The Cotswold region is a terrific place for a vacation - no matter whether you're traveling with your family, as a couple, or with friends.   It is a popular vacation area for not only the British, but also for visitors from around the world who come to see the small villages, green countryside, rolling hills and to experience the serenity and easy-going lifestyle.

You'll find a mixure of larger towns and smaller villages.  Some are well-known, and others are just around the corner waiting to surprise you.  Depending on your own ideas for a great vacation and time schedule, here are some tips on planning your visit.

Gloucester: With more than 500 listed buildings, Gloucester is considered to be one of England’s top ten historic destinations. The city, which dates back 2000 years to Roman times, is dominated by the great tower of Gloucester Cathedral. Widely regarded as one of the most magnificent Gothic buildings in the world, Gloucester Cathedral attracts 300,000 visitors annually including many from overseas.

The historic Victorian Docks have undergone significant regeneration and now The Gloucester Quays Leisure Quarter has become a popular destination in its own right for visitors and residents alike. With an attractive mix of waterside museums, cafes, bars, restaurants and outlet shopping, Gloucester Quays attracted 3 million visitors in 2013 and is anticipating 4 million visitors in 2014

Chipping Campden: Often referred to as "The Jewel in the Crown" of the Cotwolds, this is the place for shopping.  Take plenty of time to enjoy the antique shops along High Street.

Stow-on-the-Wold: Famous as a center for antiques, Stow-on-the-Wold is a charming hilltop village.  At 800 feet, all roads go uphill into the town.  The Toy Museum is a must-stop attraction for families.  It also has a rich history and beautiful architecture to enjoy.

Bourton-on-the-Water:  Often referred to as "The Venice of the Cotwolds" this town is unique and cosmopolitan.  It's a great place for a family to enjoy the parks along the River Windrush and the attractions, which include the Model Village, the Model Railway Exhibition, the Dragonfly Maze, the Motor Museum and Birdland.

The Slaughters (Upper and Lower): Each of these villages is charming on its own, and the guided walk between the two is an unbeatable way of getting some exercise and soaking up the atmosphere and fresh air.

Moreton-in-Marsh: Shoppers should plan their visit for Tuesday, the day when you'll find the Cotswolds largest open-air market.  There are also some unique attractions, including the Batsford Arboretum, the Cotswold Falconry Centre, the Bourton House Gardens, and the Wellington Aviation Museum.

Cheltenham: If you're looking for a variety of things to see and do in one place, Cheltenham is for you.  Visitors can enjoy the Regency architecture,  parks, festivals, shopping, and even horseracing.  As a bustling center for tourism, you'll find plenty of restaurants and accommodations to choose from.  

Bath: Well known for its history and cultural sights.  A World Heritage Site, Bath was founded by the Romans as a thermal spa.  Here the historical "must-sees" are: The Roman Baths, Bath Abbey,  The Building of Bath Museum, the Thermae Spas, The Museum of Costume, the Jane Austen Centre, The Victoria Art Gallery and Holburne Museum.