Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours


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Self-guided walking holiday England: Best of the Cotswold Way
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Highlights

  • Hike the best of the Cotswold Way through quintessential English countryside
  • The ancient market towns of Stanton, Broadway and Winchcombe with their thatched-roof cottages
  • Explore the 15th century Sudeley Castle and its award-winning gardens
  • Admire the striking Roman architecture of the UNESCO World Heritage City of Bath
  • Soak up the slow pace of life and savor a pint of ale in a traditional cozy pub

Walk from the charming market town of Chipping Campden to the Roman influenced city of Bath taking in the best of the Cotswold Way, one of England's finest National Trails. Stroll through the rolling green countryside and tranquil woodlands passing honey-colored villages, ancient market towns and elegant country gardens.

Follow trails through quaint Cotswold villages; from Stanton an unspoiled 17th century village to Broadway known as “the jewel of the Cotswolds”. Learn about the rich history of the area, visiting the Iron Age hill fort Beckbury Camp, 13th century Cistercian Hailes Abbey and the magnificent 1000 year old Sudeley Castle.

Leave the quaint villages behind and soak up the peace and tranquility of the iconic English countryside. Keep your eyes peeled for a royal as you overnight in Tetbury, also home to Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, before reaching the UNESCO World Heritage City of Bath.

Day 1: Arrive Chipping Campden and overnight

After a private transfer from Moreton-in-Marsh, arrive in Chipping
Campden, one of the most charming market towns of The Cotswolds. Take a
walk around the town, admiring the honey-colored architecture and visit
the Market Hall, originally built in 1627 to provide shelter for
traders. As you walk along the well-worn paved stones, just imagine the
bustling scenes of market day from hundreds of years before.


Overnight: Chipping Campden


Day 2: Walk to Broadway

Leaving beautiful Chipping Campden
behind, climb up to Dover’s Hill and admire the incredible views as you
cross the fields to Broadway. Arrive at Broadway Tower, an 18th century
"folly" tower that is home to both sweeping views as well as historical
exhibitions about it's famous occupants over time, including the artist
William Morris.


At the end of the day treat yourself to English tea and delicious
homemade cakes at one of the many tea rooms of Broadway. Retire to your
elegant country house hotel, complete with cozy lounges and roaring log
fires, for a restful night’s sleep.


Walk: 6 miles / 10km, 540ft ascent, 710ft descent


Overnight: Broadway


Day 3: Walk to Winchcombe

Leaving Broadway, walk past the idyllic village of Stanton with yet
more tempting tearooms!  Discover the Iron Age hill fort Beckbury Camp
dating back to 2000 BC, before arriving at  medieval Hailes Abbey. The
13th Century atmospheric ruins and the newly build museum (open
April-August, payable locally) are wonderful places to explore and
discover the history of the monks who lived and worshipped at the abbey
for nearly three centuries. 


Continue through the rolling hills of the Cotswold countryside to the
bustling Anglo Saxon town of Winchcombe. Filled with cozy country inns,
tea rooms and gift shops, this is the perfect little town for a stroll
around before dinner.


Walk: 12.5 miles / 20km, 1374ft ascent/descent


Overnight: Winchcombe


Day 4: Walk to Ellenborough Park via Sudeley Castle

This scenic and historically captivating nine-mile stretch takes you
close to your stately home for the night, Ellenborough Park. Begin the
day by exploring the magnificent Sudeley Castle, part of England’s
history for over 1000 years, and final resting place of Katherine Parr,
the last of Henry VIII’s six wives. After exploring the beautiful 15th
century church in which she is entombed, take a stroll around the
wonderful 1,200 acre estate and gardens.


Continue to Belas Knap, a large Neolithic burial chamber and then on
to Cleeve Hill, the highest point of the Cotswolds hill range, before
reaching Ellenborough Park Hotel. This indulgent 15th century country
estate will make you feel like royalty while you relax in the lavish
bedrooms and serene spa.


Walk: 9.5 miles / 15km, 1164ft ascent/descent


Dinner & Overnight: Ellenborough Park


Day 5: Transfer to Birdlip, walk to Painswick

Take a short transfer (30min) to the village of Birdlip this morning,
enjoying views of the rolling green hills. From here onward, begin to
experience the increasingly rural section of the Cotwold Way. There will
be fewer villages, allowing you to relax in the peace and tranquility
of the gorgeous, iconic Cotswold countryside.


