The Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages

The Cotswolds is one of the most unique and beautiful areas in the world. Discover the picturesque Cotswolds Villages in this incredible area of England. Learn how to get there, the best route to take to explore each town, and what to do there in this guide to Cotswolds villages.

The Cotswolds England is one of my favorite places in the UK, and honestly in the whole world. We were able to live in the Cotswolds for several months during our time in Europe, and we explored all over this gorgeous countryside.

Now that I run The British Book Club Tour and I’m in England several times each year, I’m lucky enough to return to these amazing villages in the Cotswolds over and over again. I’ve definitely developed an obsession with my favorite ones, but honestly, they are all just lovely. I’m going to share my top picks and the best route to visit them.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - woman standing in front of door in the Cotswolds
I think I have a million photos of me in front of pretty doors in the Cotswolds!

The Cotswolds region is famous for its stunning natural beauty, boasting different types of terrains to suit every avid explorer. If you’re looking for soulful scenery to explore or take scenic hikes, there’s no other place like the Cotswolds. From quaint market towns with cobbled stone streets to quintessentially English villages, the Cotswolds have something for everyone. Here are the best places to visit in the Cotswolds.

What are the Cotswolds?

The Cotswolds AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) is a range of hills in south central England, covering an area of about 800 square miles. The region is known for its picturesque landscape of rolling hills, countryside villages, and historic market towns, as well as its distinctive limestone buildings.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - Limestone Cottage covered in pink roses

The Cotswolds are located primarily in the counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire but also extend into parts of Worcestershire, Wiltshire, and Warwickshire. The area is home to many popular tourist destinations, including the towns of Bath, Cheltenham, and Stratford-upon-Avon.

In addition to its natural beauty, the Cotswolds are also renowned for their rich history and cultural heritage, including prehistoric monuments, medieval churches, and grand country houses. The area is also famous for its traditional crafts, such as dry stone walling, wool spinning, and thatching.

Limestone cottage with green door surrounded by pink roses
Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages

What are the Cotswolds Famous for?

You’ve likely heard of the Cotswolds and seen them along images of idyllic countryside landscapes, beautiful village squares, sleepy village houses, Cotswold stone buildings, charming antique shops, narrow streets, and thatched cottages. The Cotswolds contain some of the prettiest villages in England. Here is what the Cotswolds are famous for:

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - Limestone cottage and wall covered in hot pink roses

  1. Natural Beauty: The Cotswolds are known for their picturesque landscape of rolling hills, countryside villages, and tranquil streams. The area is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and attracts millions of visitors each year.
  2. Limestone Architecture: The Cotswolds are characterized by their distinctive yellow limestone buildings, built with what is known as “Cotswold stone” which gives the Cotswolds towns and picturesque villages a unique charm and character. Many of the buildings date back to the 17th and 18th centuries and are very well-preserved. Because of this, many movies are filmed here.
  3. History and Heritage: The Cotswolds have a rich history and cultural heritage, including prehistoric monuments, medieval churches, grand country houses, and historic market towns. Visitors can explore ancient ruins, stroll through formal gardens, and learn about local customs and traditions.

  4. Traditional Crafts: The Cotswolds are renowned for their traditional crafts, including dry stone walling, wool spinning, and thatching. Visitors can watch craftsmen at work and purchase locally made goods.
  5. Food and Drink: The Cotswolds are home to many excellent restaurants, pubs, and cafes, serving locally sourced ingredients and traditional dishes. The area is also known for its thriving food and drink scene, including breweries, distilleries, and farmers’ markets.
  6. Film Locations: The Cotswolds has been a film set for so many movies over the years. Too many to list here, but some of them include War Horse, Pride & Prejudice (2005), Vanity Fair, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Stardust, Harry Potter, Downton Abbey, and so many British TV shows!

Cotswolds Limestone Manor house and gardens

Where are the Cotswolds & Cotswolds Map

The Cotswolds are located in central England, mainly in the counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. The area covers approximately 800 square miles and extends into parts of Worcestershire, Wiltshire, and Warwickshire. The Cotswolds are situated about 90 miles northwest of London and can be easily accessed by road and rail. I’ve created this map of Cotswolds that includes the most beautiful villages and hope it will be helpful when you’re planning your trip.



