Quaint streets of Castle Combe, among the top villages in Cotswolds for picturesque beauty.

Nestled in the picturesque countryside of England lies a collection of charming villages that seem like they were plucked straight out of a storybook. The Cotswolds, with its honey-coloured stone cottages, rolling green hills, and quaint village shops, is paradise for travellers seeking a taste of old-world charm. Imagine quaint villages frozen in time, where chocolate-box cottages adorned with flowers line winding streets and gentle rolling hills paint a picture of idyllic serenity. This, my friends, is the Cotswolds, a region in England that steals hearts with its picture-perfect charm and timeless beauty.

But with over 100 villages nestled within this glorious countryside, choosing where to begin your Cotswolds adventure can feel overwhelming. Fear not, for we are here to guide you through the best villages in the Cotswolds. Buckle up, grab a virtual cup of tea, and prepare to be transported to a world of enchantment. From bustling market towns to sleepy hamlets, each village in this region offers its own unique charm and character. In this guide, we explore some of the best villages in Cotswolds that are sure to capture your heart and leave you longing for more.

We think that the Cotswolds should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. Where else can you get beautiful scenery, steeped in so much history, and the feeling that you have actually stepped inside a storybook? The Cotswolds even describes itself as an area of outstanding natural beauty, and it well deserves that title. We have rounded up Cotswolds best villages for you in this guide, and we have even included a map to help you explore the prettiest villages in England, our full Cotswolds itinerary, and where to stay during your Cotswolds road trip.

A road trip around Cotswolds England, including a map of Cotswolds Best Villages

Picturesque view of rolling hills and meadows in the Cotswolds. Fog over the Cotswolds Countryside
The best way to enjoy the Cotswolds is to do a road trip.

Do you know how long we have wanted to go to the Cotswolds? No, way before seeing The Holiday! If Nicola could be a place, the Cotswolds would be it! When we picture the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds, we envision rolling hills with row upon row of chocolate box houses and quaint and cosy pubs at every corner. We can only imagine how living in the Cotswolds must feel like stepping back in time. A time when everything was warm and cosy and honey-coloured stone cottages lined the streets in quaint English villages. The Cotswolds is a place so picturesque it will take your breath away, or, like Nicola, turn you into a blubbering mess because of the sheer beauty of it! England is literally Ireland’s next-door neighbour, so we decided to do a road trip as a family around some of the Cotswolds prettiest villages. We spent four days exploring the Cotswolds and drove from Fishguard in Wales as far as London, but we will break down our full itinerary as we go.

Nicola Lavin, an Irish travel blogger, stands against a quaint thatched-roof cottage framed by colourful flowers in the Cotswolds.

If you want to follow our full journey, check out our Wales road trip around the west coast of Wales along the Celtic Routes.

Why do they call it the Cotswolds?

Before packing your walking boots and berets, have you ever wondered why it’s called the Cotswolds? Well, it all boils down to the area’s unique geology. The Cotswolds are named after the Cotswold Hills, a range of rolling hills formed from a special type of limestone called Cotswold stone. This golden-hued stone is not only beautiful, but it’s also super strong, which is why you’ll see it used to build most of the charming villages and grand houses scattered throughout the region.

Charming cottages of Arlington Row, Bibury - one of the best villages in Cotswolds.
Like, is this even real?

Why is the Cotswolds so famous?

So, why is this slice of England so darn famous? The Cotswolds have something for everyone:

  • Picture-perfect villages: Imagine stepping into a storybook. Honey-coloured cottages with flower-filled window boxes line winding streets, and ancient pubs with thatched roofs beckon you in for a pint and a warm welcome.
  • Rolling green hills: Lace up your walking boots and breathe in the fresh country air as you explore miles of scenic walking trails. The rolling hills offer stunning views and a chance to truly disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
  • Hidden gems: The Cotswolds are packed with historical treasures, from grand castles and stately homes to ancient churches and quirky museums. There’s always something new to discover around every corner.
  • Foodie paradise: Whether you’re a fan of traditional afternoon tea, fresh local produce, or award-winning gastropubs, the Cotswolds is a haven for foodies.

So, if you’re searching for a charming escape filled with natural beauty, rich history, and delightful villages, the Cotswolds are calling your name. Just be warned, you might fall head over heels for this quintessential English countryside experience!

