The honey-stone villages and rippling hills of the northern Cotswolds seem plucked from a bygone era. In the Middle Ages, this was among the wealthiest regions of England, thanks to a flourishing wool trade. Now, the sheep remain, nibbling on the grassy hummocks, as do remnants of that prosperity – large churches, gloriously grand mansions. But the industry has gone, leaving a peaceful place, best explored on foot.
The elegant Cotswold town of Chipping Campden is the start (or end) of the Cotswold Way and the former rural HQ of the Victorian Arts and Crafts Movement. But it’s just one of the many oh-so-photogenic settlements (some dating back to the Doomsday Book) that speckle the escarpment’s dips and slopes. Settlements like Winchcombe and Broadway, where you’ll find higgle-piggle streets, oak-beamed pubs and thirst-slaking tearooms, independent boutiques, and museums and workshops packed with curiosities. Best of all, between these charming towns lie heart-soaring countryside – swathes of open pasture, beech woodland and big views, laced with tempting walking trails.
The icons below highlight the distance, difficulty and theme of this itinerary.
Walks from 5km to 10.5km
Easy / Moderate
Rolling Countryside / Connecting Villages & Towns
History / Food & Drink
Walking / Heritage / Hands On
Here’s everything you need to help you plan your very own walking and exploring break in the northern Cotswolds. Click on the blue arrow tabs below for more information. To save this itinerary to view later, use the Save to My Rucksack button at the top of the page.
Spend three days exploring the northern Cotswolds, based between three of its most handsome heritage towns: Chipping Campden, Broadway and Winchcombe. Wander idyllic honey-stone hamlets, discover more about the ground-breaking Arts and Crafts Movement, stop off in teashops and walk out into the sublime surrounding hills.
The northern Cotswolds has plenty of luxury hotels, some with spas, as well as atmospheric B&Bs. On this itinerary, you could base yourself in one spot (all three towns are close – Chipping Campden to Winchcombe is only 20km) or move each night.
Explorers won’t go hungry. Chipping Campden, Broadway and Winchcombe have an array of cafes, pubs and fine restaurants. Many villages and attractions have tempting tea rooms too.
As well as the Cotswold Way, there are many walking routes around the towns of the northern Cotswolds, perfect for independent exploration.
This history-rich north Costwolds aren’t only for walkers – country houses, castles, Neolithic barrows and craft workshops abound.
Great Western Railway runs a regular service from Paddington station to Moreton-on-Marsh, the closest main-line station to Chipping Campden. Taxis bookable at Moreton.
Most walks are easy to moderate. The Broadway Tower and Belas Knap walks are both short and steep. Paths may become muddy and walking boots are suggested but not necessary, especially during the summer months.
We advise that you check opening times and booking restrictions before travelling.
Please check out these links for latest advice when in the countryside
Click here to access the interactive map
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.