The Cotswold Way National Trail runs from the market town of Chipping Campden to the UNESCO-listed city of Bath, via swathes of splendid countryside – England at its most irresistibly rural. This flexible self-guided break is based in the Regency spa town of Cheltenham, which provides a convenient and sophisticated base for exploring the northern half of the National Trail.
From Cheltenham, choose from a selection of day walks that will take you out into the lush-green hills, via medieval castles, devilish rock formations, a castle fit for queens, a Neolithic long barrow, a Roman villa and – at Cleeve Hill – the Cotswold’s highest point: stand here on a clear day and you can see all the way to Wales. Mix time in the soul-lifting countryside with Cheltenham’s urbane delights – the town is packed with lovely independent shops, bars, restaurants and cafes.
The icons below highlight the distance, difficulty and theme of this itinerary.
Walks from 10km to 11km
Rolling Countryside / Connecting Villages & Towns
History / Food & Drink
Walking / Heritage
Here’s everything you need to help you plan your very own walking and exploring break in the 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.
This itinerary is being operated by Compass Holidays, who specialise in walking, cycling and activity short breaks and holidays in a variety of UK, European and worldwide destinations.
With more than 30 years’ experience, Compass Holidays allow you to get under the skin of the history, culture and natural beauty of some of the world’s most iconic and spectacular locations.
Compass will arrange your whole tour: you just need to arrange transport to your first location.
This self-guided Cheltenham-based trip is available year-round. It is very flexible: choose to stay for three, four or five days; also, the trip can be extended or decreased by changing the daily distance covered. The itinerary below is a suggestion.
This short break is based in Cheltenham, using either a three-star B&B/hotel/inn or five-star luxury hotel. Please note the luxury version includes some taxi transfers at the beginning or end of some days.
Cheltenham has a growing number of respected independent restaurants offering everything from French cuisine and award-winning fish and chips to Sri Lankan street food. There is also a wide selection of well-known branded food outlets, family favourites and new restaurants with various awards to their name. Harden’s, The Good Food Guide, The Michelin Guide and The Good Pub Guide all lavish praise on innumerable Cheltenham restaurants.
The grade of this tour is moderate, with rolling hills and some steeper sections.
Mix walks with other experiences along the Cotswold Way.
The nearest railway station is Cheltenham Spa, which is easily reached from London by train. There will be a short walk or taxi ride to your overnight accommodation, which we are happy to arrange on guests’ behalf.
Cheltenham is also easily accessible via the M4/M5 route or by the A40 from London via Oxford.
Great Western Railway runs a regular service from Paddington station.
This grade of this tour is moderate. The correct clothes are important to ensure comfort during each walk. We suggest avoiding anything with seams and buttons in sensitive areas. Clothing should take moisture from the body to the outside. Sweatshirts, thin pullovers, and breathable jackets are ideal companions during the cooler days. Take light, waterproof jackets and trousers in case there is rain. On hot days we suggest a cap or hat and sunglasses to protect from the sun.
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.