1808 | The Cotswolds & Oxford

Rolling landscapes dotted about with pretty villages, the English countryside in its 'Sunday best'

This tour combines some of England's very best gardens, the charm and beauty of Cotswolds' villages and the comfort of a splendid country inn - all set against a backdrop of some of England's prettiest countryside. We have been coming to the Cotswolds for more than a dozen years - we know it well, and we know how best to show it off.

The Cotswolds
Or, more properly, the Cotswold Hills, is a range of rolling yellow oolitic limestone hills some 25 miles/40 km wide and 90 miles/145 km long and confined largely to the counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. It is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is especially characterised by 'chocolate-box' towns and villages, each built of a slightly different coloured stone, varying from a warm grey to a rich, deep honey colour.

Since Norman times it has been inextricably association with sheep and the production of wool, and it is this trade which made the Cotswolds incredibly prosperous. The Cotswolds are notable too, for being the natural home of the Arts and Crafts Movement, various examples of which we will see throughout the tour.

What our customers say about this tour . . .

Our Cotswold tour with Adderley surpassed our expectations. The selection of gardens was wonderfully diverse and our accommodations at the Lamb Inn were comfortable and charming. We loved Tim's informative commentaries as he drove us on beautiful back roads . . . I would highly recommend their tours. Lois Boyles, USA, June 2014

Tim is a marvelous and charming host. He is always attentive to the needs and interests of his tour participants. This is one of the finest tours I've experienced. Jean Mahoney, USA, June 2014

It's so fantastic to get to know interesting people from far away that you would never meet if it were not for your tours! Christina Nilsson, Sweden, June 2014

Sleeping & Eating
We will stay in the heart of the Cotswolds, at the Slaughters Country Inn, in the impossibly pretty village of Lower Slaughter and, when we dine out, we will dine at three of our favourite pubs, The Horse & Groom in Bourton-on-the-Hill, The Kingham Plough in Kingham and The Swan Inn in Swinbrook.

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At a glance
Garden tour
10 gardens including:
Free day in Oxford
Max group size 12
Hidcote Manor
2 private garden visits
Kiftsgate Court
Cotswold Market Towns
Charming hotel
Waterperry Gardens
Quintessential English countryside
Excellent food
Rousham House
Fully escorted
Day 1 | Tuesday, 12 June

From the airports to the Cotswolds, via Waterperry Gardens

Tim will collect you from either Stansted Airport or from the Sheraton Heathrow Hotel, immediately north of Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport and, once we are all together, we drive west for lunch and the afternoon at Waterperry Gardens, the gardens of the famous, former School of Horticulture for Ladies, founded in 1932 by Miss Beatrix Havergal. Among many other things, the gardens include one of the finest herbaceous borders in the country.

From Waterperry it is a little over an hour's drive to The Slaughters Country Inn, our hotel for the week, in the achingly-picturesque Cotswold village of Lower Slaughter, where we will arrive in good time to check-in, relax and enjoy a drink before dinner at the hotel.

Today's total driving is about 150 miles/240 km, setting off from Stansted, or 85 miles/135 km, setting off from Heathrow

Tuesday, 12 June
Wisteria arch, Waterperry Gardens.
Day 2 | Wednesday, 13 June

Two Cotswold neighbours, and they couldn't be more different!

Our day is spent in the north of the Cotswold Hills, firstly with visits to Stow-on-the-Wold, one of the Cotswold's many picturesque market towns, and to Broadway Tower, for the views over the Vale of Evesham. We then have the whole of the middle part of the day at Hidcote Manor, a world-famous Arts & Crafts garden created, very largely, by Lawrence Johnston, an Anglicised American who began gardening at Hidcote shortly after his mother bought the estate in 1907. It became his life's work and one of England's most influential 20th-century gardens.

We lunch at Hidcote and, later in the afternoon, cross the road to visit neighbouring Kiftsgate Court, a romantic garden, again, of the Arts & Crafts period with far-reaching views over the Vale of Evesham, and home to the Kiftsgate Rose. Unusually, the garden has twice passed from mother to daughter, from Heather Muir, who made the garden, to her granddaughter, Anne Chambers, who gardens it today.

We have dinner at the excellent Horse & Groom in Bourton-on-the-Hill, a frequent winner of the Good Pub Guide 'Gloucestershire Dining Pub of the Year'.

Today's total driving is about 50 miles/80 km

Wednesday, 13 June
Kiftsgate Court garden. Courtesy Bodil Enoksson.
Day 3 | Thursday, 14 June

The city of dreaming spires

We spend the whole of today in Oxford, a city most associated with the oldest university in the English-speaking world, where teaching has existed since at least 1096.

There is a great deal to do and see in Oxford, but to start the day off, and to orientate ourselves to the city, we hire a specialist city guide, from Footprint Tours, to take you on a 2-hour walking tour of the city. We will assist you in planning your day, but the day is your own, until we meet later in the day, for afternoon tea at the Old Parsonage.

We return to Lower Slaughter for dinner at our hotel.

Today's total driving is about 40 miles/65 km

Thursday, 14 June
Punts on the River Thames at Oxford. Courtesy Marianne Larsen.
Day 4 | Friday, 15 June

A private garden and Wolf Hall!

