PUBLISHED: 10:45 05 January 2011 | UPDATED: 10:51 28 February 2013
It's a delicate matter - does your postcode make you posh or a pleb? Katie Jarvis and David Tyler attempt, not entirely seriously, to crack the Cotswold code.
Where: This is one of those postcodes where the next three digits are vital. That defines whether you can wax lyrical about where you live (the attractive village of Birdlip, for example) or wax cars (on Gloucester's Eastern Avenue Trading Estate).
Why: Truly the Courchevel of the Cotswolds... Err... that's to say, it houses the Matson dry slope, which is the nearest you're going to get to skiing in this area.
Who: Very wealthy celebrity, but we're not saying who (only because we don't know): Birdlip was where the Iron Age celebs hung out, as evinced by the famous Birdlip Mirror, uncovered here by 19th century workmen. It was buried along with its anonymous owner and is one of the finest items of Celtic art to survive today.
Sadly, the area is not as well known for its celebrity inhabitants nowadays, who haven't cottoned on to how easy it is to get your limo valeted around here.
Hang out: The Air Balloon, Crickley Hill; Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre at Matson; and Birdlip - though round about 2,000 years ago.
Unique selling point: Eclectic (as in Birdlip and Eastern Avenue can both call it home).
Where: Coberley, Colesbourne, Elkstone, Cowley
Why: There are almost no dodgy bits
Who: Erstwhile X Factor host, Kate Thornton, who is from Cheltenham; Henry Elwes, Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, who owns Colesbourne; husband-and-wife team Jessica Sainsbury (of the supermarket fame) and the aristocratic intellectual Peter Frankopan who own Cowley Manor.
Hang Out: Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin, Hugh Grant and Kate Moss have all rubbed shoulders with the papier-mach rear end of a zebra (don't ask) at ultra hip Cowley Manor. For the less avant-garde, the Colesbourne Inn is owned by the Colesbourne estate which believes in fine tradition coupled with forward thinking.
Unique Selling Point: It's a pet-lovers' paradise. Not only are there lots of walks and bridleways, but Sir Giles de Berkeley was even allowed to bury his horse, Lombard, in the churchyard at Coberley. Aah.
Where: Aldsworth, Bourton-on-the-Water, Chedworth, Clapton-on-the-Hill, Cold Aston, Coln St Dennis, Compton Abdale, Condicote, Winchcombe, Dowdeswell, Farmington, The Rissingtons, Guiting Power, Hampnett, Hazleton, Icomb, Stow-on-the-Wold, The Slaughters, Naunton, Northleach, North Cerney, Notgrove, Sherborne, Shipton, Temple Guiting, Turkdean, Whittington, Withington, Yanworth
Why: Bourton-on-the-Water has been called 'The Venice of the Cotswolds', with its model village and stone bridges. Jackdaws Castle racing stable is at Ford, Chedworth has a Roman villa, and Sudeley Castle is here.
Who: Vestey Family (meat), Wills Family (cigarettes), rock star Steve Winwood, Peter de Savary, Henry Dent-Brocklehurst, Jonjo O'Neil, Nigel Twiston-Davies.
Best Hang Outs: The Ox House Wine Bar, Northleach, the Plough Inn, Ford
Unique Selling Point: You should never be short of a racing tip
Where: Aston Subedge, Chipping Campden, Ebrington, Mickleton, Weston sub-Edge
Why: Chipping Campden nestles in the bottom of a deep valley and, as you descend into the town, the tower of the parish church of St James dominates the skyline ahead. Honey-coloured buildings, constructed by rich wool merchants of the 15th century, stand guard along the long High Street
Who: Julian Lloyd Webber
Hang Out: The Churchill Arms, Paxford, the Bakers Arms, Broad Camden, the Cotswold House Hotel and the Red Lion, Chipping Campden
Unique Selling Point: If you're from the city, you won't be the first incomers. Arts & Craft architect C R Ashbee paved the way when he moved his 150 East End workers to Chipping Campden's Old Silk Mill in the early 20th century. Apparently, they're almost considered locals now.
Where: Adlestrop, Batsford, Bourton-on-the-Hill, Moreton-in-Marsh, Bledington, Donnington, Evenlode, Longborough, Blockley, Naunton, Odington, Sezincote, Todenham.
Who: Marchioness of Northampton, Richard Hambro, Simon Keswick, the Bamford family, Prue Leith, Tessa Jowell; and Edward Thomas remembered it.
Hangout: Daylesford Organic farm shop, the Fox at Lower Oddington, the Kings Head, Bledington
Unique Selling Point: If you're into organic food, there's a perfect farm shop round here for you. Or maybe you own it.
