Visitors to the Cotswolds admire many things about the region. Chocolate box villages, limestone cottages that punctuate the lush rolling hills, the abundance of great walking routes, and its incredible pubs. The Cotswolds have it all. But amongst all of its wondrous attractions, where exactly is the best place to visit in the Cotswolds?
The Great Outdoors
The Cotswolds are dream walking country. And the first very best place to visit is the great outdoors. There are many well-signed and well-maintained footpaths for when you fancy a quiet afternoon stroll. If you have more ambitious plans, then consider the long-distance footpaths. The Cotswold Way is a beautiful 102-mile walk from Chipping Campden to Bath Spa, which follows the escarpment running along the western edge of the Cotswolds. The route passes through many picturesque Cotswold villages such as Snowshill and Painswick. The Oxfordshire Way runs from Bourton-on-the-Water to Henley for 68 miles. The path links with the Heart of England Way and the Thames Path. The Macmillan Way also comes via the Cotswolds, as does The Wysis Way and the Wardens’ and Windrush Way.
What About the Villages?
Often dubbed the “Venice of the Cotswolds”, Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the finest Cotswold locations. The river that runs through Bourton is crossed by five low, arched stone bridges, built between 1654 and 1953. The village’s picturesque high street is another reason why it’s often given the mantle of “best place in the Cotswolds”. But even Bourton-on-the-Water cannot surpass the beauty of two other Cotswold villages: Bibury and Snowshill.
Bibury was once described by William Morris as “the most beautiful village in England”, and its rows of quaint 14th-century weaver’s cottages are, quite simply, gorgeous. The village of Snowshill is equally picturesque and unspoiled. Cotswold Lavender Farm, located near to Snowshill, is coated in shades of purple in springtime and is truly a vision.
Arboreta, Parks and Gardens
For many the arboreta, parks, and gardens in the Cotswolds are its greatest treasure. From cottage style to gardens to formal estates, the Cotswolds have so many wonderful outdoor places to explore. In the autumn the colours of Westonbirt Arboretum range from a deep butter yellow to burnt orange and red. The elaborate Victorian garden at Sudeley Castle boasts neat topiary gardens, herbaceous borders, and herb gardens in a magnificent mix of styles. Every season the glorious arboreta, parklands, and gardens of the Cotswolds put on a wonderful show.
The Cotswolds are home to so many of “the best”. The best restaurants, the best hotels, the best walks, the best villages, the best museums. It’s hard to pinpoint the very best place in the Cotswolds. But the region’s rolling hills, winding valleys, and picturesque limestone cottages continue to make the Cotswolds one of the most popular places in Britain. And we can’t see that changing anytime soon.