Similar in distance to the Cotswold Way this walk not only offers great walking but also includes some of the most scenic Cotswold villages in the southern Cotswolds. The historical and culturally acclaimed city of Oxford is the most prestigious and oldest university city in England with a wealth of attractions. The tour highlights include the chance to visit the magnificent Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, the award winning Roman museum in Cirencester and perhaps even a tour of Prince Charles's Highgrove Gardens* and to finally relax in the splendour of Bath, with its Roman baths and sweeping Regency crescents immortalised in the novels of Jane Austen. This walk can be done in either direction so Bath to Oxford is also available.
Day 1: Arrive in Oxford and overnight. Extra nights can be booked on request.
Chance to take in a guided walking tour of the city to include the ancient University colleges, discover the Harry Potter and J.R.R Tolkien connections or visit the world-famous Ashmolean museum. Extra nights can be arranged.
Day 2: Oxford to Woodstock (walking distance 11.2 miles/18 km)
Our walk begins by following the River Thames before joining the Oxford Canal and the Shakespeare Way. The route passes flood plain meadows with sweeping views back to Oxford, a derelict nunnery and the church at Bladon where Sir Winston Churchill is laid to rest, before ending up in the picturesque town of Woodstock. If time allows consider a visit to Blenheim Palace and then return again the next day as your ticket is valid for a year! Stay overnight in Woodstock.
Day 3: Woodstock to Witney (walking distance 11.3 miles/18.2 km)
Re-visit Blenheim Palace before setting off through Capability Brown's wonderful landscaped grounds towards the village of Combe. Continue on through the lush green Oxfordshire countryside to the busy town of Witney once famous for its blankets. Stay overnight in Witney.
Day 4: Witney to Burford (walking distance 10.4 miles/16.7 km)
Today follow the River Windrush and head into the heart of the Cotswolds. The route passes Minster Lovell, the site of a ruined medieval manor, and we also explore Swinbrook village and church, where 4 of the infamous Mitford sisters are buried. Your walk ends in the bustling medieval town of Burford famed for its 'wool church' and huge flocks of sheep used to be washed in the river Windrush at the foot of the high street. Stay overnight in Burford.
Day 5: Burford to Bibury (walking distance 13.1 miles/21.1km) or via Eastleach (14 miles/22.4km)
After leaving Burford we follow high ground with wide-open views of the countryside. The route passes through the quiet hamlet of Holwell, through part of the River Leach valley and follows the Roman road to Hatherop. Your next stop is Coln St Aldwyns and a picturesque walk along the River Coln to Bibury, described by designer and writer William Morris as "the most beautiful village in England". Stay overnight in Bibury.
Day 6: Bibury to Cirencester (walking distance 11 miles/17.7km)
The day begins by heading through the village of Barnsley, past Barnsley House with its acclaimed garden designed by its former resident, Rosemary Verey. We cross pasture and arable fields to Ampney Crucis before heading to the Roman town of Cirencester (Corinium), the second largest town in Britain during Roman times. You can visit the Abbey or enjoy a stroll in the grounds of the Bathurst Estate nearby. The award winning museum is also a must see. Stay overnight in Cirencester.
Day 7: Cirencester to Tetbury (walking distance 13.75 miles/22km)
Leave the Roman town to head through the grounds of the Royal Agriculture College to follow the disused Thames and Severn Canal. The landscape of gently rolling hills on this stage of the walk is primarily used for farmland, including grazing of sheep and grain production. Optional visit to Rodmarton house and gardens is also possible on a Wed. and Sat. see below. Our final destination is the small town of Tetbury, with its independent specialist shops and the Prince of Wales's original "Highgrove Shop". Please ask us about the chance to visit Highgrove Gardens. Stay overnight in Tetbury.
Day 8: Tetbury to Castle Combe (walking distance 15.2 miles/24.5km)
Walking out of Tetbury we skirt the side of the Highgrove Estate and follow the Monarch’s Way through a typical Cotswold landscape and through the National Arboretum at Westonbirt. We then head through charming Cotswold villages and drop down into Castle Combe, to admire the picturesque high street lined with former weavers' cottages and the film set location for War Horse and Stardust. Stay overnight in Castle Combe.
Day 9: Castle Combe to Bath (walking distance 16.9 miles/27km)
The final stretch of our Cotswold journey leads us through a number of wooded valleys on the way to Marshfield, an old market town. Continuing through the serene Cotswold countryside we reach Batheaston where we follow the canal back to Bath for a triumphant entrance to the city, finishing up at the steps of Bath Abbey. Stay overnight Bath.