Located in south-central England, The Cotswolds is a region renowned for its picturesque landscapes, adorable villages and rich history. Stretching across six counties, this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a haven for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike. From the rolling hills and meandering rivers to the honey-coloured stone cottages and historic market squares, the Cotswolds offers a quintessentially English experience.
Visitors can explore numerous quaint villages and towns, such as Tetbury, The Slaughters, and Stratford-upon-Avon, each with its own unique character and story. Whether you're strolling through the idyllic countryside, admiring the stunning architecture, or indulging in the local cuisine, a visit to the Cotswolds promises a delightful escape into a world of natural beauty and timeless charm.
Getting to the Cotswolds
To get to the Cotswolds, you have a few options. If coming by car, this can be a great way to move around freely and take in the sights at your own pace. Although there are some public buses within the area, services are not very frequent and generally only tend to connect to some of the larger towns. So having your own vehicle is a great way to avoid paying expensive taxi fares when visiting some of the smaller villages. However, keep in mind that driving in the Cotswolds is a very different experience to driving in the city. There may be less traffic, but country roads can often be stressful if you’re not used to navigating your way around potential obstacles like narrow, single-track lanes, slow-moving tractors and rogue barnyard animals!
If you’re opting for travel by rail, The Cotswolds are at the heart of the British Rail network with main line trains to the Cotswolds from London, the Midlands and the North and the South West of England all providing a very scenic and relaxing route. There are also bus services available from different cities, so you can check your local bus schedules for the most convenient option.
The easiest airports for travelling to the Cotswolds are Birmingham and Bristol, both approximately 1 to 1.5 hour drive away. There are also many coach operators offering trips to the Cotswolds. Just keep in mind that although this method of travel may cover your transport needs, these sorts of trips can limit your choices for your own itinerary as they will naturally have their own stops and times of departure to adhere to.
Covering five counties (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire), The Cotswolds is a real jewel within the English crown. Home to countless woodland and river trails, ancient landmarks and thrilling legends, a trip to this area of breath-taking scenery is sure to be an unforgettable experience. With regards to its title, nobody knows for sure but the most popular theory is that ‘cots’ comes from the name for sheep pens, and ‘wolds’ from the word for rolling hills. Taking a trip to this unspoilt countryside is definitely a must for anybody who appreciates the wonder of local history, architecture and nature. It’s also a great way to support independent businesses as a lot of museums, boutiques and eateries rely either partially or solely on support from tourists in order to thrive.
The Cotswolds are a place of stunning views and natural beauty all year round. However, the differences between seasons can be quite contrasting, so it’s definitely advisable to plan your trip in line with the best temperature and weather conditions for you.
Spring in The Cotswolds is hit and miss, with average highs of 10 degrees and lows of 3. The majority of the time, days are dry and sunny, but there can often be showers too. Garden lovers will most likely prefer this season the most, as the wildflowers are in bloom and the scent of wild garlic is fresh in the air. Moving into the summer period, highs are around 22 degrees but can reach 24. Visit at this time for the lowest chance of rainfall. Come Autumn time, chances of rainfall are still low to begin with but surroundings will become more misty as winter approaches. Prepare however for beautiful scenes as the leaves change colour, with mild temperatures from around 5 to 14 degrees. Finally, Winter in The Cotswolds is of course chilly to say the least, with temperatures generally between 3 to 7 degrees. It’s a magical time to visit though, with Christmas markets and decorations aplenty, as well as opportunities for ice skating and late-night shopping. Visiting at this time is also, unsurprisingly, your best chance to see snow!
What are the best towns and villages to visit?
Founded in the 1st century AD, Cirencester was the second largest city in Roman Britain, surpassed only by London in size. Today it’s a thriving market town and is often referred to as the ‘Capital of the Cotswolds’ due to its central location within the region. Cirencester has a rich history dating back to Roman times, and there are many Roman remains and artefacts to explore in the town. The town is known for its beautiful architecture, including the impressive Cirencester Parish Church of St. John Baptist. Cirencester also offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafés, making it a popular destination for visitors.
If you are curious about Cirencester, take this quirky self-guided walk, where you can explore the heart of the town. Not only will you visit the better-known places, you’ll also have the opportunity to see some more unusual and intriguing ones too! Whilst you have fun following detailed directions, finding answers to addictive clues and matching pictures to places, you’ll be sure to learn a lot and discover many hidden treasures along the way.
