Travel

Visit the breathtaking Cotswolds to enjoy stunning walks through lavender fields while sipping on local spirit


From woodland walks to moreish roasts, recharge with a break in this rural idyll.

Visit gorgeous Cotswolds and its stunning blue cornflowers fields while sipping on the local flora at the Distillery shop.

Splurge on florals

Make a pit stop at Bourton-on-the-Water to try the local flora in spirit form at the Cotswolds Distillery shop

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Make a pit stop at Bourton-on-the-Water to try the local flora in spirit form at the Cotswolds Distillery shopCredit: Instagram/Cotswolds Distillery

The area is home to vast fields of stunning blue cornflowers in summer – and you can sample the local flora in spirit form at the Cotswolds Distillery shop in pretty Bourton-on-the-Water.

Its No 1 Wildflower Gin, £34.95 a bottle, blends cornflowers, lavender and orange – and is summer in a glass (Cotswoldsdistillery.com). Meanwhile, seek out floral motifs and gems from Oxfordshire jeweller Libby Rak in Woodstock (Libbyrak.co.uk).

Around the corner, pick up cotton shirts in starfish, palm tree or pineapple prints, £39, from local brand Sassy & Boo (Sassyandboo.online).

While visiting the area, make sure to stop by local and colourful brand Sassy & Boo

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While visiting the area, make sure to stop by local and colourful brand Sassy & BooCredit: Instagram/Sassy & Boo

Walk off lockdown

Walk through beautiful woodland and lavender fields at Snowshill Lavender Farm

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Walk through beautiful woodland and lavender fields at Snowshill Lavender Farm Credit: Alamy

The Bourton-on-the-Water to Lower Slaughter two-hour loop walk takes you along swan-filled streams, across pretty pastures and into honey-hued Lower Slaughter village on the banks of the River Eye.

Pop into the ancient Old Mill for a cone of handmade strawberry ice cream (Oldmill-lowerslaughter.com). Or pull on your hiking boots for the hilly three-and-a-half-mile Snowshill Manor to Littleworth Wood walk, which climbs up through magnificent woodland and lavender fields.

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Reward yourself after with a pint of Cotswold Gold at the Snowshill Arms (Snowshillarms.co.uk).

Scoff pub grub

Stop near Chipping Norton to enjoy a Sunday meal at The Kingham Plough’s terrace

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Stop near Chipping Norton to enjoy a Sunday meal at The Kingham Plough’s terraceCredit: Jake Eastham

Come Sunday, book a table on The Kingham Plough’s terrace, near Chipping
Norton, and order Cotswolds chicken with honey-glazed carrots and cauliflower cheese, mains cost around £20 (Thekinghamplough.co.uk).

Or kick back at a covered picnic table at The Lamb near Witney
for beer-battered fish and chips, £15 (Lambpub.co.uk).

In the village of Northleach, the tables in The Wheatsheaf Inn’s walled garden are interspersed with blooming shrubs and herbs – a lovely spot for a Portobello mushroom, truffle and pecorino pizza, £12 (Cotswoldswheatsheaf.com).

Visit a palace

Visit the ancient Old Mill and grab a cone of handmade strawberry ice cream

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Visit the ancient Old Mill and grab a cone of handmade strawberry ice creamCredit: AWL

Explore the spectacular grounds of Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, entry £18.50 (Blenheimpalace.com).

And the 90-minute Mysteries at Minster Lovell loop walk takes you to the romantic ruins of a 15th-century manor house and dovecote, with ample riverside picnic spots, entry free (English-heritage.org.uk).

For something different, peek into St Mary’s in Swinbrook to see the six statues of jaunty 17th-century gents looking ready to chat (Burfordchurch.org/st-marys-swinbrook).

Hit the hay

Stay at the stunning Windrush Valley in a three-bedroom cottage to enjoy breathtaking views

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Stay at the stunning Windrush Valley in a three-bedroom cottage to enjoy breathtaking views

With panoramas across stunning Windrush Valley, three-bedroom cottage
“Beautiful Cotswold View” on Fluff’s Farm in Bourton-on-the-Water is perfect for R&R.

Three-night stays start from £489 for six people sharing (Sykescottages.co.uk). Sip wine from the second-floor balcony while wildlife spotting, and wake up to incredible views from the main bedroom, with its floor- to-ceiling windows.

For a delicious seasonal menu made with locally sourced ingredients, wander down to The Mousetrap Inn. We loved the red-wine-braised
ox cheek with roast cauliflower and horseradish mash, £18.50, while the
elderflower panna cotta with blackberries, white chocolate and honeycomb, £6.50, was heaven on a plate (Themousetrapinn.co.uk)!

BTW

Cotswolds is said to mean “sheep enclosure in rolling hillsides”.

It’s England’s largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Want to get away ASAP? Find your dream pad at Sykescottages.co.uk/last-minute-cottages.html.

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