We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Best Cotswolds Town - Female Traveling Alone, NO CAR

New York City
6 posts
Save Topic
Best Cotswolds Town - Female Traveling Alone, NO CAR

I'm a 36-year old female from Manhattan planning a trip to the Cotswold's Sept 19-26. I'll be traveling alone and will not have a car, so I'm trying to find the best town to base myself in. I'm planning to rent a self-catering cottage for 7 days. Looking for the quintessential Cotswold's town, good restaurants, cool stores, etc. I'm also contemplating Ludlow and even Derbyshire......

Oxfordshire
Level Contributor
2,630 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Best Cotswolds Town - Female Traveling Alone, NO CAR

Why are you doing this?

If "cool stores" matter to you, the Cotswolds is the last place on earth you should be in: they can be pretty chilly in midwinter, but shopping simply isn't a leisure activity round here. The eateries are little more than OK (but if you're self-catering, why are restaurants so important?), and very variable. Good restaurants and "cool stores" (ugh) are about as good a definition of what's NOT quintessentially Cotswold.

If your two stated criteria really are your criteria, you'll go mad without a car in about 45 milliseconds, and the only Cotswold place you should even dream of staying in is Charlbury, which has no shops or restaurants but has the fastest train journey in the Cotswolds to central London.

You'll get lots of advice if you tell us what you're really looking for. On the evidence you've given, the Cotswolds without a car are a really, really awful place for you to be cooped up in for a week.

Oxfordshire
Level Contributor
2,630 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Best Cotswolds Town - Female Traveling Alone, NO CAR

That might have sounded a bit snippy. Let's try it another way, because you might have an odd view of the Cotswolds

If shops matter, you HAVE to stay in Oxford or Cheltenham. Both perfectly reasonable places, but small cities. Absolutely not at all quintessentially Cotswold, though OK buses and trains to get to some bits.

If you want to get round the area, the two best located places in the Cotswolds without a car are Moreton in Marsh (a quitessential, if slightly busy, Cotswold town with few shops apart from the essentials) or Charlbury (virtually shop-free) which both have a train and a fair few buses and a few excellent pubs. While great places to live, neither would keep anyone entertained for a week by themselves. Most people use them as bases for walking.

There's also a group of very pretty towns with a few restaurants and a smattering of tourist-oriented, but tasteful, shops: Burford, Northleach, Stow on the Wold, Chipping Campden and Winchcombe. None of these has good transport: you can get buses to all of them from elsewhere in the area, but without a car they're not good bases for getting round the area. Without a car, lovely places to stay for a week if you want to read, catch up on the novel you've been trying to write or just meander the (literally) thousands of miles of footpaths we're blessed with). But limited other entertainment options.

Decide which group fits your needs first. Remember that self-catering places can be an uncomfortable walk from anywhere you might want to be. Light pollution is a growing issue here, so roads more than a couple of hundred yards from a village centre often won't be lit at night.

New York City
6 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Best Cotswolds Town - Female Traveling Alone, NO CAR

Sorry I wasn't more clear in my initial post, here is some more info:

- I spent 10 days last November in a rented home in Kenmare, Ireland with no car. If I needed to get into town, I'd call a taxi to come pick me up. I loved Kenmare because it's a pretty little Irish town with a number of interesting shops and very good restaurants. It's also exceedingly picturesque.

Having said that, these are things I like to do while on vacation:

- Sit curled up with a book, a cup of tea, or a glass of wine in front of the fireplace.

- I love to buy food from the local butcher or farmers market. To me there's nothing better than cooking a great meal made from food from the surrounding area.

- I'm not looking to 'tour around' the Cotswolds. I'm just looking for a good town to base myself in, and relax. I live in Manhattan so I just want to recharge while I'm away

- By 'cool shops' I meant cute or interesting local shops (pottery, wool, etc).

- I'm hoping September will be a little less 'busy' in the Cotswolds. I prefer to travel in the off-season to avoid huge crowds.

- My ideal town would not be 'tiny', but would be big enough for me to enjoy for a week (if you been to Ireland, think Kenmare or Kinsale). I've been looking at houses in Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold, etc).

