Nestling quietly in the famous Cotswold hills, surrounded by some of Gloucestershire's most delightful countryside is the historic wool town of Painswick, regularly referred to as "the Queen of the Cotswolds".
The town's many beautiful buildings, built of mellow Cotswold stone from the local quarry on Painswick Beacon, can be seen as you wander around its quaint and narrow streets. New Street, constructed around 1428 when the wool and cloth trade was flourishing, contains Painswick's only example of exposed timber framing. There are also rare 17th century spectacle stocks near the court house and the 14th century houses in Bisley Street include two original Donkey Doors, wide enough for panniered donkeys who carried the wool from the numerous mills along the local valleys.
The beautiful church of St Mary has Norman origins and was extended around 1480 in the English perpendicular style. Folklore holds that the churchyard will never have more than 99 yew trees and that should a 100th grow the Devil will pull it out. The churchyard is also famous for its "Clipping the church" ceremony, held in September, where local children wear flowers in their hair, join hands and embrace St. Mary's parish church. A closer look at the church tower still reveals traces of Painswick's role in the English Civil War.
Painswick is undoubtedly a village for all seasons, whatever the weather. Its tranquillity and peace make for a wonderful holiday or weekend break, whether you are looking for a cosy log fire set in an original hearth in the winter, or a delicious cream tea in the summer. There are a variety of small shops and galleries to browse around, as well as pubs, restaurants and tea shops serving good food.
The countryside around Painswick is ideal for walkers, bird watchers, wildlife enthusiasts. The famous Cotswold Way footpath, which runs from Bath to Chipping Campden, goes through the village and Painswick is also an ideal starting point for many other delightful walks. Undulating areas of pasture land fall to the Wick stream, which supplied the power for the woollen mills that can still be seen along its length. Painswick Beacon has magnificent views across the Severn Valley and on a clear day the Welsh Mountains can be seen. The outlines of an Iron Age fort can be seen around the summit.
The celebrated Rococo Gardens at Painswick House are open to the public throughout the year. In late winter and early spring the carpets of snowdrops are truly breathtaking.
Food & Drink
For a village with a population of only c.2,000, Painswick is fortunate to be blessed with a good range of places to eat and drink. The selection below is a sample of the options available:
- Juniper Bar & Restaurant at the Cotswolds 88 Hotel (www.cotswolds88hotel.com): Indulge your culinary tastes in the restaurant which sprawls the ground floor of the main building. Seasonal and local ingredients are key to the contemporary menu and are complemented by internationally sourced wines, spirits, and champagnes. Visitors can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea in the 3 AA rosette restaurant or outside on the terrace, with views over the Cotswolds Hills. The intimate bar provides guests with an ideal setting to enjoy the signature cocktails or a pre/post meal drink. There is also a private lounge with log fire, a balcony and library to relax in whilst sampling a signature 88 tea with homemade scones, sandwiches, cakes, coffee and teas.
- The Falcon Restaurant (www.falconpainswick.co.uk): Tasty treats are available at any time of the day, from a hearty home-cooked Gloucestershire breakfast to delicious coffee for elevenses, scrumptious afternoon teas and wholesome lunches and suppers. The Falcon restaurant offers the best of fresh, seasonal British food with an interesting twist, in the belief that a dish should be savoured to the very last mouthful. A refreshing selection of wines, beers and well-kept ales are offered to enhance your meal.
- Royal Oak (www.royaloakpainswick.co.uk): A traditional country pub offering good real ales, ciders and lagers and traditional home cooked food. Everyone is welcome for tea, coffee, snacks or a main meal. The Royal Oak has a nice secluded courtyard with tables and chairs, where you can sit end enjoy your drinks and meal in comfort - a real sun trap in the summer. Well behaved dogs are welcome in the bar area away from diners.
- Olivas Deli & Coffee Shop (www.olivasdeli.co.uk): In the village centre, Olivas provides wonderful food and drink in a warm, friendly atmosphere. Sample the delicatessen, have a cup of coffee and stay for lunch or dinner. Olivas also provides high quality catering for all kinds of events, from weddings to birthday parties.