Where: Painswick, Didmarton, Nailsworth, Edgeworth, Winstone, Stroud, Bisley, Slad, Minchinhampton
Why: The area's common. (Minchinhampton and Rodborough Common, that is: some of the most beautiful acres of unimproved grassland in Europe, open to everyone to enjoy.)
Who: Princess Royal, Detmar Blow, Damien Hirst, Jilly Cooper, Hamish Bowles, Eddie the Eagle, Lord Reading, cricketer Jack Russell, Mike Tindall, Zara Phillips, Capt Mark Phillips. The late Laurie Lee turned Slad into an international icon with Cider with Rosie.
Hang Out: The Woolpack, Slad, The Stirrup Cup, Bisley, Butcher's Arms Oakridge Lynch, White Horse Inn, Frampton Mansell
Unique Selling Point: People often say they like living here because of the area's 'gritty reality', which is a euphemism for being close to Stroud. However, we predict this town is so up-and-coming, Notting Hill will one day be proud to be dubbed 'Stroud without the wellies'.
Where: The Ampneys, Bagendon, Barnsley, Baunton, Bibury, Cirencester, Coates, Coln St Aldwyn, Daglingworth, Driffield, Duntisbourne Abott, Eastleach, Fairford, Hatherop, Kemble, Lechlade, Kempsford, Maysey Hampton, Poole Keynes, Poulton, Preston, Quenington, Rendcomb, Rodmarton, Sapperton, Siddington, Somerford Keynes, South Cerney, Southrop, Lower Swell, Winson
Why: William Morris, the 19th-century artist and poet thought Bibury to be the most beautiful village in England. In Roman times, Cirencester (known then as Corinium) was the second largest Roman city in Britain.
Who: Lord Apsley, Arun Nyer and Elizabeth Hurley, Kate Moss, The Marquess and Marchioness of Reading, Viscount Erleigh, Lady Sybilla Rufus Issacs, Earl and Countess of Bathhurst, Earl of Suffolk, Dom Joly, artist Dinos Chapman, Willie Carson and actress Fiona Fullerton, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Anneka Rice, Rory Bremner, Ruby Wax, Gary Kemp, footballer Tony Adams
Best Hang Outs: The Swan at Southrop, 12 Bells, Cirencester, The Wild Duck at Ewen, Tunnel House Coates
Unique Selling Point: This area's so posh, even Joanna Trollope couldn't hack it and moved out. She said there were too few shepherds, too much Kate Moss - oh, and something rude about daffodils, but no one can quite remember what.
Where: Ashley, Avening, Beverston, Tetbury, Cherington, Kingscote, Long Newnton, Westonbirt
Why: Tetbury, with its excellent butchers and delis, is fast becoming the Cotswold food capital. And, if it's good enough for the heir to the throne...
Who: HRH The Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Leslie Brain (who considerably raised the average age of Big Brother contestants), Tina Hobley - actress and possible anagram of Holby City - and writer Sue Limb.
Hang Outs: The Trouble House Inn, Tetbury Road
Unique Selling Point: Always Someone to gossip about
Where: Acton Turville, Badminton & Little Badminton
Why: It is a conservation area located in high open countryside on the eastern boundary of South Gloucestershire. Badminton House the ancestral home of the Duke of Beaufort is in the its centre with its deer park and Gardens of Special Historic Interest
Who: Duke of Beaufort, Bunter Worcester
Hang Outs: The Beaufort Arms Hawkesbury Upton
Unique Selling Point: Home of the Badminton Horse Trials and the smartest hunt in England
Why: Ancient and set in lush greenery to the edge of the Cotswolds in the midst of the Vale of Berkeley, Dursley is close to the River Severn.
Who: Millionaire publisher Alan Sutton, who specialises in local books; Evelyn Waugh once lived here
Hang-out Old Spot, Dursley
Unique Selling Point: If you can't stand Harry Potter, you can take pleasure in living somewhere named after those who share your views
Where : Wotton-under-Edge
Why: A beautiful historic Cotswold town with stunning surrounding countryside, and good value housing (compared to elsewhere in the Cotswolds)
Who: Lifestyle presenter & celebrity chef Paul Da Costa Greaves; poet U A Fanthorpe
Hang-out: For the quick, the Falcon Inn; otherwise, see below
Unique Selling Point: Allegedly the town is home to the most haunted building in England, The Ancient Ram Inn
Where: Westcote, Chipping Norton
Why: heart of Motor Racing valley on the Eastern fringes of the Cotswolds
Who: Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes, Allen Jones, Lord and Lady Rotherwick, Jeremy Clarkson, David Cameron, Duchess of Marlborough, Redmond O'Hanlon, Actor Sir Ben Kingsley, crime writer Mark Billingham, Alex James from Blur
Hang out The Kingham Plough
Unique Selling Point If you want to form a rock band, or you like cheese, either way this is the area for you. Roland Rat is rumoured to be looking for a country retreat in the vicinity.
