Our favourite villages to visit in the Cotswolds

Accommodation, Days out, Rural, Activity

Posted by Kate A on 6th March 2020

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Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.




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Lower SlaughterLower Slaughter

Defined by its chocolate-box cottages adorned in rose climbers and wisteria, nestled amidst rolling green countryside grazed by sheep, the Cotswolds is an English rural idyll. Home to some of the prettiest villages in the UK, this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a superb choice for a staycation. It’s the kind of place where you can wander from one sleepy village to the next, exploring antique emporiums, old-fashioned book shops, historical houses and a wealth of attractions, before tucking yourself away in a quaint tearoom or a cosy country pub with a glowing fire.

We have chosen some of our favourite villages to visit in the Cotswolds, where you can escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and get away from it all for a while. Treat yourself to a relaxing break in one of our Cotswolds holiday cottages by clicking the button below and discover some of the best Cotswolds villages to visit during your stay.

Castle Combe

Top 3 things to do:                                                           

  • Take a supercar for a spin and experience the speed of the famous Castle Combe Circuit
  • Tee off at the championship 18-hole golf course at The Manor House Golf Club
  • Look out for the faceless clock, one of the oldest working clocks in the UK

Castle Combe

Nestled in Wiltshire, the peaceful village of Castle Combe should be a quintessential stop on any Cotswolds holiday, dotted with treacle-toned cottages with floral hanging baskets and stone-tiled roofs. With the feeling of stepping into a fairy tale, it’s no wonder this beautiful village in the Cotswolds has won the coveted ‘Prettiest Village in England’ award several times and has been featured on the silver screen, including the noteworthy films of ‘Stardust’ and Steven Spielberg’s ‘War Horse’. Explore its picture-postcard main street, adorable side streets, and intriguing shops with sweet little teapot signs overhead.

Castle Combe

Seemingly frozen in time, there are no streetlights or TV aerials and architecturally, little has changed since the 15th century. Outside many of the locals’ houses, you’ll find homemade cakes, jars of honey and jam, and bunches of flowers which you can purchase by means of honesty boxes and, if you time your visit just right, you can catch the produce-filled market in the Village Hall. Be sure to keep your camera at the ready as the village is bursting with photo opportunities: look out for the Market Cross monument and the 13th-century St Andrew’s Church and, for the ultimate shot, you can capture the gorgeous weavers’ cottages of Water Street with the green wooded valley behind from the golden bridge which stands over the ambling Bybrook river.

Enjoy a spot of lunch at: The Castle Inn, a cosy 12th-century country inn full of charm and serving hearty homemade fare, with a roaring open fire in the winter and a sunny courtyard in the summer.

Stay nearby at:

🏡 Deer Cottage - Lacock Chippenham, sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

🏡 23 Pickwick, sleeps 12

Castle Combe cottages

Bibury

Top 3 things to do:

Straight out of the pages of a storybook with its higgledy-piggledy golden cottages fronted by flower-filled gardens, Bibury in Gloucestershire makes you feel like you’ve been transported back in time. This quintessential Cotswolds village was once famously described by the celebrated artist William Morris as, “The most beautiful village in England”, and we wholeheartedly agree.

Bibury

Set along the tranquil banks of the River Coln, this chocolate-box delight is home to one of the most photographed and historic streets in the Cotswolds, Arlington Row – you may recognise the iconic scene from the inside cover of your UK passport. Owned by the National Trust, this delightful row of cottages adorned with trailing roses dates back to 1380 when it was used as a monastic wool store, before being converted into a collection of weavers' cottages in the 17th century. They sit adjacent to the Rack Isle water meadow which is home to an abundance of water-loving plants, birds and water voles.

Enjoy a spot of lunch at: The Catherine Wheel, a traditional village pub serving delicious seasonal food made using locally sourced ingredients, accompanied by regional ales and an extensive wine list.

Stay nearby at:

🏡 Earl Grey Cottage, sleeps 2 + 1 dog

🏡 Rose Cottage – Eastleach, sleeps 5 + 2 dogs

Bibury cottages

Lower Slaughter

Top 3 things to do:

  • Enjoy a wander down Copse Hill Road, named as the most romantic street in Britain
  • Follow the Wardens Way for 1 mile to the equally attractive village of Upper Slaughter
  • Indulge in an afternoon tea in the riverside tearoom of The Old Mill Museum

Lower Slaughter

The epitome of idyllic Cotswolds charm, the timeless neighbouring villages of Lower Slaughter and Upper Slaughter are the places to go if you’re looking for that quaint, English country feel. Two of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds to visit, they are built on the shallow banks of the River Eye and have been widely used as backdrops to films and TV series, including the recent cinematic production of Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’.

