The Romantic Road Tour
The Romantic Road shows off the best of English countryside, with most of the route making the best of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are two routes where you will see the fabulous stone cottages, picturesque villages and active market towns. Here, along with the route we include some tips for places to visit, good accommodation and more.
A road for today
Leaving Cheltenham from the north, the tour passes through Cleeve Hill, visiting Winchcombe, Stanway, Stanton, Broadway, Chipping Campden, Blockley, Moreton-in-Marsh, The Fosse Way, Stow-on-the-Wold and Upper and Lower Slaughter before returning to Cheltenham.
From Cheltenham a scenic route on quiet country roads takes you to Willersey and Broadway where the Gordon Russell Design Museum. Then take the A44, an extremely steep road with extremely tight bends. One of our tips is to go to the top of Broadway Tower for a view over 16 counties on a clear day, including the Black Mountains and in the furthest distance, Birmingham.
From there to Chipping Campden to stroll down its gorgeous high street. Also consider visiting the Court Barn Museum to see the work of local designers and craftspeople and there’s also the still active Harts Silversmiths workshop, founded in 1888.
The Romantic Road tour then goes to Snowshill Manor, a partly medieval manor house, maintained by the National Trust, which is full of treasures from the first half of the twentieth century, not just everyday objects, but also unusual objects from around the world.
There is a garden tea room at Snowshill that makes it one of the best places to stop for refreshment. Next stop is Moreton-in-Marsh where you guides can give you a tour of the Wellington Aviation Museum, a small yet quirky collection belonging to a retired RAF mechanic.
Stow-on-the-Wold is your next stop before moving onto Lower Slaughter where you can paddle in the stream before strolling on to Upper Slaughter and the Lords of the Manor Hotel. If you have romance in your heart, you will love the accommodation on offer at this former rectory set in eight acres of rolling parkland and with a Michelin-starred restaurant.
A road for tomorrow
The following day guides you through to see Northleach, Burford, The Windrush Valley, Lechlade, Fairford, Bibury, Arlington Row, Cirencester and Painswick before returning to Cheltenham.
After a night at the Lords of the Manor, the Romantic Road tour continues to the incredibly pretty village of Bourton-on-the-Water for the Cotswold Motoring Museum. The route then takes you through the village of Northleach, an unspoilt Cotswold wool town. The church here is known as the Cathedral of the Cotswolds.
Then onto the town of Burford, where the high street falls down to the River Windrush and with a history that makes this a favourite for many visitors to the area. Then to Lechlade, the highest navigable point on the River Thames and also where the poet Shelley was inspired to write Summer Evening Churchyard in 1815. Stop at Fairford to admire some of the finest medieval stained glass windows in the UK at Church of St Mary’s and then on to Bibury, where you can admire the weavers’ cottages near the stream.
Then to Cirencester, the ancient capital of the Roman Empire, to wander around St John the Baptist church and the Corinium (Roman) Museum then drive out towards Minchinhampton to admire the views over ancient Minchinhampton Common and then Rodborough Common. On towards Slad where you can stop at The Woolpack pub and sit at Laurie Lee’s favourite bench, a man who captured the magic of the Cotswolds.