Six hundred yards of the property borders the river Evenlode, and there is also a woodland area and some walled gardens, as well as an orchard. The home itself measures 3,832 square feet, and there is an additional cottage with 1,765 square feet.
Kate Moss is probably one of the most recognizable models in the world. She was born in London and discovered by the founder of a model agency when she was just 14, launching her on a career of international success. In 1992, she became famous as the face of Calvin Klein. In 2007, she launched her own clothing line, and another collection in 2010. Moss has a 10 bedroom house located in Little Farringdon, which is located close to Lechlade in Oxfordshire.
J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter book series, does not reside in the Cotswolds currently, but she was born there in the village of Chipping Sodbury, which is in Gloucestershire. Currently she resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. Some of the filming for the adaptations of her books was also conducted in Oxford.
J.K Rowling has just had a BBC adaptation of her first grown up novel The Casual Vacancy, this is set in the Cotswolds and has been filmed in Northleach and other Cotswold Towns.
Patrick Stewart is as famous on the screen as he is on the traditional stage. Stewart dropped out of high school at age 15 so he could work and save up money to go to drama school later. In 1966, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. His face is also immediately associated with his popular television role in Star Trek: The Next Generation, where he played Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Stewart still appears on stage and in movies, and received the honor of Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire in 2010. Stewart has a home in Little Tew near Enstone near Chipping Norton.
Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet, best known for her role in Titanic, lives in the village of Church Westcote, which is located next to Stow-on-the-Wold. Winslet and her husband Sam Mendes purchased their property in Church Westcote for £2.75m back in 2002. The eight-bedroom historic manor house is built of yellow stone from the Cotswolds.
Fashion designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and his wife and two children used to live in London, but they relocated in 2007 to a 17th century manor house at Siddington near Cirencester. The house is known as the Roberts House and is listed as a Grade II manor. It belonged historically to John Roberts, a famous Quaker who died in 1683. During the 20th century, the house underwent some restoration efforts.
Daniel Chadwick is a famous artist who was trained in engineering and employed by Zaha Hadid Architects from 1987 to 1991. His work has been exhibited in the UK and around the world. He owns an impressive manor in the Cotswolds known as Lypiatt Park, located in Bisley near Stroud in Gloucestershire. The Tudor home originally belonged to his father, who purchased it in 1959 and restored it over half a century. When he died in April of 2003 at age 88, it was inherited by his son Daniel.
Chadwick’s home looks a bit like a castle and may date back as far in history as 1220 AD. One of the first owners of the home was Dick Whittington, an early Lord Mayor of London. Other famous historical figures have also used the house. It belonged at one point to Sir John Throckmorton. Later, it was a meeting place for Robert Catesby and others in the Gunpowder Plot, who worked there to establish their plans for blowing up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Currently the estate with its 10 acres of gardens is closed to the public, but Chadwick has announced he may make part of the gardens accessible and put on a permanent sculpture display for visitors.
Damien Hirst is an English artist, collector, and entrepreneur, and is the most well-known member of the Young British Artists. He is currently the wealthiest living artist in Britain, valued at around £215m. He is best known for The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, which consisted of a preserved tiger shark (which he had caught and killed) in a vitrine of formaldehyde. Hirst has an imposing Victorian Gothic house called Toddington Manor. The manor has 300 rooms and cost the artist £3m. The manor was constructed in 1820 in the same style as the Houses of Parliament, and was commissioned by the first Lord Sudeley, Charles Hanbury. The Hanbury family was forced to give up the house owing to poverty in 1894, and during WWII, it housed soldiers. Later, it became a school for foreign students in Britain. The house was empty for two decades before Hirst purchased and restored it.
Elizabeth Hurley is a cosmetics model who has long been associated with Estee Lauder. She is also an actress who has starred in films such as Austin Powers, and from 2011-2012, she starred in the television series Gossip Girl. Her 72-acre Cotswold farm and 3-storey farm house are located in the village of Ampney Knowle near the town of Barnsley, which is 4 miles from Cirencester.
Jeremy Clarkson is a broadcaster and writer in Britain who writes columns in The Sun and The Sunday Times, but is best known for his appearances on the motoring program Top Gear on the BBC. Clarkson lives between Chadlington and Chipping Norton.
Alan Coxon is a celebrity chef who has presented on various stations, including the Carlton Food Network, BBC Two and ITV. Coxon currently resides in the town of Evesham.
Joanna Trollope is a well-known British author of dramas and romances who lives in the Cotswolds. She has had several of her novels adapted for the small screen, the best known being The Rector’s Wife. She has written more than two dozen novels to date and has been inducted into the Order of the British Empire. Trollope was born in the Cotswolds, and grew up in the Midlands and Surrey. Even though she didn’t actually grow up in the Cotswolds, she always felt they were where she belonged.
Speaking on the Cotswolds, Trollope said, “It gave me – still gives me – not just a sense of rootedness, but a capacity to value landscape and weather and the rich life of smallish communities. But it’s more than just beautiful—it is ancient and interesting and varied and uncompromising … So – off you go, and, as they say on some footpath signs round here, kill nothing but time, take away nothing but memories. And I can promise you that you’ll treasure those.” Many of Trollope’s novels are set in the Cotswolds, where she resides again today.
While you are visiting the Cotswolds, you may very well drive past one of these houses and maybe even see one of these famous celebrities going about their lives in town. Regardless, you will certainly appreciate the beauty of the Cotswolds and understand why so many celebrities call the Cotswolds home. And as Joanna Trollope says, you will treasure the memories forever.