Most Idyllic Villages in THE Cotswolds

The Cotswolds region, located in the southwest of England, is best described as “quintessentially English.”

Bibury Arlington Row English village

Home to some of the country’s most picturesque rolling hills and farmland, this “area of outstanding beauty” also contains pristinely preserved traditional villages, full of honey-colored, limestone cottages. The Cotswolds area is accessible by bus and train, but the best way to explore this patch of English heritage is by car. When you tour by car you have the luxury of exploring each location without a schedule. The freedom to explore by car allows you to not only take in the surroundings, but also participate in English culture by visiting the many pubs, teashops, craft artisans and bed-and-breakfasts that operate in this area.

English village Lauren Goerz
Photo: Lauren Goerz

While there are many villages to visit in the Cotswolds, and many different ways to chart your own course through this region, there are a few locations that shouldn’t be missed! Here are my top five can’t-miss Cotswolds villages that I visited when traveling from the North to Bath.

1. Stow-on-the-Wold 

Stow-on-the-Wold is one of the smaller market towns in the Cotswolds. This village is full of wonderful antique and craft shops.

2. Lower Slaughter

Located just a mile away from Upper Slaughter, Lower Slaughter is filled with many lovely Cotswold cottages that line the River Eye. Be sure to stop by the 19th century water mill and shop, as well.

Lower Slaughter English village
Photo: Lauren Goerz

3. Bourton-on-the-Water

Bourton-on-the-Water is another picturesque town known for its beautiful arched-stone bridges that cross the River Windrush. This is a great place to stay the night, as there are many bed-and-breakfasts and good places to eat.

4. Burford

Another market town, Burford’s High Street features beautiful sunken Cotswold cottages that make excellent venues for pubs, tea and antique shops.

5. Bibury 

Possibly the most idyllic village in Cotswold, Bibury is famous for its Arlington Row – a series of cottages that date back to the late 1300s. When visiting in late spring or early summer, this town has some of the prettiest blooms.

As the home and inspiration for many British figures such as Jane Austen, Winston Churchill, and Beatrix Potter, the Cotswolds provide a genuine English heritage experience. Be sure to take in as much English culture as you can by visiting the many pubs, teashops, craft artisans and bed-and-breakfasts that operate in this area. It would be helpful to bring a navigation system as many roads in this area are unmarked; however, if you do make a wrong turn you are likely to end up pleasantly lost in some other honey-colored village. For this kind of trip, the choice is entirely yours.

Bibury English village
Photo: Lauren Goerz


Bibury English village 4
Photo: Lauren Goerz


Bibury Cottage and Arlington Row Sign
Photo: Lauren Goerz

Article written by Lauren Goerz.

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