Walking around the Cotswolds is also the perfect way to soak in the scenery, with charming thatched cottages dotted throughout. So if you want to skip the car rental, put on some hiking boots, and follow some of the treks in the guide linked, you won’t be sorry.

Idyllic cottages of Arlington Row, Bibury - quintessential Cotswolds charm.
Bibury's riverside charm - a must-visit in the Cotswolds.

Where in the U.K. is the Cotswolds?

The Cotswolds is located in southwest England. The majority of the Cotswolds region lies within the counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, but it also extends into parts of Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, and Somerset, covering six counties in total. Designated as an Area of Outstanding Beauty in 1966, the Cotswolds covers 2,040 km2 and it is the second largest protected landscape in England (the largest being the Lake District). It’s boundaries are approximately 40km wide and 90km long, so can easily be explored in a day or two. It stretches south-west from south of Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare’s birthplace) to just south of Bath.

The Peak District is another Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in England. Like the Cotswolds, it is also a place of chocolate-box villages nestled in gentle countryside, with the prettiest cottages and dogs lazing by the pub fire. If you are visiting the Peak District with kids, we highly recommend checking out the Peak District Stepping Stones. It is a fun way to spend a sunny afternoon.

Honey-coloured stone cottage surrounded by colourful gardens in the Cotswolds.
We found our dream home in Bibury!

Why are the Cotswolds Villages a Must-See?

The Cotswolds aren’t just famous for their rolling hills – the real stars of the show are the storybook villages! Here’s why you simply can’t miss them:

  • Timeless charm: Forget crowded tourist traps. Cotswold villages are like stepping back in time. Imagine strolling down narrow lanes lined with honey-coloured cottages built from the local Cotswold stone. Think blooming roses climbing over doorways and chimney smoke curling skyward. It’s pure enchantment. You would be forgiven for feeling like you were in a fairytale!
  • Picture-perfect perfection: Forget filters! These villages are naturally Instagram-worthy. From the babbling brooks that crisscross the streets in Bourton-on-the-Water (nicknamed the “Venice of the Cotswolds”) to the Arlington Row in Bibury, a picture-perfect row of weavers’ cottages with dormer windows, these villages will have you glued to your camera.
  • Hidden treasures: Don’t be fooled by their quaint exteriors! Cotswold villages often hold hidden gems. Explore antique shops brimming with unique finds, discover cosy tearooms for a quintessential English experience, or stumble upon local artists showcasing their work. There’s always something unexpected to discover.
  • Friendly faces: Cotswold villages are a haven for warm hospitality. Strike up a conversation with a local in a traditional pub, or chat with a shopkeeper about the village’s history. You’ll be met with friendly smiles and genuine warmth, making your visit even more special.
  • A village for everyone: With dozens of villages scattered throughout the Cotswolds, there’s one to suit every taste. Want something bustling? Explore the market stalls in Stow-on-the-Wold. Craving peace and quiet? Castle Combe offers tranquility and breathtaking beauty.

Wander from village to village. Get lost in the charm, soak up the atmosphere, and discover your own favourite Cotswold gem. You won’t be disappointed! From quaint cottages to bustling markets, we’ll show you where to find the perfect blend of history and modern amenities in these pretty villages. Grab your walking shoes and get ready to discover why the Cotswolds are a must-visit destination for any traveller looking for a truly unique experience!

Castle Combe's charming cottages. An idyllic scence of fairytale cottages with wisps of smoke coming from the chimneys. It is one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds.

Picture-Perfect Picks: The Most Enchanting Villages in the Cotswolds

If you’re looking for the best villages to visit in this charming corner of England, look no further. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite spots that are sure to steal your heart, just as they did ours. The Cotswolds is without a doubt one of the prettiest areas of England. Postcard villages, along with lush rolling hillsides and babbling brooks, make it feel like you are stepping into an actual storybook. Poppy fields line either side of the road as you drive. It’s almost hard to believe that places like this really exist!

Poppies in a field in the Cotswolds countryside

Most Charming Villages in the Cotswolds

We have rounded up a list of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds for you. These are the villages, that, in our opinion, you must not miss when you are exploring this part of the English countryside.


