15 of the most beautiful places in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is an area in England which has captured the hearts of many and is often voted as one of the best places to visit in the country. Its charm is down to it’s multitude of quaint English villages, traditional pubs, beautiful long walks and idyllic setting. It seems to slow down the pace of life, back to an England of old, and exploring the area is a special thing to do when visiting.

But did you know, The Cotswolds actually spans in to 5 different counties in England – Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire, meaning it’s a pretty big area to cover. If you really want to take in all of my favourite Cotswolds spots, then you will probably need at least a week; though hopefully the list has lots of options so you can pick your favourites if you have a shorter time in the area.


1. Castle Combe

Castle Combe, one of the most famous villages in the Cotswolds is often voted the prettiest in England. With no new buildings since the 1600s, it really is a time warp. Visit early in the morning or late in the day to avoid the mega crowds! You can read my detailed post on Castle Combe HERE.

2. Lower Slaughter

The name of the village of Lower Slaughter stems from the Old English name for a wet and muddy place, ‘slough’ (sounds about right!). This quaint village sits beside the little Eye stream and is known for its unspoilt limestone cottages, being home to the ‘most romantic street’ in England, and the village’s Mill museum. You can read more about The Slaughters and other areas on my recommended Cotswolds itinerary HERE.

3. Lacock

Lacock is one of my favourite places in the Cotswolds because of not only its beautiful houses around every corner, but also because it’s home to an ancient abbey. The abbey still has its cloisters and main structure in tact which is rare in England following Henry VIIIs dissolution of the monasteries which destroyed most of these buildings. The village itself is also full of quaint houses, mainly timbered and ancient. You can read more about Lacock HERE.

At the Abbey

4. Bourton on the Water

Bourton is one of the most picturesque towns in The Cotswolds, and is known for the river running through it with its low bridges and traditional stone houses. There’s lots to do in Bourton, from tea rooms, to model villages, to a big maze and a Christmas shop, it’s a great place to spend half a day. It’s also close to Upper and Lower Slaughter so it makes for a lovely walk to walk between the three to make a full day of it. Bourton also features on my recommended Cotswolds itinerary HERE.

5. Bibury

Another Cotswold classic is Bibury, most famous for the absolutely postcard perfect Arlington Row. One of the houses is even a holiday let which you can stay in, though I’m not sure I’d want all the tourists at my window every day!

6. Bradford on Avon

Bradford on Avon is such a picturesque town. It’s got a lot of independent shops, pretty tea rooms and wonderful river walks to take in. It’s also on a hill, and atop the hill sits a special church – the Chapel of St Mary Tory with its glorious views. Other things to see in the town include an Anglo Saxon church built in the 10th Century and a 14th century original tithe barn. You can read more about Bradford on Avon HERE.

Exploring Bradford on Avon

7. Northleach

Northleach is another little gem of a village, home to a great pub called The Wheatsheaf Inn. The village church is particularly lovely, built from the money made here via the wool trade in the 15th Century and it’s another base for some great walks in the countryside.

8. Upper Slaughter

Upper Slaughter is next door to Lower Slaugher, and would once have been dominated by a Norman castle, though this is now long gone. Its most famous building is The Manor House, which is now a hotel but dates back to the 15th Century. As another interesting fact, Upper Slaughter is a Double Thankful village. This means that all their members of the armed forces survived both WW1 and WW2 with no fatalities – a very rare thing.

9. Kingham

Kingham is yet another picture perfect stop on this list – and it’s not far from the town of Chipping Norton which is also worth a visit. It’s full of houses most can only dream of affording, and is also home to a couple of amazing pubs. The Kingham Plough is a great option, especially for a nice dinner with drinks or a Sunday roast.

In Kingham

10. Sudeley Castle

This is my favourite place in the whole of The Cotswolds, because here you can visit the burial place of Catherine Parr, one of Henry VIII’s wives, in the onsite church. The gardens are stunningly beautiful and Sudeley Castle is also home to one of the largest public collections of rare and endangered species of pheasants from around the world. Sudeley & Winchcombe below are also covered on my Cotswolds itinerary HERE.

