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 dreamy 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 photo, 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 it’s a lot less boggy, the tarmac roads hug the shallow river Eye that trickles through the village. The Slaughters Country Inn and Manor House are popular stops in Lower Slaughter, as well as The Old Mill which has a gift/craft shop and museum. As it’s a small place it’s worth taking a riverside stroll or drive 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. That also means there’s plenty of things to do here to fill a day – The Model Village is a 1/9th scaled down version of Bourton you can walk around, and for a family day out head to the nearby 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, 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 for leisure and recreation, including the annual Broadway Car Show. The grand Lygon Arms hotel is also located in the centre, as well as a small indoor shopping arcade. On the edge of the village is Broadway Tower, set in 50 acres of parkland it’s the highest point in The Cotswolds with views of up to 16 counties on a clear day!
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, it was once a meeting point for merchants and in the church grounds ‘the Levellers’ (as they were known) were executed under the orders of Oliver Cromwell in 1649. The high street is situated on a hill and is lined with pubs, shops, tearooms and England’s oldest pharmacy.
Arlington Row is another classic Cotswold village view – protected by the National Trust the charming row of cottages overlooks the river. Bibury itself is a small chocolate box village with a shop and country Inn – if you’re able to visit beyond the peak of summertime it can be a very tranquil place to sit and relax before exploring more of The Cotswolds.
Cirencester is the largest town in this beautiful area, and so earns the nickname – 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 (“Londinium”) at that time. Markets in Cirencester still draw visitors in to this day with regular craft and antique fairs taking place inside the Corn Hall.
Cotswold Lavender farm is located in Snowshill near Broadway. If you time your visit right in the summer you can enjoy walking through and smelling the fields of lavender in all different shades of purple which easily makes it one of the top places to visit in The Cotswolds for picture postcard views.