The Best Way to Get to The Cotswolds

There are several ways to get to the Cotswolds from London, depending on your preferences and budget. Here are some of the most common options:

  1. By Train: The Cotswolds are well-connected to London by train. The fastest and easiest way to reach the Cotswolds by train is to take a direct train from London Paddington to one of the main towns in the Cotswolds such as Moreton-in-Marsh, Kingham, or Cheltenham Spa. The journey takes approximately 1.5-2 hours. From there, you can explore the surrounding towns and villages using public transportation or by hiring a car.
  2. By Car: If you prefer to drive, the Cotswolds can be reached from London via the M40 and A40 or the M4 and A419. Driving time from London to the Cotswolds is approximately 2-3 hours, depending on traffic and your destination.
  3. By Bus: There are several bus services that connect London to the Cotswolds. One popular option is the National Express coach service, which runs from London Victoria Coach Station to Cheltenham, Gloucester, and other towns in the Cotswolds.
  4. By Private Tour: If you prefer a more personalized and hassle-free experience, you can consider booking a private tour from London to the Cotswolds. Many tour operators offer day trips or multi-day tours that include transportation, guided tours, and other activities.

Ultimately, the best way to get to the Cotswolds from London depends on your preferences, budget, and schedule.

In my opinion, the best way to get around the Cotswolds is to rent a car and explore on your own. Most people will be visiting the Cotswolds from London, but if you can manage it, I recommend staying overnight, or even for a few nights to really soak up the ambiance of the prettiest Cotswolds villages.

While it’s possible to take a day trip to the Cotswolds, you should consider spending a day or two to make the most of your visit. There are several great accommodations in the Cotswolds, such as a cozy rental cottage, which offers the perfect setting to relax after a day of exploring. With so many things to see and visit in the area, one day would not be enough to discover the best of the region.

Taking a Cotswolds Tour

If you’re unable to drive to the Cotswolds, I recommend taking a tour as an alternative. There are many great options to take as a day trip from London. There are also many several-day organized adventures that are great options if you want to spend several days in the Cotswolds but don’t want to drive.

Cotswolds Tour from London

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - Arlington Row in Bibury

This 9-hour tour begins in London and takes you through picturesque Cotswold villages on a minibus and back to London again. This is a great option for those just looking for a taste of the Cotswolds. This Cotswolds tour from London goes to Burford, Bibury, Bourton-on-the-water, and Stow-on-the-Wold with a knowledgeable tour guide and driver.

3 Day Cotswolds Tour with Rabbies

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - Rabbies mini bus driving over a bridge in the Cotswolds

If you’d like to linger in the Cotswolds a little longer, this 3-day tour with one of my favorite companies, Rabbies, is amazing. Their minibusses are just the right size so that you don’t feel like you’re on a mass group tour. It covers the Cotswolds, Stratford-Upon-Avon (birthplace of Shakespeare), and Oxford. You’ll be able to explore each adorable village and take in views of the lush green hills with the most amazing tour guides. I’ve done tours with Rabbies all over the UK and they are so much fun!

The Best Places to Visit in the Cotswolds

Ok, now that you know more about the Cotswolds, are you ready to dive in and learn about the most beautiful Cotswold villages?

Bibury

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - Arlington Row in Bibury with a little boy walking down the road

Bibury is an utterly charming village right at the heart of the Cotswolds. It’s famous for being home to the famous Arlington Row. It’s a row of 14th-century picturesque cottages, one of the most iconic sights in the region. You’ll definitely recognize Arlington Row if you’ve ever searched for an image of the prettiest Cotswolds villages.

A family standing in front of a limestone cottage in the Cotswolds village of Bibury

Bibury is in Gloucestershire County, about six-and-a-half miles from Cirencester. You’ll enjoy wandering around the village and admiring its honey-hued stone houses set amongst lush greenery. You will also find a few guest houses and hotels in the area, making it an ideal base for your holiday in the Cotswolds. 

