Broadway The Cotswolds

Broadway Tourist Information Guide

The town of Broadway in the Cotswolds is a prime destination in the Cotswold Hills, a role that hearkens back to the town’s historical roots as a key staging post on journeys between Worcester and London.  While only three of these historical inns remain, the town once boasted thirty-three.  It is home now to numerous bed and breakfast establishments, many with deep historical roots of their own.

Broadway’s High Street is lined with wide grassy lawns and red chestnut trees and features a stunning array of architectural styles which showcase different periods of the town’s history.  Called the “Jewel of the Cotswolds” and the “Show Village of England,” Broadway features architecture in the Tudor, Georgian, Victorian and Stuart styles.  Some of the buildings are so old that they date back to the time of the Romans.

Along with serving as a staging post for travelers, Broadway has served other parts in history.  Its idyllic and serene beauty caused the famed Broadway Group of Artists to settle there in the late 19th century.  Francis Millet, Edwin Abbey, Henry James, John Singer Sargent and Fred Barnard are among the many famous personages to have made Broadway their home at that time.  They stayed in the Abbots Grange, a beautiful 14th century honey-coloured monastic manor house that now serves as a bed and breakfast for tourists!

Francis Millet, one of the artists in the Broadway Group died on the Titanic.  His memorial forms the gate into the upper graveyard at St. Eadburgha’s Church.

For tourists interested in seeing some great art, Broadway’s art galleries may provide some diverting leisure.  Picton House, the John Noot Galleries and Russell House are several well known galleries in Broadway which feature fine art by some of the artists who inhabited the town.  The Gordon Russell museum features the work of the famous Arts and Crafts movement designer in the original workhouse in which he crafted his designs into being.

One of the most famous sites near Broadway is the distinctive, impossible-to-miss profile of the Broadway Tower up on top of Cotswold Ridge.  This folly is the second highest point in the Cotswolds at 312m and offers a stunning view of thirteen of the surrounding counties.  The tower was commissioned by Lady Coventry in 1799 and built to resemble a castle.  Since then it has served as a home for Sir Thomas Phillips’ printing press and also for Arts and Crafts movement artisan William Morris.

If your interests tend toward the outdoors you can visit a number of gorgeously cultivated and romantic English gardens within a short drive of Broadway.  Hidcote Manor, Bourton House, Snowshill Manor and many other properties feature sculpted hedges, cultivated woodlands, lakes and rainbows of flower beds in which you can stroll for hours.

Where can you stay while visiting Broadway in the Cotswolds?  There are a dozen fine bed and breakfast establishments throughout the town offering modern accommodations in historical lodgings.  A whole range of architectural styles and time periods are represented and there is surely something for everyone.

Broadway

View Accommodation in Broadway

Broadway Tower

The Cotswolds in England are well known for the many architectural follies that adorn the green, rolling hills, one of the most famous of which is known as the Broadway Tower near Broadway. The Broadway Tower is located on Broadway Hill right next to the village by the same name in the county of Worcestershire. It is the second highest point in the region following Cleeve Hill, which is located in Gloucestershire. Broadway Hill peaks at more than 1000 feet above sea level. The tower stands an additional 55 feet and makes quite a dramatic shape against the skyline.

The tower looks like a medieval castle, albeit a very vertical one. It was designed by James Wyatt in 1794 as a gift to Lady Coventry, and constructed five years later in 1799. Lady Coventry’s house was located in Worcester, 22 miles away. She wondered whether a beacon positioned on Broadway Hill would be visible from her home; the Broadway Tower was built to test the theory. Years later, the tower was used by Sir Thomas Phillips, who had a printing press there, and by the artists William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, who retreated there in the late 19th century. It also served as an observation post during two important wars in the 20th century.

Nobody lives in Broadway Tower today, but it is open to the public and is among the most well-known tourist destinations in the Cotswolds. The building itself is a beautiful piece of architecture. The suddenness of its shape against the skyline makes for a surrealistic sight; it stands in contrast to the flatness of its surroundings (even though it is placed on a hill, there are not many trees around it, and the hills still give an impression of the horizontal, so the verticality of the tower is somewhat striking). The country park immediately surrounding the tower consists of lovely green land which blooms with flowers during the spring. You may see some deer grazing around the fields while you’re touring the surroundings. There are many opportunities to take beautiful photographs of the imposing building and the idyllic loveliness of the park land around it.

The tower also hosts exhibitions and a gift shop. While you’re climbing to the top of the tower, you can pause and look at artworks by William Morris and learn more about the historic Arts and Crafts movement and how the Tower was involved with the artists who fronted that movement. There’s another exhibit where you can learn about how the tower was used during World War II and the Cold War by the Royal Observer Corps.

While you’re visiting the Broadway Tower, you can stay at a historic bed and breakfast at the nearby town of Broadway. This town boasts some lovely medieval architecture, and is also the site of the Gordon Russell Museum, Heritage Railway, and many beautiful homes and gardens. It is one of the best-known towns in the Cotswolds and is a destination in its own right.

Broadway Tower