For the loveliest of long weekends, begin in golden-hued Bath, where the Cotswold Way slides spectacularly to its southern end. This is the city where rolling hills meet ancient Romans, gorgeous Georgians, leafy waterways, thermal springs, Michelin stars and craft ales. It’s the perfect place to combine culture, sophistication, indulgence and the great outdoors, both in the city and beyond.
In Bath itself, you can time travel through the centuries along the city’s handsome streets: the remains of 2,000-year-old temples lie alongside a Gothic Abbey (where the first King of all England was crowned), medieval relics and elegant 18th-century crescents straight from Jane Austen’s pages. The refined air is enhanced by classy hotels, an eclectic range of restaurants and a host of independent shops and cafes. But this is a city where Mother Nature makes her presence felt too: from the centre, you’ll see slopes you can climb, waterways you can paddle, lanes and towpaths that can you can pedal along, outskirts you can float above… Then, after a day or two centred in Bath, you can trace the escarpment north to picture-book Painswick – ‘Queen of the Cotswolds’ – to experience the region at its bucolic best. Hop between honey-stone villages, refuel in country pubs and explore mile upon mile of wonderful walking trails
The icons below highlight the distance, difficulty and theme of this itinerary.
Walks from 6km to 16km
Easy / Moderate
Rolling Countryside / Connecting Villages & Towns / City Exploring
History / Food & Drink
Walking / Cycling / Water Fun / Heritage / Wellness
Here’s everything you need to help you plan your very own walking and exploring break in the southern 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 three-day dip into the Cotswolds is full of possibilities. Spend time in beautiful Bath, mixing UNESCO-listed sites, superb walking and a range of adventures on the doorstep. Then swap city life for picturesque Painswick, for a true taste of Cotswold countryside living.
Bath has a variety of options, from hotels and hostels to family-run B&Bs.
Painswick has some lovely accommodation choices, plus B&Bs, glampsites and hotels nearby.
Welcome to the delicious West Country. Bath has many excellent independent cafes and restaurants, excelling in everything from cream teas and fine dining to inventive veggie and pop-up Vietnamese. Nearby Bristol offers the world on a plate, not least several unmissable Italian ice cream shops. Painswick has pubs, restaurants and a teashop, with plenty of country pubs tucked nearby.
There’s so much adventure potential in the southern Cotswolds. Walking possibilities are almost endless, while more offbeat fun is available too.
For further walking inspiration visit The Outdoor Guide.
The hills of the southern Cotswolds are soaked in history. Visit ancient sites, handsome country houses, art galleries and more.
Though the southern Cotswolds are somewhat undulating – providing white-knuckle fun for keen riders – there are flatter options for novices too.
Great Western Railways runs regular services from Paddington and Bristol to Bath. Taxis are bookable at Bath.
Driving is the easiest way to reach Painswick. A car is necessary for all local trips. There are no direct buses.
Most walks around Bath and Painswick are moderate to strenuous as the territory is hilly. The canal walks are flat and easy. Paths may become muddy. 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.