Best Things to Do in Cirencester
Cirencester Parish Church of St. John Baptist
The Cirencester Parish Church of St. John Baptist, also known as Cirencester Abbey, is one of the largest parish churches in the country and has a rich history dating back to the 12th century. It showcases some truly stunning architecture, including a magnificent tower and beautiful stained glass windows.
The church is open every day of the year and welcomes thousands of visitors annually. On certain days, the tower is also open to visitors and the view from the top is worth the climb! When you’re finished exploring, don’t forget to pass through the gift shop. Here you can purchase a selection of cards, souvenirs and gifts (which include some lovely locally sourced items).
This renowned museum showcases the rich history and archaeology of the Cotswolds region. Housing a wide range of archaeological finds from over the course of 12,000 years, displays include Roman mosaics, sculptures, and everyday objects. The museum also offers interactive exhibits which provide visitors with a fascinating insight into the area's past. It’s a must-visit for history enthusiasts and anyone interested in learning about the Roman heritage of Cirencester.
Be sure to check out what’s in store for your visit, as there are various events held at Corinium museum throughout the year- from thrilling Roman re-enactments, to immersive ‘make your own shield and sword’ workshops!
New Brewery Arts
The New Brewery Arts in Cirencester is a contemporary craft centre that offers a wide range of workshops, exhibitions, and events. Located in a converted brewery building, the centre showcases the work of both local and national artists. There’s also a shop where you can purchase unique handmade crafts, and a café where you can relax and enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee. It’s a great place to take a short rest and feel inspired by some unique pieces.
If you want to experience the joy and fulfilment of making your own art piece, there are often one-off workshops for adults and children. These include a variety of themes such as kiln use, card and wrapping paper printing, garden journaling and weaving.
Where to Stay
Budget - The Barrel Store
Facilities at this hostel include a shared kitchen, a shared lounge and free WiFi. The property is allergy-free and each room comes with a desk and includes bed linen.
Mid Range - Stratton House Hotel & Spa
Located just 1 mile from Cirencester, this 17th century hotel boasts a bar, restaurant, garden, terrace and function rooms including business facilities. All rooms are en-suite and feature tea/ coffee making facilities, complimentary toiletries, a hairdryer and a flat-screen TV. Some rooms feature garden views and include roll-top baths/ walk-in showers.
Luxury - The Old Brewhouse
Located in a 17th century town house, The Old Brewhouse is a charming and characterful bed and breakfast. Free parking is available on site and free Wi-Fi is accessible in certain areas. All rooms come complete with a flat-screen TV, a DVD player and tea/ coffee making facilities. The property has a courtyard garden for guests to relax in. Breakfast is included in the room rate.
This market town and civil parish is one of the highest towns in the Cotswolds and is known for its historic market square and charming streets lined with traditional stone buildings. It was an important trading centre during the medieval period but today, it’s a popular tourist destination with a variety of shops, restaurants, and accommodations for visitors to enjoy.
Best Things to Do in Stow-on-the-Wold
St Edward’s Church
This church dates back to the 11th century and showcases some beautiful architecture, including a grand medieval tower. Inside, you can find intricate stained glass windows and other interesting historical artefacts. It also played a significant role in the English Civil War, as legend has it that over 1000 survivors were imprisoned in the church during the Battle of Stow-on-the-Wold in 1646, when the Parliamentarians overwhelmed the Royalists in nearby Donnington.
On your way through the town to the church, you may pass by several antique shops where you can browse for unique treasures. If you enjoy walking, there are also many scenic trails in the surrounding countryside that you can explore.
The Market Square
Stow-on-the-Wold's impressive Market Square has been hosting regular markets since 1107! In its wool trade heyday, over 20,000 sheep were bought and sold here. The high-walled, narrow alleyways leading off the square are called ‘tures’, and were used to funnel cattle from their nearby pastures and into the square.
It’s now surrounded by many 16th century golden stone buildings. These include antique boutiques, art galleries, and gift shops. There is also one reminder of the past located on the green that may surprise you: medieval wooden stocks!
