Dreamy honey-hued, thatched-roof homes made with local limestone are one of the Cotswolds’ classic draws. If you’re keen to explore this rambling area of outstanding natural beauty at your own pace, there’s an endless line-up of chic, cosy independent cottages, apartments and houses. Some are low-key, owner-designed hideaways, while others are boutique boltholes on the grounds of luxe hotels. From Stow-on-the-Wold to Moreton-in-Marsh, here are Culture Trip’s favourite holiday rentals in the Cotswolds, where you can self-cater in country style.
An easy-going, warm country pub meets three smartly rustic, pet-friendly serviced apartments in a 250-year-old coaching inn between foodie Nailsworth and bohemian Stroud. Colour-stamped walls, exposed beams and delicate stone features create a homely feel – complete with amenities such as walk-in showers, roomy lounges, well-equipped kitchens and a shared garden. Two apartments sleep up to four, while the third is a studio. Down on the ground floor, locally sourced ingredients, including from the owners’ farm, shine at the Old Fleece pub.
You’re in the thick of the northern Cotswolds here, in the ancient hilltop market town of Stow-on-the-Wold. A gold-washed 17th-century former coaching inn hosts the Unicorn’s nine individually styled apartsuites, which sit on the first and second floors. Most have two bedrooms and a lounge, while there are also two one-room pads. All are freshly styled with calming neutral tones, leather sofas, wooden floors and vases of flowers, and they have underfloor heating. All energy comes from alternative sources, and the on-site team delivers to-go breakfasts and tips for the local area.
A garden-fringed, stone-flagged entryway casts the romantic scene for a pet-friendly Grade II-listed cottage in lively Moreton-in-Marsh. Original features such as wooden beams and a stone-built fireplace add historical charm to the warm, crisply designed interior with velvet sofas, stylish bed throws and colour-popping feature walls. There are three double rooms – with two extra beds available on request – including the top-floor attic-like pad with an ensuite. Outside, there’s a quiet private garden, with a barbecue for summer fun.
Awash with Cotswold stone, floral prints, exposed beams and oak floors, the intimate, adults-only two-bedroom Briar Cottage stands in Blockley village, known for its 18th- and 19th-century silk industry. Old-style country charm reigns here, with a snug, fully equipped kitchen leading to an armchair-filled lounge, and two light-flooded, ensuite bedrooms upstairs. Relax around the original fireplace or on the leafy patio, and if you want to explore the surrounding area, Broadway, Chipping Campden, Moreton-in-Marsh and Stow-on-the-Wold are just a quick drive away.
This teal-trimmed, honey-gold, barn-style cottage for eight is hidden on the 550-acre (223ha) Lower Mill Estate Nature Reserve just outside Cirencester. Top pick is the king-size room with a Juliette balcony and a whirlpool bath. Another double overlooks water gardens, with a suntrap terrace, and the bright open-plan kitchen-living space has a fireplace. With two bunk-bed rooms, plus walking trails, yoga and water sports on the doorstep, Cornerstone is perfect for families. Stays include access to the nearby spa, and you can even book a private chef.
Though not quite in the Cotswolds, you’ll spy those meandering AONB hills from the cosy, pet-friendly Stable Apartment, in the former coach house of a protected 19th-century property on the Forest of Dean’s southern fringes. Leather sofas and tartan rugs adorn the area around a fireplace in the open-plan kitchen-lounge, off which are two bedrooms – one with a king-size bed and one with two singles. On-the-doorstep fun ranges from Clearwell Caves to kayaking down the Wye; Gloucester is 30 minutes away and Cheltenham just under an hour.
Travelling to the Cotswolds with your furry friend? You’ll want to stay at one of these pet-friendly hotels in the Cotswolds, which you can book on Culture Trip.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.