This five-day hiking trip explores the beautiful northern section of the Cotswold Way with a series of short walks across rolling green countryside, the region’s famous escarpment and through pretty market towns and villages. Relax, take it slow, and revel in the English rural idyll.
The Cotswold Way offers over 100 miles of magical walking, with long-distance views and journeys through picturesque villages and past ancient sites. The full National Trail runs from Chipping Campden to Bath and can take up to 10 days to walk, so we’ve put together a shortened five-day itinerary that explores the opening section of this popular National Trail. Covering a total walking distance of 39km/24 miles through beautiful countryside – often along the ridge of the Cotswold escarpment – you’ll finish each day by descending into pretty market towns and villages bathed in the golden light of Cotswold stone.
You’ll explore a landscape that was once the economic powerhouse of medieval England – thanks to the valuable fleeces of its native Cotswold sheep – and stroll through farmland and woodland that inspired 19th century writers and artists. Today the landscape is protected but still bustles with walkers eager to explore its pathways and experience the local food, drink, arts and crafts.
The icons below highlight the distance, difficulty and theme of this itinerary.
History / Food & Drink
Connecting Villages & Towns
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Anyone with good fitness can walk this shortened 39km / 24 mile section of the Cotswold Way. Two of the days are dedicated to exploring the picturesque towns of Chipping Camden and Winchcombe, while the other three are spent on the Cotswold Way National Trail. Expect good paths with some steep ascents and descents.
The Cotswolds is incredibly popular with tourists from all over the world, so while there are many options for accommodation, they tend to book up quickly along the Cotswold Way. You’ll find pubs, hotels, B&BS, cottages, campsites and hostels along the trail catering for all tastes and budgets, so plan carefully and try to book somewhere as close to the start and finish of each day as possible.
This five-day itinerary has been designed to let you explore the landscape and soak up the unique and rich history of the Cotswolds on a series of short but spectacular walks that you can enjoy at a leisurely pace. The Cotswold Way National Trail is well signposted and easy to follow, so it’s ideal for enthusiastic walkers with good levels of fitness. Visit in spring for carpets of bluebells, summer for long days of glorious sunshine, autumn for spectacular colour explosions in the trees, and winter for frosty sunrises and roaring fires in the pubs. Don’t underestimate the steep climbs, though, with some days totalling more than 800 feet of ascent.
The Cotswolds is a classic English ‘foodie’ destination, with fantastic cafes, gastro pubs, traditional country inns, bakeries, farm shops, farmers’ markets and the occasional Michelin-starred restaurant cropping up in most towns and villages. Local culinary favourites include Single Gloucester Cheese, Gloucester Old Spot Pork, Tewkesbury mustard, Bibury trout, Stinking Bishop cheese, Hobbs House bread, Cotswolds dry gin and Cotswolds single malt whiskey.
The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.
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