Day 1 Sunday: Arrive in Cirencester
Your guides for the week, Steve Blake and Stuart Manton will meet you at 5pm and run through the week ahead and join you for dinner. Overnight in Cirencester or nearby for 3 nights. Group dinner included.
Day 2 Monday: Cirencester, Chedworth Roman Villa and the Slaughters.
The day begins with a guided walking tour of Cirencester including a visit to the late medieval church of St John Baptist and award -winning Corinium Museum, with displays on the history of the Cotswolds from prehistory to the 19th century. We then transfer to Chedworth Roman Villa for a for a tour and lunch. In the afternoon we take a stroll from Upper Slaughter to Lower Slaughter and have tea at the Old Mill. Return to Cirencester. Lunch included.
Day 3 Tuesday: Woodchester Mansion and Painswick.
We begin our day by heading to Coaley Peak, which commands wide views along the Cotswold escarpment and across the Severn valley to the Forest of Dean, pausing en route to visit the Stone Age Nympsfield long barrow. Afterwards we take a short walk along the Woodchester Valley to see the exterior of the remarkable Gothic Revival Woodchester Mansion. Having been abandoned unfinished by its owner, William Leigh in 1868, he turned his attention to other projects and never had enough funds to resume building. Painswick is our lunch stop, overlooking the church square and its famous 99 yew trees. We spend the afternoon exploring this picturesque village and take in the views from the top of Painswick Beacon, an the iron-age hill fort. Return to Cirencester. Lunch included.
Day 4 Wednesday: Bibury, Fairford and Kelmscott.
We start our day in Bibury just a short drive from Cirencester and considered the most beautiful village in England by William Morris. Bibury with its famous Arlington Row, a group of medieval weavers' cottages is one of the most photographed scenes in the Cotswolds. From Bibury we follow the River Coln through a succession of attractive villages to Fairford church. This is a fine example of a ‘Wool Church’ with misericords and its unique collection of 15th–century stained glass windows. Kelmscott Manor is our final destination and was the summer retreat of William Morris and it is easy to see how the house and landscape helped to inspire his designs. We make our way to Chipping Campden for 3 nights. Lunch and group dinner included.
Day 5 Thursday: Chipping Campden, Longborough and Sezincote
We begin our day with a walking tour of Chipping Campden, the finest of the Cotswold 'wool' towns, where we see the 15th-century parish church, the 17th-century almshouses and market hall, and the remains of Campden House, which was destroyed in the English Civil War. After transferring to Longborough for lunch, we walk to Sezincote, a marvellous Regency House built in 1805 in Indian Moghul style, for a guided tour and time to relax in the gardens and tea room. Return to Chipping Campden. Lunch included.
Day 6 Friday: Hailes Abbey, Stanway House and Broadway.
We start the day at the ruins of Hailes Abbey and the adjoining Norman church, which has some of the best medieval wall-paintings in Gloucestershire. From Hailes we are driven to Stanway, which has a fine 16th to 17th century Manor House for a guided tour and a picnic lunch. We then follow the Cotswold Way to the picturesque village of Stanton, from where we take a short drive to Broadway for a guided tour or free time in this former coaching village. Return to Chipping Campden. Lunch and group farewell dinner included.
Day 7 Saturday: Departure after breakfast.
Click to see photos of this tour: Cotswold Treasures Guided Tour Photo Gallery
YOUR GUIDES: Steve Blake and Stuart Manton
Steve Blake: Before taking early retirement in 2006 Steve worked at Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum for 30 years, where he eventually filled the post of Museum & Collections Manager. He has a particular interest in the history and architecture of Gloucestershire, and especially the County’s medieval churches, and is a member of the Gloucester Diocesan Advisory Committee on the Care of Churches. He is also Chairman of the Gloucestershire Local History Association and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
Stuart Manton: Originally from Gloucestershire, Stuart lived in the Cotswolds for several years. He is actively involved in landscape conservation for the Woodland Trust working on the Cotswold escarpment and has a keen interest in the history of the English Landscape. He has extensive experience of walking in the area, including the Cotswold Way National Trail, and is an active member of local history and naturalist societies.