This post was sponsored by the Royal Oak Foundation, the American affiliate of the National Trust. Anglotopia Readers can get a discount on joining – details at the bottom of the post!
The Cotswolds is understandably one of the most beautiful places in England. Picturesque countryside dotted with quaint villages and historical landmarks is a description that doesn’t even do the place justice. Naturally, many historical locales throughout this region are in the ownership of the National Trust, which preserves them for their importance to British culture. From sprawling estates to lush hillsides, we have identified ten of these places below for you to consider visiting on your next trip. If you have any suggestions for places we might have missed, feel free to let us know in the comments.
Of course, that National Trust doesn’t manage the whole Village of Bibury, but it does own some of the cottages that date back to 1380. This group of homes on Arlington Row once belonged to the village’s weavers and are still private residences, so while you won’t be able to go inside, you can still marvel at their rustic beauty.
Chedworth Roman Villa
While the Roman Empire left the British Isles almost 1600 years ago, they left plenty of structures behind. Chedworth Roman Villa is one of the biggest and most well-preserved Roman homes in the United Kingdom. What was left of these great ruins includes uncovered mosaics and artefacts and the site includes exhibits on how Roman inventions changed Britain.
The Fleece Inn
The National Trust owns 60 pubs across the United Kingdom, and the Fleece Inn is the top one to visit in the Cotswolds. The pub was built in the 15th Century and came into the Trust’s possession in 1977. In addition to the food and drink offered within, three Morris sides are based out of the pub, helping to keep the culture alive in the Cotswolds. The pub also features a number of folk music performances and events throughout the year.
This stately manor is a Jacobean architectural Marvel. While starting out as the grand home of a wool merchant, the family lost much of its wealth from the 17th Century over time until it finally sold to the National Trust in 1991. Having been preserved by the family and the National Trust, there are few tourist amenities here so it still feels like a genuine mansion.
Market Hall – Chipping Campden
Sir Baptist Hicks built Market Hall in 1627 and it served as the center of commerce for Chipping Campden where people would sell meat, vegetables, and other goods for centuries until the locals banded together to buy it in the 1940s, at which point they turned it over to the National Trust. It’s wonderful to imagine the old markets that used to run out of this building.
Arguably the finest view in the Cotswolds can be found on Crickley Hill as it overlooks Robinswood Hill, May Hill, Black Mountain, Brecon Beacons, and more. Owned jointly with the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Crickley Hill offers a wide variety of wildlife habitats and animals, birds, and insects that makes a hike up to the top worthwhile.
The loveliness of the home at Hidcote is seconded only by its magnificent gardens. Major Lawrence Johnston crafted one of the most colorful gardens in the United Kingdom with extremely detailed outdoor “rooms” that are fascinating and full of plants from all over the world that Johnston encountered on his travels.
Located on an ancient deer park, the Manor of Dyrham appeared in the Domesday Book and the current home was built around the late-17th and early-18th Century. The house and other parts of the estate are Grade I listed while the park itself is Grade II. All this history and beauty can be explored over Dyrham Park’s 270 acres. It’s also the home featured in the classic film The Remains of the Day.
Hailes is what remains of a Cistercian abbey that had existed since the 13th Century and was largely abandoned after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Very little remains now except for the stone outlines of the abbey and its arches, but it is still magnificent to see. Hailes Abbey is owned by the National Trust and managed by English Heritage.
Prior Park Walk
Close to the World Heritage City of Bath, Prior Park features a six-mile walk through the country estate that boasts one of the best landscape gardens in the region. While walking the path, you can take in the gorgeous greenery, estate buildings, 18th-Century Palladian bridge, and the Bath city skyline in the distance.