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Spanning five English counties and within just a couple of hours from London, perfect for a day trip, the Cotswolds is one of the UK’s most beautiful destinations, offering a slice of traditional English countryside with lovely villages, towns and enchanting hotels.
Check out the best villages and towns and where to stay in the Cotswolds. You will fall in love immediately, I guarantee you!
WHERE ARE THE COTSWOLDS -UK? A MAP FOR YOU:
Below is a map showing how easy it is to reach the Cotswolds by car from Central London either for a one-day trip or much better for a long relaxing weekend!
Rolling green hills lead to pretty villages with cottages made from honey-colored Cotswold stone and a slew of historic manor houses – this is England at its most quaint and scenic.
If you’re planning to visit the Cotswolds and marvel at its countryside charm for yourself, be sure to visit these beautiful towns, which offer some of the best beauty spots the Cotswolds has to offer!
1 | BOURTON-ON-THE-WATER
Set in a small valley on the banks of the River Windrush, Bourton-on-the-Water is a charming riverside village with a whole host of things to see and do.
Attractive little bridges criss-cross the river throughout the village, which has earned Bourton-on-the-Water the nickname of ‘Little Venice’.
Many unique events also center around the river, from the addition of a Christmas tree in the river in December to an annual football game in the river!
BOURTON ON THE WATER THINGS TO DO
The village has plenty of lovely attractions to visit too. These include:
- The Birdland Park and Gardens are home to a variety of exotic birds.
- A model village of Bourton-on-the-Water in miniature.
- The Cotswold Motoring Museum, with its collection of vintage cars.
- The Dragonfly Maze.
The town is also great for souvenirs – there are some wonderful shops here, including a perfumery, pottery and jewelry store, where you’re sure to find something to take home.
2 | WOODSTOCK
A few miles from historic Oxford, Woodstock is a stunning Georgian town with wonderful architecture and beautiful buildings:
Such as the 18th-century town hall, the 17th-century Fletcher’s House, which is currently home to two fascinating museums, and the Church of St Mary Magdalene, where you can visit Winston’s Churchill Gravestone with elements dating back to the medieval period.
Woodstock is also famous for its excellent antique shops among its variety of shops, galleries, restaurants, and traditional pubs.
However, the village is perhaps most famous for being home to Blenheim Palace, a historic country house best-known as the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, one of the UK’s greatest Prime Ministers.
You’ll find lavishly decorated and designed rooms and priceless art and furniture collections inside this beautiful Baroque palace. The palace is surrounded by 2000 acres of magnificent landscaped gardens and a magical maze.
WHAT ABOUT WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL?!
Ha! You thought I forgot to mention it? Nope! The famous 1969 hippie festival called Woodstock Festival was NOT held in the town of Woodstock, Uk! Shocking for some, I know 🙂 In reality, the most popular rock concerts in history were held in the US, nearby a town called Bethel (Ohio), 8 hours west of NY city.
3 | WINCHCOMBE
The village of Winchcombe will make you feel as if you’re stepping back in time while you wander through its charming streets, with its stone cottages, historic black and white timbered buildings, and narrow alleyways.
For beautiful views of rows of lovely cottages backing on to the countryside, head to Castle Street, Vineyard Street or Dent’s Terrace, where pretty gardens add to this picture-perfect scene.
Around the town, you’ll find some historic pubs, antique shops, delis, art galleries, and tea rooms to explore, while the town’s main attraction is Sudeley Castle, where you’ll find over a thousand years of royal history.
Winchcombe is renowned as a walking town, with its footpaths leading to sights such as a Roman villa and an ancient burial site.
4 | MORETON-IN-MARSH
A thriving traditional market town, Moreton-in-Marsh can be reached directly from London by train, making it perfect for a day trip into the Cotswolds.
Every Tuesday, you’ll find the largest street market in the Cotswolds in Moreton-in-Marsh, while you can also find some wonderful galleries, cafes, restaurants, and pubs on the High Street.
Even if you don’t plan on shopping, the High Street is a delight to wander down, as it’s lined with 17th and 18th-century buildings such as the town hall and the White Hart Royal, a former manor house.
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN MORETON-IN-MARSH
Among the other things to do in Moreton-in-Marsh are the scenic Batsford Arboretum, Sezincote Gardens, which can be reached on foot, and the Cotswold Falconry. On the outskirts of the town, you can also discover the Four Shire Stone, which marks the old meeting point of four of England’s counties.
5 | BIBURY
A small Cotswold village described as ‘the most beautiful village in England,’ Bibury is home to some of the UK’s best-loved and most-photographed sights.
It’s most famous for Arlington Row, an iconic row of cottages known all over the world, and even seen inside UK passports.
Built-in the 14th century, as a wool store, before being turned into cottages in the 17th century, this is a quaint row of honey-colored cottages fronted by colorful flower gardens.
The village is also home to the Bibury Trout Farm, one of the oldest trout farms in the country. Spanning 15 acres, it’s a joy to walk around and see the fish swimming about in the water. Be sure to also pay a visit to the main street, where the River Coln flows alongside St Mary’s Church, with features from the Saxon, Norman, and medieval ages.
WHERE TO STAY, BEST HOTELS IN BIBURY:
If you’ve been captivated by the Cotswolds and are looking to explore these pretty towns and everything the area has to offer, why not make a vacation and stay for a few days?
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