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Ambling over a steep hill, STOW-ON-THE-WOLD sucks in a disproportionate number of visitors for its size and attractions, which essentially comprise an old marketplace surrounded by cafés, pubs, antique and souvenir shops. The narrow walled alleyways, or "tunes", running into the square were designed for funnelling sheep into the market, which is itself dominated by an imposing Victorian hall – but architecturally that is pretty much it.
Stow is, however, easy to reach by bus from Cheltenham and Cirencester, with buses pulling in on the High Street, just off the main square. Accommodation includes Tall Trees B&B (Tel:01451/831 296; no credit cards; Price: 51-60), on the edge of town off the Oddington road (A436), which has sweeping views and a cosy wood burner in its modern sitting room annexe. There's only one youthhostel in the Cotswolds and it's here, in a good– looking Georgian townhouse on the main square (Tel:0845/371 9540, Web: www.yha.org.uk ; dorm beds £16). The hostel has fifty beds in four- to eight-bedded rooms (no doubles) and is open all year.
For food, TheRoyalist Hotel, just off the main square on the corner of Park and Digbeth streets, offers light meals in its Eagle &Child bar and also possesses the more formal but extremely good 947AD restaurant (Tel:01451/830 670), where a main course costs about £14. The best teashop in town is the Cotswold Garden Tearoom, yards from the Royalist on Digbeth Street and offers tasty home-made cakes and snacks.