The Cotswolds is still one of my favourite areas in England to explore! Imagine, rolling green hills, quaint little villages and a huge amount of history. There are so many places in the Cotswolds that you’ll almost be spoilt for choice.
And you know what, that’s what I love most – there’s a surprise around each and every winding road. Over the years, I’ve visited the Cotswolds around four or five times over the years, each time exploring some new picturesque hamlet or village that’s nestled in the region.
Now, whether it’s your first, fifth or fiftieth time exploring the pretty spots in England, I’d always recommend a little gallivant to the Cotswolds. It really is a stunning place. That being said, it can be tricky to narrow down the little villages and places in the Cotswolds to visit, especially on a shorter trip.
That’s why I wanted to show you some of my firm favourites to see. Some are larger villages, some smaller towns and some are just countryside spots, but what they all have in common is they really are some of the best places in the Cotswolds to explore.
Take a look below at some of the best places in the Cotswolds to explore. You’ll have an epic time! 🇬🇧
Famed for its crooked little cottages, you’ll feel like you’ve been thrown back a few centuries to a time gone by. Arlington Row is just stunning. Though be warned, it can be a little busy during the day so plan your visit in the morning or late afternoon when it’s a little quieter.
Once you’re here, pop into the Catherine Wheel that serves up some piping hot British pub grub that I’m almost sure you’ll enjoy. Just make sure to leave some room for sticky-toffee pudding!
The market town of Stow-on-the-Wold is one of the best places in the Cotswolds to visit that’s perched right on top of a hill.
Once you’re here, make sure St Edward’s Church, see the Fosse Gallery and pop over to the Farmer’s Market that’s held every second Thursday of the month. For a yummy bite to eat, pop into Lucy’s Tearoom for some freshly-baked scones with lashings of clotted cream and strawberry jam.
Oh, and relatively close by is the stunning (Jacobean) Chastleton House which was built in the early 17th Century. It’s a great place to visit for an afternoon, especially if you want to see a historic house that has been left totally untouched by modern life.
Around 4-miles from Chipping Norton, Kingham is a tiny little village that has hundreds of people living here. Once you’ve arrived, make sure to pop into The Kingham Plough for a tasty lunch and see St. Andrew’s Church (yep, there’s quite a few of these in the Cotswolds).
Based on the River Windrush, Naunton is a sleepy little village that’s a perfect stop off point as you venture further towards Stow-on-the-World. To get one of the best views of Naunton, climb (or ramble) the hill which overlooks the village itself.
There’s been evidence of a village here since the Doomsday book recorded it as Niwetone (almost 1,000 years ago), which means there’s lots of history to soak up. If you visit on a Sunday, pop into The Black Horse Inn for a yummy roast dinner.
About 5-miles from Chippenham, Castlecombe is one of the best places in the Cotswolds to visit, which is actually split into two parts. Firstly, explore the narrow valley of the By Brook then head towards Upper Castle Combe that’s quite a bit higher up.
Once you’re here, make sure to check out the Market Cross and St. Andrew’s Church, before heading for a stroll in this almost fairytale-like English village.
6.) Chipping Campden
Chipping Campden is one of the picturesque places in the Cotswolds that’s perched in its northern fringes.
When you visit here make sure to visit the wool church as well as the historic marketplace that has been covered way back since the 17th century. Look to see if you can find the marker stone that signifies the start of the long-distance footpath of the Cotswold Way, it’s a great place to go on a ramble or trek through the countryside.
If that’s not your thing, take a stroll around the town and visit the Old Silk Mill located on Sheep Street and the Court Barn Museum. Set in a 17th-century farm building shows local arts and crafts that are perfect to visit, especially if the weather takes a turn for the worst.
Oh, and for a tasty lunch, pop into Badger’s Hall Tea Room who have the best afternoon tea in town!
A few miles south-west of Chipping Campden is the village of Broadway. It really is one of the best places in the Cotswolds to explore, especially id you want to see one of the larger villages in the area.
Once here, make sure to pop over to the Broadaway Tower which was built way back in the 18th Century as a spot to view beacons that were lit on special occasions.
Also, make sure to explore Snowshill Manor, that was built in the 16th Century. Once inside, you’ll see a treasure trove of artefacts from all over the world. If you need somewhere to rest your head, check out the gorgeous and historical Abbots Grange Hotel.
Perched on the River Windrush, Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the best places in the Cotswolds to explore ‘ye olde England’.
With a heap of historical properties (dating hundreds of years back), it really is a stunning place to walk around and spent a few hours discovering it’s hidden gems.
Once you’re here, make sure to spot the tiny little bridges across the river, too. Oh, and you can visit the quaintest model village that’s been in the town for decades. If all that exploring has your tummy rumbling, pop into Bakery on the Water which we went to on our last visit.
They have the best pasties and buns that are so yummy.
9.) The Slaughters
The Slaughters (upper and lower) are two tiny twin villages that are totally picturesque and some of the best places in the Cotswolds to experience a quieter way of life.
Now, don’t be fooled by the pretty macabre name, It has nothing to do with the modern interpretation of the word. Historically, it is the Anglo Saxon word for mud that was used to describe this area way back when.
Once here, make sure to explore the Old Mill Museum and take a stroll between the little-cobbled streets that make this place so special.
Burford is one of the Cotswold’s smaller medieval towns that’s perched on the River Windrush (similar to Bourton-on-the-Water).
Standing at the top of Burford’s High Street will give you a pretty good view of how many medieval buildings are actually in this town.
While you are visiting, make sure you visit the Tudor market house of Robert Reavley (number 124). It’s the oldest pharmacy in England It has existed here since 1734. Oh, and make sure to pop into the Tolsey Museum and see local artefacts from the region.
If you’re looking for some proper pub grub, head into The Royal Oak who make the best homemade pies. Burford really is one of the best places in the Cotswolds to explore, especially on a sunny day.
Around 8-miles south of Glocester, Painswick is a gorgeous town of steeply winding streets that is totally stunning.
Once here, you should visit the Church of St. Mary; it was built in the 14th century and has lines of yew trees. There are 99 trees and there is a local legend that the devil will not allow more than that (who knows why?).
Also, if you feel like a little ramble, walk part of the Cotswold Way as the footpath passes through the village and carries on further into the countryside. If you’re hankering for a bite to eat, pop into Falcon Inn for a classic Sunday roast.
Tetbury was a somewhat accidental find whilst we were scouting some new spots to explore. Thankfully, our last trip remedied this when we decided to stay a few nights in Tetbury itself.
Perched in the southern part of the Cotswolds, Tetbury is one of those quaint English towns that seems to have a little bit of everything. Whilst wandering around Tetbury, make sure to see Chipping Steps, a rather higgledy-piggledy street (filled with the quaintest houses) that’s so beautiful.
For a stunning and quintessentially English place to stay, pop into The Royal Oak Tetbury (where we stayed). They have the most gorgeous rooms.
Oh, and if you’re travelling from the west, pop into The Wild Duck Inn in Ewen, they have some of the nicest food in the area (and some of the best Scotch eggs I’ve tried). Also, if you have time (and it’s a sunny day), head over to Westonbirt Arboretum for a little wander through the forests.
Lacock is one of the gorgeous places in the Cotswolds that actually might feel quite familiar to you? Over the last few years, Lacock has featured on a few big movies which have been shot on the pretty little lanes (Harry Potter and Downton Abbey, to name a few).
Once you’re here, make sure to explore Lacock Abbey, the historic home of Henry Fox Talbot (the inventor of the photographic negative). Also, make sure to see the 600-year-old tithe barn and head to King John’s Hunting Lodge for one of the best lemon drizzle cakes around.
Filled with Jacobean mansions, an ancient church (decorated with medieval gargoyles) and Victorian almshouses, Winchcombe is a beautiful town to explore.
Winchcombe’s origin dates way back Saxon England where it was once a key meeting point of 5 ancient trails. Even today, these trails can be followed, especially if you’re a keen rambler. Just make sure to take one of the short trails (that can get steep) towards the Neolithic tomb of Belas Knap.
Also, whilst you’re in the area, pop over to Sudeley Castle, with its grand banqueting halls and gardens. It has had many owners during its lifetime including the last of Henry VIII’s six wives, Katherine Parr. Just remember that it’s often closed in the winter months between December to February.