Bourton-on-the-Water is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’, due to the small bridges that cross over the River Windrush. This picturesque village is known for its stone buildings, beautiful gardens and romantic atmosphere. It’s a popular tourist destination and offers a variety of attractions including a Model Village, Birdland park and a charming pub called the Old New Inn. For those considering visiting in the summer season, there is an annual tradition of a unique football game, which takes place on the shallow waters of the River Windrush itself! It’s usually scheduled for the August Bank Holiday. I would also recommend scheduling your visit to coincide with a walk through the nearby village of Norton. There’s not a lot to do here but it’s a very picturesque, peaceful choice for a relaxing stroll.
Best Things to Do in Bourton-on-the-Water
Bourton’s model village was one of the first of its kind to be built in England, and depicts Bourton as it looked back in 1937! It’s a one-ninth scale replica, featuring miniature buildings, gardens, and even a model of the River Windrush. It was built by Mr C A Morris, landlord of the New Inn, in an effort to attract more passing motorists to his establishment.
This attraction provides a unique perspective on the architecture and layout of Bourton-on-the-Water and allows visitors to explore and appreciate the village in a different way.
This wildlife park and gardens includes 50 habitats set across 9 acres of beautiful woodland. It’s home to a variety of bird species from all around the world, including flamingos, owls, parrots- and England’s only King Penguin breeding group. There are daily feeding sessions and shows where visitors can learn more about these fascinating creatures. Indoors, you can also view lizards, snakes and even a poisonous frog!
Birdland also has a thrilling dinosaur-themed section called the Jurassic Journey, where visitors can learn about the prehistoric world. This immersive area features life-sized dinosaur models!
Cotswolds Motoring Museum
The Cotswolds Motoring Museum showcases a collection of vintage cars, motorcycles and miscellaneous motoring memorabilia. There are also various interactive exhibits and displays that provide information about the history of motoring in the Cotswolds region. You can even travel back in time with a stroll through the authentic blacksmith’s workshop.
The museum is open 10am - 6pm every day and there’s no need to book in advance. Admission for adults costs £7.50, £5.25 for children aged 5-16 and under 5s go free! There are also offers for families, schools and groups.
Kingham is home to several historic buildings, including St. Andrew's Church which dates back to the 12th century, as well as multiple award-winning restaurants and pubs. The village is surrounded by scenic walking trails, which offer visitors the opportunity to explore the Cotswold landscape to their heart’s content. A great time of the year for foodies and music lovers to visit Kingham is during the annual Big Feastival. It’s a fantastic celebration and a real feast for the senses!
Best Things to Do in Kingham
St Andrew’s Church
St. Andrew’s Church is a beautiful historic building right in the heart of the village. It’s a tranquil location and is a great place for quiet contemplation and prayer. The font of the church is from the 13th century; the tower is from the 15th. The nave roof, with its carved and gilded wooden bosses, was built in 1774 and the rest of the church was remodelled during the years 1851 to 1853. The church’s style is categorised as ‘Georgian gothic’.
The usual programme of services includes a family service on the second and fourth Sundays of the month at 10:45am, and more traditional services at 9am on the first and third Sundays.
The Big Feastival
The Big Feastival is an annual food and music festival founded by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and musician Alex James in 2011. The festival features a wide variety of food stalls, cooking demonstrations, live music performances, and family-friendly activities. It has gained popularity over the years and attracts both locals and tourists from all over the country.
The Big Feastival offers a unique and enjoyable experience for food and music lovers, showcasing the best of the Cotswolds' culinary delights and musical talent.
Stratford-Upon-Avon is famous for being the original home of William Shakespeare, one of the most celebrated playwrights in history. The town attracts many tourists who come to visit his birthplace, as well as other attractions such as Anne Hathaway's Cottage, the Tudor World Museum and Mary Arden’s Farm. Stratford-upon-Avon is also known for its picturesque riverside setting and charming Tudor-style buildings that really transport you back in time to the era in which the Bard himself lived. If you’re the type of traveller who likes to see as many of the sights as possible, this hop-on hop-off bus tour is a great way to get around and hit up all of the major hotspots within this area.
Best Things to Do in Stratford-Upon-Avon
Tudor World Museum
Dedicated to showcasing the history and culture of the Tudor period in England, this museum features interactive exhibits, artefacts, and displays that provide visitors with a glimpse into life during the Tudor era. It’s set in a 16th century barn and hosts a range of historical and spooky events throughout the year such as guided tours and ghost walks.
