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Where to explore The Cotswolds' rich history

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Nestled within the sprawling Cotswolds natural beauty is a rich history just waiting to be explored. From houses with Roman roots to museums paying homage to design mavericks, we’ve chosen six places in The Cotswolds worth visiting to understand the history, people and traditions that bloomed from this beautiful area of England.

The Corinium Museum

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Discover the archaeology of The Cotswolds at The Corinium Museum in the heart of The Cotswolds. Most flock to the museum to view their display of significant finds from the Roman town of Corinium, known today as Cirencester.

This museum is also the perfect place to journey through The Cotswolds' history, from its prehistoric landscape to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty we know it as today. There are new immersive galleries exploring the Stone Age and the old town of Corinium that are definitely worth exploring! Make sure you add a visit to your Cotswolds trip so you can truly understand the history of this area.

Book your tickets or find out more over on their website.

Pittville Pump Room

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The Pittville Pump Room in Cheltenham is the grandest survival of the town’s many spa buildings, oozing beautiful regency architecture. The train station isn’t called Cheltenham Spa by accident after all, and enjoyed more than 100 years of fame for its spa waters.

Pittville is ornate, overlooking the sprawling lawns and beautiful lakes of Pittville Park, making it a wonderful location to not only step back in time but also enjoy the great outdoors. Paddle in a boat across the lake, enjoy a picnic on the lawn, head to the tennis courts, there’s so much to do here!

When you step inside the Pump Room, built in the 1820s, explore the beautiful ballroom which today holds concerts and royal events and see the Grecian-inspired columns and statues that symbolise the health-giving properties of the spa.

Pittville makes a wonderful day trip in The Cotswolds, immerse yourself in Cheltenham’s history, enjoy the outdoor café and bar and explore the grounds. More information is available over on the Pittville Pump Room website.

Chedworth Roman Villa

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The epitome of grandeur, Chedworth Roman Villa which rests in a beautiful valley is one of the most impressive Roman villas in Britain today. Rediscovered by the Victorians over 150 years ago, Chedworth provides unique insight into life during the Roman period in Britain.

It's home to some of the most impressive in-situ Roman mosaics in the country, as well as bath-house rooms and hypocaust systems. Managed today by the National Trust, you can walk along suspended walkways to look down and admire these pieces of historic art. There is also a small museum housing fascinating artefacts that were unearthed during on-site excavations, from Roman jewellery and figurines to coins.

On top of this, the tranquil Cotswold countryside is on Chedworth’s doorstep, abundant with idyllic views and rich wildlife, offering visitors the opportunity to relax in nature.

Book your tickets over on The National Trust website.

Cotswold Motor Museum

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A trip to the Cotswold Motor Museum is much more than a trip back in time for motor enthusiasts but a fun day out for the whole family. You can find the museum in the picturesque village of Bourton-on-the-Water, within a converted 17th-century watermill.

With seven galleries packed with vintage and retro car collections dating back as far as the 1920s, this museum is an ode to the days where driving wasn’t a necessity but instead a hobby and that passion is reflected in the retro car designs. If cars aren’t quite your things, there is also a fascinating toy collection including children’s TV favourite Brum.

Explore the Cotswold Motor Museum on your next trip to The Cotswolds, book your tickets here.

Gordon Russell Design Museum

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One for interiors lovers, the Gordon Russell Design Museum celebrates the life and work of renowned furniture designer Sir Gordon Russell and his company. Schooled in the Arts and Crafts tradition of the Cotswolds, Russell believed that good design has a lasting impact on people’s lives, and his furniture company had a profound impact on British industry, design and education.

The museum is housed in Russell’s workshops in the village of Broadway. The displays cover a rich period of 20th century design, from the Arts and Crafts tradition of The Cotswolds to Modernism and beyond. Many of volunteers at the museum are ex-employees of Gordon Russell and are keen to share their knowledge and expertise with designers and makers of the future. The museum shop brings the design story up to the modern day, showcasing the work of contemporary artisans.

Plan your visit to the Gordon Russell Design Museum here.

Croome

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What may appear as another gorgeous stately home nestled in The Cotswolds, is actually an estate with an unexpected, unique history.

Croome was originally built by the Coventry family in the 16th century and at its heart lies Croome Court, imagined by the 6th Earl of Coventry who was known as an 18th-century trendsetter. He collaborated with the best new talent at the time – Robert Adam and Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’ – to create the grand house you see today, on the site of the family’s earlier home. Its renown lives on today as one of the most innovative designed landscapes in Britain.

What makes the parkland with its winding river, commanding views and elegant garden buildings extra special is the fact that it was almost lost. During the Second World War, Croome was used as a secret wartime airbase. You can learn more about this fascinating period and the many people who worked here, in the RAF museum located at Croome’s visitor centre.

Whether you’re enamoured by Croome Court’s architecture, intrigued by its Second World War history or just looking for somewhere unique for outdoor adventures, book your tickets to Croome over on the National Trust website.

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