11. Winchcombe

Winchcombe is a market town of Anglo Saxon early medieval origin, in the Cotswold hills of Gloucestershire. It has some lovely old houses and buildings, a few nice shops on the high street and The Corner Cupboard pub is great for the English tradition of a Sunday roast.

12. Burford

Known as the ‘gateway to the Cotswolds’, Burford is one of the most famous towns in the Cotswolds, with its picture perfect hill of beautiful house after beautiful house. It is also famous for its medieval bridge over the River Windrush and is great for shopping and eating.

13. Mickleton

Mickleton is one of the less known and quietest spots on this list, but its no less beautiful. It’s also famous for being home to The Pudding Club, a great British tradition celebrating all things pudding (dessert). You can go to a pudding ceremony, where you can taste everything from sticky toffee to jam roly poly all caked in custard of course. Please just make sure you book well in advance as tickets sell fast. You can read more about Mickleton and The Pudding Club HERE.

Beautiful Cotswolds views on a walk from Mickleton

14. Hidcote Manor

Hidcote Manor is a National Trust property, famous for its beautiful gardens which are landscaped to be art in themselves. The entrance fee is pretty steep, but worth it if you want to see a lovely stately home in a picturesque setting. You can read more HERE.

15. Broadway

A large village which is most famous for its namesake tower which was constructed in the 1700s by a lady who wanted to see if she could see the beacon from atop the tower from her house (she could!). It later became home to a printing press and then later a cold war bunker site, before becoming a tourist attraction. Again, you can read more HERE.

The Tower

What do you think of The Cotswolds? Have you visited or would you like to one day, and which is your favourite spot that I’ve featured? I love this beautiful part of England and I’m looking forward to seeing even more of it in 2022 – then I can no doubt add some more spots to this list. Stay safe and happy travelling everyone.

56 Comments

  1. All gorgeous – we whizzed through a number of years back – had about a day and a half – so really need to return and take extra time to enjoy. But despite our whirlwind trip, I’m delighted to recognise quite a few places from your photos. The villages are amazing aren’t they – real chocolate box stuff!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Since stumbling across charming photos of Bibury online a couple of years ago, I’ve fallen in love with the Cotswolds, and I really hope to return to England to cover it! Even if only just for a day!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this amazing blog post! I have been to half of them but will definitely save this to visit the rest of the villages.
    Such a pretty part of England

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, all the places with ‘shire’ in it … is that just coincidence? The houses are truly beautiful – it’s really old world charm ☺️. And how lovely are all those bridges (love the one at Bradford on Avon). Mickleton will be one of my favourite villages … I mean, home to the Pudding Club!
    My mom went to The Cotsworld when she visited my brother in the UK and loved it! Maybe we will have that opportunity also one day (and then I would remember this post of yours about The Cotsworld) 😊.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh it’s amazing isn’t it…..such a beautiful part of England. The Pudding Club is really quite something – the puddings are HUGE and so delicious…and you get 7 of them in a Pudding Parade. Life made. I hope you do get to visit one day, and you know where I am to meet you in a pub there if you do 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I actually didn’t realise the Cotswolds covered such a large area, although even the furthest distances are doable. Each village is lovely, but I did prick my ears up at the mention of ‘pudding club’. Lacock is just down the road from me, love taking the dog for a wander there. It’s a real escape!

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    1. I know – I was so surprised as well Helen, and I always find these ‘day trips’ that go everywhere from London are insane as you can’t possibly spend any time in these places. Pudding Club is incredible, you get to sample 7 traditional puddings in a Pudding Parade…it’s really quite an amazing and fun night if you ever get to go. You’re so lucky to live in Wiltshire, such a beautiful beautiful part of the country. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The Cotswolds looks very picturesque and charming. I love all the historic buildings, thatched cottages, and views of the countryside. It sounds like there’s a lot to do here and I understand why you would recommend staying for at least a week. I wouldn’t want to stay in one of the houses on Bibury Row either with all the tourists snooping around.

