Museums and historical buildings
There are numerous museums, historical buildings, stately homes and gardens in and around the Cotswolds and the Heart of England region. The list below is a small sample to give you a flavour for the wide range that are available.
Further information is available from Tourist Information centres, which are located in the major towns in the region.
- Corinium Museum, Cirencester GL7 2BX: Discover the ‘Treasures of the Cotswolds’ at the award-winning Corinium Museum. Trace the story of the Cotswolds from pre-history to the 19th century. See what life was like in Corinium, Roman Britain’s second largest town. Come face to face with Anglo-Saxons. Something for all the family. Also home to Cirencester Visitor Information Centre;
- Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection, Bourton-on-the-Water GL54 2BY (www.cotswold-motor-museum.co.uk): Multi award-winning museum for all ages and ideal for families. Home to Brum – star of the children’s TV series. Classic cars. Quizzes, old fashioned toys and hands-on activities;
- Heritage Motor Centre, Warwick, CV35 0BJ (www.heritage-motor-centre.co.uk): Uncover the story of the British motor industry with the exciting and interactive exhibitions. Home to the world's largest collection of historic British cars and great fun for all the family.
- Roman Baths, Bath BA1 1LZ (www.romanbaths.co.uk): Around Britain’s only hot springs, the Romans built the finest religious spa in Northern Europe. This great temple and bathing complex still flows with natural hot water and its extensive remains lie beneath the centre of Bath. Brand new displays, costumed characters and free audioguides in 8 languages.
Historical buildings, stately homes and gardens
- Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 9HH (www.shakespeare.org.uk): Discover where the young William Shakespeare courted his future bride Anne Hathaway at her picturesque family home. Anne Hathaway's Cottage is a thatched farmhouse with stunning grounds and gardens, which overflow with beautiful blooms, and traditional shrubs. See for yourself the many original items of family furniture, including the Hathaway Bed, dating from Anne's time and take in the beauty and tranquillity of the charming cottage gardens.
- Batsford Arboretum & Wild Garden, Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 9AB (www.batsarb.co.uk): Set in 56 acres of natural beauty and once home to the famous Mitford family. Meandering paths wander through glades and alongside streams. A garden of peace and tranquillity for all seasons;
- Berkeley Castle, Berkeley GL13 9BQ (www.berkeley-castle.com): England’s oldest inhabited castle. Over 24 generations of Berkeleys have transformed a savage Norman fortress into a stately home full of treasures. Learn about murder, mystery and plotting, then enjoy the grounds, adjacent Butterfly Farm and church;
- Blenheim Palace, Woodstock OX20 1PX (www.blenheimpalace.com): A World Heritage site and the birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is one of the finest private houses in England. It is surrounded by over 2,000 acres of spectacular Capability Brown parkland and award-winning formal gardens;
- Broadway Tower Country Park, Broadway WR12 7LB (www.broadwaytower.co.uk): A unique Capability Brown Folly Tower open to visitors wanting to experience great English heritage in an inspiring location. Displays, roof viewing platform, shop and Red Deer Park are a must for Cotswold visits. Broadway Tower is one of England’s outstanding viewpoints and offers unrivalled views over a 62 mile radius and as many as 16 counties;
- Broughton Castle, Banbury OX15 5EB (www.broughtoncastle.com): This historic 14th century moated castle, enlarged in the 16th century, has fine walled gardens with herbaceous borders, old roses and clipped box. Inside boasts splendid plaster ceilings, fireplaces and panelling. Described as "the most romantic house imaginable", Broughton Castle has won starring roles in many films, including The Madness of King George and Shakespeare in Love;
- Chastleton House, near Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 0SU: A rare gem of a Jacobean country house, Chastleton House was built between 1607 and 1612 by a prosperous wool merchant, as an impressive statement of wealth and power. Owned by the same increasingly impoverished family until 1991, the house remained essentially unchanged for nearly 400 years as the interiors and contents gradually succumbed to the ravages of time. With virtually no intrusion from the 21st century, this fascinating place exudes an informal and timeless atmosphere in a gloriously unspoilt setting;
- Chedworth Roman Villa, Yanworth, near Cheltenham GL54 3LJ (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-chedworthromanvilla): The remains of one of the largest Romano-British villas in the country, featuring several fine mosaics, two bathhouses, hypocausts, a water-shrine and latrine. Chedworth is the best site in the country for exploring and understanding the remains of a large country house of the Roman period. The Villa is very much an interactive attraction, with many events being staged so that your experience of the site is enhanced and your understanding of the Roman way of life improved.
- Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester GL1 2LX (www.gloucestercathedral.org.uk): A warm welcome awaits you at Gloucester Cathedral – one of the finest medieval buildings in the country. Here you will discover magnificent stained glass, royal tombs, fan-vaulted medieval cloisters and a rich musical heritage. Admission free but £5 donation requested;
- Hailes Abbey, near Winchcombe GL54 5PB (www.english-heritage.org.uk/hailes): Set in the beautiful western fringe of the Cotswolds surrounded by wooded pasture, the Abbey was one of the main centres of pilgrimage due to a phial said to contain the blood of Christ. The museum displays fine examples of sculpture and decorated tiles;
- Hidcote, Chipping Campden GL55 6LR (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hidcote): Relax and unwind in one of the country's great gardens and experience for yourself the fulfilment of a quiet American's English fantasy. You'll never forget the exquisite garden rooms, each with its own unique character. Discover rare shrubs and trees, herbaceous borders and unusual plants from around the world. The garden changes in harmony with the seasons, from vibrant spring bulbs to autumn's spectacular Red Border. Nestled in the Cotswolds with sweeping views across the Vale of Evesham, a visit to Hidcote is inspirational at any time of year;
- Highgrove Gardens, Near Tetbury GL8 8PH (www.highgrovegardens.com):HRH The Prince of Wales has spent 30 years transforming the grounds of Highgrove into what have been acknowledged as some of the most inspired and innovative gardens in the United Kingdom. His Royal Highness's strict adherence to organic and sustainable methods has helped create gardens which are both magical and intriguing while being environmentally sound; encouraging both plants and wildlife to thrive;
- Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Garden, Kenilworth, CV8 1NE (www.english-heritage.org.uk/kenilworth): One of the most spectacular castle ruins in England, Kenilworth is a powerful reminder of great leaders and events;
- Painswick Rococo Garden, Painswick GL6 6TH (www.rococogarden.org.uk): The garden is situated in a hidden Cotswold valley. Its flamboyant design combines formality and informality and is a magical experience at any time of the year. Charming garden structures nestle next to informal plantings, herbaceous borders and a striking kitchen garden;
- Rodmarton Manor, Cirencester GL7 6PF (www.rodmarton-manor.co.uk): Attractive Arts and Crafts House with original hand made furniture, painted pottery, wall hangings. A large garden of outdoor rooms with many parts including topiary, herbaceous borders and plenty of places to sit;
- Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe GL54 5JD (www.sudeleycastle.co.uk): Once the property of King Ethelred the Unready, later home of Queen Katherine Parr and garrison headquarters of Prince Rupert during the Civil War. Romantic ruins, award-winning gardens and one thousand years of fascinating history are among the many reasons to visit;
- Sulgrave Manor, near Banbury OX17 2SD (www.sulgravemanor.org.uk): The ancestral home of the Washingtons in Britain. A compact Manor House - a gentle stroll through three centuries of English history in the company of a friendly and informative guide. The largest UK collection of George Washington memorabilia, demonstrating the British contribution to the origins of the USA, with a separate exhibition on George's life and career in the US;
- Snowshill Manor & Garden, Snowshill WR12 7JU (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/snowshillmanor): Explore the treasures collected by one man with an eye for the unusual. Be intrigued by the story of Charles Wade, be amazed by his huge and varied collection from around the world and relax in the peaceful hillside garden;
- Upton House & Gardens, Near Banbury OX15 6HT (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/uptonhouse): Presented in its 1930s heyday, this handsome country mansion contains world-class art collections. Delve into the story of a millionaire's life, hear stories, play games, relax and read magazines or journals. Wander through the beautiful gardens, with sweeping lawns, terraced borders and a kitchen garden which supplies the restaurant;
- Warwick Castle, Warwick CV34 4QU (www.warwick-castle.com): Britain's greatest mediaeval experience. From a mediaeval household in the Kingmaker exhibition to a Victorian 'Royal Weekend Party'. Kingmaker feasts and Highwayman Suppers most Fridays and Saturdays;
- Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Tetbury GL8 8QS (www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt): Spectacular all year round, the Forestry Commission’s National Arboretum contains one of Europe’s finest collections of trees and shrubs. 17 miles of paths to explore, it is a magical place to visit for the whole family. Famous for its beautiful displays of autumn colour, a popular place to visit in spring for the flowering rhododendrons and in the summer for the Festival of the Tree.
- Woodchester Mansion, Nympsfield GL10 3TS (www.woodchestermansion.org.uk): Woodchester Mansion is a 19th Century Victorian Gothic Masterpiece mysteriously abandoned mid-construction in 1873. Hidden in a secluded Cotswold valley, it is untouched by time and the modern world. This Grade 1 Listed Building has been saved from dereliction, but will never be completed. Visitors walk through an extraordinary architectural exhibit in which the secrets of the medieval Gothic builders and masons are laid bare. The carvings in Woodchester Mansion are among the finest of their kind in the world.