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The South Cotswolds

Spectacular views across the Cotswolds

  • Cotswolds

  • 5 nights
  • Half Board
  • Jul

    Sep

    Oct

Moderate

What does this mean?

Tour codes: 70715

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Our holiday walking grades

Moderate

Grade 4

Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain.

Most of these holidays have an element of sightseeing as well.

Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m.

Overview

Holiday Highlights

  • Take in the view from Leckhampton Hill
  • Walk the finest sections of the Cotswold Way
  • Count the bizarre shaped yew trees in Painswick church yard
  • Enjoy the villages, many complete with manor house and church
  • Discover Laurie Lee's hidden valleys

Travelling west of London the further you go the more alluring the scenery. The Cotswolds are renowned for picture postcard beauty. Honey coloured stone villages and open rolling grassy ridges. For the walker, historian, geologist and botanist there is unlimited fascination.

On this holiday we are exploring the southern end of the Cotswold escarpment, close to Cheltenham and Gloucester. We enjoy some of the finest sections of the Cotswold Way. Our walking will take in Leckhampton Hill, with spectacular views of the Devil’s Chimney and the pretty villages of Painswick and Winchcombe. The hills are not high, so the walking is undulating but we get high enough to enjoy stupendous views west to the Severn Estuary and Wales beyond. While passing through villages look out for fine churches built in the middle ages with the riches from the local wool trade.

These riches are packed into a compact area so travel from our hotel is short, allowing plenty of time each day to enjoy the local riches. This really is a picture postcard holiday not to be missed. 

  • Half board en-suite accommodation (breakfasts & dinners in the hotel)
  • Private coach transport to and from the trailheads, when necessary
  • Services of a dedicated tour leader
  • Entrance fees (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Lunches
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Travel Insurance

Holiday Information

Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.

NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen

View Holiday Information Sheet

Itinerary & Travel

Itinerary Details

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.

Your Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival day

Meals

Dinner

Accommodation

Independent arrival at the Jurys Inn Cheltenham. Check in is from 4pm. Dinner is at approximately 7.30pm in the hotel restaurant. 

Please aim to be in the hotel bar at 6.30pm - an hour before dinner - for an introduction to your tour leader, an outline of the planned programme for your holiday and the chance to meet your walking companions.

Day 2

Painswick Beacon

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    4.5 hours

  • Distance

    7.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    356/286m

Our first full day walk starts in the attractive and elegant Cotswold town of Painswick, known as the Queen of The Cotswolds. We explore the historical streets and see the famous yew trees before walking through the Painswick Valley with a short climb up to Painswick Beacon. We will be rewarded with stunning views from the summit across the Vale of Severn. The walk continues along the Cotswold Way passing through woods to Cooper's Hill, then down to The Great Witcombe Roman Villa, before descending through fields to Witcombe Reservoirs. 

Day 3

Laurie Lee's Hidden Valleys

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    4.5 hours

  • Distance

    7 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    446/220m

We start in Slad, Laurie Lee’s beloved home, bought to life in Cider with Rosie. We walk through Laurie's home valley, with stunning views and quiet glades. Leaving the Slad Valley behind we walk through undulating woods and valleys to Miserden with views down into the Golden Valley. Miserden is a chocolate box Cotswold village, where scenes of 'Cider with Rosie' were filmed due to telegraph poles having been removed by the Lord of the Manor.

Day 4

Coberley, Devil’s Chimney & Crickley Country Park

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    4.5 hours

  • Distance

    8.5 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    308/333m

A short drive in our private coach takes us to Seven Springs from where we follow the Cotswold Way taking in Leckhampton Hill and the Devil's Chimney with spectacular views over the Severn Vale. We continue via the Cotswold Escarpment and pass through Crickley Hill Country Park, returning to the hotel via the Gloucestershire Way. 

This is an undulating walk initially through farmland to an attractive village with Dick Whittington connections, before following the edge of the Cotswolds escapment along Leckhampton Hill to the unusual natural feature of the Devil's Chimney. There are great views on a clear day across the Vale of Severn towards the Malvern Hills and down onto the town of Cheltenham, before continuing on the Cotswold Way to wooded Crickley Hill.

Day 5

Winchcombe, Sudeley Castle & Hailes Abbey

Meals

Breakfast & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Time

    5 hours

  • Distance

    8 miles

  • Ascent/Descent

    351m

Today’s walk is based around the village of Winchcombe, to the north east of Cheltenham. The village describes itself as the Walking Capital of the Cotswolds. We start by passing Sudeley Castle, now a hotel with gardens. We then climb the flanks of Round Hill before crossing the ancient Salt Way along which in the Middle Ages sackfulls of salt were transported by packhorse to the manors and monasteries of Gloucestershire. 

Our walk then takes us around the edge of Guiting Wood on the Cotswold Plateau, much of which is ancient woodland rich in wildlife. As we head towards Farmcote, there are fine views across the Vale of Evesham. We then come to the majestic ruin of Hailes Abbey, a former Cistercian monastery. From here we head back south towards Winchcombe.

