Rolling hills, open skies, ancient villages and secret gardens where time has stood still for centuries – this is the Cotswolds. A rural region in south central England known for its beautiful stone-built villages, historical towns, stately homes and enchanting gardens, the Cotswolds has come to symbolize quintessential England.
The largest of the 38 “Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty” (AONB) throughout England and Wales, the Cotswolds is defined by the bedrock of Jurassic limestone that creates a type of grassland habitat rare in the United Kingdom. The region is excavated for its golden-colored Cotswold stone, and over half of the country’s flower-rich (Jurassic) limestone grassland is found in the Cotswolds.
From magical scenery to antique settlements, there is so much to discover about the Cotswolds. Below are a few little-known facts:
- The Cotswolds is one of the most rural regions of England, with much of it made up of farmland.
- The Cotswolds has a network of drystone walls of at least 4,000 miles, equivalent in length to the Great Wall of China.
- The Romans arrived to the Cotswolds in AD 47, building legendary roads such as Fosse Way, an important north-south road running up the western side of Great Britain, and great towns such as Cirencester – often referred to as the Capital of the Cotswolds.
- The Cotswolds’ local sheep, known as “The Cotswold Lion,” once provided wool for half of England’s cloth, creating great wealth for the region. By the end of World War I, the Cotswold sheep became a rare breed. Luckily, due to conservationists, there are now more than 50 flocks, with many of them in the Cotswolds.
- The Cotswolds Discovery Centre (the visitor center for the AONB) is housed in the grade II-listed Old Prison, a fascinating 18th-century building that is now a unique historic visitor attraction in the Cotswold market town of Northleach.
Get away from the crowds and discover the hidden villages and secret corners of England with Oceania Cruises. Explore the beautiful Cotswolds in depth during our Legendary London tour this summer: