Broadway

31 miles from Cotswold Waterpark Retreats

Broadway, often called the “Jewel of the Cotswolds,” is a picturesque village known for its charming limestone buildings, historic High Street, and breathtaking countryside views. Steeped in history, this quintessential English village has long been a haven for artists, writers, and visitors seeking the serene beauty of the Cotswolds.

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History of Broadway

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The History of Broadway in the Cotswolds

Broadway, often referred to as the “Jewel of the Cotswolds,” is a picturesque village with a history that stretches back centuries. Known for its stunning High Street, lined with beautiful limestone buildings, Broadway is a testament to the enduring charm and historical significance of the Cotswolds.

Early History

Broadway’s history dates back to Roman times, when it served as a significant stop along the Fosse Way, a major Roman road that ran through the Cotswolds. The village’s name, “Broad Way,” reflects its origins as a wide, open thoroughfare. Over the centuries, Broadway evolved from a small settlement into a bustling medieval market town.

Medieval and Tudor Eras

During the medieval period, Broadway flourished as a centre for wool trade, much like many other towns in the Cotswolds. The local sheep produced high-quality wool, which became a valuable commodity, contributing to the village’s prosperity. The construction of the village’s iconic buildings, including the ancient coaching inns and the Norman Church of St. Eadburgha, began during this time.

In the Tudor era, Broadway continued to thrive. The Lygon Arms, one of the village’s most famous landmarks, dates back to the 16th century. This historic coaching inn has hosted notable figures such as Oliver Cromwell and King Charles I during the English Civil War.

Georgian and Victorian Periods

The Georgian era saw Broadway become a popular destination for artists and writers. The village’s natural beauty and serene atmosphere attracted many creative minds, leading to the establishment of an artist colony. Notable figures such as J.M. Barrie, the author of “Peter Pan,” and American artist John Singer Sargent were among those who found inspiration in Broadway.

 

During the Victorian period, the arrival of the railway in nearby Evesham made Broadway more accessible, boosting its popularity as a tourist destination. The village’s High Street, with its charming honey-colored stone buildings, became a symbol of quintessential English rural life.

20th Century to Present

In the 20th century, Broadway maintained its appeal as a cultural and historical haven. The village played host to various artistic and literary figures who continued to draw inspiration from its idyllic surroundings. Today, Broadway remains a popular destination for tourists seeking to experience the timeless beauty of the Cotswolds.

Key Landmarks and Attractions

  • Broadway Tower: This iconic folly, designed by James Wyatt in 1798, stands on Broadway Hill, the second-highest point in the Cotswolds. The tower offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
  • The Lygon Arms: A historic coaching inn that dates back to the 16th century, offering luxury accommodations and a rich history of notable guests.
  • Gordon Russell Design Museum: Celebrating the work of the renowned furniture designer, this museum showcases the village’s connection to the Arts and Crafts movement.
  • St. Eadburgha’s Church: A beautiful Norman church located on the outskirts of the village, reflecting Broadway’s medieval roots.

Broadway’s blend of historical significance, architectural beauty, and cultural richness makes it a standout destination in the Cotswolds. Its timeless charm continues to captivate visitors, preserving its legacy as one of England’s most picturesque villages.

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