Holiday time: Cotswolds
With rolling hills and sweeping meadows featuring grand stately homes, this part of the country really is worth the trip
Walk the Laurie Lee Wildlife Way
1 This six-mile circular walk, created by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, follows 10 poetry posts around the wildlife-rich Slad Valley. Each cedar post features a different poem by Laurie Lee, Gloucestershire’s most famous 20th-century writer, inspired by the landscape around him. An 11th post is located at the Museum in the Park in Stroud. The Stroud valleys are anything but flat, so you may find your muscles aching after a few miles, but the scenery is definitely well worth the effort.
The Woolpack Inn
2 Entering this country pub in Slad is like stepping back in time – famed for its association with Laurie Lee, it’s loved by locals and visitors alike. There’s an impressive menu, including Sunday lunch, and on Monday nights you’ll find delicious homemade pizzas. Tuck in!
Painswick Rococo Garden
3 A gorgeous quintessential English village, Painswick is a must-visit, and the Rococo Garden is a beautiful place to escape. Designed in the 1740s as an English country gentleman’s pleasure garden, a place for intimate holiday parties, it’s now the only complete surviving rococo garden in the country.
Head to the area’s ‘capital’
4 Described as ‘the Covent Garden of the Cotswolds’, Stroud is full of independent shops, cafes and galleries, and home to one of the best farmers’ markets in the country on Saturdays. Set against beautiful valleys, it’s easily reached by train, bus or car.
Wander the forest
5 From elegant acers to beautiful beeches, the 15,000 trees at the National Arboretum at Westonbirt are an inspiring collection that dates back to 1829. Walk some of the 17 miles of footpaths and then head high – 13 metres above the ground, a treetop walkway runs for around 300 metres, with a wonderful outlook over the canopy. Activities include seasonal trails, guided walks, child-friendly sculptures and play areas.
Take the kids to Birdland
6 For a fun day out with the little ones, head to Birdland in the beautiful town of Bourton-on-theWater. This fun-filled wildlife park is a superb place to see exotic birds – there’s even a penguin area, with daily feeding displays. There’s also a hatchery and nursery for chicks, a reptile and amphibian house, and the dino-themed Jurassic Journey.
Celebrate the landscape Pop in for a pint Ornate architecture on show
Trails through the trees Fresh veg at the farmers’ market Hang out with the penguins