What springs to minds when you think of the Cotswolds? Rolling hills, honey coloured cottages, quaint tea shops and friendly people; even the name sounds fluffy and cuddly.
It's no wonder then that so many tourists find themselves drawn to the Cotswolds and it's not just for the scenery.
It's one of the most expensive places to live in the UK, partly because of its astounding beauty but also because it's not overly far from London. For this reason, walk down any street or pop into a cosy country pub and you may bump into the likes of Prince Charles or Princess Anne, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Lily Allen and more. It's no wonder the Daily Mail called the Cotswolds the 'A-list Capital of Britain'.
But what does it offer for those of a more meagre purse?
For a start it's not far from Stratford-upon-Avon so, if you fancy learning a bit about the Bard or watching one of his plays performed there, you'll not be disappointed.
For a relaxing day out, perhaps on a Sunday, plan a walk in the footsteps of Laurie Lee, author of Cider With Rosie, before enjoying a sumptuous lunch at the Five Alls near Lechlade – it's reputed to be a favourite of Kate Moss when she's at home. Elsewhere Wild Thyme at Chipping Norton offers a splendid menu too.
You could tour the unusually named villages; Upper and Lower Slaughter are far nicer than their scary names suggest. Alternatively do a spot of birdwatching at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust's signature attraction, Slimbridge, set up by the son of the polar explorer, Sir Robert Scott. There, hundreds of acres of marshland, teeming with migratory birds in the spring and autumn, make it one of the best birdwatching sites in Europe.
For the best view of the region, head to Cleeve Hill, just outside Cheltenham. At just over a thousand feet, it's the highest point of the Cotswolds and has stunning views across the hills, the River Severn and Cheltenham Racecourse.
If you want souvenirs of your visit you're best off heading for the more commercial towns of the region; Bourton-on-the-Water or Stow-on-the-Wold. Even those with little interest in shopping will enjoy the unusual shops and boutiques on offer.
Tempted yet? Well then you'll need somewhere to stay and the top two tips for accommodation in the Cotswolds are either staying at an inn – perfect for trying out the local food and ale and not having to worry about driving home, or playing 'Lord of the Manor' by staying in one of the many manor houses now opened up to paying guests.
The Lygon Arms is always a favourite with those on a budget whilst the Dial House at Bourton-on-the-Water is exquisite.
Getting to the Cotswolds is really easy as the beauty of the region is enclosed within the routes of the M40, M5 and M4 motorways. If you prefer to arrive by train then the main lines from London and Birmingham also pass to the south and west. When you arrive you can then collect a hire car at the station and enjoy the drive along the quiet country lanes of one of the most beautiful and popular regions of England.