Pretty UK town ignored by tourists as it’s so close to the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds in Wiltshire is considered England’s most famous region outside of London.

Loved for its picturesque chocolate-box villages, market squares and thatched roofs, it’s no wonder 38 million visitors descend to the area every year.

There are plenty of options. Blockey is the most popular, a larger village boasting wonderful gardens and the main centre of silk industry in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Other favourites are Bourton on the Water, regarded as the Venice of the Cotswold villages and Castle Combe, which has been used for filming in major Hollywood films and TV programmes.

Not currently on the radar is Corsham. Despite being just half an hour from Bristol and 20 minutes from Bath, the pretty town is being shunned, simply for being on the edge of the Cotswolds.

Locals know that Corsham, which has featured in Poldark, is a hidden gem. It’s been listed in the Top 10 places to live in the South West and made it onto the Muddy Stilettos best places to live in Wiltshire in 2023 list. 

But for everyone else, here are the reasons you should visit this secret treasure.

Quintessentially English – if you are looking for historic buildings set within acres of beautiful countryside, this is the place for you.

An added quirk is that peacocks regularly wander the streets. While their official home is Corsham Court, they are just as happy on cobbled pavements and children and adults alike delight in watching and listening to them.

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The history of Corsham is linked to wool, courtesy of Flemish weavers who based themselves in the town. You can also admire stone from the famous Bath Stone, which is quarried locally and used in many of the town’s buildings.

One of these is Corsham Court, a Saxon royal manor house set in acres of parkland which is also home to a large collection of celebrated paintings.

The land was passed down through royal families from William the Conqueror but in the 16th century it belonged to two of Henry VIII’s wives.

Another place of interest is Guyers House, which is listed on the English Heritage Register. Now a hotel and restaurant, it started life as a modest farmhouse in about 1670.

If contemporary art is more your thing, The Pound is home to a gallery, theatre, cinema and cafe bar, which has a programme of events that changes regularly.

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If contemporary art is more your thing, The Pound is home to a gallery, theatre, cinema and cafe bar, which has a programme of events that changes regularly.

Shopping fans will be delighted with Corsham’s award-winning independent shops offering locally-made food, vintage buys, collectibles and unique gifts.

There are also a number of places to eat, drink and soak up the atmosphere, from high street pubs and coffee shops to the award-winning Methuen Arms. Woody’s the Deli and Mother & Wild are well worth trying too.

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