Here at County Homesearch, we’re always inspired by the annual round-up of the UK’s best towns, villages and regions to live over at the Sunday Times Best Places To Live Guide. This year, our regional expert property finders wanted to focus on one of the best-known and most-loved areas of the United Kingdom. Inspired by these stunning, tranquil, and truly aspirational picks, our local property finder, Stephen Wolfendon, has come up with a list of his favourite residential spots in the outstandingly beautiful region of the Cotswolds.
Cheltenham is one of the top spots for the Cotswolds list, and it isn’t hard to see why! Our property finders have included Cheltenham on this list for numerous reasons – this beautiful spa town in the heart of Gloucestershire is always a firm favourite in the region.
Known for its abundance of festivals, artisan cafes and amazing period architecture, Cheltenham’s appeal saw it nominated as a regional winner by this year’s Sunday Times ‘Best Places To Live’ Guide- pipping countless others to the post to become the most coveted place to live in the South West.
The home of the March jamboree and the October literary festival, the rich culture of Cheltenham is certainly a contributing factor to its appeal: with the Everyman Theatre and the Wilson Art Gallery providing entertainment in the few and far between months that no event is taking place.
Otherwise, Cheltenham’s upmarket high street (with such names as Jo Malone and Radley) offers visitors retail amusement amongst the culinary excellence the town offers residents and guests alike. A truly well-linked place to be, you’re just 50 minutes from Birmingham, 2 hours to Manchester and under two hours to the capital.
Great Tew, Oxfordshire
This gorgeous, tiny village might seem an underdog in comparison to the likes of glossy Cheltenham. In fact, this petite civil parish is proving to be one of our property finders’ most popular homes across the region, attracting even royal recommendation.
Settled between Chipping Norton and Banbury (under ten miles from each), Great Tew is populated by 17th century architecture, including residential cottages and the local pub, The Falkland Arms – now in the Michelin guide!
With a village shop, a cafe, and a cricket club to add to the parish’s appeal, the Great Tew Estate is often home to festivals and live music – including the locally-loved Cornbury Music Festival.
Part of the village’s modern appeal is its proximity to the chic Soho Farmhouse – a must-visit rural destination and elite members club set in the midst of the Oxfordshire countryside. The latest venture from the Soho House group, known for its exclusivity, this rural idyll is a wonderful place to relax, exercise or unwind in style. With all this and more, it’s no surprise that members of the royal family – namely Megan Markle and her husband Prince Harry, the Duchess and Duke of Sussex have been known to visit, and the Duchess even held her hen party at Soho!
Soho Farmhouse is just 5 minutes away – with Oxford centre 40 minutes by car and London under an hour by train from Oxford Parkway.. All in all, Great Tew is a truly well-connected spot in which to live.
Tetbury, in Gloucestershire, is often termed ‘the Southern gateway to the Cotswolds’ – and what a gateway it is. This town’s beauty truly is award-winning – winning five consecutive Gold awards in the Regional “Heart of England in Bloom” competition from 2006 to 2010m and achieving the title of category winner “Best Small Town” in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
With all those accolades, you would be forgiven for expecting magnificence – and Tetbury delivers. This beautiful Cotswolds town is home to a diverse collection of boutique shops, artisanal cafes and restaurants and, crucially, spectacular architecture. Races, a street fair, the flower show and Woolsack day all nod to Tetbury’s place in history, as a wool town and home to an Anglo-Saxon monastery. These events, along with Tetbury Music Festival, the town’s annual classical music festival, give Tetbury a hum at certain times of the year.
Meanwhile, nearby Highgrove House, The Royal Gardens at Highgrove and Chavenage House cement the region’s historic popularity with royal residents – indeed, as the current home of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, the tradition has continued into the 21st century.
Just over an hour to Oxford and just over two to London, Tetbury is the perfect blend of tranquil and humming.
Last but by no means least, this beautiful regional hotspot has been dubbed ‘the capital of the Cotswolds’ for its truly iconic features and landscape. This historic market town, once the second-largest in Britain, enjoys bustling markets, a tranquil landscape and plentiful amenities.
A Roman settlement named in the Domesday Book of 1086, Cirencester today is a cultural hub – with events like vintage artisan markets, tours by local theatre companies and much more. Local schools make Cirencester the perfect place to settle with young ones, and transport links are truly excellent – at two hours to London, one hour to Oxford and similar to Birmingham, settling in Cirencester certainly doesn’t have to mean settling for rural peace and quiet.
Find out more about Cirencester, Great Tew, Tetbury, and Cheltenham, by getting in touch with our local property finder for more information. Together with County Homesearch, find your new home in the Cotswolds today.