Lower Slaughter

In Lower Slaughter, you can meander along the stream past rows of rose-clad cottages, pausing to dip your toes in the cool, shallow water while admiring the historic mill wheel gently turning. Charming stone footbridges cross the brook, and the village’s resident gaggle of geese can often be seen paddling along beside you. This tends to be the most popular of the two small villages as it is home to The Old Mill with its museum, gift and craft shop, ice cream parlour and riverside tearoom, as well as a friendly village pub and the stunning Church of St Mary. A scenic walking path links the two villages together if you’d like to experience both during your trip.

Enjoy a spot of lunch at: The Slaughters Country Inn, formerly a preparatory school associated with Eton, now serving a delectable menu of the finest Cotswold produce in a breathtaking spot beside the river.

Stay nearby at:

🏡 Thimble Mill, sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

🏡 Jasmine Cottage - Upper Slaughter, sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Lower Slaughter cottages

Bourton-on-the-Water

Top 3 things to do:

Bourton-on-the-Water

Loved by many as one of the top Cotswolds villages, Bourton-on-the-Water boasts a wonderful array of friendly little tearooms, bakeries, boutique shops and unique attractions, set on the pretty banks of the River Windrush. Fondly known as England’s answer to ‘Little Venice’, this captivating riverside village flaunts traditional English charm with its ensemble of distinctive honey-hued cottages and charming cobbled bridges crisscrossing the glittering river.

Bourton-on-the-Water

Whether you lay out a picnic blanket on the shaded greens beside the ducks bobbing on the river, or sit beneath a parasol at one of the waterside pubs and bistros, there are plenty of opportunities to relax and watch the world go by for a while. This is also one of the best villages in the Cotswolds if you’re bringing the kids on holiday as there are so many exciting attractions to keep all ages entertained, including the Dragonfly Maze, Birdland Park and Gardens, the Model Village and the Cotswold Motoring and Toy Museum.

Enjoy a spot of lunch at: The Mousetrap Inn, an atmospheric 18th-century pub with cosy interiors, locally brewed ales, and a great range of freshly cooked, tasty dishes, from pub classics to more adventurous offerings.

Stay nearby at:

🏡 Garden Spa, sleeps 4 + 1 dog

🏡 Windrush House, sleeps 5

Bourton-on-the-Water cottages

Broadway

Top 3 things to do:

Broadway

With its grand golden houses and beautiful village green lined with horse chestnut trees, Broadway in Worcestershire certainly belongs on our list of favourite Cotswolds villages. Known as the ‘Jewel of the Cotswolds’, Broadway attracts visitors from far and wide, lured by its stunning backdrop and plethora of independent shops, tearooms, antique emporiums and fine art galleries. Its picture-perfect appearance remains as it has done for centuries, and has attracted many influential artists, designers and writers over the years including William Morris, John Singer Sargent and J.M. Barrie. The furniture designer Gordon Russell also grew up in Broadway and had a workshop here, which now houses the fantastic Gordon Russell Design Museum.

Broadway Tower

The nearby Capability Brown folly, Broadway Tower, is an unmissable highlight of visiting the village and offers outstanding views across 16 counties from the top on a clear day. It’s the second-highest point on the Cotswolds escarpment and can be easily reached from the village via the Cotswold Way National Trail. And when you’re feeling peckish, The Lygon Arms offers an elegant venue in the village for a classic afternoon tea - in its time it has hosted both Charles I and Oliver Cromwell!

Enjoy a spot of lunch at: Broadway Deli, an independent delicatessen and café serving seasonal home-cooked dishes, with many vegan and gluten-free choices too.

Stay nearby at:

🏡 Broadway House, sleeps 4 + 1 dog

🏡 The Bell Yard, sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Broadway cottages

Have any of these beautiful Cotswold villages caught your eye? If you feel inspired to explore these captivating destinations and everything the area has to offer, then click the button below to browse our cottages in the Cotswolds to enjoy the complete experience.