The Cotswolds covers almost 800 square miles of West England; sprawling across from South Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Warwickshire to parts of Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset.
Famed for its golden stone, rolling hills and rural communities, the Cotswolds has been the go-to place for Londoner’s looking to escape to a slower pace of life. We caught up with Holly Von Bock, co-founder of Von Bock and Yarrow, an interior design company with strong ties to antique restoration and original craftsmanship, to find out more about this country idyll.
Which area of the region is your favourite?
Gloucestershire, which is where I’ve lived for most of my life! It’s heart is a little town called ‘Cirencester’ which is quite famous due to it being a Roman town & you can’t go into a coffee shop without stepping over some mosaic ruin or old bridge.
Where do you call home?
Cirencester. I was born in London (Primrose Hill; I had quite the celeb filled nursery high life until my parents thought it once I was in secondary school that the Cotswolds offered a better quality of life. And they were right!)
Known for its honey stone, parts of the Cotswolds are something of a tourist trap. Where do you recommend going to avoid the crowds?
Cheltenham. Avoid Gold Cup week in March but otherwise it’s a great sized town, filled with lovely Regency town houses, great shops and lovely places to eat.
Dotted with antique shops and areas of design inspiration, where do you go for your interior needs?
Definitely Cirencester Antique Market on a Friday, or the local auction house ‘Moore Allen’. Otherwise you can’t go wrong in Tetbury, it’s littered with antique shops (but very high end so I would avoid if you are looking for a bargain). Otherwise Burford Garden Company have gorgeous interior bits, and a delicious restaurant/deli - even the children's toy shop is amazing!
Where’s your go-to on a Friday night?
Definitely one of the Lucky Onion establishments...The Wheatsheaf in Northleach or Crazy Eights in Cheltenham.
Where do you go to grab a coffee/glass of red?
Coffee, I love Coffee no1 in Cirencester, it was a saviour when I had my kids. But now they are at school it’s great for taking my laptop into to write or meeting friends.
Best place for people watching?
Made by Bob in Cirencester for sure. You’ll see anyone from Liz Hurley, to Zara Philips, or Jamie Dornan. I’ve just been there with my husband playing ‘who’s had a face-lift’ it’s great.
Last minute date spot/date idea?
Try the Tavern in Cheltenham, another Lucky Onion spot but it’s so much fun, great cocktails & their food is insanely good.
Best view of the area?
On top of a hill in Westonbirt, or sat outside in Cowley Manor with a beautiful drop of rolling hills.
What’s the Cotwolds’ best kept secret?
A little pit-stop on the Stroud road called ‘Jolly Nice’ I think it was originally a gourmet burger trailer and is now a fully fledged farmshop, eatery and has a gorgeous little shop. You take your food and coffee and sit out in their yurt (which has a log burner in it!) it’s heaven.
Hotel or Airbnb?
Hotel, definitely. You need a barman with excellent knowledge of a good martini to hand.
Dream village to live in?
Is this even possible to choose?! My in-laws live in a sweet little village called Ampney St Peter which is essentially a cul-de-sac filled with beautiful cotswold stone houses, no street lamps and it’s so tranquil, my children can play out on the street without worrying about traffic coming through!