Paddington Railway Station (meet by the main ticket office - it's near Platforms 1 & 2) | Map
Guided by Richard B
Short read: The achingly beautiful Cotswolds.
Medium read: We take you places where you'll want to stay. The Cotswolds of thatched roofs and honey-coloured stone and cottages wreathed in wisteria and honeysuckle. The Cotswolds of stone bridges and old mills and millponds. The Cotswolds of storybook villages and matchless flower gardens. The Cotswolds of... well, of rural England at its best.
Long read: High end, extremely high-quality tours. That's what we do. The catch – you're going to like the catch – is we do them at a very reasonable price.* If you're thinking of going to The Cotswolds and you've found your way to this page you've drawn to an inside straight and hit it. To get this into perspective run a couple of comparisons. Sure, there are other ways of getting to The Cotswolds. You can hire a driver guide. Cost you hundreds of pounds and you'll have less time in The Cotswolds because battling through London traffic and pounding along the motorway takes a lot longer than going by train. You can hire a car and drive up there yourself. Same time constraints and it'll cost you a whole lot more than going with us. Car rentals aren't cheap. And that's not to mention the toll on your nerves that goes with the territory of driving in unfamiliar places. If it were a steeplechase – Richard's savvy and years of experience over against you behind the wheel of a rental car and being completely unfamiliar with the course – well, I know which horse I'd back. And as for coach tours to the Cotswolds – well, you might save £5 to £10 but it's a textbook example of a false economy. Going by rail is much faster and much more comfortable than going by coach. Battling through London traffic and grinding out the miles on the motorway – well, your £5 to £10 "saved" is going to cost you precious hours in The Cotswolds. It's no saving at all. Divide the cost by the number of hours you get in The Cotswolds you'll find that the per hour cost of going on a coach tour is a whole lot more than the per hour cost of going with us. Nobody else does it the way we do it. They can't. They're locked into their expensive "infrastructure" – their coaches, their cars, etc. Low-information tourist hordes don't do it the way we do it. They would if they were lucky enough to find us. But they don't find us. We're not on their radar. Their loss. But you're not them. You're not low-information tourists, you're savvy, discerning independents. You have found us. You've won. You're going to have the best possible trip to The Cotswolds. Good going.
*The key is our low fixed costs – i.e., running London Walks off our kitchen table. That translates into extremely high-quality tours at a very reasonable price.
Bored by traffic? Board the train. At PaddingtonRailway Station (see below).
Richard – a top flight, professionally qualified guide (in an earlier incarnation he was an actor) who knows The Cotswolds inside and out, he's guided up there for over 20 years – meets you at PaddingtonRailway Station (meet Richard by the main ticket office – it's near Platforms 1 & 2). Richard will be with you the whole day. From the Paddington meet-up to bringing you right back to Paddington Station at day's end.
When our train gets us to The Cotswolds we're met by the local coach Richard's chartered for us. We do four villages and lots of countryside. So you'll see a great deal of Cotswolds countryside and Cotswolds village life. We're of course only in the coach while we're seeing some Cotswolds countryside, going from one village to another. When we get to our villages we get out and walk. And that's when the magic really kicks in. You'll have taken to Richard from the get-go. He's friendly, urbane, charming, witty, warm, fun. (And that's not to mention that special gift of his – his "honeyed voice.") But when we get out and walk it's case closed. Richard knows country houses – he lives in one (when he's not living in his house in Cape Town or his penthouse flat in London). His partner's a designer. They restore old houses. He knows about these things. Whether it's thatching or stonework or window setts or whatever. He's connected. People there know him. His recommendations for your lunch break are small pieces of perfection. (I hope it goes without saying that we don't herd you into some tourist trap that we've "got a deal with" – i.e., get a kick-back from. We're London Walks – we don't do tacky stuff like that.)
Anything else? Yes, attention to detail. The small things that make a big difference. When we're in the villages the driver stays with the coach. You can leave your gear in the coach with complete confidence that it'll be ok. I said we use the local coach to village hop – but two of the villages – Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter – are very close together. Some of you, some of us, will choose to walk from the one to the other. Others won't. That's ok, they'll take the coach. It works a treat.
