Hiking the Cotswold Way and Wales

Honey-Stone Villages, Coastal Trails, and Medieval Castles

Overview

We’ve combined the idyllic villages of the Cotswolds and the wild seascapes of Wales’ spectacular Pembrokeshire Coast Path for this delightful adventure. Following the most scenic sections of the 102-mile-long Cotswold Way, we’ll hike between honey-colored 17th century wool villages tucked among ancient forests and emerald-green meadows. After exploring Jane Austen’s beloved city of Bath, we hike right into Wales to reach romantic Tintern Abbey, then across the rolling green landscapes of the Brecon Beacons and cliffside paths of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Overnights are in historic manor houses, a Georgian townhouse, and traditional inns, and our culinary delights range from locally sourced Cotswold lamb to Welsh mussels straight from the sea.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Broadway / Cotswold Way

Meeting in the beautiful Cotswold village of Broadway, we begin hiking on the Cotswold Way through Chipping Campden, with its grass-fringed main street lined with golden limestone buildings dating to the 16th century, and to the archaeological site of Belas Knap, a Neolithic chambered tomb that was first excavated in 1863. Our hotel is a historic coaching inn with a delightful restaurant featuring seasonal local cuisine.

Lygon Arms Hotel
Broadway, England
Days 1 to 2 (2 nights)
Days 3-4
Wotton-under-Edge / Painswick

On the trails of the Cotswold Way, we hike through magical English forests to a farm where rare Old Gloucester breeds of cows are raised. We’ll visit a prize-winning cheesemaker here, sample his Double Gloucester cheese, then hike to the wool village of Wotton-under-Edge, the edge referring to the steep escarpment under which the town nestles. Our hotel is in the hilltop village of Painswick, a center of the wool trade since the Middle Ages.

Painswick Hotel
Painswick, England
Days 3 to 5 (3 nights)
Day 5
Weston / Bath

The village of Weston, so ancient that it is recorded in a 10th century land survey, is the goal of our morning hike, after which we head to the World Heritage city of Bath. With its monumental Georgian architecture and original Roman baths, it’s easy to see why this city inspired Jane Austen.

Painswick Hotel
Painswick, England
Days 3 to 5 (3 nights)
Windsor Townhouse
Bath, England
Day 5 (1 night)
Days 6-7
Wye Valley, Wales / Tintern Abbey

A hike across the Anglo-Welsh border brings us to the tranquil Wye Valley and then to magnificent Tintern Abbey, where a monk-historian leads us through the haunted halls. In Brecon Beacons, we hike through heather-cloaked hills then visit the book-lover’s mecca of Hay-on-Wye.

The Bear Hotel
Crickhowell, Wales
Days 6 to 7 (2 nights)
Days 8-11
Laugharne / Pembrokeshire Coast Path / Carreg Cennen

At Laugharne, we visit the home of the poet Dylan Thomas with a historian, and from the cathedral town of St. David’s, spiritual center of Wales, hike the dramatic Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, keeping watch for seals basking on the rocks below. Our final hike circles Carreg Cennen, one of Wales’ most spectacularly located castles, and our Farewell Dinner is a banquet in the majestic Cardiff Castle itself. Depart from Cardiff on Day 11.

Warpool Court
St. David's, Wales
Days 8 to 9 (2 nights)
Cardiff Hilton
Cardiff, Wales
Day 10 (1 night)

Highlights

Highlights

Hike the most scenic stretches of the Cotswold Way and Pembrokeshire Coast Path
Meet farmers, storytellers and historians
Discover the World Heritage city of Bath, with its Roman spa and Georgian architecture
Enjoy overnights in historic manor houses and traditional inns

Details

Length: 11 days
Cost From: $6295  
Arrive: Broadway, England
Depart: Cardiff, Wales
Lodging: 10 nights hotels and inns
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 1 dinner as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Archaeology, Cultural Adventures, Walking, Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

Hiking on moderate trails with some short steep sections 2-5 hours a day, van support