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - a boy knocking on a green door

Aside from admiring Arlington Row, visit other attractions in the area, such as the Bibury Trout Farm, one of the prettiest and oldest working trout farms in the UK. They also have a great little restaurant and gift shop.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - a mom holding her son on her lap laughing

After a day of exploring, the best way to relax is to visit one of the local pubs, such as The Village Pub in central Bibury. It is set in a charming, honeyed stone building with square windows and tall chimney pots, resembling a typical house in the Cotswolds. The pub uses fresh produce harvested from its garden and farm, allowing for an excellent dining experience.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - a table with cakes

One of my favorite tea rooms, the William Morris tea room, is located in Bibury, just across the street from Arlington Row. Find the post office across the street and walk a few doors down to the right where you’ll find the cutest shop with tea sandwiches, cakes, and, of course, tea!

It feels like you’ve stepped back in time and into the 50s. We stop here every time we visit Bibury and just love it! It’s not listed on google maps, so you’ll just have to discover it for yourself, the old-fashioned way!

Stow-on-the-Wold 

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - shops at stow-on-the-wold

Stow-on-the-Wold is a charming Cotswold village located in the county of Gloucestershire in England. It is situated on top of a hill, which provides stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

The village is known for its traditional Cotswold stone buildings, which are built in a unique style using the local honey-colored limestone. There are many quaint shops, cafes, and restaurants along the village’s main street, which make it a popular destination for tourists.

Stow-on-the-Wold has a rich history and was an important market town in medieval times. The town’s market square, which is surrounded by historic buildings, is still a bustling hub of activity today.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - Stow-on-the-wold in the sunset

One of the notable landmarks in the village is the St Edward’s Church, which dates back to the 11th century. The church is famous for its medieval stained glass windows and the unique lychgate, which stands at the entrance to the churchyard.

You should also not miss the impressive Market Square hosting flea markets since 1100. Nowadays, the square is home to many townhouses, antique shops, cafes, and tea rooms built out of the signature golden stone.

Overall, Stow-on-the-Wold is a picturesque Cotswold village with a rich history, stunning views, and plenty of attractions for visitors to enjoy.

Kingham

Despite being a small village, Kingham definitely packs a punch. It’s in the glorious Cotswold countryside sandwiched between Stow-on-the-Wold, Chipping Norton, and Burford. Home to many excellent restaurants and pubs, it’s one of the best places for a food trip in the Cotswolds.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - a thatched roof cottage in Kingham

One of those places you should pay a visit when exploring Kingham is St. Andrew’s Church, housed in a beautiful historic building nestled in the heart of the village. Families will also find plenty of family-friendly attractions in Kingham, such as the Cotswolds Farm Park, a proper farm established in 1971. 

To make the most of your visit to Kingham, visit the nearby villages like Chipping Norton, a lovely market town home to two good butchers. The town is also home to deli shops, cafes, restaurants, and supermarkets. 

It’s also worth checking out the guided tours of Kingham, where you follow a 28-mile trail looping around the village, taking you through the idyllic valleys of Windrush and Evenlode, past historic houses and stunning landscapes.

Chipping Campden 

While holidaying in the Cotswolds, consider taking a day trip to Bath, a fantastic way to discover more of the beautiful countryside. Make a stop at Chipping Camden, a charming market town notable for its long and wide High Street taking you through the town centre, which dates back to the 14th century and is home to the beautiful wool church of St James.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - the village square in chipping campden

Chipping Campden has plenty to offer, including its beautiful Market Hall, built in 1627 by a wealthy wool merchant, Sir Baptist Hicks. Wander around the historical site and drop by the shops lining the area. Other attractions you should check out nearby are the Grevel House, Old Campden House, and the St. James Church.

Aside from admiring its beautiful architecture, visit the stunning gardens of the town, including the Batsford Arboretum. Another place to visit is the Broadway Tower, a famous landmark of the town, where you can admire fantastic views of the area and enjoy a relaxing afternoon stroll.

Castle Combe

Dubbed the “prettiest village of England,” Castle Combe is one of those villages you should pay a visit to while in the Cotswolds. I would have to agree with it being the prettiest village in the Cotswolds. Set in a stunning wooded valley with a lovely brook flowing by and home to charming stone houses, it has all the makings of a pretty English village.  

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - Castle combe bridge

Castle Combe was named after a 12th Century Norman Castle that once stood near the village. The castle was built on the site of an ancient Roman villa but was abandoned in the 14th century. Its buildings are long gone, but you can still find some beautiful stonework.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - castle combe by the river

In the 15th Century, Castle Combe flourished and played a significant role in the thriving wool industry of the Cotswolds. It’s especially famous for producing a red and white fabric called the “Castlecomb.”

