Blockley – glorious gardens
Built on a series of terraces above the valley of the Knee Brook, beautiful Blockley offers a window into England’s medieval landscape. Speckled with grazing sheep, the open pastures on the hill opposite the village look pretty much as they did back then, when sheep were brought to Blockley to be sheared before their wool was woven in mills at the bottom of the valley. In time, the woollen mills were converted to process silk, a legacy you’ll see today during a scenic stroll around the village’s maze of paths – look out for the Old Silk Mill and the Ribbon Mill buildings.
Bourton-on-the-Water – Venice of the Cotswolds
Thanks to the elegant 18th-century bridges that cross the River Windrush that flows through its heart, Bourton-on-the-Water is known as the Venice of the Cotswolds. While it’s definitely one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds to visit (and England as a whole, for that matter), it’s also home to attractions that will keep the whole family happy, among them the Old New Inn’s fun Model Village that depicts Bourton as it was in 1937. You can also book a stay at the inn – the rooms ooze warm and welcoming country elegance.