Bibury, in Cirencester, is a classic English village in every sense of the word. If you are looking for a fairytale, postcard village, then look no further. In fact, Bibury was so beautiful, it actually made Nicola well up with emotion. Bibury is renowned for its picture-perfect char, and it will be hard to put your camera away. The highlight here is undoubtedly Arlington Row, the most photographed street in England. There you will find a row of 14th-century, identical cottages that seem to have emerged straight from a storybook. This beautiful row of stone cottages was originally built in 1380 to store wool. In the 17th century, they were converted into cottages for the weavers who supplied the mill nearby. They now stand as a testament to the village’s rich history. The charming cottages are perched near the banks of the River Coln, next to a Wildfowl Reserve and sit on top of the aptly named Awkward Hill in the Civil Parish of Arlington. Each building is two stories high, with gables and a cruck slate roof. You can see why it is considered one of the most popular beauty spots in the Cotswolds!

Nicola Lavin, an Irish travel blogger walks along a row of quaint stone cottages nestled in the lush greenery of the Cotswolds.
Charming village street adorned with colourful flowers in the Cotswolds.
Arlington Row is like something out of a fairytale.

Bibury has a meadow, a babbling brook, and classic stone cottages with crooked roofs. We told you it was heaven! William Morris once declared that it was “the most beautiful village in England.” This is particularly apparent when you cross the stone bridge onto Arlington Row. Beyond Arlington Row, Bibury boasts beautiful trout-filled streams, charming cafes serving quintessential English afternoon tea, and the delightful Arlington Mill, a working flour mill dating back to the 17th century. Don’t forget to visit nearby Bibury Trout Farm for a taste of delicious local produce.

Quintessential English countryside scene in the Cotswolds.
Nicola Lavin, an Irish travel blogger enjoys the sun casting a golden glow over the picturesque Cotswolds countryside.
Just plotting how to move in without anyone noticing.
Quaint stone cottages nestled in the lush greenery of the Cotswolds.

There is something so romantic, whimiscal, and otherworldly about this place. We are sure that you can understand why it reduced Nicola to tears.

A swan swims on a tranquil river winding through the countryside village of Bibury in the Cotswolds."

Be sure to stop at The Swan Hotel to grab a bite to eat and check out the trout farm nearby.

Lavender frames the Swan Hotel in the picturesque village of Bibury.
Honey-coloured stone restaurant in Bibury, serving Afternoon Tea. Bibury is one of the best villages in Cotswolds.
Afternoon Tea anyone?


Stow-on-the-Wold is a pretty market square town surrounded by 18th-century cottages and antique shops. This was an important town for the wool trade and as many as 20,000 sheep were sold in a day at the market. In fact, horse fairs are still held there twice a year. But venture beyond the market square, and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding Cotswolds countryside. Hike up to the Broadway Tower for panoramic vistas, or simply wander through the peaceful countryside lanes and soak in the serenity.

Aerial view of Broadway Tower in the Cotswolds at aunset.
Charming fairytale cottage surrounded by trees and colourful flowers, in the pretty village of Stow-on-the-Wold in Cotswolds.

Stow-on-the-Wold is an extremely historic town. You can still see the wooden stocks used as punishment in medieval times. It was also the site of the last battle of the English Civil War, in 1646.

English country cottage in the Cotswolds

Now it is a much more peaceful and sleepy town, full of quaint English pubs and great eateries. Standing on top of a hill, this is a delightful old market town with many fine antique shops, art galleries, and craft shops. It is a good centre for walking the Cotswolds countryside.

Charming bookstore in the idyllic village of Stow-on-the-Wold in the Cotswolds.
A row of charming honey-hued cottages in the pretty Cotswolds village of Stow-on-the-Wold.

One of the most intriguing and magical places in town can be found at St. Edward’s Church. “Speak, friend and enter”. It is no surprise that the doors of St. Edward’s Church inspired Tolkien’s Doors of Durin, the gates of Moira. In fact, it is easy to see how much these fairytale Cotswolds villages inspired Tolkien. Not far away in Moreton-in-Marsh is a pub that inspired the Middle Earth’s most famous drinking hole, the Prancing Pony Inn. If you are as much of a literary fan as us and you wish to read more about Tolkien and indeed C.S. Lewis’ explorations in this area, then be sure to check out our guide on The Malverns.

The magical door of Edwards Church in Stow-on-the-Wold sits between two Yew trees.
Drawing of Tolkien's Doors of Durin.

Can you see the resemblance?

During your time in Stow-on-the-Wold, be sure to stop at Roly’s Fudge Pantry for some of the best fudge you will ever have!