The museum has no funding or grants and relies fully on visitors to help in its upkeep. So if you choose to spend some time here, it’s nice to know that you will be directly contributing to keeping treasured history alive.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Originally a farmhouse, this cottage was the home in which Anne Hathway, Shakespeare’s future wife, was born, raised and courted. Built more than 500 years ago and extended over time, much of the original survives- as does some of its furniture. It was purchased by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in 1892.
There are also acres of gorgeous gardens and orchards to explore, as well as a sculpture trail inspired by the Bard’s plays. A stop at this site is an unmissable opportunity which will allow you to uncover stories of the famous family who lived here for 13 generations, over the course of five centuries.
Mary Arden’s Farm
Once the childhood home of William Shakespeare's mother, Mary Arden, the farm now offers visitors the opportunity to experience rural life in the 16th century, with traditional farming practices and interactive exhibits. Marvel at spectacular falconry displays, follow enchanting nature trails and be delighted by 16 century entertainers as you spend an afternoon in the peaceful, lush green surroundings of this wonderful site.
Mary Arden’s Farm is an immersive day out which provides a unique insight into the life and times of Shakespeare's family. There is also a playground for children from 2 upwards, a picnic area and a café, so a visit is definitely worth consideration as there’s truly something to enjoy for all ages.
Where to Stay
Budget - Ashgrove House
Free Wi-Fi and a TV are provided in each Ashgrove room, as well as tea/ coffee making facilities. 1 Room has a private bathroom (Basic Double Room, Room 4) and all other rooms are en suite.
Mid Range - Quilt and Croissants Guest House
Units in this 3-star guest house come complete with a private bathroom equipped with a walk-in shower and free toiletries, bed linen and towels, while certain units at the guest house also feature a seating area. Guests may enjoy a continental or a Full English/ Irish breakfast.
Luxury - Baraset Barn Hotel
At this hotel, each room is individually designed and includes a King bed, luxury linen, air conditioning, digital safes and a Smart TV. The private bathroom is fitted with a shower. Dishes in the restaurant are prepared with produce from local orchards and farms. There are also three separate function spaces: The Private Dining Room, The Upper Mezzanine and The Board Room, available for private business functions or family gatherings.
Burford takes its name from the Old English, ‘burh’, meaning ‘fortified town’, and ‘ford’, meaning ‘river crossing’. When you head down the High Street, and see the three-arched medieval bridge crossing over the River Windrush, this title is sure to make a lot of sense! It’s not known exactly when Burford was first settled, but the Domesday Book of 1086 records 200 people living in the town in that year. During this century, the town was granted a charter which encouraged traders from all over the country to visit and work. Some of the inns that were built to accommodate these traders are actually still standing today.
If you’d like to take a day trip to The Cotswolds from London, this small-group tour will take you to various locations- the first stop being Burford. This is a great way to see a few villages in just a single day, without the need of booking overnight accommodations or using public transport.
Best Things to Do in Burford
Burford Garden Centre
A visit to the Burford garden centre is one of the most popular things to do in Burford. Located just outside of the town centre, it sells everything from food and drink to flowers and plants, homewares and indoor/ outdoor furniture. There’s also a huge section for children, with a fantastic outdoor playground, as well as a lovely rose garden and pretty café.
I’d personally recommend visiting in the winter, as the garden centre goes all out with some beautiful Christmas decorations. It’s truly a winter wonderland right in the heart of the Cotswolds.
Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens
Just a couple of miles south of Burford, set over 160 acres of landscaped gardens, you will find the magnificent Cotswold Wildlife Park. This large zoo is home to over 260 different species of animals from all around the world- including lions, giraffes, rhinos, lemurs, and penguins. Visitors can explore the park on foot or take a ride on the park's miniature railway. There are also several picnic areas and a café where visitors can relax and enjoy refreshments.
A safari adventure in the countryside might not have been something you expected to do in the Cotswolds, but it’s definitely a great option for families and animal lovers to spend a day exploring and learning about wildlife.
7. Castle Combe
Walking into Castle Combe feels like stepping into a fairy tale. Located within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it has been perfectly preserved with no new houses being built here since the 1600s. There is a faceless 13th century clock, a quaint village hall and a stone bridge which crosses over a babbling river. You may even recognise certain areas, as the village has been the set for iconic movies and television shows such as Bridgerton, The Wolf Man, Stardust, War Horse and the original Dr Doolittle film.
