Nestling quietly in the famous Cotswold hills, surrounded by some of Gloucestershire's most delightful countryside is the historic wool town of Painswick. Built of mellow Cotswold stone from the local quarry on Painswick Beacon the town's many beautiful buildings can be seen as you wander around its' quaint and narrow streets.
New Street, constructed around 1428 when the wool and cloth trade was flourishing, contained the oldest building in England to hold a Post Office until recently, Painswick's only example of exposed timber framing the Post Office is now closed but is still preserved. Also to be seen in New Street is Beacon House with it's magnificent Georgian Frontage and the Falcon Public Housel with what is said to be the oldest bowling green in a public house in England. There are rare 17th century spectacle stocks near the old Court House, 14th century houses in Bisley Street include two original Donkey doors, wide enough for panniered Donkeys to carry the wool from the numerous mills which operated along the local streams.
The church of St Mary (originally Norman) was extended around 1480 in the English perpendicular style. The churchyard with 99 Yew trees (legend has it that the 100th won't grow) and unusual tabletop tombs is also famous for it's 'Clypping ceremony' This ancient religious ceremony has nothing to do with the trees but is the embracing of the church by children of the parish carrying nosegays and singing hymns. A closer look at the church tower still reveals traces of Painswick's role in the Civil War.
Today there is a variety of small shops and galleries to browse around with pubs, restaurants and coffee shops that serve good food.
The Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen has its' own exhibition every August and shows the variety and excellence of their workmanship. Painswick is undoubtedly a village for all seasons whatever the weather. The countryside around Painswick with large areas of National Trust Woodlands is ideal for bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts. Undulating areas of pasture fall to the Wick stream which supplied the power for the woollen mills which can still be seen along it's length all now converted into housing..
The famous Cotswold Way footpath which runs from Chipping Campden to Bath goes through the village. Painswick is about halfway along it's 100 mile length and therefore useful for a stopover or longer rest. It is also an ideal starting point for many other delightful walks. Further local information can be found in the Tourist Information Centre located in the church grounds in the former Gravediggers Hut.
Painswick Beacon has magnificent views across the Severn Valley and on a clear day the Welsh Mountains can be seen after a stiff walk from the village. The outlines of the Iron Age Fort can be seen around the summit. There is also an 18 hole golf course, riding stables and tennis courts are close by.
The Slad Valley, made famous by Laurie Lee in his book 'Cider with Rosie' is also noted for it's wild flowers as is Scotsquar Common at Edge. Edge, Slad and Sheepscombe are all villages within walking distance of Painswick and well worth a visit.
The celebrated Rococo Gardens at Painswick House are open to the public throughout most of the year. In late Winter to early Spring the carpets of snowdrops are truly breath-taking.