Stretching across the counties of Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire and Somerset, the Cotswolds is perfect for a weekend break in the UK and also heaving with A-listers with country retreats – though don’t assume you will see any of them, there is plenty of space to hide between the rolling hills and creamy-stone villages full of fabulous antique stores and cheese shops. Here we outline our favourite spots to visit and the best things to do in the Cotswolds.

Which is the prettiest Cotswold village?

How long is a piece of string? The Cotswolds stretches over five counties, and although 80 per cent of the land is farmland, there are tons of towns and villages dotted around the area. Big hitters include Bourton-on-the-Water, the Slaughters (Upper and Lower) and Castle Combe, but we also rate under-the-radar spots such as Snowshill and Blockley. See our round-up of the prettiest Cotswolds villages for more inspiration. 

How many days are enough for the Cotswolds?

Lots of visitors cover impressive ground in the Cotswolds over a weekend, but to make the most of this beautiful corner of England, we recommend at least three days, if not four or five. With more time to kill, you can see more villages, pack more into your itinerary and spend longer lingering in cosy pubs and restaurants

What is the best time of year to visit the Cotswolds?

Peak summer is the busiest time of year for tourism here – days are long, the weather is warm and the sun should be shining, which makes tramping along walking paths and sitting in beer gardens all the more inviting. Spring is gorgeous for seeing flora and fauna, while in autumn, the falling leaves paint everything a gorgeous golden hue. And, without sitting too firmly on the fence, winter is special as well – seeing these storybook places in a blanket of snow is a fairytale experience.

Chipping Campden Cotswolds England

CotswoldsStuart Black / Alamy Stock Photo

1. Walk the Cotswold Way

This National Trail starts in Chipping Campden and trickles down for 100 miles ending in Bath. It’s suitable for walkers of all levels – whether you plan on covering the whole lot in a few days or breaking it up throughout a few weekends, there is no shortage of epic views, lovely places to eat and things to do. The official guide breaks the route into 15 sections, which include the six-mile path from Chipping Campden to Broadway, at the beginning of the Cotswolds Way, and the nine-mile route from Birdlip to Painswick, which passes through beech woodlands, through Copper’s Hill (where the famous Cotswolds cheese rolling competition takes place each May) and Painswick’s Rococo Garden. Pick a section to do, or take on the full path over seven to 10 days.