• Unveiling three hidden gems: Thornbury, Chipping Sodbury, and Yate

    The Cotswolds, a region renowned for its quintessential English charm, boasts an abundance of picturesque villages and historical towns. Nestled amidst these popular destinations lie three little hidden treasures: Thornbury, Chipping Sodbury, and Yate. Often overlooked, these towns just on the outside of the Cotswolds’ border, offer a unique blend of history, nature, and local character, all just waiting to be discovered.

    Thornbury: A Town Steeped in History

    The market town of Thornbury has a rich past which comes alive as you wander its charming High Street, the town centre, and picturesque countryside. 

    The magnificent Thornbury Castle lies majestically on the outskirts of the centre of the town, is a 16th-century Tudor wonder, and a must-see. Now a hotel and restaurant and the pride of the area, its grand halls still invite you to imagine the lives of its former residents. Step back in time and experience a property full of Tudor grandeur once owned by King Henry VIII himself. Thornbury Castle boasts striking stone walls and regal gardens and you can explore the meticulously restored rooms, each named after a key Tudor figure, and perhaps even stay the night in the King Henry VIII suite, complete with a four-poster bed. 

    Don’t miss the chance to wander the Tudor Walled Gardens, bursting with seasonal blooms and herbs used in the castle’s acclaimed restaurant. Indulge in a modern British meal with a historical twist or a quintessentially English afternoon tea, savouring fresh, local produce in a setting fit for royalty.

    History buffs will also appreciate the Grade I listed St Mary’s Church, showcasing beautiful stained glass windows and architectural details.

    Chipping Sodbury

    Chipping Sodbury seamlessly blends historical intrigue with natural beauty. The Town Hall, a 17th-century building, stands as a testament to the town’s heritage. Take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque High Street, lined with independent shops and cafes. 

    For a dose of nature, head to the Cotswolds Way National Trail, which snakes through the town, offering stunning countryside views.

    Stay at the manor house

    Steeped in history, Horton Court in Chipping Sodbury offers a unique Cotswolds escape. This recently restored 16th-century manor house, originally a Norman residence, allows you to experience a bygone era firsthand. Stay in the meticulously restored house, featuring centuries-old ceilings and wood panelling, and feel a part of its ongoing story. Explore the surrounding open gardens with low walls and uneven steps, and imagine life in a simpler time. Your stay directly contributes to the National Trust’s mission of preserving historic places for future generations.

    Yate: A Gateway to Adventure

    Yate has a lovely and welcoming atmosphere throughout. The town centre is bustling and a stroll down memory lane is possible at Yate & District Heritage Centre where the rich tapestry of Yate’s past is unveiled.

    Kingsgate Park and Stanshawes Court offer a delightful double bill in the charming town. Unwind in the verdant embrace of Kingsgate Park, a haven of tranquil lakes, a vibrant playground, and a babbling stream perfect for paddling. Let the kids loose while you relax on a rainbow bench or enjoy a picnic with a view. A short stroll away, Stanshawes Court, a picturesque Victorian building with a rich history, beckons you to explore. Admire its Gothic Revival architecture, step inside for a refreshing drink or a delicious meal at the dog-friendly pub, or simply relax with a coffee in the extensive gardens, enjoying a slice of local history alongside your refreshment.

    Three lovely towns pulling together the south

    The beauty surrounding these three towns just across the border from the Cotswolds is just as captivating. Thornbury is a short drive from the stunning Westonbirt Arboretum, a haven for tree lovers. Chipping Sodbury sits near the Cotswold Edge escarpment, offering panoramic vistas that will leave you breathless. Yate provides easy access to the fascinating and exciting Bristol.

    A taste of local flavour

    Each town boasts a distinct culinary scene. Thornbury is famous for its traditional Gloucestershire cheese, while Chipping Sodbury offers a delightful selection of pubs serving hearty English fare. Yate, with its multicultural influences, provides a wider range of restaurants, from Indian to Italian.

    Unveiling the Cotswolds’ Secrets

    Thornbury, Chipping Sodbury, and Yate offer a unique Cotswolds experience. Steeped in history, surrounded by natural beauty, and brimming with local character, these towns promise an escape from the ordinary. So, on your next Cotswolds adventure, venture beyond the usual hotspots and discover the hidden gems that await on the borders of this enchanting region.