Where is the Cotswolds?
The Cotswolds is situated in south-west England, covering almost 800 square miles across five counties. Within the Cotswolds you will find Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, and Worcestershire making it easily accessible - an ideal base for your next staycation. Expect to see picturesque villages built of Cotswold stone, beautiful churches, and huge manor houses.
With so many places to visit we have put together a list of our must-see villages and towns along with things to do in the Cotswolds to make your break extra special.
Our top 5 places to visit in the Cotswolds
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the Cotswolds is home to rolling hills, rambling river valleys and beautiful landscape. Renowned for its honey coloured stone cottages, winding streets, and medieval churches, not to mention the pubs that date even further back, the Cotswolds is a haven for explorers and holidaymakers. From rustic bistros to refined Michelin-starred eateries, we have listed our top restaurants and bars for you to enjoy, alongside the best places to visit in the Cotswolds.
A quintessential market town, Stow-on-the-Wold is famous for its ivy clad cottages, scenic landscapes, and chic eateries making it one of the top places to visit in the Cotswolds ideal for those looking to enjoy the finer things in life. After a day of exploring the beautiful market town of Stow-on-the-Wold, you may be looking for somewhere to refuel. The Porch House offers a wonderful bar area and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Enjoy locally sourced dishes from a carefully created menu that’s just as popular with the locals as it is with visitors. The Old Butchers is great for casual dining, with a warm and inviting atmosphere making it an ideal choice for families. The Old Stocks Inn is a beautiful 17th century coaching inn, serving locally sourced food, perfectly paired for a new and fresh dining experience.
Bourton-on-the-Water is affectionately known as Venice of the Cotswolds due to the little bridges that cross the gently flowing River Windrush. With lots to see and do this tiny village boasts an array of attractions, restaurants, and independent tea rooms. After taking in the views of Bourton-on-the-Water pay a visit to The Croft Restaurant where they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Enjoy freshly prepared, local produce from a seasonal menu – we recommend the ‘The Croft Burger’ a homemade patty topped with all the trimmings. The Mousetrap Inn is just along the main street, a short walk away from the picturesque historic town centre serving simple, fresh, local ingredients. The Rose Tree Inn is situated within a grade II listed cottage, serving traditional British cuisine. With a large outdoor seating area facing the river, this beautiful inn is a hotspot in the sunshine.
A stone’s throw away you will find the small medieval town of Burford. Situated on the River Windrush the town is home to beautiful buildings that date back to the 17th and 18th century - a great place for exploring and looking for antiques to make your own. If you’re looking for a bite to eat in a relaxed atmosphere The Lamb Inn is for you. With a spacious bar area, this beautiful venue offers food and drinks throughout the day featuring daily specials and local ales. The exposed beams and flagstone floors, not to mention the cosy armchairs by the roaring fire and tables tucked away in intimate corners make it a perfect choice for couples. The Maytime Inn is housed in a 17th century building serving locally sourced meals made fresh in house by award-winning chefs. Offering over 100 different gins, fine wines, real ale, and craft beers this little inn is a must for drinks connoisseurs. Just a short walk from Burford, The Carpenters Arms is a family run country pub with a community focus, serving great food and drinks ideal for the whole family, including the dog!
The picturesque market town of Cirencester is often referred to as the capital of the Cotswolds. Like any capital, you will find an abundance of shops to visit. Alternatively, explore the Corinium Museum and learn about the town's Roman past. After a morning of exploring the town support local and head to Café Mosaic a cosy independent coffee shop in the heart of Cirencester. Enjoy homecooked breakfast and lunch options or a slice of homemade cake and a hot drink in a vibrant atmosphere. If you’re looking for traditional fish and chips then head to Malt & Anchor, an award-winning British restaurant and takeaway situated in the centre of the town. Serving delicious food The Wild Duck is a traditional Cotswold pub and coaching inn dating back to the 16th century. We recommend visiting for the most perfect Sunday Lunch in the Cotswolds!
Further down south you will fall in love with the sleepy village of Castle Combe. With its winding streets and limestone cottages, Film and TV enthusiasts will instantly recognise this pretty village, having been used in a handful of films and TV series, including Downton Abbey and War Horse. If you’re looking for a traditional English tearoom then head to The Old Rectory Tea Room. Serving freshly made sandwiches and a wide variety of cakes, savouries, and homemade scones. Choose from a large tea menu, all served in a china tea pot with bone china cups and saucers – the perfect end to your day of exploring. Castle Combe also has a variety of restaurants on offer, The Salutation Inn is situated on the edge of the parish and dates back the 17th century, serving fresh seasonal produce paired with a selection of handpicked beers, wines, and ciders. Alternatively, head to Bybrook Restaurant serving Michelin-starred food in a beautiful setting, with a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere – ideal for special occasions.
Cotswolds cottages: plan your staycation
With so many wonderful places to choose from you’ll be spoilt for choice, we have two unique forest locations approximately an hour away from the Cotswolds, so why not swap your usual holiday cottage break for a few nights under the stars in a cosy forest cabin. With pet-friendly options to choose from you and your fury friends can enjoy a few nights away with the forest at your doorstep, as well as close connections to the beautiful towns within the Cotswolds.
Travel time from:
Forest of Dean
Stow-on-the-wold – 1 hr 12 mins
Bourton-on-the-Water – 1 hr 7 mins
Burford – 1 hr 13 mins
Cirencester – 59 mins
Castle Combe – 1 hr 5 mins
Stow-on-the-wold – 1 hr 35 mins
Bourton-on-the-Water – 1 hr 25 mins
Burford – 1 hr 16 mins
Cirencester – 1 hr 9 mins
Castle Combe – 1 hr 18 mins