Best Things to Do in Castle Combe
The Market Cross
Castle Combe’s market cross is located where the town’s three principal streets converge. What’s unusual about the landmark is that it has a roof above it- but at least it provides some cover on a rainy day! There is still a market in Castle Combe, but it now takes place in the village hall a few times a month. Here you can buy baked goods, jewellery, handmade clothes and other various craft pieces.
The Market Cross is a great landmark to meet up or snap some photos. It’s also a lovely spot to just sit and simply take in the timeless beauty of Castle Combe.
The By Brook
The By Brook is the name of the waterway which trickles through Castle Combe. The most popular stop along its course is the stone bridge, as it's one of the most aesthetically pleasing places in the villages for taking photographs. It’s so popular even, I’d recommend getting there quite early or late in the day if you’re wanting to get a clear background minus the photobombers!
The By Brook was once used to power a fulling mill and to wash fleeces. However, when the water level dropped in the 16th century and could no longer power the mill, the cloth industry eventually faded away. It’s now a conservation area and tourist hotspot.
Widely renowned for its former thriving wool and weaving trade, ancient stone houses and the historical St. Mary's Church, Painswick is located atop a hill and overlooks one of the Five Valleys between Stroud and Gloucester. It’s commonly referred to as the ‘Queen of the Cotswolds’, and is famous for its legendary yew trees and serene Rococo Garden. It’s perfect for walkers due to its miles of green fields and rolling hills, and is also interestingly the birthplace of Thomas Twining- the founder of Twinings tea!
Best Things to Do in Painswick
St Mary’s Church
This church is believed to have been erected during Saxon times. Its oldest still-standing part, St Peter’s Chapel, was constructed around 1377 and dedicated to the patron saint of the De Laci family- the then Lords of the Manor. Later additions include a tower, galleries, nave and a High Altar which was put in place in 1546. There are also many pieces of embroidery inside the building which depict biblical scenes, historical events and memorials to local people. Over the years, the church has undergone various rebuilds. One of these was due to the firing of cannons and firebombs from Royalist troops back in 1644. You can even still see bullet marks on the tower today.
Visitors simply must see the 99 yew trees in the churchyard, as these symbolise rebirth and regeneration, being said to represent the 99 souls lost in a shipwreck off the coast of France. It’s a famous legend that steeps the town in an atmosphere of mystery and eeriness.
Just over a mile north of the town, Painswick Beacon is the number one place to take in the surrounding scenery, as you are presented with stunning, panoramic views of the Cotswolds. Standing at 283 metres high, the beacon itself is located on the site of an Iron Age hill fort. On a clear day you can see pretty far across the hills and forests, and at nighttime, it’s a perfect spot for stargazing.
Parking is available at the bottom of Painswick Beacon. Alternatively, you can walk here in approximately 30 minutes from the town centre.
9. Chipping Campden
First settled in the 7th century and located right at the start of the Cotswold Way Trail, this small market town has been preserved to look just as houses did in times long gone, with modern fixtures such as electrical wires being hidden away and shop fronts being banned from display. The town is famous for its annual Olimpick Games, which date back to the 17th century and feature traditional sports and activities, as well as its historic 14th century Market Hall.
Best Things to Do in Chipping Campden
Surrounded by ancient houses made of local, honey-coloured stone, this beautiful market hall was built in 1627 and used by townspeople to trade produce such as eggs, cheese and butter within. It was constructed using Cotswold oolitic limestone, as are most of the old houses in this area, and it is believed that the current cobbled floor is the original, having never been replaced.
In the 1940s the structure was to be dismantled, sold and shipped across the Atlantic for re-erection in America. Fortunately, a local conservation group intervened and raised the money to purchase the hall. They then passed it to the National Trust who now care for the building.
Campden Manor House
Also known as Old Campden House, this site enables visitors to view the remains of an early 17th century building and garden. There are two restored banqueting houses (which are actually let out as holiday properties by the Landmark Trust), as well as several other structures and walls.
The Manor was once a lavish and noble house until it was destroyed by Royalist troops to stop it from being sequestered by Parliament during the Civil War. The owner, Sir Baptist Hicks, ordered that he would rather have the building burned to the ground than fall into the hands of the opposition.
Court Barn Museum of Craft and Design
This small museum showcases the work of local craftsmen and designers, with collections of furniture, textiles and ceramics that highlight the rich history and tradition of craftsmanship in the Cotswolds region. The museum hosts temporary exhibitions and offers educational programs and workshops for visitors of all ages. There are also opportunities to purchase unique pieces of pottery, jewellery and textiles.