- I'm not looking for 'fine dining' on my trip, maybe just a couple of great local pubs that serve great food to.

- My plan is to fly from Cork City to Heathrow and take a train to the closest town to where my self-catering house is. I plan to just take a taxi from the station to wherever I'm staying.

Hope that helps clarify!

Worksop, United...
Destination Expert
for Orlando, Walt Disney World, Kissimmee
Level Contributor
10,059 posts
73 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Best Cotswolds Town - Female Traveling Alone, NO CAR

Burford, perhaps?

London
Level Contributor
2,214 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Best Cotswolds Town - Female Traveling Alone, NO CAR

I agree, of all the 'Cotswolds' towns, Burford probably has the most going for it. (Whether it is truly in the Cotswolds is a moot point).

I'm curious as to why everyone wants to go to the Cotswolds though, nice enough area, but so are many other rural English counties. Whoever works promoting tourism here, really deserves a pay rise.

Ludlow would be an excellent choice, historic town with a castle, great pubs and restaurants, in a wonderful part of the country.

Another option could be Abergavanny in Wales - your dates co-incide with the food festival, which is quite something;

http://www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com/

Though I'd get your accomodation booked quickly if it takes your fancy.

warrensburg,MO
Level Contributor
7,685 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Best Cotswolds Town - Female Traveling Alone, NO CAR

Burford not in the Cotswolds?

Surely just EalingBlue's personal moot point.

Or are you using Gloucestershire's "Cotswold" eastern administrative region as your basis for what some people regard as the true Cotswold area?

Lomita, CA
Level Contributor
624 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Best Cotswolds Town - Female Traveling Alone, NO CAR

Bourton on the Water. It's just beautiful.

Oxfordshire
Level Contributor
2,630 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Best Cotswolds Town - Female Traveling Alone, NO CAR

There are three groups of Cotswold towns:

- those that are there mainly for the benefit of their inhabitants, who mostly do lots of things (like run tiny, but global, businesses from home, look after a growing family while the spouse is dealing forex in London, or live in retirement) and have little to do with tourism. This group includes Burford (which isn't just most certainly in the Cotswolds, but has a sign issued by the Cotswold AONB authority saying it is as the first thing you see when you drive in from London), Chipping Campden, Winchcombe and Stow on the Wold. All these meet the poster's criteria: Chipping Campden has better bus connections elsewhere. Northleach and Moreton in Marsh might just squeeze into this category

- those that are pretty but little more than tourist-ridden sites by day and empty shells by night. Bibury is the worst of these (after the coaches go, there's absolutely no there there: not even a paper shop), but Bourton on the Water and Broadway are almost as bad. Bibury, for self-catering without a car, has to be avoided at all costs: the poster will probably survive a day in the other two before going crazy.

- a group of towns (like Stroud, Chipping Norton and Witney) which are useful to people living nearby but aren't that picturesque.

Anywhere else is just too small for the poster's needs.

It really is essential to be within walking distance of the town centre is you're self catering without a car. There aren't that many taxis, and you lose the whole point of being in a living community if you're stuck in a barn two miles out.

Cotswolds UK
Level Contributor
105 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Best Cotswolds Town - Female Traveling Alone, NO CAR

I couldn't agree more with that last poster. Do stay in a working town, I wouls recommend Wicnchcombe. There are buses to Cheltenham and Broadway with good walking in both directions,sensible eating in pubs and a couple of good restaurants, food shopping at local bakers and butchers and lots of local history.

There are several self catering establishments withtin the town as well as B&B.

Dont bury yourself in a hamlet without a car.

New York City
6 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Best Cotswolds Town - Female Traveling Alone, NO CAR

Thanks for all of your comments everyone, this is REALLY helpful info!!! I think I'll focus my self-catering search on Burford, Chipping Campden, and Stow-on-the-Wold. I'm hoping to find something in town or close enough to walk to town. I chose the Cotswolds because it was reasonably close to London and I hadn't spent any time there previously. I think I was also thinking there might be 'more going on' in that part of the countryside since it is more of a touristy area.