The highest town in the Cotswolds, Stow-on-the-Wold, originally an Iron Age Fort, epitomises olde worlde England. This ancient market town has played host to many fairs since the 12th century and today holds a biannual Gypsy Horse Fair, craft fairs and monthly Farmers' market. The vast market square boasts an ancient cross at one end and the village stocks at the other, surrounded by an elegant array of Cotswold stone townhouses, antique shops, tea rooms, traditional pubs, award-winning restaurants and its very own cricket museum. Many walks and cycle rides through the beautiful rolling countryside of the Cotswolds can be enjoyed from the centre of Stow, with the Macmillan Way, Heart of England Way, Gloucestershire and Monarch's Way all running close to the town. Bourton-on-the-Water, known as the 'Venice of the Cotswolds' as the River Windrush runs through the centre, lies in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is one of the most popular Cotswold villages. The Saxon market town of Moreton-in-Marsh and the quintessential English village of Broadway are all within easy reach and make a great day out. Cheltenham (20 miles away) is, architecturally, the most complete regency town in England. A spa town with an incredible range of shops, cinemas, theatres, restaurants and pubs, it is famous for its horse-racing festival in March, culminating in the Gold Cup steeplechase. At other times of year, it is host to literature, jazz, classical music, science and food and drink festivals. Oxford, the oldest university city in England and sometimes called 'The City of Dreaming Spires’ has an abundance of prestigious attractions, including the 38 colleges of the university (half of which date back before 1600), the oldest university teaching room, the Bodleian Library, Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums, and Botanic Gardens. Stratford-upon-Avon, Bath, Worcester and the waterfront city of Gloucester are also within easy reach, making Stow-on-the-Wold an ideal base.