Become immersed in the history and literature of England's Cotswolds as you hike along country lanes and overgrown carriageways to charming villages, such as Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water, Bibury, Chipping Campden, and Broadway—as well as Stratford-upon-Avon and Bath.

Starting at: $5,995 Register Interest or Call 833-254-6678
 Hiking through the countryside of the Cotswolds  Village in the Cotswolds  Typical village in the Cotswolds  Snowshill, Cotswolds  A church in the Cotswolds  Signpost in Bath  The Roman baths of Bath, England  Abbey in Bath

A Literary Hike Through the Cotswolds

8 days from $5,995

Become immersed in the history and literature of England's Cotswolds as you hike along country lanes and overgrown carriageways to charming villages, such as Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water, Bibury, Chipping Campden, and Broadway—as well as Stratford-upon-Avon and Bath.

or Call 833-254-6678

Overview

Level 3: Moderate / Active

Expectations: This trip is part of the Smithsonian Active Journeys collection. These trips feature a daily schedule of physical activities—such as hiking, rafting, and/or bicycling—in addition to activities designed to offer context to the culture, history, or natural history of your destination. Each trip entails a different level of physical expectations. The following information outlines a general overview for Activity Level 3. More specific information will be posted soon. Please contact an Active Journeys Specialist to discuss the trip at more length, including details on the Activity Level.

Almost anyone who is reasonably fit should be comfortable on a Moderate/Active tour (Level 3), which generally features daily hikes of two to four hours through landscapes and small towns in Europe. Our Active Journey to Alaska and river rafting trip on the Colorado River are also Level 3. These trips are great for those travelers starting out on groups hikes and include our most popular Active Journeys. Hikes are taken at a leisurely to active pace over various types of terrain that may include groomed or gravel trails, and alongside roads or through open meadows. Some hikes are coastal or mountainous, which can entail being exposed to wind and rain. Surfaces can be uneven, with uneven steps, rough limestone bedrock, mud, and exposed roots. A few long travel days with early morning departures may be expected.

Hiking boots and day packs for daily necessities are a must; some travelers may wish to bring hiking poles. Hikes are generally not long enough to require support vehicles so once a hike is begun it is necessary to finish. (However, depending on the tour, it is sometimes feasible to skip a day’s activities and relax at the hotel, if desired.) Leisure time can be limited to the evenings.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, expect a slightly vigorous pace, are comfortable participating in up to four hours of hiking per day, and enjoy challenging themselves physically.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S.

Day 2 —Arrive in London, England

Arrive in London this morning. Your guides will meet you at London Heathrow Airport for the transfer to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. An elegant country house, Blenheim Palace was the birthplace of Winston Churchill. Today it still serves as the residence for the Dukes of Marlborough and is a World Heritage Site.

After exploring the lovely grounds and gardens, we will continue to our hotel in the charming Cotswolds village of Moreton-in-Marsh. Gather with your guides and fellow travelers this evening for a welcome dinner. (D)

Day 3 — Moreton-in-Marsh to Chipping Campden

Our first day of hiking starts right from the front door of our hotel. Hike across pretty, rolling countryside to reach the adorable village of Chipping Campden. For those who wish, extend the walk to take in Dover’s Hill, a natural amphitheater on a spur of the Cotswolds which sits above the village. Hike to the top to enjoy views over the green expanse of the Vale of Evesham.

Otherwise, you can stroll the narrow streets and explore before a short transfer takes us back to our hotel mid-afternoon. Dinner is on your own in the village tonight. Hiking 6 miles, 3 hours. Optional 2 miles, 1 hour up Dover’s Hill. (B,L)

Day 4 — Chipping Campden to Stratford-upon-Avon

This morning we set out on a hike along the Cotswolds Way from Chipping Campden to Broadway. Follow country lanes and overgrown carriageways to a small section of woodland. Our destination is the Broadway Tower, a beacon site dating from ancient times and the second highest point in the Cotswolds.

After descending to the village of Broadway for lunch, visit nearby Stratford-upon-Avon, the home of Shakespeare. Follow in the footsteps of the Bard as we explore Shakespeare's birthplace and other famous sites around town.

As a special treat, attend a performance of one of the masterpieces presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Hiking 5 miles, 2-3 hours (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water

Today’s hike visits some of the most beautiful villages in all of England. Start the day in Stow-on-the-Wold. After a wander through the village, hike south towards the twin villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter. Continuing south, arrive at Bourton-on-the-Water, sometimes called the “Venice of the Cotswolds.”

Enjoy free time to wander the quiet canals and graceful bridges. Lunch is on your own today whenever you find the perfect café to suit your fancy.

This afternoon, a short transfer brings you to the tiny settlement of Bibury, best known for Arlington Row, a famous row of cottages dating back to the 1300s. Hiking 4 miles, 2-3 hours (B,D)

Day 6 — Hiking Into Bath

A one hour transfer takes us to the start of our hike today, following the Cotswolds Way from the village of Cold Ashton directly into the City of Bath. Feel like you stepped back in time as you walk past small villages and traditional English countryside. Our destination today is the City of Bath, whose waters have long been thought to contain healing properties.

We’ll enjoy a delicious lunch in town before visiting some local baths to partake in some traditional treatments – the perfect way to recover from the hike! Dinner will be on your own tonight. Hiking 8 miles, 4-5 hours (B,L)

Day 7 — Jane Austen’s City of Bath

Start the day with a loop hike near Bath. In the quiet morning hours, enjoy the sights and sounds of the English countryside, keeping an eye out for small birds and flowers. After lunch near our hotel, visit the Jane Austen Centre to learn more about one of England’s most famous authors and Bath’s most notable residents.

We will gather at our hotel this evening for a final farewell dinner together. Hiking 6 miles, 3 hours (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Highclere Castle and Departure

Say goodbye to the Cotswolds today. Transfer back to London, stopping along the way to visit the lovely grounds of Highclere Castle, the inspiration for Downton Abbey. We won’t visit the castle itself, as it is closed on Fridays and Saturdays, but there are plenty of viewpoints along our hike.

Arrive back at London Heathrow in time for flights home this evening. Hiking 3 miles, 2 hours (B,L)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)