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Do you live in the best place in Britain?

A survey of the UK's loveliest locales sees Stroud, the Windrush Valley and Southville in Bristol trending. So why did these neighbourhoods make the list?

The Sunday Times has published its annual Best Places To Live list and three Gloucestershire locations made the top 10 of the Southwest category. Well, tell us something we don’t know, right?!

Britain is blessed with a wealth of cool cities, thriving market towns, lively villages and charming suburbs. And in Glos we have outstanding schooling, a thriving tourist industry, a burgeoning foodie scene, vineyards aplenty and gorgeous countryside. Is it any wonder these 3 Glos towns made the cut of The Sunday Times Best Places to Live 2019?

Local knowledge and seeking out the fun stuff is Muddy’s speciality obvs, so here’s our take on those Glos hotspots, with some suggestions in case you want to go have a nosey this long weekend.



Brimming with independent shops, cafés and galleries and home to one of the best Farmers’ Markets in the country, there are plenty of things to do in Stroud, known as ‘the Covent Garden of the Cotswolds’ apparently. Think eclectic shops selling everything everything imaginable, all set against the dramatic backdrop of the beautiful Five Valleys, just 90 minutes by train from London.


Its energy is palpable and – who knew? – it has a thriving vintage scene. Strange and Charming and Time After Time are particularly worth a snoop. Most of the old cloth mills, and their imposing skylines, have been converted into flats, so it’s less manicured country life for weekenders, more bustling, thriving and bohemian. In fact, there is a strong community of artists, musicians, authors and entrepreneurs, as evident in the range of amenities on offer.


For foodies, Stroud Brewery is a one-stop brewing, drinking, eating and partying destination, while The Socialight has super smooth Cornish coffee, full English platefuls of deliciousness and an über sociable vibe. The Prince Albert is fab for beer and food with a musical flow, while Star Anise cafe is a Stroud institution for its great coffee, tasty food, and superlatively good vibrations.


Need an overnight? The Painswick has sixteen stylish bedrooms and the most perfect pair of tranquil treatment rooms, prepped and ready for retreat. Or The Old Lodge in nearby Minchinhampton will give you a good night’s rest in one of the most stunning settings you’ve ever seen. And while you’re here, Stroud Yoga Space is an oasis of calm where you can practise yoga, meditation and Pilates with some of the area’s best teachers. Oh, and there’s an utterly fab shop there for retail therapy nirvana, too.

If you’ve got the kids with you and are looking for a blast of wheely good fun, the award-winning Rush Skatepark in Brimscombe will get the pulse racing. For all things beautiful, The Malthouse Collective is the place to be seen, with gallery, events and workshops.




It’s classic Cotswold countryside all the way in the Windrush valley. This Gloucestershire stretch of the Thames – Bourton-on-the-Water, through Lower and Upper Slaughter up to Stow on the Wold – is the gorgeous (although somewhat touristy) Cotswolds you want to live in. Bourton has a green, a myriad of tiny bridges crossing the stream, and more tearooms and ice cream shops than you can imagine. Once you’ve fed the Mudlets, indulge them with Birdland, the Dragonfly maze, Cotswold Motoring Museum and, my favourite, The Model Village.


Take a walk from Lower Slaughter to Upper Slaughter and back again, and stay at The Slaughters Manor House if you’ve got the budget. Then get away from the crowds with The Cotswold Discovery Trail – a fun packed new way to explore the Cotswolds. A stunning map will take you on two day-long trails (one in the north Cotswolds and one in the south) for you to follow by car and explore on foot at the many Cotswold highlights set out on the routes. The maps are designed as treasure trails, with loads of information to uncover and questions and clues to answer on the way that illuminate and enlighten further on your surroundings.


In Stow on the Wold, there are pubs aplenty, but our favourites are The Porch House, The Sheep on Sheep Street and The Bell at Stow.  Number Four at Stow is well worth dropping into, too.



Street art, street parties and street food are just a few reasons to visit this vibrant corner of South Bristol. Oh, and it’s way more affordable than the posh bits across the river. Think colourful houses, lively commercial areas, winter and summer fairs, Window Wanderland – a window-based walking trail which lights up the entire area – and the Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade, a spectacular procession of around 1,500 people and thousands of illuminated lanterns, accompanied by brilliant music. Sounds fab!

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Gloucestershire & Worcestershire