These 10 picture postcard places to visit in The Cotswolds all sum up the quintessential character and charm that people love about this beautiful area in the English countryside.
Castle Combe is one of the most well known places to visit in The Cotswolds because of that iconic view from the river bridge. The quaint row of terraced houses lead up to a 14th century market cross and two characterful English pubs, The White Hart and The Castle Inn.
Though many come to get that classic shot, a highlight for me is the nearby Manor House, a beautiful luxury hotel with groomed gardens where you can enjoy High Tea, and a row of characterful cottages you can actually stay in.
Upper and Lower Slaughter – their names arouse curiosity, but you may be surprised to know that it’s actually derived from an Old English term meaning a ‘muddy place’. These days, thankfully, it’s a lot less boggy for a leisurely walk along the shallow River Eye.
The Slaughters Country Inn and Manor House are popular stops in Lower Slaughter, as well as The Old Mill which has a gift shop and museum. As it’s a small place it’s worth following the river path down to nearby Bourton-on-the-Water before or after your visit.
Described as the ‘Venice of The Cotswolds’, Bourton-on-the-Water is a fairly large village compared to most other places in this list. There’s plenty of things to do in Bourton to fill a day, such as The Model Village, a 1/9th scaled down version of Bourton you can walk around, and Birdland park and gardens, home to over 500 birds.
The river Windrush can be crossed by a series of small arched bridges which gives Bourton its nickname, and on either side you’ll find shops, bars and restaurants and holiday cottages.
Chipping Campden’s lovely high street is a mix of independent shops and cafes like Badgers Hall tea room. In the middle of the street is an old market hall dating back to the 17th century. The surrounding area is one of the finest places to visit in The Cotswolds to see quintessential cottages with thatched roofs and gorgeous summer gardens.
As the name suggests Broadway’s main street is a wide open strip with a grassy verge that is occasionally used for events like the annual Broadway Car Show. The grand Lygon Arms hotel sits in the centre of the High Street surrounded by a mix of boutiques and a small indoor shopping arcade.
On the edge of the village is Broadway Tower, the highest point in The Cotswolds with views of up to 16 counties on a clear day!
Related: A guide to visiting Castle Combe
Stow-on-the-Wold’s charming tearooms and shops is great starting point for a Cotswolds day trip. The old church door here frequently pops up on Instagram as tree trunks have moulded themselves around it, giving the entrance a fairytale vibe.
Burford’s proximity to London makes it a gateway for many to The Cotswolds in Oxfordshire. Burford has an interesting history as it was once a meeting point for merchants and ‘the Levellers’ (as they were known), who in 1649 gathered in the Church grounds and were executed under the orders of Oliver Cromwell. The high street is situated on a hill and is lined with pubs, shops, tearooms and England’s oldest pharmacy.
Protected by the National Turst, Arlington Row in Bibury is another picture postcard view that overlooks a river and meadow. The charming row of weavers’ cottages have even featured inside the cover of UK passports.
Bibury itself is a small chocolate box village with a shop and Country Inn called The Swan. If you’re able to visit beyond the peak of summertime it can be a very tranquil place to sit and relax by the river.
Cirencester is the largest town in this beautiful area, and so earns it the nickname as the ‘Capital of The Cotswolds’. Cirencester’s history stretches right back to the Romans where it grew to be quite a significant market town outside of London. Markets in Cirencester still draw visitors in to this day with regular craft and antique fairs taking place inside the Corn Hall.
Located near Broadway and surrounded by rolling hills and farmland, Snowshill is a beautiful village surrounding a Church. Nearby is Cotswold Lavender Farm, and if you time your visit right in the summer you can enjoy walking through and smelling the purple fields before stopping off in their tea room to try a unique lavender flavoured scone or ice cream.