Cotswolds Fudge

If you happen to be there at the end of June you must also visit the Real Flower Petal Confetti Company in nearby Wick, Pershore. It is only open for one week every year and it is stunning. Follow us on Instagram to see more gorgeous photographs of our time there.

Woman standing in a Flower field in the Cotswolds. She is wearing a floppy hat and a floral sun dress.

Castle Combe

Castle Combe is probably one of the most iconic villages when you think of the Cotswolds. It has featured in many movies over the years, most notably in “Stardust” and Stephen Spielberg’s “Warhorse.” This sleepy little hamlet lies on the southern end of the Cotswolds and features a picturesque Tower Bridge.

Nicola Lavin, an Irish travel blogger sits on the bridge of the fairytale village of Castle Combe in the Cotswolds. She is wearing a floral summer dress and a floppy hat.
Idyllic countryside landscape of the Cotswolds in summer.
Nicola Lavin, an Irish travel blogger explores the storybook village of Castle Combe in the Cotswolds.

Castle Combe is often dubbed “the prettiest village in England.” And with good reason! Imagine strolling down narrow lanes lined with 17th and 18th-century cottages, their golden hues basking in the sun. The iconic Market Cross stands proudly in the centre, a silent witness to centuries of village life. This 14th-century market cross was built when the village was granted the right to hold a weekly market. Market charters were often only granted by the monarch, so this was huge for the village. Details like village water pumps and stone steps for horse riders to mount and dismount remind you of times gone by. Lose yourself in the maze of winding streets lined with centuries-old cottages, admire the majestic beauty of St. Andrew’s Church, and soak in the serenity of the village’s idyllic countryside setting.

Make sure to visit The Manor House Hotel for a luxurious stay in this idyllic setting.

The iconic Market Cross stands proudly in the centre of Castle Combe, one of the best villages in the the Cotswolds.
Historic architecture and cobblestone streets in a Cotswolds village.
Quaint country pub framed by colourful flowers in the Cotswolds.
Charming village square with historic buildings in the fairytale village of Castle Combe in the Cotswolds.
A woman in a floral dress wears a floppy sun hat and stands at a red telephone box in the idyllic village of Castle Combe in the Cotswolds.
The weather can change dramatically in the Cotswolds, even in summer. From a blue sky to a moody sky in a matter of minutes!
Honey-coloured stone cottage in the Cotswolds that looks like it was plucked straight out of a fairytale.
Quaint streets of Castle Combe, among the top villages in Cotswolds for picturesque beauty.
Charming village square with historic buildings in the Cotswolds.


Self-proclaimed to be the “Venice of the Cotswolds,” Bourton-on-the-Water straddles the River Windrush. The river meanders through the village, its waters spanned by five low-rise bridges, adding to its quaint charm. Honey-hued cottages line each side of the riverbanks and there is an abundance of quaint pubs to enjoy. It is idylic here, you can easily see why Bourton on the Water is often voted as one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds.

Bourton-on-the-Water's scenic bridges - a standout in Cotswolds' best villages.
Quaint thatched-roof cottage framed by colourful flowers in the Cotswolds.

Bourton-on-the-Water captivates visitors with its meandering river, charming stone bridges, and delightful array of tearooms and boutiques. Take a leisurely stroll along the banks of the River Windrush and soak in the peaceful atmosphere. Apart from simply wandering along the riverbank and enjoying the slow-paced life, there are a number of tourist attractions in this pretty little village. Rent a rowing boat and explore the village from a different perspective. Don’t miss the Model Village, a miniature replica of the village itself, or the Bourton House Garden, a haven for nature lovers. You can choose to visit Birdland, a trout farm, or a perfumery. Be sure to visit the Cotswold Motoring Museum for a glimpse into the region’s automotive history.

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Tranquil waters of Bourton-on-the-Water, a gem among Cotswolds' best villages.

Chipping Campden

If you are looking for a town as pretty as a postcard, then look no further than Chipping Campden. This old wool merchants village is a masterpiece of ancient houses and limestone craftsmanship. Because of the wool trade here, it is an area that became affulent and wealthy, and this is evident in the buildings you will see here. You can still see the remains of wealthy wool merchants in buildings such as Grevel House and St. James Church. The terraced houses on its historic High Street are so beautiful, we dare you not to fall in love!

Chipping Campden's idyllic scenery ranks it high among Cotswolds' best villages.

