This beautiful, historic wool town, sitting in regal hilltop splendour near Stroud, is known as ‘The Queen of the Cotswolds’. It is one of the best-preserved settlements in the Cotswolds, built from mellow honey-coloured stone quarried from nearby Painswick Beacon.
Sitting halfway along the Cotswold Way National Trail, the small town of Painswick is surrounded by marvellous walking country and is a great base for walkers. Painswick Beacon has magnificent views across the Severn Valley to the Welsh mountains. There is also an 18-hole golf course. If you prefer to explore by bike, the Cotswolds & Severn Vale 7-day cycle tour routes through Painswick.
Painswick was chosen as a location for the BBC TV adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s "The Casual Vacancy". The opening scenes, shop and other sites can be spotted around the town. New Street was constructed in the 15th century, at the height of the wool trade, and is home to The Falcon Inn and the country’s oldest bowling green.
Opposite The Falcon, the splendid churchyard of St Mary’s is one of the most memorable in the country. Dotted with 99 ancient yew trees and unusual tabletop tombs, it is a photographer’s dream. Legend has it that the Devil won’t let a hundredth tree grow.
The Tourist Information Centre in Painswick is open from March to October and is located in the Gravedigger’s Hut in the churchyard.
Things to do in Painswick include exploring the narrow streets, to unearth some fascinating galleries and shops, including the Art Couture Painswick Gallery. Friendly pubs serve locally-brewed ales and there are some excellent cafes and restaurants.
Events in Painswick include an annual Arts Festival and the Art Couture Painswick Festival. This festival brings the world of wearable art to life and adds a riot of colour to the churchyard and surrounding streets.
Other attractions in Painswick include the Rococo Garden, a short walk from the centre. It was designed as a flamboyant garden in the mid 1700s. It is now home to a world renowned collection of snowdrops.
Accommodation in Painswick ranges from luxury boutique hotels, to homely bed & breakfasts, self-catering cottages and friendly inns.
Painswick is close to the pretty villages of Slad (once home to the famous author Laurie Lee), Sheepscombe and Pitchcombe. This area is a great base from which to explore the undiscovered south Cotswolds.