The picturesque village of Broadway, with its warm, honey-hued cottages, is the perfect base for a wintry stroll.
Take time to meander along the high street past pubs, cafés, tea rooms and shops – offering art and antiques, country clothing and gifts – then head into the Cotswold hills.
5.2 miles | 3.5 hours | moderate
1. Out of town
Make your way to the east of the village on High Street and join the Cotswold Way on the right. Stretching from Chipping Campden to Bath, this wonderful walking trail is 164km long and navigates past lovely villages, Neolithic and Roman sites, beautiful churches, meadows and woodlands. This first section of the path, as you climb the hill south of Broadway, is an easy walking fix and the perfect way to shake off winter cobwebs.
2. Hilltop tower
Follow the national trail up grassy slopes through frosty fields towards Broadway Tower. It’s all uphill and a little steep at times, with some stiles along the way, but if you stop occasionally to admire the view and catch your breath, it’s a very enjoyable stroll. You can see over the Severn Valley and the Vale of Evesham, with the Malverns in the distance, while ever-present in the valley below is Broadway itself.
3. County views
At the top, Broadway Tower comes into view. In snowy or frosty weather, this unusual folly, the brainchild of landscape designer Capability Brown and completed by architect James Wyatt in 1798 for the sixth Earl and Countess of Coventry, looks even more attractive. Inside, you can see an exhibition (£5 for an adult) and admire the surrounding countryside from the rooftop viewing platform. On a clear day, it’s possible to see as many as 12 counties.
4. Kite’s nest
Leave the tower and head south to the Morris & Brown Café a little further along the track (if you don’t fancy the hill from Broadway, it’s possible to drive up and use the car park). Warm up at the café with hot chocolate, coffee or a pot of tea. Their big slabs of cake are delicious, especially the coffee and walnut, and the Honey Bee Hot Chocolate made with honeycomb will give you energy for the path ahead.
At the end of the car park, cross straight over the road and go through a gate. Walk around the field and pick up a footpath through woodland. The trail leads downhill through the trees, crossing a track at the bottom. Turn right along a smaller footpath, eventually emerging at Kite’s Nest Farm. Veer right through the farmyard, and follow a track downhill to meet the main road at the bottom.
5. Dogs by the fire
Turn right and head north back into Broadway. You can cut a corner by joining a footpath on your right just beyond Broadway Court. Otherwise, stick to the pavement and admire the period houses and gorgeous cottages, with their thatched roofs, inspired topiary and general envy-inducing prettiness.
Back in Broadway, stop for a pint at The Jockey Bar, a racing-themed inn and part of The Broadway Hotel. Dogs are welcome and can sit beside the carved stone hound that guards the hearth, while you relax in an armchair by the fire with a local Hook Norton beer.
Keen to explore the town more? There are plenty of other pubs and cafés to duck inside, along with a range of shops where you can stock up on cosy fleeces and thick walking socks for your next wintry walk.