History buffs and architecture enthusiasts will find themselves captivated by Chipping Campden. This charming village boasts a wealth of medieval architecture, with honey-coloured houses, grand townhouses, and the magnificent St. James Church standing tall as a testament to the region’s rich heritage.

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Explore the charming independent shops, indulge in a delicious meal at a local pub, or visit the Campden Market Hall, where you can find everything from local crafts to unique antiques.

Chipping Campden's quaint atmosphere. A row of stone cottages in this beautiful Cotswolds village.

Steeped in history and brimming with architectural gems, Chipping Campden is a must-visit destination for lovers of all things quintessentially English. Marvel at the exquisite Jacobean buildings that line the historic High Street, explore the magnificent gardens of Hidcote Manor, and be sure to catch a performance at the renowned Chipping Campden Music Festival.

Picturesque thatched-roof cottage surrounded by colourful gardens in the Cotswolds.

Beyond the Big Names: Unforgettable Cotswold Villages Await

The Cotswolds charm extends far beyond the iconic villages featured above. Explore the hidden gems like Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter, with their picture-perfect cottages and tranquil atmosphere. Discover Broadway, a larger village known for its elegant shops and vibrant arts scene. Venture to Painswick, nicknamed the “Queen of the Cotswolds,” for its breathtaking hilltop views and unique 99 yew trees lining the churchyard.


Nestled beneath the Cotswold Hills, Broadway enchants visitors with its sweeping vistas, elegant architecture, and vibrant arts scene. Take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque High Street, peruse the galleries and boutiques, and be sure to visit the Broadway Tower for breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

A purple wisteria tree climbs up the wall  of a honey-coloured stone cottage in the Cotswolds.

Lower Slaughter

Tucked away in a tranquil corner of the Cotswolds, Lower Slaughter is a picture-perfect village brimming with charm and character. Wander along the banks of the River Eye, admire the quaint stone cottages adorned with colourful blooms, and be sure to visit the Old Mill for a glimpse into the village’s industrial past.

Upper Slaughter

Just a stone’s throw away from its sister village, Upper Slaughter captivates visitors with its timeless beauty and serene ambiance. Explore the village’s ancient church, wander through the peaceful countryside surroundings, and don’t miss the chance to indulge in a traditional cream tea at one of the village’s charming tearooms.

Traditional stone bridge over a glistening stream in Upper Slaughter, one of the best villages to visit in the Cotswolds.
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With its medieval bridge, ancient church, and charming High Street lined with historic buildings, Burford is a delightful village that captures the essence of the Cotswolds. Explore the town’s eclectic mix of shops and galleries, wander along the tranquil banks of the River Windrush, and be sure to visit the Cotswold Wildlife Park for a family-friendly day out.


Known for its elegant Georgian architecture, vibrant market square, and royal connections, Tetbury offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and charm. Visit the town’s antique shops and boutiques, wander through the grounds of the historic Chavenage House, and don’t miss the chance to sample the local cheeses at the Tetbury Cheese Market.

Tips on visiting the Cotswolds

  • If jostling with bus loads of tourists is not your thing, aim for mid-week visits
  • The most popular towns, such as Castle Combe, Bourton-on-the-Water and Bibury, will be less busy after 5pm on a weekday. This may also be the perfect time to catch a sunset in these idyllic towns
  • Bring cash, as very few of the towns are equipped to deal with debit/credit cards.
  • Step outside of the villages to walk through the countryside. There are many beautiful walking areas with kissing gates throughout the whole Cotswolds area.
  • While we were there during a heatwave, the weather in the Cotswolds is notoriously changeable, so wear layers and bring something warm to cosy up in if it does get cold

Other places to visit near the Cotswolds

If you are staying in the Cotswolds for a few days, you may want to venture outside of the Cotswolds area to explore. Here are a few of our favourite places to explore within a two-hour drive from the Cotswolds.

London Baby!

While we personally can’t get enough of the quaint countryside, it was nice to inject some of the vibrant city life into our English roadtrip. You don’t get more vibrant than London! Stay in The Resident Soho and take in a west end show and enjoy this diverse part of London. Or spend the day climbing Primose Hill and wandering the rainbow coloured houses of Notting Hill. We even have a full self-guided walking tour of Notting Hill complete with a map of the best Instagram spots.

The house from Love Actually in Notting Hill London.
Recognize this house from Love Actually?

