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North Cotswold Circuit in 6 Days

North Cotswold Circuit in 6 Days

Overview

This superb inn-to-inn Cotswold Round self-guided walking holiday will take you through the heart of the Cotswolds and will let you enjoy some of the best walking the North Cotswolds have to offer. The circuit starts and finishes in Moreton-on-Marsh and takes in the most picturesque towns and villages of the Cotswolds at a brisk pace, enabling you to explore this fascinating (and England’s largest) Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in just six days. We arrange comfortable accommodation in en-suite rooms at hotels and accredited guesthouses on this itinerary, and we transfer your luggage between each of the accommodations.

This walk is rather demanding; if you prefer to walk the North Costwold Round at a more leisurely pace, you can do it in 9 days instead.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Moreton-in-Marsh

Moreton-in-Marsh is one of the most important market towns in the Cotswolds, which still holds a weekly market on the wide main street.

Day 2: Moreton-in-Marsh to Bourton-on-the-Water | 19 km / 12 mi

Leaving Moreton behind, you will soon find yourself through fields and heading into the Wolds, towards the impressive Sezincote House, a Mogul style manor house dating from 1805. You pass through several charming small villages before gaining a little height. The walk is then largely flat or downhill and works its way down to the green meadows of the area around The Slaughters. You’ll continue to Lower Slaughter, a beautiful place which still has a working mill and river flowing through the centre. It is a short step from here to Bourton-on-the-Water where you will overnight.

Day 3: Bourton-on-the-Water to Winchcombe | 21 km / 13 mi

Today you will follow the River Windrush line out of Bourton, leaving the bustle behind as you head through pleasant farmland and meadows towards the village of Naunton. From Naunton, you’ll head on to Guiting Power which has a pretty church complete with an arch dating from the Norman period. Then the trail leads slowly uphill through fields and woodland until the last section, a descent with superb scenery to the village of Winchcombe. Known as an ancient Saxon capital, you’ll pass by Sudeley Castle as you walk into the village. Sudeley Castle is the resting place of Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII.

  • Walking for the day: 13 miles / 21 km, 7 hours
  • Accommodation: White Heart Inn or similar

Day 4: Winchcombe to Broadway | 14 km / 8.5 mi

Follow in the footsteps of medieval pilgrims from Winchcombe to Hailes Abbey, starting to head into the hills towards the impressive Stanway House. Admire the intricate gatehouse and ancient tithe barn before arriving at the picture-perfect village of Stanton. From here you gain height across the hills, skirting Laverton before descending into Broadway.

  • Walking for the day: 8.5 miles / 14 km, 5-6 hours
  • Accommodation: Hadley House or similar

Day 5: Broadway to Moreton-in-Marsh | 20 km / 12 mi

Today you start with a climb up to the 18th Century Broadway Tower, one of the highest points in the Cotswolds and from where on a clear day there are superb views. From here it is a leisurely walk across pleasantly flat fields until a descent into Chipping Campden. Considered one of the finest Cotswold villages, the main street has a traditional covered marketplace, and there is an impressive church. Then pass through Broad Campden and Blockley’s charming villages and descend to Batsford, where you may visit the arboretum and falconry centre. Finally, you complete your Cotswolds circuit with a pleasant stroll across meadows to Moreton-in-Marsh.

Day 6: Departure

Departure or extra nights upon request.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodations on this tour include a mix of charming small hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses. They have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere, cuisine and/or unique services. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms.

Click to view default hotels

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included on all days. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. You can have dinner at the guesthouse you are staying at or at the village pubs and restaurants.

Difficulty & terrain

This itinerary allows you to walk at a swift pace, enabling you to explore this fascinating area of outstanding natural beauty in just six days. Most days offer 6-7 hours of walking. You will cover a variety of terrain, but these are gentle wolds and not mountainous areas. The path rises and falls over the Escarpment, and is lower, but still undulating, over farmland and through woods in the east  (which can get a bit muddy in wet weather). Some days will involve a couple of steeper ascents and descents, but they are relatively short. The highest point on the trail is 330 m. Ascents and descents are usually 250-300 m per day (read more about difficulty grades). The trail follows well-maintained footpaths, bridleways, open fields and some minor roads. The Cotswold Round route is not specially designated and waymarked. At times, you will follow the yellow arrow ‘Public Footpath’ signs. Be mindful, however, that not all arrows are relevant to your walk, so check carefully against your guidebook. Generally, the route is easy to navigate, and we will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from the mid-April until mid-October. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date during the season. If you are a seasoned and well-equipped hiker, we can eventually book you on off-season dates.

Getting there

Up-to-date travel advice on the United Kingdom is available here (for Canadian citizens) and here (for US citizens).

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airport for this tour is Birmingham (BHX). Alternatives are London Heathrow (LHR) or Gatwick (LGW).

By train or bus
  • Moreton-in-Marsh station (MIM) is located on the Cotswold Line between London, Oxford and Hereford. There is a railway station at Birmingham Airport with frequent services to Moreton-in-Marsh (nearest railway station to Chipping Campden) via Oxford.
  • From London Paddington station, direct trains run to Moreton-in-Marsh. As this is a circular route, you will be walking back to your starting location to depart by the same means you arrived.

Inclusions

Included

  • 5 nights in a twin or double rooms with an en-suite or private bathroom (3-star hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses)
  • 5 breakfasts
  • Detailed journey documentation and practical information: personalised trip notes and maps (emailed before departure and a hard copy provided at the first hotel; one set per booking)
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel – up to 15 kg per person
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative in Cheltenham

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request

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