In sum: it's fun; it's fascinating; it's efficient; it's relaxed (Richard's the perfect host – he takes the worry out of it). It just works. It'll be one of the best – one of the most memorable – days of your life. Memories make us rich.
Catch this one when you can.
We go there on the following Saturdays: May 11, May 18, October 12 and October 26.
Meeting time for the Saturday Cotswolds Excursions is 8.45 am.
We also go there on the following Sundays: June 2, June 16, June 30, July 14, July 28, August 11, August 25, September 8 and September 22.
Meeting time for the Sunday trips is 9 am.
Meeting point is by the main ticket office – it's near Platforms 1 & 2 – of PaddingtonRailway Station.
Richard is easy to spot. He looks like he's stepped straight out of the pages of Gentleman's Quarterly. He's always topped to the north with his famous red cap. And he'll be holding up a sign that says LONDON WALKS.
What's the cost? The cost is made up of the guide's fee – which is £18 for adults, £16 for students and over 65s and £14 for people with the London Walks Discount Card – plus the Tariff (train and coach fares). The adult Tariff for the Cotswolds Tour is £49 (there are further reductions for students and seniors). For children under 15 accompanied by their parent(s) a reduced Tariff is the only charge. For the total cost of the Cotswolds Tour simply add the guide's fee to the Tariff.
The Tariffs – fares, admissions where applicable, etc. – for our Excursions are quite a bit cheaper than what you'd pay were you to "go it alone" with your fares, etc. But if you've got, say, a Brit Rail Card or some other super cheap deal that's better than the one we get for you the cost of the Excursion will be pro-rated accordingly. You'll never have to pay twice or pay over the odds.
Preview the tour and the guiding. Watch the video.
"Best Tourism Experience in England" Gold Medal Winner, Visit England
"London Walks was acknowledged as the premier walking tour company in the entire world" American Tour Guides Convention
If you can't make any of the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, public Cotswolds Excursions do think about booking one privately. If you go private you can have The Cotswolds Excursion – or any other Excursion or London Walk – on a day and at a time that suits your convenience. We'll tailor it to your requirements. And – always with private books – we go to great lengths to get the perfect customer-guide "fit." Ring Fiona or Noel on 020 7624 3978 or email us at email@example.com and we'll set it up and make it happen for you. Makes a fabulous wedding present or birthday gift or anniversary treat. Merchandise schmerchandise (gift wrapped or not) – but giving someone an experience, now that's special. Memories make us rich.
In addition to the Saturday and Sunday trips to The Cotswolds, we do a completely different tour of The Cotswolds – different route, different villages – on our Oxford & The Cotswolds trip, which takes place every Wednesday from May 16 - October 3.
It's not even close...
This is about my 6th London Walk – LOVED LOVED LOVED them all!! Last time I was in London I paid WAY MORE money for a private tour with another company to the Cotswolds and was unimpressed. THIS TIME I got smart and went with RICHARD and LONDON WALKS and my husband I LOVED every minute of it! So much great information, his demeanour is amazing, and the day was perfect – the right amount of time for lunch, tours, walks, everything!! Everyone on our tour loved it (we were talking at the station) and I loved that I didn’t have to do anything…just meet at the station, pay my very reasonable fee, and voila Richard showed us where to go, what to look at, how much time we had – everything was so easy and well done!! It was like touring with a good friend showing you around! Don’t miss this – great value!! Actually, do as many as you can…they are so great!!! Thank you and Aloha! N C Honolulu (29 Reviews)
Editor's Note: This review was published on TripAdvisor on 16 June 2018. For the record, TripAdvisor has a facility that lets fellow travellers contact a reviewer directly. You can always put any questions you might have to us at London Walks – but for a disinterested, completely independent "read" of what it's like to go on one of our Excursions you can't do better than drop a line to someone who's been on one.