Heart of England
Gloucestershire GL54 1
The small Cotswold market town of Stow-on-the-Wold is very old and played an important role in Britain’s history. It has changed little over the centuries and when the visitor walks along the little alleys leading from the Market Square they are treading on the same stones along which medieval shepherds drove their sheep to market.
Stow stands on an 800 feet (244m) high hill (Wold) – the highest point on the Cotswolds. Not only did its exposed position provide a good view of the surrounding area but it was also the junction of seven major routes including the Roman Fosse Way. The current A429 road follows the route of the Fosse Way.
Stow was a Norman Market Town
The Normans established Stow as a market town to take advantage of the passing trade and in 1330 the town was granted its first Royal Charter to hold an annual Fair which lasted 7 days. Subsequent charters varied the number of Fairs to be held and their duration. These Fairs were conducted in the current Market Square and ensured the continuing prosperity of the town.
Livestock (particularly sheep) and horses were bought and sold and handmade goods traded. At one 19th century fair 20,000 sheep changed hands. Nowadays the town is famous for its Gypsy Horse Fair held in May and October. Relocated to a field outside of Stow these attract so many visitors that the town and surrounding villages close for the day and the roads are blocked with traffic jams.
Other than during the Horse Fairs the town is a charming place to explore.
The town clusters around a medieval market cross (a reminder to traders to trade fairly under the sight of God) and the punishment stocks in the Market Square. During the Civil War this is where the defeated Royalists surrendered after the Battle of Stow in 1646. In nearby Sheep Street is the ancient parish Church of St Edward where the Royalist prisoners were locked up.
Antique shops, Art Galleries, Arts & Craft shops, old Hotels and Restaurants
Stow is well known for its antique shops, art galleries, Arts and Crafts shops and there are plenty of old hotels and restaurants offering board and lodging and refreshments.
Accommodation - Search & Book through Lastminute.com here:
Unfortunately there is no physical Visitor Information Centre in Stow, however there are two good websites which can assist. See the TIC article in this website for details.
Stow is surrounded by lovely countryside ideal for walking, beautiful manors and gardens, and local breweries such as Donnington producing real ale which they sell in their picturesque village pubs.
Tip - Parking
The parking inspectors in town are very diligent in policing the restricted street parking. We recommend that visitors make use of the Car Park in the centre of town opposite Tesco’s supermarket. It is well signposted.
- By Car from London
From junction 1A on the M25 London ring road, take the M40 west towards Oxford, exiting at Junction 8 onto the A40 northern ring road around Oxford. At the junction with the A44, take that road west towards Chipping Norton and Moreton-in-Marsh. At Moreton-in-Marsh, take the A429 south to Stow-on-the-Wold, a distance of about 4 miles (6.4kms).
- By Rail from London to Moreton-in-Marsh
From London Paddington, take the hourly First Great Western service terminating at Worcester Foregate Street . The journey time to Moreton-in-Marsh is about 1 hour 40 minutes. For timetable, fares and ticketing, go to Web: National Rail Enquiries
- By Taxi from Moreton-in-Marsh to Stow-on-the-Wold
There are a number of taxi companies based in Moreton-in-Marsh which can be used for journey's to Stow-in-the-Wold. We recommend that tourists Google 'Taxi in Moreton in Marsh'. Distance is about 4 miles (6.4kms).
- By Bus to Stow-on-the-Wold
Possibly not the best solution as services are not frequent and can take long, roundabout routes.
Google Map - Stow-on-the-World