Bath and the Cotswolds Secret Gardens itinerary
Uncover the hidden gems of the Cotswolds...
If you love all things quintessentially English, this is the tour for you. Discover intricately designed secret gardens, full of twists and turns. Enjoy historic Bath and the picture-perfect English Cotswolds.
Day 1: Iford Manor Estate, Bradford on Avon ● Bath
Start this tour in Bradford on Avon, just a short drive from the city of Bath. A must-see town set on the river Avon, full of Bath-stone houses, tiny weavers’ cottages, old mills and independent shops and cafes.
Located on the outskirts of the town, Iford Manor Estate is one of the most stunning English secret gardens. Learn about Harold Peto’s best known Italianate terraced garden, set on a steep slope by the river Frome, beside the manor house he bought in 1899. Take a stroll around Peto’s lovingly composed garden; here you’ll see stone walls, steps, columns and the brilliant planting of evergreens. Visit during the summer months and you can enjoy recitals and operas, held in the Cloisters as part of the Iford Arts programme.
It’s just a short 20-minute drive to the historic city of Bath, a designated World Heritage Site, famous for its beautiful architecture, fascinating history and naturally hot spa water. Start your afternoon with English tea and the local delicacy: a Sally Lunn Bun at Sally Lunn’s historic eating house and museum, one of the oldest houses in Bath, c1482. Meander through the lanes to The Roman Baths and Pump Room, one of the best preserved roman remains in the world, constructed around 70AD. Learn about how Bath was founded upon natural hot springs with steaming water playing an important role throughout its history. If you want to experience the many benefits of the spa water, take an evening dip in the hot rooftop pool at Thermae Bath Spa. End your day with an evening meal at one of the many fabulous places to eat in Bath.
Day 2: Hidcote, near Chipping Campden ● Moreton-in-Marsh, Cotswolds
After a hearty breakfast, take your time to enjoy the two hour scenic journey to your next place of interest, the manor gardens at Hidcote. Take the A4 and A429 through stunning Cotswold towns and villages, including Malmesbury, Cirencester and Bourton-on-the-Water. Hidcote is a fascinating Arts and Crafts garden created by the talented American horticulturist, Major Lawrence Johnston. Discover intricately designed secret ‘rooms’, stunning vistas and colourful plants.
Take a short 20-minute drive to the thriving Cotswold market town of Moreton-in-Marsh, dating back 1,000 years to the Saxon era. Its broad street is lined with elegant buildings many originating from the 17th and 18th century. Relax in one of the many traditional pubs or inns, where you’ll find great local food and beers. Visit on a Tuesday and enjoy the variety of different sellers at the open-air street market or browse the independent shops located in the town.
Must-see local events
Bath Literature Festival, Bath: early March. The festival showcases the best of fiction and non-fiction, plus names from comedy, sport, food, philosophy, nature and history.
Bath Fringe Festival, Bath: end May – early June. A vibrant celebration of the arts.
Cheese Rolling at Copper’s Hill, Gloucestershire: end May. A 9lb (over 4kg) double Gloucester cheese is rolled down a steep hill and competitors run after it.
The Iford Arts Music Festival, near Bradford on Avon: June – August. The festival is a three-month season of opera, proms and classical concerts.
Stroud Country Show, Stratford Park, Stroud: July. This show is steeped with history; enjoy demonstrations of local skills, crafts, flowers and produce from across the region.
Jane Austen Festival, Bath: September. Celebrate everything Jane Austen.
Travel fact file
|Top travel distance
|90 miles/145 km
|Approximate travel time
|2 hr 40 min
|Nearest main rail station
|Bath Spa nationalrail.co.uk
|Real-time local information realtimetravelguide.co.uk
Bradford on Avon Tourist Information Centre bradfordonavon.co.uk
Bath Visitor Information Centre visitbath.co.uk
Moreton-in-Marsh Visitor Centre cotswolds.com
Want to see more fabulous gardens?
Continue your tour of gardens with a short drive (30 min) to Stratford-upon-Avon, where you can enjoy the Shakespeare, lakes and grand gardens itinerary