The medieval Market Cross at the heart of the village is where the streets meet. It has a roof above it, and where shoppers would come to shop for eggs, milk, etc. 

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - the little picnic shop in castle combe

One of the most interesting attractions in Castle Combe is the Bybrook, which runs through the village before joining River Avon. Walk along its iconic stone bridge, one of the area’s most Instagrammable spots. There’s a 99.9% chance that you’ve seen a picture of this tiny village before.

There were many movies filmed here including War Horse. If you go into the church, you can see posters with pictures from filming in the historic village.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - the little picnic shop in castle combe

One of my favorite stops in Castle Combe is the little picnic shop where you can purchase a picnic basket full of afternoon tea, sandwiches, and cakes and have your own little picnic!

Burford

Burford is one of the pretty Cotswold towns that is a favorite on my tour. Located in the county of Oxfordshire in England. It is situated on the River Windrush and is known for its beautiful honey-colored stone buildings, historic landmarks, and scenic countryside.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - Burford street

The village has a rich history, and it was an important wool town during medieval times. The town’s market square, which dates back to the 16th century, is still a bustling hub of activity today. The square is surrounded by charming old buildings, including the iconic Tolsey building, which once served as the town hall and now houses a museum.

Burford is home to several historic landmarks, including the Church of St. John the Baptist, which dates back to the 12th century. The church has a beautiful spire and is known for its impressive stained glass windows.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - sign that says " buy any two drinks and pay for them both, booze, food fun, with an arrow pointing to the shop, real life, with an arrow pointing away"

This pretty Cotswold village is also known for its excellent shopping, with several independent shops selling antiques, books, and gifts. The village is home to many excellent restaurants, cafes, and traditional pubs, including The Highway Inn, which is known for its excellent food and traditional ales.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - a pink half timber house in Burford

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - shelves of candy from the burford sweet shop

We love to shop at Joules in Burford, one of our favorite women’s clothing stores in England. We also love to visit the Cotswolds Cheese shop in Burford. They have a great selection of cheese!

a shop alleyway in burford, cotswolds

One of the main attractions in Burford is the Cotswold Wildlife Park, which is located just outside the village. The park is home to a wide variety of animals, including lions, giraffes, and rhinos, and it is a popular destination for families. Our kids loved this place when they were younger. There is a platform so you can be eye level with giraffes. They also have one of the last remaining white rhinos.

Cotswolds wildlife park - 2 giraffes and people looking at them

Overall, Burford is a charming Cotswolds village with a rich history, beautiful architecture, and plenty of attractions for visitors to enjoy. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, and it is an excellent place to explore the beauty and charm of the Cotswolds region. It’s one of the larger Cotswolds villages, so keep that in mind when you’re looking for a place to stay. If you’d like to stay somewhere with a few more amenities like pubs, pharmacies, and grocery stores, Burford is a great choice.

Broadway

Broadway is a quaint village in the Cotswolds located in the county of Worcestershire in England. It is situated at the foot of the Cotswold hills and is known for its beautiful honey-colored stone buildings, charming high street, and stunning countryside.

The village has a rich history and was an important stop on the main route between Worcester and London during medieval times. Broadway’s high street, which dates back to the 16th century, is lined with historic buildings, including a number of antique shops, art galleries, and independent retailers.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - a snowy view of the village of broadway

Broadway is home to several historic landmarks, including the Church of St. Eadburgha, which dates back to the 12th century. The church has a beautiful spire and is known for its impressive architecture and stained glass windows.

The village is surrounded by stunning countryside, including the nearby Cotswold Way, which is a popular destination for walkers and hikers. The Cotswold Way offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and passes through several charming Cotswolds villages.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - a woman standing in a red telephone booth in broadway

Broadway is also known for its excellent food scene, with several award-winning restaurants and gastropubs in the area. The village is home to several traditional tea rooms, where visitors can enjoy traditional cream tea and other local specialties.

Overall, Broadway is a pretty Cotswolds village with a rich history, stunning architecture, and beautiful countryside. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, and it is an excellent place to explore the beauty and charm of the Cotswolds region.

Lacock

Lacock is a picturesque village located in the county of Wiltshire, in the southwestern part of the Cotswolds region in England. The village is known for its well-preserved historic buildings, charming atmosphere, and stunning countryside.