Visit the Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Located in Laverstoke Mill, you can find the Bombay Sapphire Distillery. Now, before we go any further, you must know that WE LOVE GIN! And Bombay Sapphire is one of our favourite gins, so we were extremely eager so see how it was made.

It is evident from the moment you arrive at the distillery that, in renovating Laverstoke Mill, Bombay Sapphire has taken the utmost care to preserve the natural ecology and heritage of the site. There has been a mill at the Laverstoke site since 903AD but, the first official record of a mill there was registered in the Domesday Book of 1086.

Botanical glasshouse of Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery. One of the best places to visit on a roadtrip around some of Cotswolds villages

The Bombay Sapphire Distillery is perhaps one of the most stunning distilleries in the UK. You can pre-book your tour online and choose from their Self Discovery Experience for £20, where you can tour the facility on your own, or the Hosted Experience for £25.

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Throughout both experiences you will be guided into a room containing jars of herbs and botanicals. You will then be asked to smell each jar and mark on a score card the ones that appealed to you most. At the end of your experience the bar tenders at the Mill Bar will make you a signature cocktail based on what you liked. They nailed it for Ronan. As Nicola was the designated driver she could not enjoy her cocktail then, but she was given a goodie bag containing a gin & tonic to enjoy at her hotel room later.

Stratford-upon-Avon: Explore the birthplace of Shakespeare

Stratford-upon-Avon is just outside of the Cotswolds area so it would be a shame to get so close to the birthplace of Shakespeare and not explore it.

Truth be told, we had been dreaming of seeing a village with the traditional Tudor half-timbered houses since studying Shakespeare in secondary school. In reality Stratford-upon-Avon was nowhere near as romantic as we had imagined it to be and we have to admit we were really disappointed. To be fair we did arrive late in the afternoon on a sweltering Summer’s day with only an hour to explore, so, we are solely basing our opinion on first impressions. While those gorgeous timber framed Tudor houses were there, we didn’t expect to see them intermingled with the local Boots (chain of pharmacies) and McDonalds.

While the entire trip around the Cotswolds was like stepping back in time, here it was evident that you were very much in the present!

Iconic Tudor-style facades of Shakespeares birth house in Stratford-upon-Avon.

However, as it is the birthplace of the legend that was Shakespeare, we still feel that this town is worthy of a visit. Perhaps with more time, we could have wandered down the city’s side streets and found its hidden charm or attended one of the shows of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which has daily showings of all Shakespeare’s greatest classics. We also would have loved to visit Anne Hathaway’s cottage.

So, Stratford-upon-Avon we are not ruling you out just yet!

Charming Tudor building with distinctive black-and-white timber frames in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Visit the historic city of Bath

So, technically, Bath is a Cotswolds city and not a Cotswolds village, but we still think it is a must-see destination during your time exploring the Cotswolds. This was our second time in Bath, and we can safely say it is one of our favourite cities. You can read our full post on 10 reasons to visit Bath, but in case you need a breakdown, think limestone Georgian architecture, afternoon tea, Jane Austen, and Roman Baths. It is the perfect combination, don’t you think?

Bath becomes even more magical at Christmas, so make sure to add Christmas in Bath to your bucket list. The Cotswolds at any time of year is chocolate box perfection, but, can you imagine it with that extra magical sprinkle of snow? If the answer is yes, be sure to check out our guide to spending Christmas in the Cotswolds.

The Royal Crescent in Bath.

Our 4-Day Cotswolds Itinerary with drive times

Day 1

  • Fishguard to Wick, Pershore (Real Flower Petal Confetti Company) – 3.5 hours
  • Wick, Pershore to Chipping Campden – 27 minutes
  • Chipping Campden to St Edwards Church, Stow on the Wold – 16 mins
  • Stow on the Wold to Bourton-on-the-Water – 10 mins
  • Bourton-on-the-Water to Stratford Upon Avon – 39 mins
  • Stratford Upon Avon to Billesley Manor – 12 mins

Day 2

  • Billesley Manor to The Resident Soho – 2.5 hours
  • Visit London and explore Notting Hill

Day 3

  • The Resident Soho to Super Vettura (fancy car dealership for our son who is a car fanatic!)-1h 10min
  • Super Vettura to Bombay Sapphire Distillery – 47 mins
  • 1pm booking at Bombay Sapphire
  • Bombay Sapphire to Bibury – 1h 7 mins
  • Bibury to DeVere Cotswolds Water Park – 18 mins

