The Best Villages To Visit In The Cotswolds

Castle Combe.jpg

Renowned for its quaint villages and historical towns built from trademark golden coloured stone, the rolling green hills, and stunning stately homes and gardens; the Cotswolds are designated an area of outstanding natural beauty and for a good reason. A visit to the Cotswolds, whatever the time of year, will not disappoint, and provides the perfect base for cyclists and walkers alike to explore the many famous and less well known towns and villages dotted around this stunning part of the world.

If you are lucky enough to visit this beautiful region we have put together a list of must-see villages and towns to ensure you do not miss out on the best places to go whilst here.

 

 

Bourton-on-the-water

Known as ‘The Venice of the Cotswolds’ Bourton-on-the-Water is pretty high up the list of must visit places in the Cotswolds (although its is also top of the list for most other visitors too so expect it to be pretty busy in the summer months and during the holidays). Regularly voted as one of the prettiest villages in the UK, expect picture-postcard perfect scenes of charming Cotswold stone cottages, the clear waters of the River Windrush meandering through the village, and small stone bridges above. Explore the many museums, tea rooms, cosy pubs and unique shops or paddle in the cool waters on a warm day. Be sure to visit the Cotswold and Motoring Museum and Birdland, where there are more than 500 different breeds of bird, and delight in the detail of the Model Village which is an exact one-ninth scale replica of the village itself.

 

 

Bibury

One of the most iconic of the Cotswold villages, Bibury is most famous for its instantly recognisable row of 14th Century Weavers cottages, often adorning the front of postcards and front covers of books about the Cotswolds, as well as many tourists photo album. The village which is built upon the banks of the River Colne, was once described by William Morris as ‘the most beautiful village in England’. 

Next to Arlington Row, find Rack Isle Water Meadow, named as such because it is where wool was once hung out on racks to dry, after it had been washed at the Weavers cottages. It is now home to water voles, marsh orchid, flag iris and marsh marigold providing an important habitat for birds and plants.

Whilst there, visit one of the oldest and most well-preserved Trout Farms where you can ‘catch your own’ at the fishery or peruse the wide range of wine and deli products.

Castle Combe

A typical Cotswold Village, located on the southernmost edge of the region, 5 miles north of the town of Chippenham. Castle Combe is a popular place to visit,and has featured as a backdrop in films such as Stardust and Warhorse. Stroll around the fairy-tale cottages adorned with floral hanging baskets and stone tiled roofs. If you are looking for the perfect photo opportunity to encompass all that is Cotswold, wander down the hill to the bridge where the river, woodland and historical weavers cottages meet, with views of Water Street and the church spire in the background. To find out more about the history of the village book a step back in time tour.

 

 

Burford

Often referred to as ‘the gateway to the Cotswolds’, Burford is a small medieval town situated on the banks of the River Windrush, 18 miles west of Oxford and 22 miles south-east of Cheltenham. Wander through the streets of 17th and 18th century buildings and across the traditional medieval bridge. An antique lover's dream, there are many antique shops to peruse and several cosy, friendly places to stop for a bite to eat.

 

 

Painswick

This picturesque village nestled in the Gloucestershire countryside boasts some of the best preserved settlements in the region and is often referred to as the ‘Queen of the Cotswolds’. It is set amongst some of the best countryside and walking routes in the area and provides several other interesting places to explore close by, including the stunning Rococo Gardens and the nearby villages of Sheepscombe and Slad.

 

 

Lower Slaughter

Visit the ‘most romantic street in Britain’, Copse Hill Road, and explore the charming streets of Lower Slaughter where you will be met with golden coloured cottages and lush, green countryside. Visit the Lower Slaughter Manor Gardens and explore the five acres of beautiful plants, trees and flowers or learn about the history of bread making at The Old Mill.

 

 

Naunton

Naunton may be the place to visit if you are wishing to escape the more touristy areas and bustle of nearby towns such as Cheltenham and Stow. It is a relatively unspoilt and tranquil Cotswold village, set amongst the rolling green hills of the Cotswolds. The perfect place to relax and unwind and take in the views or to explore the crisscrossing footpaths that cover the area.


Katharine Mabbett