The handsome Gloucestershire town of Cirencester welcomes a brand new hostel from April 2016 with the arrival of YHA Cotswolds. Set in a building known as The Barrel Store and linked to the New Brewery Arts Centre, the beautifully designed new property gives guests the chance to join various craft workshops, as well as providing a base for exploring the hills and villages of The Cotswolds.
Six ways to get a new take on The Cotswolds
Quaint tearooms in honey-coloured villages are all well and good – believe us when we say we’d be the last to decry a good cream tea – but there’s more to The Cotswolds than its clichés. Try the following:
Visit an old brewery – and a new distillery: Family-owned Hook Norton still occupies a Victorian tower brewery, while the nearby Cotswolds Distillery was founded in 2014 and uses local barley in its gin. Both offer tours.
Walk The Monarchs Way: Follow the long-distance footpath for 610 miles (yes really), tracing the escape route Charles II took after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. Cirencester lies en route.
Cycle to Burford: The 26-mile route between Cirencester and Burford runs through some of the finest countryside in the region – and finishes up in one of its most picture-perfect villages.
Visit “Downton”: The market town of Bampton doubled as Downton in the Downton Abbey TV series. Call into St Mary’s Church to see where Mary and Matthew got hitched – and Edith got jilted.
Try shin-kicking: The eccentrically wonderful, 400-year-old Cotswold Olimpicks take place in Chipping Campden on June 3. Have a go at everything from shin-kicking to sledgehammer-throwing.
Sprint through town on two wheels: Fancy some floodlit cycling? Cirencester hosts the Via Roma Twilight Town Centre Races on 31 August this year. Last call for entries is 9 August, so get training…