An antique land rover defender parked in front of a pub in Lacock village in the Cotswolds

Lacock is a very unique village in that it has remained largely unchanged for centuries. Many of its buildings date back to the 13th and 14th centuries, and the village has been used as a filming location for several popular movies and TV shows, including Harry Potter and Downton Abbey.

One of the main attractions in Lacock Village is the Lacock Abbey, which was founded in the 13th century and later converted into a country house. The abbey and its gardens are open to the public and offer a glimpse into the village’s history and architecture.

A Crooked half timber house in Lacock village in the Cotswolds

Another popular attraction in Lacock is the Fox Talbot Museum, which is dedicated to the history of photography. The museum is named after William Henry Fox Talbot, who is credited with inventing the photographic negative process, and it displays a collection of early photographs and cameras.

Lacock Village is also surrounded by stunning countryside, including the nearby Bowood House and Gardens, which offer beautiful gardens, a lake, and a golf course. The village is also a popular destination for walkers and hikers, with several walking trails and footpaths in the surrounding area.

A shop with the sign the says "lacock bakery" in the Cotswolds

Lacock is also famous for being one of the most popular Cotswolds villages for filming. So many movies and TV shows (including Cranford and Outlander) were filmed here.

Be sure to stop into the Lacock Baker on your trip for some yummy baked goods!

Minster Lovell Village

Minster Lovell is a charming village located in the county of Oxfordshire in the Cotswolds region of England. It is situated along the River Windrush and is known for its historic buildings, beautiful countryside, and peaceful atmosphere.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - a half timber house in Minster Lovell

One of the main attractions in Minster Lovell is the ruins of the 15th-century Minster Lovell Hall, which was once the home of the Lovell family, a prominent family in medieval England. The ruins are open to the public and offer a glimpse into the village’s history and architecture.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - a bike in front of a pub in minster lovell

The village is also home to the Church of St. Kenelm, which dates back to the 12th century and features beautiful stained glass windows and a historic organ.

Minster Lovell is surrounded by stunning countryside, including the nearby Cotswold Wildlife Park, which is a popular destination for families. The village is also a popular destination for walkers and hikers, with several walking trails and footpaths in the surrounding area.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages a thatched cottage in minster lovell

Minster Lovell has several charming pubs and restaurants, including The Swan Inn, which offers a traditional British menu and a cozy atmosphere.

Lower Slaughter

One of my favorite small villages in England, Lower Slaughter is a charming village located in the county of Gloucestershire in the Cotswolds region of England. It is known for its quaint atmosphere, beautiful stone buildings, and picturesque location along the River Eye.

an old mill in lower slaughter cotswolds

One of the main attractions in Lower Slaughter is the Old Mill, which is situated on the banks of the river and dates back to the 19th century. The mill has been converted into a museum and features exhibits on the history of milling in the Cotswolds.

The village is also home to the Church of St. Mary, which dates back to the 13th century and features beautiful stained glass windows and intricate stonework.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - Row houses in Lower Slaughter

Lower Slaughter is surrounded by stunning countryside, including the nearby Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens, which is a popular destination for families. The village is also a popular destination for walkers and hikers, with several walking trails and footpaths in the surrounding area.

Little boy looking into the river in Lower Slaughter Cotswolds

Lower Slaughter has several charming pubs and restaurants, including The Slaughters Country Inn, which offers a traditional British menu and a cozy atmosphere.

Upper Slaughter

Upper Slaughter is a charming riverside village located in the Cotswolds region of Gloucestershire, England. The village is known for its idyllic setting, traditional Cotswold stone buildings, and its location along the River Eye. It is located about 4 miles from the town of Bourton-on-the-Water and is part of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - a field of sheep in Upper Slaughter

Like its neighboring village, Lower Slaughter, Upper Slaughter is named after the River Eye, which runs through the village. The name “Slaughter” comes from the Old English word “Slohtre,” which means “muddy place.” Despite its somewhat unappealing name, Upper Slaughter is a beautiful and peaceful village that has retained much of its historic character.

houses on a river in upper slaughter

One of the most iconic features of Upper Slaughter is the 17th-century manor house, which is now a hotel. The manor house is built in traditional Cotswold stone and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Another notable feature of the village is the Norman church of St. Peter, which dates back to the 12th century and is known for its beautiful stained-glass windows.

