Visit Stow-on-the-Wold in 2022
Stow-on-the-Wold, at approximately 800 feet above sea level, is the highest of the Cotswold towns, situated on the Roman Fosse Way and at the crossroads of multiple routes, making it a major trading hub. It has a lengthy history, dating back to a prehistoric fortified hamlet on top of the hill. It was particularly important during the English Civil War, with the final combat taking place close by in Donnington in 1646. Because it was the only lockable building in town, St Edward’s Church was used as a prison for the vanquished Royalist troops. Some of the damage that occurred at the time is still visible today.
This door to St Edward’s Church is flanked by two ancient yew trees. The arched wooden entryway, topped with brilliant stained glass windows, invites visitors to let their imaginations run wild and fantasise about the wondrous worlds that lie beyond. It’s no surprise that the entrance inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s Doors of Durin, given its magical aspect.
The Market Square is huge and spectacular, and it serves as a reminder of the town’s former prominence. It is surrounded by townhouses, independent shops, antique centres, cosy cafes and inns, all built in the mellow local stone.
If you’re looking for a great place to eat or drink, Stow-on-the-Wold is a great shout. A couple of places not miss are The New England Coffee House for lovely coffee and cake, The Stag for a great meal, and The Cotswold Chocolate Company, but that goes without saying, surely!
If you’re into books, an absolute must is the Jaffe & Neale Bookshop & Cafe – it’s a little gem in the Cotswolds and one not to miss. And if you’re into cooking, or just love a good cook shop, Scotts of Stow is the mother of all kitchen shopping experiences.
It has been the heart of town life for centuries, with the mediaeval market stocks on one end, the ancient market cross on the other, and the impressive St Edwards Hall in the middle. The town hosted some of the country’s largest sheep fairs, with up to 20,000 sheep for sale in a single day. The monthly Farmers’ Market, which takes place on the first Thursday of each month and is immensely popular with both visitors and locals, is now the only market that takes place in the square.
The tombstone of Captain Hastings Keyte who died at the battle of Stow is a must-see attraction in Stow. The old wells at Well Lane, not far from the town centre, are where you can see the ramparts of an Iron Age fort.
Gypsies from all over the country come on the outskirts of this small town twice a year, in May and October, with plenty of horses, ponies, Romany caravans, and sightseers eager to soak up the ambience and make purchases from the various stalls.