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I’ve curated a list of 6 beautiful places to stay in The Cotswolds based on many trips there over the years, including some of the things you can do in the area to suit all ages and interests.
I really like the sense of community in Broadway, and as the name suggests, the Cotswold town is built along a wide and long street which makes it a hive of activity during event and festival days. For example, in August there’s the annual Broadway Car Show and during the run up to Christmas they have late night shopping days so you can enjoy the festive lights that adorn the cottages and trees.
The Lygon Arms Hotel is a grand property in the middle of Broadway that has won numerous awards and hosted Royalty, politicians and movie stars. My go-to stop for lunch in the village so far is The Swan which is located at the end of the high street.
I think July is a particularly nice time to visit or stay in Broadway because there’s a spectacular viewpoint to see nearby at Broadway Tower when the countryside is at its most full and green (you can see for miles on a clear day!) and you can also visit the local lavender farm before its harvest.
Broadway is also located on the Cotswold Way, a long walking route between Bath and Chipping Campden. There are numerous walking routes to explore in this area, which is great if you’re looking for a dog friendly place to stay in The Cotswolds.
Known as the ‘Queen of The Cotswolds‘, Painswick has a beautiful church yard with 99 yew trees and a Rococo Garden. I visited the Rococo Garden in the spring, just in time to see a carpet of yellow daffodils and tulips.
Painswick is in the middle of the Cotswolds area so it’s ideally located if you want to drive around and explore multiple Cotswold gems to the north and south. Gloucester Cathedral is also close by which is well worth adding to your list if you haven’t been before, as well as the pretty town of Cheltenham.
3. Castle Combe
Castle Combe is my favourite Cotswold village as it does feel like it’s frozen in time, particularly when you go on a quiet evening when there’s no cars or people in sight.
There isn’t much to see and do in the village itself, it’s probably more suited to being a quaint weekender for 1 or 2 people with traditional pub lunches, countryside walks and The Manor House if you’re looking for a luxurious rural escape.
The ‘Capital of The Cotswolds‘ is a thriving market town with Roman origins, which makes it an intriguing area to explore in the Cotswolds if you love history. As it is a more populated town you’ve also got access to supermarkets and more choices for eating and shopping, which is great if you’re looking to rent on a self catering basis and don’t want to travel far. I’d also recommend this area for families during the summer holidays as it is close to Cotswolds Country Park & Beach.
I usually combine a day out to Cirencester with a stop in Bibury, which some say is the prettiest village in England.
If you’ve been inspired to explore The Cotswolds because of film and TV shows like Harry Potter and Downton Abbey, Burford would be a great base as Oxford (a filming location for Harry Potter) is only around 30 minutes away by car.
Burford is also near Bampton, used for village and church scenes in Downton Abbey.
Along Burford’s main road you’ll find tea/coffee houses, shops and pubs steeped in history, including England’s oldest pharmacy. It’s a great area for antique shopping and cafe hopping on a cool winter’s day, or just to simply stroll around and admire the pretty cottages like at Arlington Row in Bibury.
When I think of Bourton-on-the-Water I think of blue sky days besides the shallow river, watching the ducks and stopping off at the local chip shop. It’s known as the Venice of The Cotswolds because the river runs through the middle of the main street and is crossed by a series of short arched bridges.
Lined with characterful buildings in traditional honey coloured stone, there’s plenty of shops to potter around here, as well as a Motor Museum and Model Village. I also like that this village is located close to the A429, a main road running through the Cotswolds so you can easily travel to other picturesque places like Lower Slaughter and Stow-on-the-Wold.