Day 6

Departure day

Meals

Breakfast

Independent departure after breakfast. Check out of the hotel is by 12pm. We hope you have enjoyed your holiday and we look forward to welcoming you on another soon.

Departure dates for your selected tour

30th Jul 2022 - 4th Aug 2022 (5 Nights)

10th Sep 2022 - 15th Sep 2022 (5 Nights)

1st Oct 2022 - 6th Oct 2022 (5 Nights)

Travel Details

Private coach transport to and from the trailheads when necessary is included. 

Accommodation

Accommodation information

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.

Jurys Inn Cheltenham

The Jurys Inn Cheltenham is a contemporary and comfortable hotel, located on the edge of Cheltenham. The hotel has 122 guest bedrooms and your standard rooms include Wi-Fi-, Freeview TV, hairdryer and tea & coffee making facilities. 

If time allows, you have access to the hotel's leisure facilities which include indoor swimming pool, fully equipped gym, steam room and sauna. 

Breakfast and evening meals are taken in the hotel's Burford Room Restaurant. 

Cheltenham Spa train station is located just 5 minutes drive from the hotel, making it convenient if arriving by public transport. Alternatively, if you are driving to the hotel, there are plenty of car parking spaces (charged by the hotel at £6 per day). 

Check in is from 4pm and check out is by 12 noon. 

Trip Information

All the details you need

Holiday Grade

This Grade 4 moderate holiday includes full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain and is likely to include an element of sightseeing as well. Half day walking will probably include about 3 hours of walking, with full days having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to about 600m. See the 'Proposed Itinerary' section for more information.

Walks & Excursions

The Cotswolds, Britain’s largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, cover 800 square miles of gently rolling and partly wooded hills dotted with attractive villages of honey-coloured local limestone.  The Cotswold escarpment, created when a block of the underlying rock fractured and tilted provides some spectacular walking trails including sections of the Cotswold Way which traverses 105 miles of Cotswold countryside from Chipping Campden in the north to Bath in the south.

Local Transport Costs

All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.

Optional Excursions

A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.

Spending Money

Holiday Budgeting

When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.

Tipping

Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.

Tour Leaders & Local Guides

Tour Leaders

Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.

Leader's Evening Briefing

Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.

Your Travel Details

Personal Details Check

To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.

Passports and Visas

Passport Information for United Kingdom

Any non UK or EU citizens may be subject to passport, identity card or visa requirements to enter the United Kingdom.

Meals

This tour is offered on a half board basis, with breakfasts and evening meals taken in the hotel's restaurant. Lunches are not included in the holiday cost, however packed lunches are available to purchase from the hotel or there will be opportunities to purchase lunches on your walks.

Footwear & Kit List

Footwear

Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks. 

General Kit List

Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.

If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:

  • Waterproof jacket (Goretex or similar) and trousers
  • Lightweight quick-drying trousers
  • Walking T-shirt/shirts
  • Walking socks
  • Fleece or jumper
  • Sun hat, sunglasses, lip salve and sun block
  • Warm hat and gloves (if appropriate)
  • Swimwear (if appropriate)
  • Day sack (this should be able to carry all you would need for the day's activity)
  • Day sack liner
  • Water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity (more than 1 bottle may be required)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Lunchbox
  • Walking poles (should you find them useful)
  • Sit mat

This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.

Travel Documents Checklist

Documents and Information to take with you:

  • Holiday money
  • Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
  • Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
  • Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
  • Holiday booking confirmation document
  • Travel insurance details (if applicable)
  • Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about

Water To Go

An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.

We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.

Maps, Guidebooks & Other Information

Maps, Guidebooks & More

The walks are covered by the following map:

Ordnance Survey Explorer series 1:25,000
Map 179: Gloucester, Cheltenham & Stroud

The Map Shop

If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:

The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
WR8 0HJ
England

Tel: 01684 593 146
Website: www.themapshop.co.uk
E-mail: [email protected]

If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.

Weather

Visit the following websites for an idea of the climate in your destination:

Staying Healthy On Holiday

Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.

Health Advice for United Kingdom

No compulsory immunisations are required for holidays in the UK although you should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended for life in Britain. Tetanus immunisation is recommended.

Further Travel Advice

For further advice please visit:

You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.

Travel Insurance

Although not compulsory for British and EU citizens resident in the UK, we strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance to cover you in the event of eventualities such as unexpected cancellation, accident or illness before your holiday or the loss of personal possessions.

Visitors who are not British Citizens (or who are not EU citizens resident in the UK), must be adequately insured to join our holidays and will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.

Personal Safety

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.

Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.

Cultural Awareness

Responsible Travel

We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.

The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust

Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.

Heart and Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.

Staying In Touch

Mobile Phones

Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements. 

Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.  

As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.

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