Currency: Pound Sterling
Time Zone: GMT
Tipping: 10 to 12% is usual for hotels with 10 to 15% being usual for restaurants. In each case, it is not necessarily added to the bill. If a service charge has already been added, no further tip is required.
Deemed an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Cotswolds are picture book England, a quintessential cluster of time-defying honey stone villages and towns with endearing names like Adlestrop and Minchinhampton. Boasting ivy-clad cottages, some of the country's most unspoilt scenery and cosy pubs, it's little surprise that coach holidays to the Cotswolds are popular. Despite being heavily visited by tourists all eager to see the delights of this easy-on-the-eye corner of England, the area's charm never quite fades.
The Cotswolds' popularity means that a range of day trips, weekend breaks and longer mid-week touring holidays are available. Bourton on the Water (called the Venice of the Cotswolds for its series of little bridges), Burford, Stow on the Wold and Broadway, otherwise known as the Jewel of the Cotswolds, are all top spots on a Cotswolds break and can be found on most itineraries. In addition to whiling away the hours over afternoon tea or capturing thatched roofs on camera, visitors can also embark on a number of enjoyable scenic walks; keep your eyes peeled for dedicated walking breaks which come with a mapped out route and walking guide. Walks are generally between five and ten miles, so go prepared with hiking shoes.
Coach tours to the Cotswolds include return coach travel and with the exception of day trips, accommodation at a good quality 3 or 4* hotel at a convenient base usually about an hours' drive away. A number of carefully picked excursions will be available on any tour, allowing visitors to fully benefit from the beauty of the region. In amongst all the sightseeing, plenty of relaxing stops for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea will be made. Look out for trips that also pay a visit to the equally picturesque UNSECO World Heritage city of Bath, Warwick, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon.
To help you have an enjoyable holiday in the Cotswolds, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Local Laws and Customs
Health and Travel Insurance
British Citizens are advised by some of our tour operators to have travel insurance before going on a tour or holiday, even if it happens to be in your country of residence. As a British citizen you will be entitled to free emergency health care on the NHS.
If you are visiting England from outside the United Kingdom and fall ill or are involved in an accident and are from any member of the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you can obtain free or reduced cost treatment with The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Comprehensive travel insurance is advised for all other nationals planning on visiting England.
If you need to contact the emergency services whilst in England simply dial 999 or 112 to ask for an ambulance.
Most destinations are generally trouble-free, however as with all places that you are not familiar with, keep an eye on your belongings and if necessary lock them away somewhere safe back at your hotel if possible. Keep an eye on everyone in your party and do not go off with people you do not know. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times. Be aware of your surroundings and don't venture off on your own.
Local Laws and Customs
Queuing is a British Institution - jump a queue at your own risk!
Drug offences will carry penalties in the UK, so avoid getting involved with anything whilst in England. Please note the narcotic plant Khat/Qat is legal in the UK, but is not in a majority of other countries so never try to export this when leaving the UK.
If you are visiting from outside of the United Kingdom, it is wise to check customs requirements before you travel. If you are planning to bring alcohol, tobacco or souvenirs into the country, you need to be familiar with the UK's custom laws. For those people coming to the UK from the EU, you are allowed to bring an unlimited amount of most goods for your own use without paying tax or duty.
However, if you are travelling to the UK from outside of the EU, you are given an allowance of how much alcohol, tobacco, perfume, souvenirs and other goods. If you go above this allowance you may have to pay tax or duty. It is worth checking the HM Revenues and Customs website before you travel.
When travelling between the UK, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man in most cases an official form of identification such as a Driver's License will be ok. However, some airlines will insist you show a passport so check before you travel.
If you are travelling to England from Australia, Canada or the USA, you must have a valid passport for at least three months beyond the length of your stay. EU nationals need to have either a valid passport or identity card.
Visas for the UK are not required by those travelling from Australia, Canada, USA or EU for stays of up to six months.
Any other nationality looking to visit the UK must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
For further information about The Cotswolds you can check out the official tourist board website at cotswolds.com
In addition to taking in the scenery and enjoying lunch in quaint, picturesque villages here are some other places to visit during your time in the Cotswolds:
Cotswold Falconry Centre
Opening in 1988, the Cotswold Falconry Centre houses 150 Birds of Prey, featuring flying demonstrations throughout the day allowing you to see these magnificent birds in flight. Over 20,000 visitors pass through the doors of this centre each year and visit the wooded area created to encourage the birds to breed as they would in the wild.
Arlington Row – Bibury
One of those quintessentially postcard pictures, this row of the houses represents the very essence of the Cotswolds. Built in 1830, these cottages were built as a wool store but were then converted into a 17th century style weaver's cottages. Henry Ford (founder of the Ford Motor Company) apparently tried to purchase the row of cottages to be shipped back to the USA!
Cotswold Motoring Museum
Situated in the picturesque Cotswold village of Bourton on the Water, the Motoring Museum is a great day out, with a large collection of vintage and classic cars, motorcycles, original enamel road signs and caravans. It is also the home of childhood figure Brum, the little yellow car remembered by many for the TV series.
Hidcote Manor Garden
Relax and unwind in one of the country's greatest gardens. Each garden room is exquisitely unique in character. With a collection of rare trees, plants and shrubs, visitors are given the chance to see unusual herbaceous borders. This garden is a delight to visit year round with beautiful spring bulbs on display, summer's colourful flowers and autumn's red and orange hue.