Discover the Cotswold’s best villages below and immerse yourself in the UK’s most magical rural area.
Cotswolds is the hidden gem of the United Kingdom and the perfect place to escape to for a picture-perfect idyllic English countryside getaway. With its stone cottages, cobblestone streets and medieval architecture a visit here feels like stepping back in time in the best way possible! There are many stunning villages in this region but here are the 8 best places to visit in Cotswold for the ultimate experience!
Read on to discover Cotswold’s best villages and get exploring!
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8 Cotswold’s Best Villages
Stow-on-the-Wold is a charming town in Cotswold with something for every type of visitor. This charming village is the highest village perched on an 800ft hill. Stow-on-the-Wold is a peaceful town is a lively market square, antique shops and lovely views. As one of Cotswold’s best villages, it s a must-visit to see and experience the magic of this region!
Burford is a beautiful village with idyllic streets and much to see. This is one of Cotswold’s best villages that is often referred to as the “Gateway to the Cotswolds”. It is known for its 17th- and 18th-century houses, antique shops, and peaceful surroundings.
Chipping Campden is one of the most popular and beautiful places to visit in Cotswold. It is a market town with a lovely High Street that dates back to the 14th – 17th century! A visit here will transport you to a time long ago, especially since all wires are buried underground or tucket behind buildings, giving the impression of an old village.
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Bourton-on-the-Water is a village in the rural Cotswolds area of south-central England. The River Windrush runs through the village, making it very picturesque. This area is home to several old stone bridges.
Bourton-on-the-Water is often referred to as the “Venice of the Cotswolds”, due to its numerous stone bridges crossing the River Windrush. The village is a popular tourist destination in the Cotswolds and boasts several hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, pubs, and shops.
The Cotswold Way, a 102-mile (164 km) long-distance footpath, passes through Bourton. The village is also home to the Model Village, a miniature replica of Bourton which was built in 1937.
The Midland Railway’s Cheltenham Loop Line once passed through Bourton, but the section of track through the village was closed in 1968. The restored Bourton-on-the-Water railway station now serves as a museum.
Bourton-on-the-Water is twinned with the French village of Culoz.
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Termed as ‘The most beautiful village in England’ by William Morris, Bibury is one of the most quaint destinations in England. Visiting Bibury you’d feel as if you have gone back hundreds of years.
Bibury has regularly featured in popular media, fans would remember scenes from Bridget Jones’ Diary that were shot here.
Bibury is a perfect place to spend an idle afternoon, take a stroll and take in as much beauty as you can. Admire the charming old stone houses and the lovely landscape that they are set in. Another popular activity amongst the visitors is taking a paddleboat over the river Coln.
A set of honey stone cottages, the Arlington Row is the most popular attraction of Bibury. Originally built to store wool, the cottages date back to the 14th century. Today, you can even rent one of the cottages for a night.
And when you are tired of walking around, you can stop by for a pint and snacks in one of the village’s pubs. To get to Bibury, make use of the nearby railway station Kemble and then take a public bus.
Tip: The place gets busier during the daytime, so it is recommended to visit in the early morning.
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The idyllic village of Castle Combe is one of the most beautiful and popular villages to visit in the Cotswolds. Strolling through the charming town centre will instantly transport you to another era. The town hasn’t seen any new buildings since the 1600s which makes this place even more special!
One of the highlights of visiting Castle Combe is taking a short walk to the Manor House Hotel. This stunning ivy-covered building is extremely picturesque and worthy of a stop even if you don’t plan to dine in their Michelin star restaurant.
There’s no better place than the Cotswolds for a traditional afternoon tea experience. The best place to go in Castle Combe is The Old Rectory Tearoom which is located on the main street and serves delicious food.
If you’re simply wanting to have lunch in a historic pub, look no further than the Castle Inn which dates back to the 12th century. Before you leave, don’t forget to head over to the bridge to capture the quintessential Castle Combe shot!
A popular way to see Castle Combe is by booking a Cotswolds day trip from London. This is a great way to tick off a number of pretty villages in one day and be taken to all the best spots in the Cotswolds by a local guide. The best time of year to visit Castle Combe is during spring/summer, this is when the weather is ideal for sightseeing.
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Snowshill is a sparsely populated village and civil parish in the Cotswolds region in Gloucestershire, England. This small hilltop hamlet has preserved the essence of the 19th-century English countryside.
There are beautiful stone cottages and a Victorian church with green pastures of land surrounding it. It’s best known for the Manor house, which the National Trust currently manages. The manor is a two-storeyed stone building at the periphery of the village.
Its old European architecture is appealing to tourists and outsiders. It is a museum displaying the personal collection of Charles Paget Wade, an English architect, and former house owner. Snowshill’s historical importance dates back to the bronze age. Settlement in this region during prehistoric times is proved by multiple bronze artifacts, like tools and weapons, found here.
As the name suggests, Snowshill is among the first places in England to receive snow. It experiences harsh winters due to the altitude, but summer is a great time to visit. The magnificent lavender fields come to full bloom during summer and offer a treat to the eyes. It’s the perfect place to get your photographs clicked. The best way to explore the town is by walking through its narrow, winding paths. There are a few small cafes and pubs to replenish after the trip.
The best way to reach Snowshill is by car; it’s only 3 miles from Broadway, and there is free car parking near Manor House. The nearest train station is Evesham, 10.5 miles away.
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Known as the “jewel of the Cotswolds”, Broadway is the charming village that inspired iconic artists like Oscar Wilde and Claude Monet with its beauty. It delightfully sits in the rolling countryside with its historic golden stone buildings.
Walking down the main strip, High Street, you will find plenty of quaint restaurants, cafes, galleries and boutique shops lining the street. Have a relaxing lunch in the back garden of Broadway Deli and pick up some vintage candies at Hamilton’s Sweet Shop for dessert.
One of the best things to add to your Cotswolds itinerary is a walk up to Broadway Tower, a famous landmark built-in 1798 that looks like it came out of a fairy tale. From atop the hill, you will have picturesque views of Broadway village below.
Located in the Worcestershire region, the easiest way to get to Broadway is by taking the train to Moreton-in-Marsh. From there it’s a 20-minute taxi to the village. Visit during April – September, when the weather is pleasant. October to March sees the highest chance of rain.
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This list of Cotswold’s Best Villages is only the beginning! Get your car and explore all the small little gems of towns and villages scattered about.
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