Today’s walk is a delightful  woodland stroll, enchanting at any time
of year, but especially in spring when wild flowers abound. Pass
Coopers Hill, home to the famous annual cheese rolling festival, before
arriving in the delightful town of Painswick, which grew prosperous from
the cloth trade.


Walk: 7.5 miles / 12 km, 685ft ascent, 1130ft descent


Overnight: Painswick


Day 6: Walk to Kings Stanley, transfer to Tetbury

Ancient woodlands, rural tranquility and vast panoramas combine to
deliver a walkers paradise today. Stop for a typical English pub lunch
before meeting your driver who takes you to nearby Tetbury (25 min)
where you stay overnight.


Tetbury is home to Highgrove House, the private residence of The
Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. It is possible to visit the
Royal Gardens around the house on certain days of the year.


Walk: 9 miles / 14km, 790ft ascent, 1120ft descent


Overnight: Tetbury


Day 7: Transfer to Cold Ashton, walk to Bath

Transfer to the little village of Cold Ashton for your final stretch
of the Cotswold Way into Bath. Descend into the secluded valley at Lower
Hamswel, then climb up to the site of the bloody civil war battle of
Lansdown (1643). Pass the Iron Age hill fort at Littledown and the
famous Bath horse-racing course before emerging at a kissing gate, where
the first views of Bath can be spotted in the valley below. The trail
continues to offer glimpses of fine parks and regency architecture on
its way to Bath Abbey, where a stone disc set into the pavement marks
the end of the Cotswold Way.


Walk: 10 miles / 16 km, 670ft ascent, 1270ft descent


Overnight: Bath


Day 8: Onward Travel

Check out after breakfast and take the train to London for onward travel connections. Alternatively , ask your
Macs specialist about arranging extra nights in Bath to explore more of this beautiful small city.

Accommodation

One of the highlights of this tour is the high standard of the accommodations. We have specifically selected the hotels to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. All offer warm English hospitality to walkers.


The accommodation we normally use is detailed below. We may sometimes have to use alternative hotels subject to availability but if this is the case we will always let you know when confirming your booking.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

We will be happy to accommodate your party with single rooms if requested, and a single supplement applies. This trip is also available to solo walkers, and a supplement is again payable.


Meals


A hearty cooked breakfast is served each morning. They typically consist of a selection of  eggs, toast, bacon, sausage, cheese, yogurt and coffee/tea. Lunch and dinner are not included on most days so you are free to choose from the available options. Most of your accommodations will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Alternatively you can buy lunch at local shops or stop in a café if available.


 



 

 

 



	Noel Arms Hotel - Chipping Camden



Noel Arms Hotel - Chipping Camden

The award-winning 16th-century Noel Arms Hotel features open log fires and individually styled rooms. One of the oldest Cotswold inns, it is said that Charles II stayed here during the Civil War. Treat yourself to an evening meal in their restaurant, serving the very best produce from the Cotswolds.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Cotswold House Hotel - Chipping Camden



Cotswold House Hotel - Chipping Camden

The contemporary style makes Cotswold House and Spa one of the most admired boutique hotels in the Cotswolds. With its idyllic location, impeccable facilities and fine dining in its two restaurants, it is the perfect end to your walk in the Cotswolds.


 

 

 


 

 

 



	Broadway Hotel - Broadway



Broadway Hotel - Broadway

Housed in a beautiful 15th century timbered building full of character, this hotel features individually decorated rooms, cozy lounges in which to relax and fine dining at the elegant Tattersall’s Brasserie. Enjoy a restful night in one of the 19 comfortable bedrooms all named after Cheltenham horse race winners and look forward to a drink in the “Jockey Bar”.


 

 

 


 

 

 



	Wesley House Hotel - Winchcombe



Wesley House Hotel - Winchcombe

Wesley House is a quaint 15th century merchant's house in the heart of Anglo Saxon town of Winchcombe. Settle into their smaller rooms known for their cozy atmosphere, and embrace the well loved, truly local B&B.


 

 

 


 

 

 



	Ellenborough Park - Cheltenham



Ellenborough Park - Cheltenham

The beautiful 15th century Ellenborough Park Hotel sits on acres of its own private country estate and offers unparalleled comfort for the night. Boasting lavish bedrooms, a tranquil spa and fine dining restaurant, it offers a perfect mix of tradition and modernity.


