You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to picture-perfect towns, country walks and cosy tea houses in The Cotswolds.
This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, bordered by the cities of Bath, Cheltenham and Gloucester, is approximately 2 hours from London and makes the perfect getaway from the city.
I live just over an hour to the east of The Cotswolds and, having visited for the very first time only recently, am scolding myself for not having been sooner.
We based ourselves towards the top end of the region and stayed in a glamping pod in Moreton-in-Marsh that was both affordable and plush (especially the bedding!).
We spent 2 days driving around some of the prettiest places in The Cotswolds and based on our experience I’ve whittled this post down to 3 places I think you can’t miss if you’re planning a Cotswold trip.
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Best Places To Visit in The Cotswolds
Bourton-on-the-Water is a picture-perfect Cotswolds town with pale brick buildings, bakeries and tea houses aplenty. What makes this place stand out, however, is the clear river that runs through town and the narrow stone bridges that criss-cross it.
Highlights include the Cotswolds Motoring Museum & Toy Collection (home to children’s TV star Brum), Bakery on the Water and the Dragonfly Maze for a bit of fun. There’s ample parking just past Birdworld but it fills up fast on the weekend so arrive early.
Stay at one of these cosy cottages in Bourton-on-the-Water
- Daylesford Organic Farm
The tastiest place we discovered on our Cotswolds weekend was Daylesford, an award-winning organic farm and restaurant, which is a foodie and homewares heaven.
In a series of high-ceilinged barns in Kingham, Daylesford has a restaurant, café, farm shop, florist and the Bamford Haybarn Spa. Outdoor seating areas are dotted with fire pits and flower arrangements and there are cosy cottages to rent on the farm too.
For the ultimate farm to table experience, head to The Old Spot for a full English breakfast served with farm-fresh eggs and freshly-baked sourdough. We filled up on coffee and bacon and then headed to the farm shop and bakery to stock up on produce to bring home. (*By produce I mean a salted caramel brownie that was di-vine.)
There’s also a gorgeous homewares shop, with a children’s section selling traditional wooden toys and knitted dolls, and they host cookery and flower arranging workshops throughout the week too.
Our plan was to just grab brunch at Daylesford but we ended up spending a whole morning here, grazing, browsing and soaking up all the cosy vibes of this stunning Cotswolds destination.
- Lower Slaughter
One of the most idyllic villages in The Cotswolds, Lower Slaughter has houses so pretty I thought they only existed in movies. The village is so picture-perfect, in fact, that it’s set to star as the backdrop for the latest Hollywood adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma starring Bill Nighy and Miranda Hart.
They were filming on the day we visited so the village had been prettied up even further with the addition of artificial spring blooms on the trees and buildings, which fooled me into thinking they were the first blooms of spring for a good 15 minutes.
The main attraction in Lower Slaughter is The Old Mill, recorded in the Doomsday Book of 1086, which houses a quirky antiques and craft shop and a riverside café hidden out the back of the Mill Shop & Museum (you have to walk through the shop to find it.)
The Slaughter’s Country Inn is also a great place to indulge in a Sunday Roast next to a roaring log fire.
I’ve focused on just 3 places in The Cotswolds that completely charmed us but it seems everyone who has been has their favourite town or village for different reasons. Here are some more places for your list if you are planning a longer visit.
More Gorgeous Cotswolds Towns & Villages
- Stow-on-the-Wold – a great market town for shopaholics. Lots of independent homewares, jewellery and book stores to explore.
- Broadway – a few different people recommended Broadway, in particular the Lygon Arms for food and character-filled accommodation.
- Bibury – famous for a row of 17th century weavers’ cottages that appear on the inside of UK passports, and frequently on Instagram!
How To Plan Your Cotswolds Visit
Have you been to The Cotswolds? What were your favourite places?