Where: Barringtons, Windrush
Why: the Windrush Valley is on the Gloucestershire Oxfordshire border. The village of Little Barrington is a very picturesque Cotswold village and once the home of Thomas Strong who was considered to be the finest stonemason of his time and worked on St Paul's Cathedral with Sir Christopher Wren. Strong left money in his will to the Barrington villages to build a stone crossing over the River Windrush that should be wide enough to allow two men to carry a corpse across it in safety
Who: Catherine Palmer (sister of Lord Glenconner) Mark Palmer, Jack Straw
Hang Out: The Fox Inn, Great Barrington
Unique selling point: You'll never have problems carrying a corpse between the Barringtons
Where: Woodstock, Blenheim
Who: Duke of Marlborough and son Jamie Blandford (though almost certainly not in the same room at the same time), Prince Bandar, Matthew Freud and Elizabeth Murdoch, Lord Edward Spencer Churchill
Hang Out: The Masons' Arms in South Leigh, Harriet's Cake Shop in Woodstock (for breakfast)
Unique selling point: Interesting neighbours
Where: Willersey, Broadway, Snowshill
Why: Broadway has been described as the "show village of England". Snowshill is where Bridget Jones's Diary was filmed
Who: Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger
Hang out Lygon Arms, Broadway: Snowshill Arms
Unique Selling Point: You might get to meet Rene Zellweger or Colin Firth. But there again, there's always the possibility of bumping into Hugh Grant
Where: Very north western tip of Cotswolds
Why: It's not quite as far out as it seems
Who: Stella McCartney (at Bishampton, Worcs); Conde Nast MD and author Nicholas Coleridge
Why: No worries about bumping into Heather Mills
So is the GL postcode a blessing or a curse?
Before the deluge from above last summer, the GL postcode was a kind of shorthand for a dipped-in-honey rural idyll which the denizens of Warrington and Wallsend could only dream of. Now, after the floods which devastated parts of Gloucestershire, 'GL' conjures up a picture of floating cars, tidemarks up walls and fields that became reservoirs. The human cost, in terms of lives disrupted (and, in some cases, lost) and domestic devastation wreaked is still being counted as the winter months slip by.
Keeping a careful eye on the situation are the insurance companies, who face the prospect of paying out millions of pounds in claims and, perhaps predictably, aren't keen on repeating the whole pocket-emptying experience.
As a consequence, many people living in various GL postcodes have noticed either a hike in their insurance premiums and/or excesses of outrageous proportions to cover flood damage, in some cases as much as 10,000. Those living in and around GL1 (Gloucester) GL54 (Bourton-on-the-Water) and GL20 (Tewkesbury) are undoubtedly affected by this form of 'postcode lottery' and, aside from moving to higher ground, there's little they can do about it. Insurance companies rely on databases and scientific information to alert them to risks from the elements, and there's every chance you'll be stung for a bigger premium even if you live only reasonably close to a potential flood site.
For their part, insurance companies say they will continue to provide flooding cover, 'with certain conditions in place.' Industry body the Association of British Insurers have called on the government to put more money into flood defences.
Although flooding is big news as far as your postcode goes, it isn't the end of the story. Even a mere whiff of subsidence, from old Gloucestershire mineworks and natural faults in the landscape, sends the insurance man into a fit of the screaming abdabs at the sight of the GL postcode.
And where you live also affects your car insurance premium. Companies work this out using regularly updated crime statistics. Every postcode is rated A-F (A being the safest) and wherever you are on this scale determines how much you will pay.
So if you're in GL51 (Cheltenham), GL11 (Dursley) or GL5 (Stroud) you can sleep easily at night, safe in the knowledge that you're in the lowest risk category. Conversely, if you reside in GL14 (Cinderford) or GL20 (poor old bloody Tewkesbury, again) you might just want to keep a weather eye on that gang of hoodies hanging out by the local Spar, as you're slightly more at risk than your neighbours elsewhere in the county.
However, it's not much of a difference. The latter two postcodes fall into Category 'B' and as such are reasonably safe, especially when compared with BS2 - unlovely St Paul's in Bristol, which doesn't even get a rating. The word next to that much maligned postcode says 'refer' - in other words, don't even go there.