The Cotswolds. Been there, done that? Not so fast…

Our rebel’s guide (for the independently-minded traveller) is highly selective, not utterly exhaustive. It’s designed to give you a taste – without trying to satiate your wanderlust – of discovering the central and southern Wolds in all their delicious honey-hued glory.

Below, we’ve featured a number of popular highlights before veering left, off the ramble-worn footpath, to succinctly settle on some hidden gems worthy of your attention. Places undisturbed by coach tours and time.

Each of the 7 attention-worthy attractions below are within easy driving distance of Hatherley Manor Hotel & Spa, our 17th-Century, 4-star sanctuary in the rolling Gloucestershire countryside.

1. Gloucester Cathedral

(4 miles or 10 min drive from Hatherley Manor Hotel & Spa)

Benedictine monks began building a church here in 1089. It rose to prominence when, after the murder of Edward II, the king’s shrine became a major pilgrimage site at the church. Gloucester Cathedral stands today as England’s greatest example of Perpendicular style – a phase of late English Gothic architecture. It was conferred cathedral status by Henry VIII. We love the beautiful cloisters (pictured opposite), used as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter films.

Gloucester Cathedral

Tewkesbury Abbey

2. Tewkesbury Abbey

(8 miles or 15 min drive from hotel)

Boy, those Benedictine monks were busy chaps. Standing tall in the medieval town of Tewkesbury, this impressive Norman abbey was consecrated in 1121. Its nave and roof, however, were completed much later, in the Decorated style. According to art historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, it has “probably the finest Romanesque Tower in England”. At 45 metres high, it certainly makes a lasting impression, but then so do its 14 gigantic Norman columns. We love the old abbey shop “with the Duke of Somerset buried under the till”.

3. Painswick Rococo Garden

(10 miles or 25 min drive from hotel)

England’s only example of Rococo garden design. A flamboyant fashion typified by furniture and architecture best seen in the spiked, curved Exedra at Painswick. The Garden is dotted with quirky statues and follies creating artfully crafted vistas.

Painswick Rococo Garden

Slad Valley - Cotswolds

4. Sheepscombe

(12 miles or 25 min drive from hotel)

Classic Cotswold looks modestly hide amid beech woods. The best-loved pub, Butchers Arms, and silent church of St John the Apostle are worthy of a wander through the village.

5. Slad Valley

(14 miles or 25 min drive from hotel)

The Woolpack pub – characterful haunt of acclaimed writer Laurie Lee, author of the childhood memoir Cider with Rosie (1959) – is a firm favourite here. Opposite the pub, in the graveyard of the Holy Trinity Church, you’ll find Lee’s final resting-place.

6. Nailsworth

(18 miles or 40 min drive from hotel)

Plum in a forested valley, Nailsworth village is hard-to-reach, but rewards the determined traveller with fine food. A reputation for culinary excellence, restaurants abound.

7. Minchinhampton

(18 miles or 40 min drive from Hatherley Manor Hotel & Spa)

Full of character and charm, Minchinhampton really is our hidden gem here. A handsome High Street and the wildflower Michinhampton Common (pictured above) provide two equally singular and special walks.

Minchinhampton Common

Hatherley Manor Hotel & Spa, Gloucester, Cotswolds

About Hatherley Manor

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