Most UK holidays are short breaks of up to three nights and such quick escapes have become an established part of the domestic holiday scene. London dominates the market, with city, seaside and rural breaks in the mix.
The Cotswolds, an area of beautiful sloping hills and historic villages just west of London is a popular short break destination especially in the Spring and Autumn seasons. Cotswolds hotels have a long history of hospitality, with many of them occupying historic buildings in prime village locations. There are maybe 200 villages or small settlements across the area and the choice amongst Cotswolds hotels is potentially overwhelming.
Cotswolds Finest Hotels aims to simplify things for visitors by presenting a choice amongst leading independently-owned and managed hotels and inns. Over 20 properties including both Cotswolds hotels and Inns provide help to narrow down the field. The range includes ancient, historic Manor House hotels, town house hotels and charming country inns. Some hotels occupy market square locations, others sit in rural isolation - perhaps the definition of a rural romantic Spring break.
Food styles vary from smart brasseries to Michelin starred establishments - there are riverside restaurants, gin bars, elegant dining rooms and informal bars amongst Cotswolds Finest members - plenty of choice and opportunities to find your own style.
Some guests are happy to be in their Cotswolds hotels for an entire stay, turning the phone off, reading the papers and emerging for lunch and maybe a short walk before dinner - a real rural escape. Others want to explore the area, its historic houses, gardens, cute villages and intriguing, one-off shops. The area is around 100 miles north to south, so there’s a lot to see. The key attractions include Westonbirt Arboretum, Hidcote Manor Garden, Sudeley Castle, the Cotswold Farm Park (run by BBC Countryfile’s Adam Henson), Snowshill Manor and Batsford Arboretum. The thing that the Cotswolds is probably best known for are its gardens. The National Trust properties, such as Hidcote Manor are rightly famous but there are also many privately owned gardens such as Kiftsgate Court that are wonderful.
For those who really want to explore the wider area, Cotswolds hotels in the north Cotswolds have Oxford, Blenheim Palace and Stratford-Upon-Avon within reach. To the south of the Cotswolds, you might consider including a trip to historic Bath in your plans. Cheltenham, with its star-studded Festivals and horse racing events is in easy reach too.
When you planning your choice of Cotswolds hotels it’s probably best to have in mind whether you want to stay in a village or a larger town; whether you want a large historic property or a charming smaller property and finally, if there are any well-known villages that you want to be in or near.