These 5 lesser-known Cotswold locations offer an appealing alternative to well known spots like Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, Castle Combe and Stow-on-the-Wold.
Those picture postcard places are of course popular for a reason as they contain some of England’s most treasured and photographed scenes, but if you desire a trip that avoids the crowds (particularly in the busy summer season), then these spots, loved by locals, are worth consideration.
Home to a 17th Century Market House that hosts events and a Country Market, Minchinhampton has retained a close knit community as locals gather in coffee houses like The Kitchen to catch up and exchange pleasantries over tea and cake. Along its charming streets you’ll also find a quintessential butchers, pub, post office and chip shop.
Cows often graze freely on the spectacular Minchinhampton Common where the views down over Stroud’s green valley are some of the best you’ll find in The Cotswolds.
A much-loved spot by locals, Lower Slaughter (and its neighbour Upper Slaughter) gets its name from an old English term to describe a muddy place. Sandwiched between the larger and popular Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water, it would be easy to miss The Slaughters as you drive along the A429 between the two.
The shallow River Eye gently trickles through Lower Slaughter alongside pretty cottages and an Old Mill that contains a gift shop and tea room. On the edge of this quaint Cotswold village you’ll also find a church, Country Inn and Manor House.
Visitors to Painswick will know it for the Rococo Garden and its beautiful Church and Churchyard containing 99 Yew Trees. Referred to as ‘Queen of The Cotswolds’ Painswick is in fact a small town with a mix of residential and guest houses occupying most of the historic centre.
Painswick is a great base for settling in to the local way of life in The Cotswolds, particularly when you factor in its convenient location to Gloucester and Cheltenham.
Just a few miles from Broadway the country lanes branch off around a small church at Snowshill, a sleepy village nestled on an incline amongst rural farmland.
In the summer months you can soak up the calming scents of Cotswold Lavender farm and try a lavender scone or ice cream, or explore the 16th Century Snowshill Manor House and Garden that’s run by the National Trust.
For those dreaming of a quiet life in a country village, Stanton’s stunning honey coloured properties and thatched cottages set the scene perfectly. Stop for a moment to savour the tranquility from a wooden bench where you may spot the occasional hiker passing through on their journey along the Cotswold Way. If you enjoy long walks, continue along this historic route north and you’ll end up in the beautiful market town of Chipping Campden.
For further inspiration, follow my Cotswold adventures on Instagram @ExploreWithEd.
Further reading: A day trip to Castle Combe, England’s Prettiest Village