Hol­i­day time: Cotswolds

With rolling hills and sweep­ing mead­ows fea­tur­ing grand stately homes, this part of the coun­try re­ally is worth the trip

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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

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