Even if you don’t find what you’re looking for in the museum itself, there are many boutiques in Chipping Campden which are devoted to selling exquisitely-made crafts. These are in part a legacy of the Guild and School of Handicrafts, which was established in East London in 1888 before moving here in 1902.
Where to Stay
Budget - Volunteer Inn
This locally-owned 17th century inn stands at the lower end of Chipping Campden's historic High Street. Here, the staff aim to supply you with a quaint, comfortable room in a homely atmosphere, as well as forwarding local knowledge on the best places to visit. Rooms are serviced on request.
Mid Range - Noel Arms
This award-winning, 16th-century hotel boasts individually styled, luxury rooms. Each features elegant furniture, an en suite bathroom with a bath and a shower, and free toiletries. One of the rooms includes a luxurious, carved four-poster bed which dates back to 1657. The restaurant menu contains fresh ingredients which use selected local produce. Guests also have access to the award-winning Cotswold House Spa (at an extra supplement).
Luxury - Charingworth Manor
Charingworth Manor is a 14th-century manor house set in 54 acres of grounds. It boasts an indoor heated swimming pool, a fully-equipped gym and an outdoor tennis court. The John Greville Restaurant serves excellent cuisine, using local produce, in elegant, intimate surroundings. Each spacious room is furnished with antiques and fine fabrics, with en suite facilities and a plasma-screen TV. Some rooms have charming period features and boast wonderful views of the Cotswold countryside.
10. The Slaughters
Connected by the tiny River Eye stream, the name of this area derives from the Old English word for a mire/ muddy place- a ‘slough’ or ‘slothre’- which adequately describes the natural land here! The Slaughters is actually made up of two villages, Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter, and is known for its stone cottages, gardens and tranquil countryside atmosphere.
Best Things to Do in The Slaughters
Copse Hill Road
Often referred to and once nationally voted as the ‘most romantic street in Britain’, Copse Hill Road in Lower Slaughter is a stunning, postcard-worthy stop. ‘This lovely trick is at the very heart of the Cotswold mystery,’ wrote the famous novelist J.B. Priestley in 1933, after exploring the village at dusk, and it’s easy to see why once you’ve viewed this area for yourself.
Enjoying a stroll past the weeping willows, colourful wildflowers and stone cottages is a breathtaking experience unlike no other. Don’t forget your camera, as it’s quite hard to stop taking photos with so many snap-worthy scenes at every step!
Old Mill Museum
The Old Mill is the main tourist attraction in the village. It was mentioned in the Domesday Books in 1086, and became part of the Lower Slaughter Manor in the 16th century. Nowadays, since 1995, it has opened its doors to visitors as a delightful museum. It also has its own café and shop for visitors to stop for refreshments and load up on souvenirs!
Right next to The Old Mill are some lovely tea rooms where you can enjoy the view with a yummy piece of cake or energising cup of coffee. Don’t miss out also on the local hand-made organic ice cream available here, it’s famous around these parts.
Upper Slaughter Manor
If you follow the lane that follows the Eye upstream to Upper Slaughter, on your right as you approach you will see this incredible Elizabethan manor house. It dates back to the Saxon period and in the Domesday Book of 1086 it is recorded as being in the possession of Roger de Lacy, a powerful Norman nobleman. The manor is surrounded by several acres of gardens, with lawns sloping down to a small lake. At this point, there is a nature trail through quiet woodland which follows the course of the River Eye. Other outside features include a rose garden, clipped hedges forming a secret area, impressive topiaries and a wonderful pergola near the house.
The manor is a member of the Historic Houses Association and is usually open for house tours for 3 to 4 weeks during the summer period. One of the most popular reasons for visiting the interior is the prize-winning lace collection, which itself alone has attracted tourists from all over the world.
Bibury is famous for its quaint, honey-coloured cottages which line the banks of the River Coln. One of the most iconic sights in Bibury is Arlington Row, a row of weavers' cottages dating back to the 17th century. The village is also home to the Bibury Trout Farm, where visitors can learn about trout farming and even try their own hand at fishing. It’s arguably one of the most aesthetically impressive places within The Cotswolds, and is definitely one of the most photographed.
