River Windrush cottages
Nicknamed ‘Little Venice’, Bourton-on-the-Water is a pretty village where elegant, low bridges cross the River Windrush and old, stone cottages line a bustling High Street.
Bourton-on-the-Water is located on a wide vale in Gloucestershire, within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As you explore the village, you’ll find a series of low, arched stone bridges, wide greens and a beautiful High Street, packed with interesting shops and welcoming cafes. There’s also a regular Farmers’ Market, where you can pick up fresh meat, vegetables and cheeses from some of the area’s best producers.
One of the village’s most unusual annual events is its summertime game of medieval football, when goalposts are set up in the river and two teams try to score as many goals as possible. Bourton-on-the-Water has a number of unique attractions, including a 1930s model village, Birdland and The Cotswolds Motoring Museum. The countryside surrounding the village is remarkably unspoilt, and criss-crossed by a series of long-distance walking paths which are a great way to enjoy the great outdoors and see the Cotswolds at its most beautiful.
For a fun family day out, visit Birdland, set in seven acres of parkland, woods, gardens and ponds. There are 500 birds, including flamingos, parrots, owls and penguins. Visitors can feed emus and penguins, and go on the park’s new Jurassic Journey, featuring a number of life-size dinosaurs.
Relax in Bourton
Considering its size, Bourton-on-the-Water is home to a surprising number of excellent restaurants. One of the area’s best Indian restaurants, Chalo, is located in the heart of the village, serving a variety of fresh, authentic curries and side dishes. For a slice of homemade cake and a good coffee, try Smiths, a popular café with a pleasant outside seating area.
“Nicknamed ‘Little Venice’, Bourton-on-the-Water is a pretty village where elegant, low bridges cross the River Windrush and old, stone cottages line a bustling High Street.”
Alternatively, try Mary’s Rest, a traditional tearoom, where old-fashioned service, sandwiches and scones are all part of the experience. There are few more atmospheric places in the Cotswolds to enjoy a pint of ale than The Mouse Trap Inn, an 18th century stone inn, which serves delicious food, made from fresh, local ingredients. The Coach and Horse is another atmospheric inn which is well worth visiting for a pint or bite to eat.
Don’t leave Bourton-on-the-Water without having a look at Bourton Model Railway, home to some of Europe’s most impressive model railways layouts, covering 500 feet. Another must-see is The Model Village, a miniature replica of the village which was opened in 1937 and features all of Bourton’s historical stone buildings.