Creative and spirited: Covent Garden in the Cotswolds

Nestled amongst the beautiful rolling hills of the Five Valleys, Stroud is a lively and creative town with much to boast about.

Once described by Jasper Conran as ‘the Covent Garden of the Cotswolds’, the town has oodles of independent shops, restaurants, pubs and cafes (Toni’s Kitchen, Woodruffs organic cafe, Curio Lounge, The Corner House, The Bear of Rodborough and Stroud Brewery with its range of organic beers and wood fired pizzas are all great places to eat).

The Lavender Bakehouse & Coffee Shop in nearby Chalford is a local must-visit for its cakes. Four generations of the Winstone family have been making Winstones Cotswold Ice Cream which you can enjoy from their Parlour on the edge of the National Trust’s Rodborough Common.

Views of Stroud from Selsley Common

Every Saturday Stroud’s Cornhill Market Place and surrounding streets are bustling with shoppers visiting the multi award winning farmers market, one of the biggest of its kind in the country. A huge range of local produce from farmers, growers and producers can be bought here every week.

A ten-minute drive from Stroud, Minchinhampton Golf Club boasts three ‘immaculate’ courses: The Old Course (with its spectacular setting on Minchinhampton Common itself) and two Championship Courses: The Avening and The Cherington. Enough to keep the most avid golfer happy.

There’s also a lively and diverse arts scene: independent art galleries, exhibition spaces, community arts venues, and theatre and dance festivals.

Stroud has a rich industrial heritage, the industrial revolution played a major part in shaping the area and many of the old textile mills once used to make cloth can still be seen today dotted along the valleys.

The Stroudwater Canal is currently being restored to a fully navigable waterway from the River Severn to the River Thames. The Cotswold Way (just over 100 miles of breathtaking countryside) runs right through Stroud and the five valleys, made famous by Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie. Nearby Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons are a haven for wildlife, rare butterflies and wildflowers and Selsley Common has stunning views across to the River Severn and Malvern Hills.

Stroud Canal path nr Chalford

The popular market town of Minchinhampton, with its pretty streets of Cotswold stone cottages, is close to Stroud and next door to Gatcombe Park, the country residence of Princess Anne. Nailsworth, renowned for its award winning restaurants and delicatessens and once voted one of the best places to live in Britain, is also nearby. A short drive away is Jolly Nice farmshop, famous for its homemade ice cream and the Jolly Nice burger.

Stroud has a great choice of state primary and secondary schools rated ‘outstanding’ and ‘good’ by Ofsted including two grammar schools – Stroud High School and Marling School. Independent schools include Beaudesert Park, Westonbirt School, Wycliffe College, Hopelands Preparatory School and King’s School, Gloucester.

London is 90 minutes away by train from Stroud station and the M5 and M4 are nearby.