Stow-on-the-Wold stands at over 700 ft above sea level on the Cotswold Plateau.
The small hill-top settlement, dating back to the Iron Age, grew to importance beside the Roman Fosse Way at its junction with 6 other roads.
Later Stow was one of the medieval planned towns, for which the Cotswolds is renowned.
The town became prosperous with the wool trade and its Market Square, now surrounded by mellow Cotswold stone town houses, shops and inns, is still large and impressive. This open space in the town centre once hosted some of the largest sheep fairs in the Cotswolds, with up to 20,000 animals herded here for sale. The restored Market Cross is a reminder of those times.
At the other end of Market Square are the Old Stocks shaded by an ancient elm tree. With its favourable position at an important crossroads, Stow was a flourishing coaching town and King Charles I is said to have stayed at the King's Arms during the Battle of Naseby.
Stow played an significant role in the Civil War. When the Battle of Stow, the last battle of the conflict, was fought at nearby Donnington in 1646 St Edward's Church in Stow was used as a prison for the defeated Royalists troops.
Today the town is major centre for English antiques. As well as the antique shops there are also a number of art galleries, crafts and gift shops to visit, and excellent restaurants and pubs.
At Upper Swell, near Stow-on-the-Wold, is the Donnington Trout Farm as well as Guiting Power - home to the Cotswold Farm Park, an important breeding centre for many rare breeds.
Bourton Model Railway Exhibition and Toy Shop 3.5 miles A scenic model railway layout.
Cotswolds Perfumery 3.5 miles Local perfume manufacturer.
The Model Village 3.5 miles A 1/9th scale model of the village stands in the garden of a local pub.
Cotswolds Farm Park The home of rare breed conservation.
Bourton House Garden 4.3 miles Gardens in a lovely setting.
Cotswold Pottery 3.6 miles Visit the Pottery showroom.
Sezincote 3.4 miles Water garden and an unusual house.
Chastleton House 4.1 miles A lovely untouched historic house with gardens.
Toy and Collector's Museum A great collection of toys.
Cotswolds Motoring Museum & Toy Collection 3.5 miles View the cars, toys and mmemorabilia.
Wellington Aviation Museum and Gallery 4.1 miles Dedicated to RAF Moreton-in-Marsh.
Birdland Park and Gardens 3.6 miles Over 500 birds in 7 acres of gardens.
Towns Near Stow-on-the-Wold To Visit - straight line distance:Bourton-on-the-Water (3.48 miles) Moreton-in-Marsh (4.17 miles) Chipping Norton (7.62 miles) Northleach (8.46 miles)