Largely untouched, totally unassuming and gloriously uncommercialised, Painswick is a real gem. This gorgeous Cotswold village is a maze of narrow winding streets lined with picture-perfect cottages, handsome stone town houses and medieval inns. Despite its obvious charm, Painswick sees only a trickle of visitors and you can wander the backstreets here and feel genuinely lost in time.
The village centres on St Mary’s Church, a fine perpendicular wool church surrounded by table-top tombs and 99 clipped yew trees. Legend has it that, should the hundredth yew tree be allowed to grow, the devil would appear and shrivel it. They planted it anyway –to celebrate the millennium – but there’s been no sign of the Wicked One.
Sliding downhill beside and behind the church is a series of gorgeous streetscapes. Look out for Bisley St, the original main drag, which was superseded by the now ancient-looking New St in medieval times. Just south of the church, rare iron stocks stand in the street.
The tourist office (