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    1. Thank you so much and I’m really glad you enjoyed the post 🙂 There is a lot to do, so if you want to go on nice walks and take your time with good food and drink in the pubs and villages, it’s definitely worth a week. I suppose if you just want to go and take some pretty cottage pictures then a day or so whipping round will do it, but to me that doesn’t do it justice! Thanks for reading, have a lovely day.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow, you’re lucky to live close so will definitely have to head over at some point 🙂 I actually visited at weekends every time I’ve been and the crowds haven’t been too bad as long as you get to the main towns early or late.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jess – it’s definitely doable as a day trip if you have a car. Public transport in the area is limited so you’d either have to book on a guided tour like this one:
      https://www.go-tours.co.uk/cotswolds-tour/

      or you have to do it yourself on public transport like this idea:
      https://www.thetrainline.com/via/europe/uk/england/london/cotswolds-day-trip-from-london

      It is much easier to get to cities – e.g. Cambridge, Oxford, Bath on direct trains from London so you can do those yourself easily with no need for a car.
      Hope that helps 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw so glad you enjoyed it Lyssy – I really appreciate that. Yes you definitely have to focus on London with the time you’ve got, but maybe you can visit us again one day and take in some new areas 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s such a lovely part of England. Yes, it’s manageable at a fairly relaxed pace in a week. You would do it with days as follows: 1) Broadway, Mickleton, Hidcote Manor 2) Bourton including the round walk to Lower and Upper Slaughter, dinner in Kingham 3) Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, and a walk at Cleeve Hill 4) Burford, Bibury and Northleach (all 4 days can be done from the same base). Then 5) move base to the South Cotswolds, stopping at Castle Combe on the way and 6) Lacock and Bradford on Avon…..with a day to spare to (you could do Lacock/Bradford as 2 separate days as a fair bit to do and other castles etc near by) , or add something else, or have it as a travel day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Such peaceful countryside, these Cotswolds spots of England. As always, your entry is filled with wonderful details and photographs…so much to see! I love all of the architecture, including Arlington Row at Bibury, reflections of Bradford on Avon, and the ornate Sudeley Castle structure. Thanks for sharing, dear Hannah ~ have a great weekend! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. what a beautiful collection of beautiful places! I think I could happily spend all my days wandering through each of these towns, exploring every street and trail, and never tire of the scenery. Now I just need to become independently wealthy so I can do just that. Life goals 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Oh my god these houses and towns are sooo gorgeous 😍😍 I could definitely see myself living there, with a rose garden, growing my fruits and vegetables and going to the market on Saturday mornings… 🥰 I have been to Lacock on a roadtrip from Oxford to Cornwall and I didn’t even know it counted as the Cotswolds! It was indeed a very charming little town. We wanted to visit the abbey too as they shot some scenes from Harry Potter in there! Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to visit other towns in the area!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thanks Juliette, I’m so glad you like them 🙂 It’s such a beautiful area of England, and I love going for a week and just staying in a little cottage, going on walks and eating lots of pub food!! Lacock is great isn’t it, and an Oxford to Cornwall road trip sounds incredible 🙂 Have a lovely weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve missed out on these amazing villages. My trips to England have been London principally. Next time I’ll get out and explore the magnificent area of Cotswold, which is also the name of a charming neighborhood in Charlotte. Charlotte is itself named for and English queen. Thanks for the tour.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad I can show you a different side to England, as there really are so many amazing areas beyond London. I never knew that it was the name of an area in Charlotte! Ah that’s really interesting, I didn’t know that. I assume it was our Queen consort who was Charlotte (pronounced Char-lotta) of Mecklenburg, a German princess who married our King George III. She actually introduced the Christmas Tree to England, so we are very grateful to her 🙂

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  11. Oh my! Absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been daydreaming about visiting the UK for quite some time. These photos make me want to move to one of these villages….alas, I’d probably have to have a lot more money than I currently do! I’ll get over there one of these days, though. Cheers for the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

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