Moving to the Cotswolds is the ultimate dream for many, a naturally popular choice for people who want to enjoy a rural lifestyle without losing touch with the shopping and cultural activities associated with city living.
Hatherop Castle School sits in breathtaking countryside in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with easy access to the vibrant, historic cities of Bath, Oxford and Cheltenham. The M4 motorway and fast-speed rail links (from Swindon, Kemble or Oxford Parkway) allow a rapid commute to London. Bristol airport is convenient for travel throughout Europe, and Heathrow is just over an hour away. It is also well placed for access to other popular destinations: Devon and Corwall are just down the M5. The stunning Gower Penninsula on the south coast of Wales is another holiday hotspot easily reached from Gloucestershire, and the M5/M6 route makes travel to the North straightforward.
Hatherop Castle School is surrounded by extraordinarily picturesque villages, with beautiful houses built in the characteristic honey-coloured Cotswold stone. From quaint cottages to large country houses, the traditional architecture of this part of the world alone is a huge draw, and many properties have extensive gardens and grounds.
Moving to the Cotswolds doesn’t mean leaving civilisation behind! Oxford has a great selection of popular chain stores, including a brand-new John Lewis, and Swindon’s Designer Outlet lures people in from miles away. Cirencester, Bath, Tetbury and Cheltenham are packed with interesting independent shops. Whether you are in the market for designer fashion boutiques or antiques, brilliant bookshops or fabulous farmers markets, not forgetting local craft beer and gin producers, shopping is definitely something to be enjoyed here.
From gorgeous 18th century pubs such as the Wheatsheaf Inn in Northleach to the Michelin-starred Lords of the Manor in Upper Slaughter, via a host of top-class eateries in Kingham, the Cotswolds is spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out. Conde Nast Traveller gives their pick here, citing the Cotswolds the ‘foodiest patch outside London’.
The great outdoors
For people who enjoy the outdoor life, Gloucestershire is almost unbeatable. This is fantastic walking country. The Cotswold Way is a lovely hiking route, but there are any number of pretty footpaths worth exploring. Trip Advisor lists its most popular here, but the Hatherop Castle community will offer their own.
Cycling is another popular sport, and the area is particularly good for off-road cycling, ideal for families. A network of byways and bridleways make cycling a great way to explore the area. Sustrans has a useful page on cycling in the Cotswolds.
The bridleways are, unsurprisingly, popular with the horseriding fraternity too, and plenty of Hatherop Castle’s pupils are keen riders. There are details of riding stables here.
The Cotswold Water Park, covering 40 square miles, is a series of more than 150 lakes created by gravel extraction in the last century. As well as being an important wildlife area, it also provides the wherewithal for a wide range of water sports, from sailing and kayaking to fishing and paddle boarding.
Theatre and music
Theatre buffs are well served by the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon, Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre, the highly regarded Theatre Royal in Bath, which includes the fabulous Egg Theatre for children, and Cirencester’s brand-new Barn Theatre.
Stratford-on-Avon is only an hour from Hatherop Castle School, making trips to watch the Royal Shakespeare Company in action easy.
O2 Bristol is a great music venue, as is Colston Hall, or for a more rural vibe, the brilliant Westonbirt Arboretum (a gorgeous woodland worth a day trip with the children) hosts extremely popular outdoor concerts every summer.
The Hatherop school community
Many of our staff and parents have moved to the Cotswolds from London and elsewhere. If you have any questions about moving to this beautiful county, or would like advice on places to live, please let us know, and we’ll do our best to help.