Cotswolds: Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty offers boundless choices | Property | Life & Style

Straddling five counties to the south west of the Midlands it is well-placed for people who want to live in the countryside while working in cities outside its picturesque boundaries.

Good road and rail connections gives access to Birmingham, Bristol, Oxford and – the clincher – London, depending on which part of the Cotswolds you live in.

Stretching south from Worcestershire to Oxfordshire and Wiltshire and west to Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, it has permanent cultural hotspots in Bath, Cheltenham, Cirencester and Stroud.

But with the arrival of Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire – a members’ club with cabins and properties to rent for a slice of London life in the Oxfordshire countryside – and the Watermark New England-style holiday homes development around lakes in South Cerney, Gloucestershire, the Cotswolds increasingly has a permanent festival atmosphere. Womad, the World Of Music, Arts and Dance, has been on this weekend near Malmesbury; then there’s the Wilderness Festival – music, food, theatre, dance and more at Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire next weekend, plus beer and cider and more food celebrations in August and September.

“Living in the Cotswolds as a lifestyle hits the nail on the head,” says Ian Daniels of estate agent Butler Sherborn’s Cirencester office (01285 883740; butlersherborn.co.uk).

“You’re still very much accessible to everywhere within the country but at the same time you have the benefits that the countryside offers on your doorstep – and in some very nice villages and market towns.”

While he admits property prices are at a premium compared with other country areas, Daniels suggests that villages outside the Cotswolds market towns have become the new “hotspots” and says: “If you go a bit further afield – just south of Tetbury – or a bit further west even – Chedworth and Whittington for example – you still get the benefits of all the amenities.

“Commuting to London now is so easy from a multitude of stations, thanks to electrifying the line from Campbell. It makes it accessible as a counter to the Home Counties.”

Outdoor pursuits such as walking, riding, fishing and sailing on the lakes in the Cotswold Water Park – more than 150 of them across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and west Oxfordshire – make the region attractive for growing families and downsizing seniors.

It’s also England’s largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is one of the reasons new homes built in traditional…

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