Our first visit is a private guided tour of Upton Wold, one of our favourite gardens on any of our tours. The garden, created by Ian and Caroline Bond since 1973, has just about everything one could wish for in a garden, and a setting to die for! We have coffee at Upton Wold before lunch in nearby Moreton-in-Marsh, another of the many charming market towns in the Cotswolds.

After lunch and an enjoyable wander around Moreton-in-Marsh, we visit Broughton Castle, home of the Lords Saye and Sele and recent set for the BBC's widely-acclaimed Tudor drama, Wolf Hall. We have dinner on our way home, at the Kingham Plough, another recent winner of the Good Pub Guide 'Oxfordshire Dining Pub of the Year'.

Today's total driving is about 60 miles/100 km

Friday, 15 June
Broughton Castle parterre. Courtesy Marianne Larsen.
Day 5 | Saturday, 16 June

A journey through the heart of the Cotswolds

We start our final full day with a wonderfully touristy drive along the Coln Valley, stopping at the Saxon church of St Andrew in Coln Rogers and again, in Bibury, to visit Arlington Row, a medieval row of former weavers' cottages.

Our lunchtime destination is Kelmscott Manor, the Cotswold retreat of William Morris and his family, and of his friend and colleague Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the Pre-Raphaelite artist. We will have lunch at Kelmscott and spend the early-afternoon exploring this centre of the Arts & Crafts movement, before the second half of the afternoon at nearby Buscot Park. Home of the Lords Farringdon, Buscot Park was built between 1779 and 1783 as an Italianate country house with extensive pleasure gardens that surround the house. On one side of the house, the walled kitchen garden now shelters the Four Seasons garden and, on the other, woodland walks lead to one of Britain's finest water gardens, an unusual marriage of Italianate formality and English parkland landscape - overall, a beautiful house in a stunning setting.

We dine splendidly at The Swan Inn, in Swinbrook, on our way home.

Today's total driving is about 50 miles/80 km

Saturday, 16 June
Harold Peto's water garden at Buscot Park. Courtesy Bodil Enoksson.
Day 6 | Sunday, 17 June

Sunday in the Cotswolds, it doesn't get much better than this!

After a suitably lazy start for a Sunday, we journey west to visit Sudeley Castle and its gardens. Set in its own combe, Sudeley Castle enjoys the most perfect setting and its award-winning gardens, full of new planting and some recent redesigning, is quite the equal to its natural surroundings.

We will have lunch at Sudeley, before embarking on an adventure. Throughout the year, but especially during the spring and summer, Britain's gardeners open their gardens to the public, to raise money for charity, and these 'openings' are administered by the National Garden Scheme (NGS). Sunday afternoons are the most popular time to open gardens and, although I won't know where we are going until the NGS publishes its programme, in February 2018, I have no doubt as to either the quality of the gardens, or the choice to be had.

We return to Lower Slaughter for an end-of-tour dinner at our hotel.

Today's total driving is about 60 miles/100 km

Sunday, 17 June
NGS garden in Gloucestershire. Courtesy Bodil Enoksson.
Day 7 | Monday, 18 June

Rousham House, and London's Airports

After a decent breakfast and loading the minbus, our last day starts at Daylesford Organics, possibly the world's most perfect farm shop, where we can purchase a few goodies for a picnic lunch at Rousham House, our final garden. Rousham is, in fact, a garden of two halves, the historically important eighteenth-century William Kent landscape, one of the few gardens of this date to have escaped alteration, and a charming walled garden with herbaceous borders, parterres and a pigeon house.

The Sheraton Heathrow Hotel is just over an hour away, and a little more than that again, to Stansted Airport, where the tour ends and where we will be in good time for your evening flight home. For those of you staying on, in Britain, and not wanting to return to either Heathrow Airport or Stansted Airport, we will assist you in getting to your next destination.

Today's total driving is about 130 miles/210 km

Monday, 18 June
A statue in the William Kent designed garden, Rousham House. Courtesy B Jørgensen
General Notes

During our tours, we endeavour to be as faithful to our itineraries as possible, but sometimes changes do occur, either necessarily or unavoidably.

Need some help?
We have prepared some helpful information - under 'Essential Information', and this information is designed to enhance your holiday. The pages are, 'An Introduction', 'Additional Information', 'Booking and Paying' and 'Travel Information'.

The tour area map
Click on the Google map of the tour area, and it will open in a new window. The various tour locations are marked GREEN (for gardens), ORANGE (for other attractions), RED (for pubs, hotels and restaurants) and BLUE (for transport) - and click on these markers for more information.

Tour Information
12 - 18 Jun
7 days
24 600,00
Single person suplement:
5 000,00

We have booked the hotel's Deluxe Rooms, but if you wish to upgrade your room to either a Superior Room or a Suite, then please contact us. Thank you.

Limited - The Cotswolds & Oxford
Typically, we aim to collect from Stansted at 09:00 and some two hour's later, at the Sheraton Heathrow Hotel, but confirmation of our precise meeting arrangements and introductions to your fellow travellers will be sent to everyone two weeks before the tour starts.

Please note that we do not collect from Heathrow terminal forecourts.
There are no specific notes for this particular tour.
Click to see where we visit