Upper Slaughter also has a number of amenities for visitors, including a pub and a few shops selling local crafts and souvenirs. There are also several walking trails that start in the village and lead through the surrounding countryside.

Bourton-on-the-Water

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - 
pubs in the sunset in bourton-on-the-water

Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the best Cotswold villages. It is known for its idyllic setting along the River Windrush, its charming stone buildings, and its peaceful atmosphere.

One of the main attractions in Bourton-on-the-Water is the River Windrush, which flows through the village and is crossed by several stone bridges. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the river, enjoy a picnic, or even go for a swim on a hot day.

The village is also home to several unique attractions, including the Model Village, which is a 1:9 scale replica of the village itself. The Model Village is a popular attraction for visitors of all ages and offers a unique perspective on the architecture and layout of the village.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - 
pubs in the sunset in bourton-on-the-water

Bourton-on-the-Water is also home to the Cotswold Motoring Museum, which features a collection of vintage cars, motorcycles, and memorabilia from the golden age of motoring.

The village has several charming pubs and restaurants, including The Mousetrap Inn, which offers traditional British cuisine and a cozy atmosphere.

Bourton-on-the-Water is surrounded by beautiful countryside, including the nearby Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens, which is a popular destination for families. The village is also a great starting point for walks and hikes in the surrounding area. Visiting Bourton on the water is one of the best things to do in Cotswolds, England.

Painswick

Painswick is one of the most picturesque villages located in the county of Gloucestershire in the Cotswolds region of England. It is known for its charming stone buildings, historic architecture, and stunning countryside.

the village of painswick in the cotswolds

One of the main attractions in Painswick is the St. Mary’s Church, which is often called the “Queen of the Cotswolds”. The church dates back to the 14th century and features beautiful stonework, intricate carvings, and stunning stained glass windows. Visitors can also explore the churchyard, which is known for its 99 yew trees.

st mary's church in painswick cotswolds
The Queen of the Cotswolds – St. Mary’s Church in Painswick

Painswick is also home to the Painswick Rococo Garden, which is a stunning 18th-century garden featuring beautiful lawns, terraces, and ornamental features. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the gardens and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

The village has several charming pubs and restaurants, including The Falcon Inn, which offers a traditional British menu and a cozy atmosphere.

the village road in painswick

Winchcombe

Winchcombe is a picturesque market town located in the Cotswolds region of Gloucestershire, England. The town is situated at the foot of the Cotswold Hills and is known for its charming architecture, historic landmarks, and scenic countryside.

half timber shops in the village of winchcombe

One of the most prominent landmarks in Winchcombe is Sudeley Castle, a historic castle that was once the home of Queen Katherine Parr, the last wife of King Henry VIII. The castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens and is open to the public for tours. Visitors can explore the castle’s rich history, admire its stunning architecture, and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the gardens.

In addition to Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe has many other historic buildings and landmarks. The town center is full of traditional Cotswold stone buildings, including the 15th-century town hall, the historic almshouses, and the impressive St. Peter’s Church.

Sudeley castle in winchcombe cotswolds
The beautiful Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe

Winchcombe is also a popular destination for walkers and hikers, thanks to its location along the Cotswold Way, a 102-mile long-distance trail that runs through the Cotswolds region. The town is an ideal base for exploring the surrounding countryside, which includes rolling hills, tranquil woodlands, and scenic valleys.

Aside from its natural beauty and historic landmarks, Winchcombe is also known for its lively community and cultural events. The town hosts a number of festivals and events throughout the year, including the Winchcombe Country Show, the Winchcombe Walking Festival, and the Winchcombe Festival of Music and Arts.

Chedworth

One of my favorite Cotswolds cities, Chedworth is a small village located in the Cotswolds region of Gloucestershire, England. The village is known for its beautiful countryside, historic buildings, and archaeological sites.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - 
the village of Chedworth

One of the most notable attractions in Chedworth is the Chedworth Roman Villa, which is a well-preserved ancient Roman villa, one of the best things to do in the Cotswolds. . The villa dates back to the 2nd century AD and is known for its beautiful mosaic floors, bathhouse, and hypocaust heating system. Visitors can explore the villa’s remains and learn about life in Roman Britain.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - 
Chedworth Roman Villa

Aside from the Roman villa, Chedworth is also known for its picturesque countryside, which includes rolling green hills, lush forests, and meandering streams. The village is surrounded by walking trails, which offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can also enjoy fishing in the nearby Coln River or horseback riding through the countryside.

