Visiting the Cotswolds is like traveling back in time, as you traverse through the picture-perfect countryside. Nestled in the heart of England, the tranquil landscape is characterized by rolling hills, meandering rivers, and lush green valleys. The quaint villages, with their honey-colored stone cottages, are historic respites from busy modern life. Strolling through the narrow and winding streets, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a postcard or movie set (it’s no wonder this was chosen as the backdrop for Downton Abbey). From impressive estates like Blenheim Palace to charming market towns, this well-preserved corner of the world offers a glimpse into a bygone era. Join us as we walk in the footsteps of history, soaking in some of the most scenic and meaningful places in the Cotswolds.

Learn about the Churchill Family at Blenheim Palace

Explore the historic Blenheim Palace while on tour in the Cotswolds with Classic Journeys

Visiting Blenheim Palace is a fascinating opportunity to better understand the legacy of Sir Winston Churchill, one of the most influential figures in modern history. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this impressive country house was built in the early 18th century as a gift to John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, for his victory in the Battle of Blenheim. The palace’s architecture, ornate interiors, and stunning gardens are well-preserved to showcase the grandeur of that era.

Sir Winston Churchill, who was born here in 1874, often returned to this opulent estate throughout his life to attend parties, paint, and spend time with family. He even proposed to his wife, Clementine Hozier, on this beautiful property. Visitors can explore a dedicated Churchill Exhibition that delves into the life and achievements of his political career, particularly his leadership during World War II. Stroll through the displays and get up close to his artifacts for an insightful trip down memory lane. Beyond the palace itself, the vast gardens and grounds beckon to be explored, with beautiful water features and manicured landscapes. On tour, you’ll be in the company of your expert local guide for an insider’s exploration of the house and property for an unforgettable visit.

Travel Your Way Through Jane Austen’s Countryside

Stroll through the scenic town of Bath, England and learn about Jane Austen

Exploring the Cotswolds allows you to step back into literary time as well, as this beautiful scenery helped to shape Jane Austen‘s classic novels. Soak in the beautiful countryside and charming villages that were brought to life in the pages of her books. Follow in her footsteps on curated walks through the countryside, imagining yourself in the settings of her novels. The rolling hills, meadows, and serene landscapes set the stage for scenes straight out of her stories and put you in the same backdrop.

While exploring Bath with your expert local guide, you’ll also gain a deeper understanding of the social norms, class distinctions, and lifestyles that she wrote about. The context of their daily routines, from tea time to market shopping, will enrich your understanding of the setting and characters. Specifically in Bath, where Jane Austen’s novels “Northanger Abbey” and “Persuasion” were both set, you can walk the very same streets that her characters did while listening to insightful anecdotes from your guide. The city’s elegant Georgian architecture and historical sites are deeply intertwined with her narratives, capturing the atmosphere of social gatherings and interactions. Today, there is a Jane Auten Centre, which is a museum offering insight into the author’s time in Bath as well as her impact on the literary world.

Living Downtown Abbey in Bampton

Walk through the scenic backdrop of Downtown Abbey in the Cotswolds, including St. Mary's Cathedral

On our Cotswolds walking tour, you’ll get to stroll down the narrow lanes of Bampton, where the village scenes of ‘Downton Abbey’ were filmed. This charming town in Oxfordshire is proud of its many well-preserved historic buildings that were used as the backdrop for this hit show. The parish church of St. Mary’s in Bampton was used as the setting for various church scenes and its beautiful architecture made it a perfect setting for weddings and funerals. Did you know that the exterior of Bampton Library was transformed into the Downton Cottage Hospital? Fans of the show will recognize the Bampton Library as a crucial setting for medical scenes and various storylines.

Bampton’s charming village green and streets were frequently used for outdoor scenes and during various events in the show. Step into character yourself and stop in some of the charming local shops, have some tea (or a pint in a pub) and truly immerse yourself in this quaint corner of England. A visit to Bampton offers an exciting opportunity to step into the world of ‘Downton Abbey‘ while also enjoying the timeless beauty of the Cotswolds. Whether you’re a fan of the series or simply seeking to immerse yourself in picturesque English countryside, visiting Bampton won’t disappoint.

Experience England’s Old World Heritage at the Chedworth Roman Villa

Explore Chedworth Roman Villa and marvel at the ruins

To go even further back in time, join us as we explore the Chedworth Roman Villa, which is an incredible archaeological site in Gloucestershire. Considered one of the most extensive Roman villas in England, it offers visitors a unique window into the past. Walking through the complex of temples and ruins, which date back to the 2nd century AD, you’ll marvel at how well it was preserved. You can still see its intricate mosaics and impressive bathhouses, giving you a glimpse into the lifestyle of the wealthy ancient Romans. Renowned for its stunning mosaic floors, this detailed artwork showcases the skill and craftsmanship of Roman artisans while depicting various scenes, from mythological figures to geometric patterns. Get up close to see the beautiful artistry before you, marveling others did so many years ago.

Take a stroll outside in the gardens and learn from your local guide all about the plants during that era and gain insight into the surrounding flora. The nearby springs provided lush gardens and became a location for a fascinating Nymphaeum (shrine to the water nymphs). Chedworth Roman Villa is an important site for archaeologists as well, offering a tangible link to the past, and providing a valuable historical resource for understanding Roman culture, architecture, and daily life. In the company of your expert local guide, this memorable site is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and anyone interested in exploring the Old World heritage of England.

Ready to walk through history with Classic Journeys? Join us on our curated walking tour of the Cotswolds!

Sheep grazing in front of Broughton Grange Castle in Costwolds, England

Explore The Cotswolds