Day 4

  • DeVere to Castle Combe – 43 mins
  • Castle Combe to Bath Abbey Hotel – 32 mins
  • Spend the day exploring Bath

Day 5

  • Bath to Fishguard Ferry – 2h 46 mins

Map of our Roadtrip around the Cotswolds, England

Click here to download a copy of our roadtrip around the Cotswolds, England

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in the Cotswolds

Billesley Manor Hotel

in 1599, including the immortal line “The whole world is a stage”. Billesley Manor Hotel is located just outside Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare, and it is the most romantic setting. It is the perfect place to base yourself to explore some of the Cotswolds best villages. Check out our full review of Billesley Manor Hotel.

Woman in a striped dress walking in the gardens at Billesley Manor House in the Cotswolds. It is a historic manor house transformed into a luxury hotel in the Cotswolds, blending traditional charm with contemporary comfort.
Grand entrance hall of a luxury hotel in the Cotswolds, exuding opulence and sophistication.
Chic and modern guest room in a luxury Cotswolds hotel, featuring upscale amenities and elegant furnishings.
Spacious suite in a luxury Cotswolds hotel.

De Vere Cotswolds Water Park

We found De Vere Cotswolds Water Park a really good base for exploring the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds. This is also an affordable option for staying in the Cotswolds, especially with a large family, as you have the option of self-catering. Check out our full review of De Vere Cotswolds Water Park.

Sunset at the De Vere Cotswolds Water Park Hotel.Exterior of a luxury hotel nestled amidst the picturesque countryside of the Cotswolds.
Cosy guest room in a luxury Cotswolds hotel, featuring upscale amenities and elegant furnishings.

Abbey Hotel Bath

On our last day we wanted to explore the beautiful city of Bath, with its limestone Georgian architecture and connection to Jane Austen. If you haven’t been to Bath yet we have a blog post on 10 reasons to travel to Bath that we know will convince you. This time we stayed in the wonderful Abbey Hotel. You can read our full review on Abbey Hotel, Bath. We highly recommend staying there when visiting Bath, but No.15 by Guesthouse and Lansdown Grove Hotel are also really good alternatives.

Elegant hotel room of a luxury hotel in the heart of Bath in the Cotswolds, featuring plush furnishings and stylish decor.


So there you have it! This is just a taste of the Cotswolds’ magic, a region where time seems to slow down and every corner whispers tales of a bygone era. From picture-perfect villages to rolling hills and charming shops, the Cotswolds offers an escape unlike any other.

So, pack your walking shoes, a sense of adventure, and perhaps a good book for those cosy evenings spent by the fireplace. The Cotswolds await, ready to weave its spell and leave you with memories that will linger long after your return. Remember, the best village in the Cotswolds isn’t just about the destination, it’s about the journey, the discoveries you make along the way, and the stories you collect. Happy exploring!

We hope that you enjoyed our guide on Cotswolds best villages and that you have found some inspiration to visit this beautiful part of the U.K. One thing is for sure, you will never get enough of this gorgeous area, and no matter how many times you go back, there will always be many more fairytale villages to explore. If you found value in this blog post, we would really appreciate your comments below.

We hope that you enjoyed our guide on Cotswolds best villages and that you have found some inspiration to visit this beautiful part of the U.K. One thing is for sure, you will never get enough of this gorgeous area, and no matter how many times you go back, there will always be many more fairytale villages to explore. If you found value in this blog post, we would really appreciate your comments below.

About us

We are Nicola and Ronan Lavin experts in finding unique accommodation all over the world. Voted as the Top 6 Travel Bloggers in Ireland by Stellar Magazine and the Top 10 Travel Influencers in Ireland by readers of the Irish Independent, we are dedicated to helping you find authentic and immersive travel experiences to help you plan your perfect vacation.

**Disclaimer: Our stay in the hotels mentioned above was complimentary. We only ever work with brands that we are 100% happy to recommend to you guys and would happily pay for ourselves. Staying complimentary allowed us to fully experience the Cotswolds, give honest reviews, and create content for you guys to enjoy. All opinions are our own. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you book through one of our links, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps us create the wonderful, free travel guides that we do.**

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    Image of Cotswolds Villages with text overlay
    Image of Cotswolds Villages with Text Overlay
    Image of Cotswolds villages with text overlay
    Image of Cotswolds villages with text overlay