Exploring The Cotswolds with Area Specialist Joe | Natural Retreats

Exploring The Cotswolds
with Area Specialist Joe

What truly sets Natural Retreats apart from other travel companies is our dedicated Xplore Team - our concierge and holiday experts who are ready and waiting to help excited explorers plan their next unforgettable getaway. From guiding you through our simple booking process, personally recommending the most breath-taking properties and locations to making restaurant reservations and stocking your fridge with delicious self-catering essentials, they're here to help.

We meet Joe, Area Specialist for The Cotswolds, to find out more about what makes this beautiful region so special...

Joe, what is your relationship with our newest luxury location, 'The Cotswolds'?
Well, my family moved to the outskirts of The Cotswolds when I was just a toddler and growing up I spent nearly all of my free time on day trips to a lot of the iconic Cotswolds hotspots - Burford, Stow-on-the-wold, Blenheim, Bybury and other incredible spots. As a family, there were so many opportunities for fun-filled day trips so we we had a fantastic childhood there. When I was a little older my parents moved to just outside the picturesque Chipping Norton where as a teenager I really began to appreciate the outdoors lifestyle - there are lots of small pubs, fantastic local restaurants and other incredible attractions to enjoy!

How would you describe our gorgeous new cottages in Great Tew?
Similarly to our beautiful stone cottages on the Llŷn Peninsula, the converted stone farmhouses at Great Tew are perfectly peaceful offering true privacy in the heart of the spectacular countryside. The cottages are surrounded by fields, with plenty of natural discoveries for families and friends to make. The attention to detail in regards to the interior design is incredible - Tew Farmhouse for example features a full size snooker table doubling up as an eclectic dining table to seat up to 24 people, plus flagstones recycled from Trafalgar Square! The properties feel very crisp and clean, with a luxury finish to everything.

Why The Cotswolds over other UK holiday destinations?
The Cotswolds is truly a 'must-visit' destination that appeals to all age groups – quintessential English countryside with chocolate box villages around every corner!

If you had to choose, which is your favourite 'Cotswoldian' produce?
Hook Norton ale is a firm favourite of mine.The Hook Norton brewery is the last brewery in the UK that can still technically run on steam, and more interestingly, when the brewery delivers its casks to local pubs within a certain radius, it still does so by horse and cart! Visitors can actually enjoy a tour around the brewery and the tickets are very reasonable at about £14 (with plenty of free samples!).
10 minutes North of Great Tew, Blur bassist Alex James has a cheese farm in a small town, which is also home to his and Jamie Oliver's combined event, 'The Big Feastival'! Famous for good food generally, The Cotswolds prides itself on showcasing local fayre.

How about your Top 4 'must-try' activities for guests?
Blenheim Palace – Not only an iconic stately home that offers a fascinating tour, but the perfect spot for a really good walk around the grounds.
Bybury – This legendary village is home to Arlington Row, one of the most photographed country cottage scenes in the whole of The Cotswolds. There's also a really great family-friendly trout farm here too!
Burford – For an afternoon stroll, Burford has plenty of boutique shops, cafes and galleries for you to peruse - the quintessential English 'old world' high street!
Cotswolds Wildlife Park – Here you can enjoy a beautiful walk around the enclosures, spotting rhinos, giraffes, monkeys and more! (Don't forget the reptile house!)

Can you describe the Cotswolds in 5 words?
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty!

To secure your quintessential English retreat to the Cotswolds, call our Xplore Team on 01625 416430 or e-mail [email protected]