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    Exploring the Cotswold Way

    Exploring the Cotswold Way

    By AlexToddDestinations

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    The Cotswold Way is arguably one of the best walking routes in the United Kingdom and is certainly one of the most well-known. Covering a distance of roughly 164.2 km, the route traverses the length of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and showcases some of the most picturesque villages and countryside that can be found anywhere in England.

    Exploring the Cotswold Way is a bucket list experience that is sought after by countless people each year who are looking to take in the historic and natural beauty that can be found in the south of England. From the market town of Chipping Campden to the historic city of Bath with its ancient Roman influences, there is so much to do and see on this incredible long distance walking route that you will wish you could spend just one more day exploring the trail.

    Whether you want to plan and undertake the journey on your own or need the help of booking a tour with a guide, read on to learn all you will need to know for an unforgettable walking adventure along the Cotswold Way National Trail.

    Cotswold Way Map

    The Cotswolds Map

    Overview of the Cotswold Way

    For over 50 years, thousands of outdoor and travel enthusiasts have flocked to the Cotswolds in order to make the epic journey along the Cotswold Way National Trail from Chipping Campden to Bath. Charming villages, the rolling green hills of the English countryside, and fascinating historical points of interest are just a few of the reasons why you might want to undertake an adventure along the Cotswold Way, but what are some of the critical details you will need to know in order to undertake such a journey?


    Start and End Points of the Cotswold Way

    As mentioned above, the Cotswold Way National Trail traditionally begins in the market town of Chipping Campden and winds its way through the picturesque landscape of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to end in the historic city of Bath. There are variations on the route that will alter your starting location, if you wanted to just complete the north or south half of the trail for instance; but in general, this is the route that you will take to complete the Cotswold Way.

    Length of the Cotswold Way

    The Cotswold Way National Trail covers a distance of approximately 164.2 km, taking you through some of the most beautiful locales in England. The journey can take anywhere between 6 and 12 days, depending on how fast of a walker you are; however, most people will spend 10 days walking the trail.

    Sample Cotswold Way Itinerary

    As mentioned above, most walkers take roughly 10 days to complete the full Cotswold Way. This can be altered if you are looking to complete just a portion of the trail or want to split it up over the course of several weekends, but here is a sample itinerary to get an idea of how your journey could look:

    Day 1: Chipping Campden to Stanton – 16.1 km
    Day 2: Stanton to Winchcombe – 12.9 km
    Day 3: Winchcombe to Cheltenham – 16.1 km
    Day 4: Cheltenham to Birdlip – 19.3 km
    Day 5: Birdlip to Painswick – 11.3 km
    Day 6: Painswick to Stonehouse – 15.3 km
    Day 7: Stonehouse to Wotton-under-Edge – 21.7 km
    Day 8: Wotton-under-Edge to Old Sodbury – 19.3 km
    Day 9: Old Sodbury to Cold Ashton – 16.1 km
    Day 10: Cold Ashton to Bath – 16.1 km

    When to Walk the Cotswold Way

    The Cotswold Way can easily be walked year-round; however, walking the trail in spring, summer, and early autumn will give you the opportunity to admire the gorgeous scenery and vibrant flora that dots the landscape. A good tip to avoid the crowds is to hike in May or September.

    What to Pack for the Cotswold Way

    Your packing list for an adventure along the Cotswold Way National Trail depends largely on whether you are looking to explore on your own or by booking a tour, as the latter option will most likely provide the luxury of luggage transfers.

    Outside of packing the usual outdoor gear like socks, moisture-wicking/quick-dry clothes, a backpack, proper walking shoes, etc., are:

    • 2-3 litres of water—enough to keep you hydrated for extended stretches
    • Light waterproof clothes like a poncho or windbreaker
    • Gaiters to protect your pants from getting soaked in the early morning
    • Sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun
    • A hat
    • Insect repellant spray

    When packing for the Cotswold Way, be sure to consider all the items you might need to stay comfortable on the trail, as it will be a lengthy journey.

    Highlights Along the Cotswold Way

    The Cotswold Way National Trail – and the Cotswolds AONB in general – is home to some incredibly beautiful scenery that rivals the very best in the whole of the United Kingdom. In addition to the picturesque landscape views, walkers will also be treated to fascinating historical sites like Broadway Tower, the ancient Roman thermal baths, and the Neolithic Long Barrow at Belas Knap, while also passing through quaint towns and villages like Chipping Campden, Winchcombe, Painswick, Bourton-on-the-Water, Birdlip, and Tormarton to name a few. There is no shortage of incredible highlights to be experienced along the Cotswold Way National Trail!


    Cotswold Way Tours

    The Cotswolds AONB is an amazing place to explore on holiday, and there are plenty of fun tours that will allow you to do so; but if you are looking to walk the length of the Cotswold Way, then booking one of the self-guided Cotswold Way tours below is the best way to go about it without any fuss:

    If you are wanting to experience the Cotswold Way in all of its glory, then the Cotswold Way Classic Walking Tour is the best option to explore. This self-guided adventure will take you along the full length of the Cotswold Way from Chipping Campden to Bath, covering the 164.2 km in 12 days. Along the way you will pass through all of the charming cottage-lined villages that dot the route, making for an unforgettable experience in the south of England.


    Looking to experience the entirety of the Cotswold Way in a shortened timeline? Then the Complete Cotswold Way in 9 Days is the tour you will be after. This follows the same route but features longer walking distances, making it the best tour for those in a time crunch or fitness enthusiasts who can push their bodies a bit further.

    Don’t fancy making the entire journey to Bath? Or maybe you have a limited amount of free time available during your trip to England? Whatever the reason may be, if you are in need of a shortened Cotswold Way experience, you could always try the Cotswold Way North Section tour. Travelling from Chipping Campden to Painswick in 7 days, you will still be able to get a feel for what makes the Cotswolds AONB such a special place.

    In a similar fashion to the tour listed above, the Cotswold Way South Section tour is a great experience in its own right, allowing you to catch a glimpse into the beautiful landscapes of the Cotswolds. This tour will take you from Painswick to Bath in 7 days, making it a great option if you’d prefer to walk that stretch of the trail, or if you have already completed the Cotswold Way North Section in the past!

    More Cotswold Way Articles

    Keen on reading more Cotswold Way articles to learn all that there is to know about this world-famous long distance walking trail? Then check out the links below to discover useful tips, tricks, and critical information about the Cotswold Way National Trail:

    The Cotswold Way: Self-Guided
    Frequently Asked Questions About the Cotswold Way
    When To Walk the Cotswold Way




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