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5 picturesque drives in The Cotswolds

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Open, country roads with far-reaching views are a driver’s dream. Here in The Cotswolds we have plenty of gorgeous country roads that meander their way through the rolling hills and honey-hued villages. The journey through this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is just as aesthetically pleasing as your Cotswold destination and here are a few of our favourite picturesque drives!

Chipping Campden to Slad

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Recommended in The Telegraph’s 10 greatest drives in Britain, this route is definitely not one to miss and hits all the major spots in The Cotswolds. For those that love to drive, there’s plenty to keep you grinning with twisting turns paired with far-reaching views and forgotten back roads that let you believe you're the only tourist in The Cotswolds.

The route is popular with sports car drivers so keep an ear out for that hum of a fast car when taking to the streets! Starting in Chipping Campden, follow the Cotswold Way to Willersey and beyond. Your road trip ends up in Slad and Laurie Lee’s favourite pub, the Woolpack, also known as the spiritual home of The Cotswolds.

This drive is ideal for hopping from village to village and takes you through iconic spots such as Broadway, Snowshill Manor, Moreton-in-Marsh and the gorgeous Slaughter villages.

For full details on the route head to The Telegraph’s article.

Sapperton, Frampton Mansell and Minchinhampton

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If you’re on a journey between the well-known towns of Stroud and Cirencester, take this detour just off the A419 and discover the slightly slower but just as pretty villages of Sapperton, Frampton Mansell and Minchinhampton.

Sapperton is famous for its connection with The Cotswold Arts and Crafts movement. Many of the buildings in the village were built or rebuilt under the patronage of the Bathhurst family in The Cotswold Arts and Craft style and are definitely worth a photograph or two. It's also worth stopping by the Bell at Sapperton for a delicious refuel stop! With roaring log fires and cosy corners in the winter, and a beautifully landscaped garden and courtyard for summer, the Bell Inn has something for all seasons.

Take a quick look at the sleepy town of Frampton Mansell with its gorgeous Grade-II listed church before heading towards the small market town of Minchinhampton. The town is made up of stone cottages dating back to the 17th century, with evidence from its days in the medieval wool trade.

There is also a weekly country market and a good choice of cafes if you’re in need of another refreshment break!

Roman to Retro Self-Drive Tour

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Start off in Northleach or Lechlade and travel back in time to the most classic and beautiful towns and villages of The Cotswolds. Driving time takes around 3 hours if you’re on a whistle-stop tour, otherwise take your time over a couple of days to drive back to the rich Roman history of The Cotswolds and then transport yourself again centuries forward into the elegance of the modern Cotswold scene.

The towns along this route are generally worth at least half a day to visit properly, depending on how long you like to wander. Plus they’re the perfect pit-stop to stretch your legs and pick up something delectable to refuel for the rest of the journey.

For the full driving route and a downloadable map, click here.

Bibury and beyond

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Head out East from Cirencester until you get to beautiful Bibury and then slow things down to hop through the tiny nearby villages. Bibury is probably already on your list of places to visit as it’s been named the ‘Most beautiful village in England’ and a stop by Arlington Row is a must if you’re in The Cotswolds. However set aside some time to make the picturesque drive through small country lanes to the further villages of Coln St Aldwyns, Hatherop and Southrop.

Immersed in nature, you’ll see wonderful architecture interspersed with parkland, woods and water meadows. Instead of finding a place to eat in Bibury which is likely to be busy, head to our favourite spot The New Inn in Coln St Aldwyns. Offering up burgers, beers and fine wine, you really can’t go wrong. Don’t worry if you’re the designated driver, this pub is all about the food so you won’t be feeling left out!

Guiting Power to Broadway

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Heading out north from Cheltenham, take a drive through Guiting Power, the village in the heart of the north Cotswold country in the upper reaches of the Windrush Valley. A small village, it has beautiful rural views and a couple of pubs if you want to soak up the ambiance of being in the slower regions of The Cotswolds.

A few miles away you will find the tiny village of Temple Guiting with the Temple Guiting Pantry shop and cafe, a true Cotswold hidden gem. If you keep heading North towards Broadway, you’ll also pass Snowshill and its iconic lavender fields for a feeling of Provence in The Cotswolds.

Finally, end your drive weaving through the beautiful stone cottages in Broadway. You can drive up to Broadway Tower and take in the quintessentially English view of honey-coloured cottages blending into the rolling landscapes.

End your road trip here and rest up for the night in Broadway. Check out our area guide on the best places to go in Broadway!

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