The Cotswolds offer a vision of quintessential England. The region's pop-up-book villages come with stone-clad homes and blooms of rhododendron, while sporting hedgerows and drystone walls partition the farms in the backcountry. You'll hike low hills and bike through forests, taste cream teas in quaint cafés and sip cloudy West Country ciders in the pubs. This guide to cottages to rent in the Cotswolds is essential reading if you're planning on heading this way this year.

Features to consider when looking for Cotswolds cottages

With countless cottages to rent in Cotswolds and all sorts of towns to pick from in this vast cut-out of England, it might help to pinpoint the amenities you definitely need before settling on somewhere.

Self-catering cottages to rent in Cotswolds

While it might seem obvious that most Cotswolds cottages will come with a kitchen, you should think about what sort of cooking facilities you're after for your break. Big family groups might need a house with a sprawling catering area, packing in double stoves and large communal tables for those evening Monopoly games. Couples may only require something small and compact to help rustle up their hiking picnic.

Age-old Cotswolds cottages

If anywhere in England can offer you a taste of classic country style, it's surely the Cotswolds. Some rental homes here are even Grade I or II listed buildings, which means you'll catch carved Gothic apses and stained-glass windows, not to mention bed down in chambers once used by lords and dukes.

Do you need a dog-friendly Cotswolds cottage?

Be sure to set your search filters to show only pooch-ready pads in the Cotswolds if you've decided to bring along the barker. They tend to be primed for 4-legged guests, with space for a scratch by the fire and room to drop the pet bed.

A taste of luxury with cottages to rent in Cotswolds

The pastoral landscapes of the Cotswolds have long been a magnet for the UK's richest folk. Well-to-do villages host mansions and manor houses that exude elegance and class from every Gothic cornice and Victorian interior. You can get your own slice of high-living in these parts, too.

Cottages to rent in Cotswolds with hot tubs

There's certainly no shortage of cottages with hot tubs in the Cotswolds. They're often on the upscale end of the spectrum, touting steaming pools in al fresco spaces.

Be pampered in the Cotswolds

Believe it or not, a hot tub is just the beginning of the sort of pampering you can look forward to in this chic corner of the country. Homes with heated indoor pools and outdoor swimming spaces also beckon, while others come with plush lounges packed with hand-carved furnishings and intriguing pieces of art.

Sit by the fireplace in Cotswolds rental homes

There's really nothing like returning from a crisp winter walk up to the Broadway Tower to a roaring fireplace or stove. You'll be able to pick from a whole host of Cotswolds cottages that come with a warmer in-built. And if you can't find one that suits? You could always head for the local pubs instead.

The historic and handsome county of Gloucestershire really leads the way when it comes to offering hotspots for cottages to rent in Cotswolds. With time-stood-still towns laced with cinnamon-tinted churches, it's easy to see why.

Be taken by Stow-on-the-Wold

A jewel in the county crown of Gloucestershire, Stow-on-the-Wold is a medieval market town with plenty of class. Bookshops mingle with tearooms on the main street, before giving way to the grand St Edward's Church, famed for its yew-tree-framed doorways and lichen-spotted Gothic stonework.

Cotswolds charm oozes from Stanton

A cottage nestled in the hills near historic Stanton is a sure way to get your fix of Cotswolds character. Rows of steep-roofed buildings with half-timbered architecture date from the 1600s there. Spring is the best time to visit, when plumes of camellias and daffodils spill from the hanging baskets.

Cottages abound in Bourton-on-the-Water

Yes, you will get sightings of traditional Cotswolds buildings in postcard-perfect Bourton-on-the-Water. Romantic walks over the beige-hued bridge that spans the River Windrush are sure to tug at the heart strings, while petrolheads might prefer the Cotswold Motoring Museum and its menagerie of vintage engines.