With a stunning landscape just waiting to be explored, the Cotswolds offer walks and hiking trails to rival the very best in England and the UK – from the Cotswold Way to the Leckhampton Loop. So whether you fancy a gentle ramble or a more adventurous hike, pop on your walking boots and head out on one of these fantastic trails.
At 23km (14mi), the Windrush Way is a great choice for those looking for a challenging walk that can be finished in a day. The circular route links the Cotswold Way at Winchcombe with the Oxfordshire Way at Bourton-on-the-Water. Follow the trail up over the Cotswold Hills, through the remains of “lost” medieval villages and along the peaceful River Windrush. This quiet walk is the perfect route for getting away from it all. Just make sure you pack a picnic to refuel midway! As for where to stay, the charming Chapel Cottage in Bourton-on-the-Water is ideally located right off the High Street. Dating back to the 17th century, the semi-detached cottage offers three bedrooms for up to five guests, with a pretty, gravelled garden and a stylish wrought-iron table and chairs for making the most of the morning sun.
This 10km (6.5mi) walk takes you up to the Cotswolds’ highest common, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views out to the Malverns and even across to Wales on a clear day. The area is famous for its limestone grassland, which is home to a huge number of birds, as well as rare plants and wildflowers. The old English name for the hill is Cleeve Cloud, and as it’s 330m (1,083ft) above sea level, you can understand why. If the weather is bad, it’s best to avoid this route, as the mist can set in very quickly. After a day of walking, relax and get cosy in this one-bedroom apartment within the grounds of a large house and wooded plot in the Cleeve Hill area. Perfect for a couple or a solo traveller, the self-contained apartment features a full kitchen and offers guests plenty of peace and privacy.
Created by the Ramblers’ North Cotswold Group to celebrate its 60th Jubilee in 1995, this 105km (65 mi) walk is the perfect way to explore some of the prettiest villages and towns that the Cotswolds has to offer. The circular (or, to be more precise, diamond-shaped) route crosses undulating farmland and idyllic woodland, passing through sleepy hamlets of honey-hued stone and along meandering streams. There are shorter circular walks along the route that are between 5km and 11km (3mi and 7mi) long, but the whole Diamond Way will take a week to complete, including overnight stops. One option is this loft in a period coach house – a charming place to sleep within walking distance of the High Street in Moreton-in-Marsh. The light and airy open-plan apartment offers a super king bed (or two singles), a comfortable lounge and a kitchen area.
At just over 8km (5mi), this scenic route is a great introduction to the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Starting at the pretty village of Salford, the walk takes you along the valley and then up towards the mysterious Rollright Stones. This collection of three Bronze Age stone circles – the Whispering Knights, the King’s Men and the King Stone – was said to have been formed when a king and his men were turned to stone by a witch. Once you’ve explored the stones, follow the walk down through the charming hamlet of Little Rollright and back towards Salford, and go for a well-earned drink at the Salford Inn. Book into Stable Cottage for a luxurious yet quaint stay, perfect for a romantic getaway or peaceful long weekend. Tucked in at the end of Salford, the one-bedroom cottage has been newly refurbished and can sleep up to four people.