 

 

 


 

 

 



	The Painswick Hotel  - Painswick



The Painswick Hotel - Painswick

Featuring a restaurant offering the very best of consummate cooking, sixteen individual bedrooms and beautiful views of the Slad Valley, The Painswick Hotel is one of the most comfortable options in the heart of the well preserved Cotswold village.


 

 

 


 

 

 



	The Close Hotel - Tetbury



The Close Hotel - Tetbury

Offering a blend of sophistication and comfort, the 16th century Close Hotel in Tetbury is a perfect Cotswold hideaway. Located just down the road from Highgrove (private residence of The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall), you can relax in one of their homely bedrooms complete with fluffy bathrobes and slippers and enjoy meals in their garden restaurant.


 

 

 


 

 

 



	No 15 Great Pulteney - Bath



No 15 Great Pulteney

An elegant hotel located on one of the grandest streets in Bath. Indulge in the finer things in life from artisanal food to relaxing spa treatments and then relax in the boutique individually designed rooms.


 

 

 

Availability

This walking tour is best enjoyed between April and October. You
can start on any date that suits your travel plans subject to
availability. The Cotswold Way  is popular so it is best to book as far
in advance as you are able to.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

We will be happy to accommodate your party with single rooms if
requested, and a single supplement applies. This trip is also available
to solo walkers, and a supplement is again payable. 


Grade & Terrain

We have created this “best of” itinerary to showcase the best walks
and to create the perfect balance of hiking and sightseeing. While the
walks are less challenging than if you were to walk the whole of the
Cotswold Way, they still offer magnificent views and you will really get
a feel for this beautiful part of England.


This itinerary is rated moderate. The trail is on well maintained
footpaths, across open fields and on some minor roads. The road walking
is scenic and mostly along quiet lanes. The elevation gains range from
approximately 490ft up to about 1150ft in a day.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

This route is very well way-marked and navigation is quite
straightforward. On this tour you can also navigate using the Macs
Adventure Navigation Smartphone App, so you can simply download the GPX
tracks for offline use and follow the route with your phone with the
assurance that you will not get lost.


Baggage Transfers

Your bags will be transferred from your
accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight
accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to
45lbs per person.


Travel Insurance

Travel insurance helps protect your travel investment, your
belongings and most importantly you, from unforeseen circumstances that
may arise before or during your trip. For more information, please visit
our travel insurance page by clicking this link


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the
recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items,
for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen.
Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes
standard walking/cycling gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm
and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing
for summer, and a day pack.

Getting to Chipping Campden

We recommend flying into London Heathrow Airport, from where you can jump on the Heathrow Express to the centre of London (15min) and catch the train from London
Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh (2h). On arrival in Moreton-in-Marsh a
private transfer will collect you and take you to your hotel in Chipping
Campden. Please let us know the time of your arrival train as soon as
possible so we can book this transfer for you.


Getting from Bath

Fast and frequent train services connect Bath to London (1h30).


Please visit the Traveline Website or National Rail Enquiries for further information on public transport and timetables.

Included

  • 7 nights in hand-picked hotels
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • 1 Evening meal
  • Luggage transfers
  • Transfers to walks as listed in the itinerary
  • Transfer from Moreton-in-Marsh to Chipping Campden
  • Entrance to Sudeley Castle
  • Information pack, GPX tracks, access to the Macs smartphone app
  • 24/7 telephone support from our UK office

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to Moreton-in-Marsh and from Bath
  • Lunches and 6 Dinners
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage
  • Personal equipment

Extras

  • Additional nights before, during or after the tour
  • Single room supplement if required
  • Solo walker supplement if required

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the Cotswolds are extremely popular. If booking at short notice, we will always try and accommodate your plans.

How fit do I need to be?

We have created this “best of” itinerary to showcase the best walks and to create the perfect balance of hiking and sightseeing. While the walks are less challenging than if you were to walk the whole of the Cotswold Way, they still offer magnificent views and you will really get a feel for this beautiful part of England.
This itinerary is rated moderate. The trail is on well maintained footpaths, across open fields and on some minor roads. The road walking is scenic and mostly along quiet lanes. The elevation gains range from approximately 490ft up to about 1150ft in a day. 

What equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.

When is the best time of year?

The Cotswold Way is sublime at any time between the beginning of April and beginning of October although the path is arguably at its most beautiful in the Spring.

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