6.5km (4 miles) N of Stroud; 172km (107 miles) W of London; 16km (10 miles) SW of Cheltenham; 24km (15 miles) NW of Cirencester

This sleepy stone-built Cotswold wool town vies with Bibury for the title of the most beautiful in the Cotswolds. Painswick is a dream of England of long ago, the perfect escape from a string of dull market towns too often encountered. Its mellow gray stone houses and inns date from as early as the 14th century.

A visit to Painswick at any time of the year would be idyllic, in spite of the day-trippers and tourist buses, but there are two special occasions that make it an especially wonderful destination. One is the town's Victorian Market Day in early July. You can contact the Tourist Information Centre for the exact day, which is announced in the late spring. The other big occasion is the Clipping Feast.