• Exploring Nailsworth ∙ Interesting history, a foodie’s paradise, and authentic Cotswold charm

    Compared to the quintessential honey-coloured villages that dot the north Cotswolds, driving through the south reveals a wilder, more dramatic landscape, no place more so than that around Nailsworth. Here, green hills unfurl before you, towering trees line the winding roads, dappling the sunlight and creating a serene, almost mystical atmosphere. Unlike the north’s open, patchwork fields, the south’s natural beauty is a feast for the senses, a place where nature reigns supreme, offering a breathtaking contrast to the charming villages that nestle amongst the verdant embrace.

    As you drive towards Nailsworth enjoying the outstanding natural beauty of the landscape, you’re in for the most wonderful of treats. Nailsworth is beautiful, charming, vibrant, bohemian (in a more understated way than neighbouring Stroud), and full of history. This picturesque town, once a centre for the Cotswolds wool trade, is now a haven for tourists and visitors who come looking for a taste of an authentic Cotswolds life.

    A step back in time

    As you wander the charming streets lined with lovely, independent shops, cafes, and Cotswold stone cottages, many dating back centuries, make sure you stop to take it all in. Its roots trace back to the 8th century and by the 12th century, habitation grew around the meeting point of two valleys, Nailsworth Stream and the Avening Valley. Fast forward to the 1600s, and Nailsworth had become a significant centre for clothiers. The flowing waters of the Nailsworth Stream powered mills, fueling the town’s growth and shaping its future. 

    A Foodie Paradise

    Nailsworth has blossomed into a real destination for discerning gourmands. 

    Craving something truly special? Amalfi promises an unforgettable culinary experience of authentic Italian food – and with lovely seating areas both inside and out, you’ll get the full Italian experience in a relaxed, friendly setting. 

    Perhaps a more casual approach tickles your fancy? William’s Food Hall, a local institution, offers fresh, locally sourced produce alongside artisan delicacies. 

    Indulge in the simple pleasure of a freshly baked treat – the renowned Hobbs House Bakery, a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike, is a must-visit. Famous for their legendary pastries and bread, do yourself a favour and pop in. 

    As the sun dips below the Cotswold hills, explore the warmth of Mediterranean flavours at The Olive Tree, where the menu will transport you to sun-drenched Italian vineyards. 

    Or, for a taste of local heritage, settle in at Egypt Mill for a delightful dining experience. This 16th-century mill, bursting with character, serves up fresh, seasonal fare that showcases the bounty of the Cotswolds. Whether you crave succulent steaks and rich roast dinners, or a lighter option with mouthwatering nibbles on the waterside terrace, Egypt Mill is your perfect go-to. 

    Beyond the High Street

    Venture beyond the main street to discover hidden gems like the Egypt Mill. While the mill itself is a fascinating piece of history, the true treasure lies in its secret garden. Nestled behind the mill, this enchanting space is a haven of tranquillity, bursting with colourful blooms and hidden pathways – a must-visit for garden lovers and a real sun trap on a bright summer’s day.

    For those with a sweet tooth, a visit to Coco Confectionery, arguably the best sweet and ice cream shop in the Cotswolds, is a must. Indulge in traditional sweets, handcrafted chocolates, and decadent ice cream flavours made with fresh, local ingredients. 

    Just down the street, you absolutely mustn’t miss Domestic Science. It’s a fantastic destination shop and cafe offering a curated selection of kitchenware, homeware, antiques, upcycled items, and perfect gifts. Here, you can also enjoy a delicious meal in their charming cafe, with seating inside and outdoors in their little courtyard. It’s one not to miss when you’re in Nailsworth.

    Wine connoisseurs won’t want to miss Vinotopia, the Cotswolds’ premier wine shop. This haven for oenophiles boasts an extensive collection, meticulously curated to encompass a global exploration of grape varietals and renowned vineyards. Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur seeking a rare vintage or a curious explorer venturing into the world of wine, Vinotopia’s expert staff are at your service. 

    Finally, for plant enthusiasts, the Junglist Plant Shop is a little oasis right in the centre of town. A real plant haven, this wonderful shop offers a curated selection of unique aroids, cacti and succulents, and beyond the greenery, this is a wonderful space to explore stylish pots and ethically sourced plant accessories. 

    A Welcoming Escape

    Nailsworth offers a completely wonderful and charming alternative to the larger Cotswolds towns. Free from the crowds, it allows you to truly immerse yourself in the Cotswolds way of life. Whether you’re looking for a lovely weekend getaway or a base to explore the wider Cotswolds region, Nailsworth has something for everyone. With its friendly locals, rich history, and vibrant food scene, this wonderful town promises an unforgettable Cotswolds experience.