Chedworth is also home to several historic buildings, including the Church of St. Andrew, which dates back to the 12th century. The church features beautiful stained-glass windows and a historic organ.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - 
Church of st Andrews

Despite its small size, Chedworth has a few amenities for visitors, including a pub, a village shop, and a tea room. The village is also home to a number of events throughout the year, including an annual flower show and a Christmas market.

I hope this guide to the most picturesque Cotswold villages has been helpful in helping you decide where to visit. Wherever you choose to go, you will be sure to fall in love with this beautiful rural setting dotted with stone cottages. Enjoy the quaint tea rooms, historic churches, and scenery, and just enjoy your time here!

Bampton

If you’re a true Downton Abbey fan, you may recognize pictures of Bampton village. This large house is lady Isobel’s home and the Bampton public library, which was sadly closed when I visited, was the small village hospital where the doctor works and where Sybil helps.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - 
village dirt road in bampton with woman standing in the road

Bampton has a long history, with evidence of human activity dating back to the Roman period. In the Middle Ages, the village was an important center for the wool trade, and many of the historic buildings in the village center were built during this time. Today, Bampton is a popular destination for visitors looking to explore the Cotswolds and its picturesque villages.

old limestone building with "bampton public library" sign

One of the most notable landmarks in Bampton is St. Mary’s Church, which dates back to the 12th century and features a Norman doorway and a 13th-century tower. Other historic buildings in the village include the Market Hall, a 17th-century building that was used for trading wool and other goods, and the almshouses, which were founded in the 17th century to provide housing for the poor.

Bampton is also known for its annual Bampton Fair, a traditional fair that takes place in October and features fairground rides, games, and food stalls. The village is also home to a number of pubs and restaurants, as well as a range of independent shops and galleries.

Witney

Witney is a town located in the Cotswolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Oxfordshire, England. The town is situated on the River Windrush.

town road in Witney Cotswolds
courtesy of Experience Oxfordshire

I feel like Witney is a town that is often overlooked when people visit the Cotswolds, but it’s where we used to live, so it holds a special place in my heart. The heart of the village is small and quaint with a lot of great shops and restaurants. It’s a larger town with more big box stores, but you can still enjoy the quaint village feel. It’s a good place to base yourself if you need more amenities than a small village.

cottage in Witney Cotswolds

Witney has a long history, with evidence of human activity dating back to the Neolithic period. In the Middle Ages, the town was known for its wool industry, and many of the historic buildings in the town center were built during this time. Today, Witney is a thriving market town with a mix of independent and chain shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Most Beautiful Cotswolds Villages - 
town square and chrch in Witney with people sitting on the lawn

One of the most notable landmarks in Witney is the 17th-century St. Mary’s Church, which features a distinctive octagonal tower. Other historic buildings in the town include the Buttercross, a stone market cross dating back to the 16th century, and the Old Grammar School, which was founded in the 17th century.

three women sitting down for breakfast in Witney Cotswolds
My sisters and me having some yummy eggs benedict from Huffkins

One of my favorite spots in Witney is Huffkins. There are several Huffkins around the UK, and they do a great breakfast and afternoon tea.

Witney is also known for its annual Witney Feast, a traditional fair that takes place in September and features fairground rides, games, and food stalls. The town is also home to a number of parks and green spaces, including the Witney Lake and Country Park, which offers walking trails, fishing, and birdwatching.

house on a river in Witney Cotswolds

TL,DR – The Most Beautiful Cotswold Villages

The Cotswolds is an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) known for limestone cottages and beautiful rolling green hills.

How to get to the Cotswolds:

  • Drive
  • Take a Tour

The Most Beautiful Villages in the Cotswolds:

  • Bibury
  • Stowe-on-the-Wold
  • Kingham
  • Chipping Campden
  • Castle Combe
  • Burford
  • Broadway
  • Lacock
  • Minster Lowell Village
  • Lower Slaughter
  • Upper Slaughter
  • Bourton-on-the-Water
  • Painswick
  • Winchcombe
  • Chedworth
  • Bampton
  • Witney

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