Two hours northwest of London, the Cotswolds is a compact region of natural beauty and exquisite rural architecture. Once a center of wool production, the area now contains enchanting medieval villages set amid gently rolling hills. Diminutive cottages built of honey-colored stone surround squares lined with appealing shops and atmospheric pubs. The “capital” of the Cotswolds is the Roman city of Cirencester. During July and August and on weekends, the major towns become excessively crowded, but the back roads and lesser-known villages are still a delight.
In a country famous for its walks, I have found one of the most rewarding to be among the shortest. A footpath just a mile long, part of the Warden’s Way, runs between the villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter, much of it along the Eye River. As you stroll, take in the picturesque cottages, small bridges and stately trees. Another idyllic and gentle walk — three miles in length — is that from Coln St Aldwyns (where The New Inn has a fine pub), along the River Coln to Bibury.
A Sustaining Pub Lunch
After a ramble through this enchanting part of England, I am invariably in need of a sustaining pub lunch. Try The Feathered Nest Country Inn (Tel.  1993-833-030), in the pretty Oxfordshire village of Nether Westcote. The inn serves excellent modern British food in an informal setting. To quench your thirst, you will find a selection of local cask-conditioned ales.
Fantastic Whiskey and Gin
Founded in 2014 by New Yorker Daniel Szor, Cotswolds Distillery produces English whiskey. It also makes traditional dry gin and more-unusual barrel-aged gin. The tasting room in Stourton is open daily.