Best Things to Do in Bibury
One of the most recognisable places in England, Arlington Row boasts the claim to the ‘most beautiful street in England’. This line of adorable cottages were originally built in the 14th century as a monastic wool store, but were later converted into weavers' homes in the 17th century. Today, they are privately owned and maintained by the National Trust, and have been featured in major motion pictures such as Stardust and Bridget Jones’ Diary.
This nationally notable architectural conservation area is even depicted on the inside cover of all United Kingdom passports! It’s a very special location that is a must-see for all visitors to the Cotswolds.
Bibury Trout Farm
Bibury Trout Farm is one of the oldest of its kind in the country and offers visitors the chance to purchase freshly caught trout, as well as the opportunity to catch their own fish! The farm produces three types of trout: Brown, Blue and Rainbow, and supplies their catches to fisheries, angling clubs, fish farms and private lakes, rivers and reservoirs across the country. They also provide produce to a number of pubs and restaurants in the Cotswolds.
There’s a play area for kids to enjoy, as well as a gift shop where visitors can buy smoked trout, brick barbecues and other local products. It’s definitely a unique excursion that’s well worth the visit whilst spending time in Bibury.
Tetbury is the second largest town in the Cotswolds. Since 1981, it has been twinned with Zwingenberg in Germany, and was an important market for Cotswold wool and yarn during the Middle Ages. It’s also the home of King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort. It’s most commonly visited for its boutique shops, delicious local food, and of course for its royal connections.
Best Things to Do in Tetbury
Tetbury Police Museum
The Tetbury Police Museum contains a fantastic array of exhibits and memorabilia, including the world renowned Alex Nichols collection of Handcuffs and Restraints- the largest collection open to public view in the United Kingdom. There is also a complete magistrates court with a display using models and depicting a hearing, as it would have looked in the late 1940’s to early 1950’s.
The museum is open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11am- 3pm and entry is free! So it’s definitely worth a look, as there’s a lot to see and learn from this experience absolutely free of charge.
Located on The Chipping, the old market square near the Chipping Steps, Vinotopia is a sweet little shop that wine lovers are sure to enjoy. Here you can sample various alcoholic beverages from around the world, and purchase a bottle (or a few) to take home as a souvenir. It’s easy to spot with its window full of shelves showcasing its wares, and its vines full of vibrant, lilac flowers growing upon the surface of its honey-coloured stone walls.
Vinotopia serves and sells an assortment of white, rosé and red wines. These are sorted by region, price, grape variety and flavour. Champagne is also available.
Often referred to as the ‘Jewel of the Cotswolds’ due to its picturesque setting and charming architecture, Broadway is most commonly known for its honey-coloured limestone buildings, quaint shops, and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. It’s a popular destination for tourists and offers a range of attractions, including art galleries, antique shops and lovely gardens. The village also has a rich history, with several historic buildings and landmarks to explore. Top tip: The streets are usually empty in the morning, so get up nice and early if you’d like to enjoy a peaceful stroll or take some photos before the crowds come.
Best Things to Do in Broadway
Built in 1798 for Lady Coventry, Broadway Tower stands 20 metres high on the top of Fish Hill- 302 metres above sea level! It’s the highest tower in the Cotswolds area and the second-highest point across the whole of the Cotswolds (Cleeve Hill claims first place). It was constructed as a Gothic folly to add romance and interest to the landscape for the 6th Earl of Coventry. Folly, being a purpose-built ‘ruin’ which mocks medieval castles. The 18th century was the age of building and landscaping to create picturesque and fanciful views, and a trip to Broadway Tower will certainly provide this to you no matter the season.
Within the grounds of the tower, you may be lucky enough to spot the resident red deer frolicking in the fields. There’s also a museum and a nuclear bunker nearby which was built to record nuclear activity during the Cold War. Finally, the on-site Morris and Brown café is a great place to meet up with others, grab a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of wine, and enjoy the magnificent views that Broadway has to offer.
The Broadway Museum and Art Gallery
Housed in a beautiful 17th century former coaching inn, The Broadway Museum and Art Gallery has been extended and adapted over the centuries and retains many original features. Exhibits include locally found fossils, the ‘Story of Wool’, interesting facts about the development of Coach Travel, and information on the impact of the arrival of Steam- which enabled the immigration of the world famous colony of American artists and writers who stayed and worked here.
Complete with a gift shop, the Broadway Museum and Art Gallery is the perfect place to include on a visit to The Cotswolds. They run a regular program of talks, events and changing exhibitions, so whenever it is that you visit, it’s sure to provide something special.