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The great escape

The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is perfect for a May staycation, says Vogue. With honey-tinged cottages, rolling countryside and endless pubs, this is England at its best.

Places of note There are plenty of characterful market towns to explore – Stroud has just been crowned Britain’s best place to live by The Sunday Times and Broadway has a famous tower in a deer park. Blenheim Palace is a glorious example of English Baroque style and the only non-royal country house to hold the title of palace. If you like gardens, head to the Miserden Estate or Highgrove.

Famous faces Kate Moss, the Beckhams, Prince Charles and Jilly Cooper call the Cotswolds home (or second home). Many period dramas have been filmed here, including Downton Abbey and the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice adaptation with Colin Firth.

To eat The 300-year-old Woolpack Inn, near Stroud, has views of Slad Valley – Laurie Lee country. The Chequers in Churchill is renowned for its twice-baked cheese soufflé and the Wild Rabbit in Kingham is a “beautiful posh pub” serving seasonal food. Head to the Fox at Oddington for the ultimate Sunday roast or the Upton Firehouse, near Burford, for an al fresco barbeque. And for picnic goodies, look no further than the Organic Farmshop, near Cirencester.

1 To stay

Thyme calls itself “a village within a village” – this historic manor and farm in Southrop is now a hotel with luxurious rooms, a spa, a restaurant, gardens, a cookery school and floristry classes. The owners have a passion for the land, food, entertaining and conservation, using modern tech to be as green as possible. Doubles from £285 a night.

2 To rent

Famous for pricy organic produce, Daylesford also offers stays in its converted Cotswold stone cottages. They sleep 2-6 people and are set in more than 2,500 acres of countryside, with the café, farm shop, cookery school and spa on the doorstep. From £1,050 for three nights in a one-bedroom cottage, including a spa class.

3 To Airbnb

One for wine and nature lovers, Vine Lodge is a converted barn for two in Eckington, with a king-size bed, countryside views and a freestanding bath and hot tub. It’s opposite the owners’ deer park and vineyard, so book a wine tour or a quad-bike safari to see the deer. From £912 for three nights.

4 To buy

Riverside Garsdon Mill is a five-bedroom house near the village of Charlton, 2. miles from Malmesbury. It’s set in 54 acres of landscaped gardens, woodlands and parklands, with a millpond, a tennis court, a pool and two cottages. £3.275m.