The journey from Paddington to Stroud is just 90 minutes, making it an excellent day out from the city, as we explain in this extract from our book, How To Get Out Of London Without Really Trying.
Nowhere is the rule that beauty is only skin deep more apparent than in the Cotswolds, where the prettiest towns and villages are frequently the least interesting. By comparison, Stroud is not going to win any beauty contests but as a place for a daytrip it has much to offer. The Saturday farmers’ market, spilling out of the purpose-built Cornhill marketplace in the town centre, is huge and a good place to pick up picnic supplies. Two excellent second-hand bookshops, R&R and the more refined Inprint, are also worth adding to any itinerary as are Duffle, for vintage clothing and mid century furniture, and Time After Time for a good selection of clothes. The towpath of the Stroudwater Canal, which links the Thames to the Severn, is an atmospheric vantage point from which to see the beautiful hills and valleys that surround the town. The canal will also take you to the Stroud Brewery, for beer and (after 5pm) pizza. In town, Meme is a excellent all-day option for a snack or a drink — with an ethical and local menu. If the thought of making conversation is just too much, the Black Book Café is also a second hand bookshop, where paperbacks cost less than a cup of coffee. For classic gastropub, Bisley House is a reliable option. For the more adventurous, open country is just minutes away (a good source of routes is strollinginstrouddistrict.org), with The Woolpack in Slad, of Laurie Lee fame, only about 45 minutes away.