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.

Painswick Churchyard
Painswick Churchyard

Minchinhampton

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.

Related: 10 Picture Postcard places to visit in The Cotswolds

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.

The Slaughters

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.

Painswick

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.

Related: 8 charming places for tea in The Cotswolds

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.

Snowshill

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.

Stanton

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

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