Historic Cotswolds

The market town of Stroud sits in the centre of Gloucestershire and below the western escarpment of the Cotswold Hills. The town is well known for its steep streets, so pack some sensible shoes and get out and about exploring the town’s café culture. Historically the town was home to around 150 textile mills producing Stroudwater Scarlet – a material previously used in British Army museums.

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As Stroud sits where five valleys converge, it will come as no surprise that there are many walking routes and challenging bike rides. There is a gentle cycle route along the Stroudwater Canal – a 12 mile road free stretch of peace and quiet. For more of a challenge you can map your own route or follow the Radwick woods – Painswick Beacon Loop which ascends over 2,000 feet in total.

On foot, you can enjoy Viewpoint walk from nearby Painswick, a gentle four mile walk with a stop at The Oak Pub on your return. Or challenge yourself and head over to Kings Stanley to tackle the route to Wotton-Under-Edge which takes in a series of short but sharp ascents and descents.

Once you’ve tried out the countryside walks it’s time to hit the streets and clock up those steps with a spot of shopping. The market town is a mecca for vintage finds, so much so you can pick up a map detailing all of the vintage shops and visit the Shambles market ever Friday and Saturday where you will find vintage jewellery, crafts and secondhand books.

Also, in the town, you will find the contemporary Five Valleys shopping centre, home to a wide range of national and independent retailers which sits alongside the newly developed artisan food market. The centre is also home to some great places to eat, from the family run Callaghin’s Kitchen renowned for waffles and milkshakes to the Curio Lounge Café Bar with full height windows and a lovely terrace. Stroud has a choice of over fifty cafes where you can sample homemade food and artisan coffees and teas. Infact Britain’s first organic café – Woodruffs – featured in the Times when they named Stroud as the best place to live in 2021.

In and around Stroud you will find a delightful mix of country pubs, such as The Crown at Frampton Manswell – divided into three bars it is a showcase for the best real ales in Gloucestershire. Hop on over to The Bell at Sapperton and you will find a multi award winning country pub with roaring fires in the winter and a courtyard garden in the summer.

If you’re looking for family friendly places to visit with children then look no further than Stratford Park where you will find the Museum in the Park in the 17th century mansion. With a lake and miniature railway, a children’s play area and over 56 acres of parkland there’s ample opportunity to tire out little legs. Another family friendly park is the National Trust estate at Woodchester Park where children can negotiate the stepping logs, wobble beams, climbing frames and rope swings on the 3.5 mile circular walk around the play trail.