The Cotswolds are a range of rolling hills spread over parts of south west and south central England. Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966, it has unique features derived from the local golden-coloured limestone known as Cotswold stone. The predominantly rural landscape containing stone-built villages, historical towns, and stately homes and gardens, is known worldwide. Many consider the Cotswolds as representative of the archetypal English landscape.
The area is roughly 25 miles (40 km) across and 90 miles (145 km) long, stretching south-west from just below Stratford-upon-Avon to just beyond Bath. It is within easy reach of London and several other English urban centres. The Cotswolds lie across the boundaries of several English counties; mainly Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, but also parts of Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire, and Warwickshire. The highest point of the region is Cleeve Hill at 1,083 ft (330 m), just to the north of Cheltenham.
The Cotswolds are characterised by attractive small towns and villages built of the underlying rock, known as "Cotswold Stone" (actually, a yellow oolitic limestone).