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The Hidden Gems of the Cotswolds: Painswick, Woodstock, and Northleach

If you’re looking to book a luxury cottage for your upcoming holiday, look no further than the Cotswolds. Nestled in a cosy corner of south-west England, the Cotswolds are a popular holiday destination for people from both the UK and abroad. Famous for its bucolic rolling green hills and honey-coloured limestone villages, walking about in the Cotswolds at the height of the summer season, when the flowers are in bloom, is a bit like stepping back into the pages of your favourite childhood fairy tale.

There are certainly some places in the Cotswolds that everyone puts on their summer to-do lists; Bath and Burford are two lovely places that are regularly frequented by the summer holiday set. But if you are staying in a Cotswolds luxury cottage and feel the desire to take the road less travelled, among the well-travelled holiday spots there exist some hidden gems for those who take the time to venture a bit further along the road less travelled. The following three places are but a few of the hidden gems of the Cotswolds that are definitely worth a visit during your stay.


Painswick has often been referred to as one of the best-preserved settlements in the Cotswolds. A town that founded itself in the wool trade, Painswick claims the oldest building in England among its many charms. There is an annual arts festival that runs in the summertime that draws creative types from all over the world, and the town centre is filled with unique shops, pubs and hotels that are sure to provide a lovely afternoon or evening out if you so choose. If you are keen to enjoy a walk from the town centre, you will find that Painswick is also within a mile of the famous Painswick Rococo gardens, harkening back to the late 18th century.


Woodstock is perhaps best known for its association with the stunning Blenheim Palace; a magnificent structure just to the north of the river Glyme. Built on forest land, at one time Blenheim belonged to the king and had been used for hunting parties. In addition to being used for the hunt, Blenheim palace also housed a deer park, and was home to one of the first-ever zoos in the UK. Now considered a UNESCO world heritage site (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation), Blenheim also has a darker side. Queen Elisabeth I was kept prisoner there while her sister Mary was on the throne.


Filled with architectural interest from the 15th and 16th centuries, Northleach is another village that made a name for itself in the wool trade. The past history of the town is still evident when you take in the beautiful half-timbered buildings, wide oak doors, and great stone walls that were built with the profits of the wool trade. Also, built from the profits of the once-booming wool trade is the ancient Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. A breathtakingly beautiful piece of history and testament to the wool trade’s wealth-generating past (along with the large outdoor statue of John the Baptist, the patron saint of the wool trade), the stained glass windows should definitely be added to any holidaymaker’s “don’t miss” list.