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You could be forgiven for thinking that most people’s idea of a perfect holiday would involve lying on golden sands in an exotic location in sunnier climes - but apparently not. A brand-new study suggests that we’re actually a nation of home lovers: more than half of UK punters who took part in a survey for Rentalcars.com said that their favourite type of holiday is actually a staycation.
The survey of 2,000 people revealed that 56% prefer spending their main family holiday in the UK rather than choosing a destination abroad. A recessionary mindset may have something to do with that trend, but for most people ease of access and being able to enjoy a genuinely stress-free experience are equally, if not more important than cost.
Not surprisingly, the Cotswolds features high on the list of favoured destinations for staycations. If you live in say, London, Birmingham or Bristol, the Cotswolds really is on your doorstep. In many cases, you would spend less time travelling to your Cotswolds holiday home by car or train than you would queuing to check in and then getting through the increasingly gruelling experience that is passport control. And all those hours spent squeezed into a budget airline seat being serenaded by noisy stag parties? Doesn’t stretching your legs out in your holiday home an hour or so from the city sound a more attractive proposition? Even better, you can bring your beloved pooch on a Cotswolds staycation!
So, in that spirit of making your staycation a stress-free zone, here are a few recommendations that will keep you in a zen-like state of relaxation once you arrive in the laidback Cotswolds.
Forget crowded malls and lookalike high streets, the Cotswolds is home to more bijou retailers than you can shake a credit card at. Wander the streets and alleys in towns such as Cirencester, Winchcombe, Burford or Wotton-under-Edge to find an array of independent shops, artisan craft makers and quality gifts.
Far from the madding crowd
Unlike many National Trust properties, Buscot Park is rarely anything but quiet, yet Lord Faringdon’s family home is a vivid and refreshing place, bursting with colour, personality and life. To add to the appeal, a stone’s throw from the house is Badbury Hill - lush woodland criss-crossed with circular walks and famed for its seasonal displays of snowdrops and native bluebells.
Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens offers 160 acres of landscaped zoological park surrounding a Gothic-style manor house. Sit back and watch the animals do all the running around – lions, leopards, rhinos, lemurs and giraffes are among the fun inhabitants in residence.
Barnsley House Spa near Cirencester offers a range of luxurious treatments from facials to massage, to full body treatments that will wrestle the tension out of muscles you didn’t know you had. Alternatively, book a session in the hot mineral mud room then unwind with a detox massage at Dormy House, a 17th-century farm turned laidback luxury pad with cutting-edge pampering and smashing food at its heart, near Moreton-in-Marsh.
For a relaxing experience without having to leave the house, try our special collection of cottages with spa facilities.
Enjoy the hushed silence of fine Cotswold churches
As you might expect from a part of the country where stone has been worked for centuries, the workmanship on display in Cotswold churches is simply exquisite. Medieval Gloucester Cathedral with its magnificent stained glass and sculptures is a fine place to start, while St. John the Baptist in Cirencester is one of the most beautiful Perpendicular churches in all England.
Fine dining, no tux required
At the end of a day of relaxed strolling and leisurely rural pursuits, kick off your wellies and relax in front of a log fire with a pint of local ale and some home-cooked grub in a quaint village pub. Alternatively, head back to your luxury lodge and enjoy the lakeside views, or settle down in your village cottage to enjoy a family meal and a glass of wine in your lovely open-plan accommodation.
Make this your year to experience an unforgettable staycation - view our collection of exceptional holiday homes in the Cotswolds and choose the perfect base for a truly relaxing holiday.