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Introducing Stow-on-the-Wold

Stow has long held a strategic place in Cotswold history, standing as it does on the Roman Fosse Way and at the junction of six roads. At its heart is a large market square surrounded by handsome buildings and steep-walled alleyways originally used to funnel the sheep into the fair. Today the sheep have been replaced with tourists and instead of farmers brokering deals the town is full of antique shops, pretentious boutiques, tearooms and delis. It’s great if you’re on a pit stop from a coach tour, but all a little artificial if you’re looking for true Cotswold charm.

The tourist office (831082; Hollis House; 9.30-5.30pm Mon-Sat) on Market Sq sells discounted tickets to local attractions.