The picture-postcard villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter, roughly a mile apart and around 3.5 miles southwest of Stow-on-the-Wold, have somehow managed to maintain their unhurried medieval charm, despite receiving a multitude of visitors. Their names have nothing to do with abattoirs; they come from the Old English ‘sloughtre’, meaning slough or muddy place.
Meandering sleepily through the two villages, the River Eye passes a succession of classic gold-tinged Cotswolds houses. It’s Lower Slaughter that’s the real gem, with the river canalised between limestone banks to flow just a few inches below road level, and flowery footpaths to either side. If you’ve time for a stroll, you can follow the Eye from one village to the other – the central stretch is away from the traffic – for a round trip that typically takes around two hours.