Planning a summery day trip or weekend away in The Cotswolds? This quaint part of England has around 800 square miles of green hills, pretty villages and walking trails to explore so the choice is overwhelming! I’ve put together 3 of my favourite summer itineraries, each ensure driving is kept to a minimum as the locations are all fairly close to one another. Go ahead and pick a favourite, or do all three over separate days!
Castle Combe and Lacock / Bradford-on-Avon
If you’re looking to visit the Southern Cotswolds (close to Bath and Bristol), Castle Combe is a great place to start as it is often referred to as England’s prettiest village. Located just 15 minutes from the M4 and half an hour from the M5, it’s fairly easy to get to in comparison to other popular Cotswold villages.
After wandering through the village and admiring the view from the river bridge, stop off in The Manor House Hotel and Golf Club which has a wonderful outdoor terrace for a refreshing drink or decadent Afternoon Tea on a dry day.
AD (Visit Wiltshire) A Day Trip Guide To Beautiful Bradford-On-Avon
As Castle Combe is a small village it’s worth making the most of your day by visiting other beautiful places nearby, I’d recommend Lacock or Bradford-on-Avon. Lacock was used as a filming location for Harry Potter and is home to an abbey with historic properties protected by the National Trust.
Bradford-on-Avon has an award winning tea room and towpath that’s popular for walkers and cyclists, or you can hire a canoe or narrowboat and navigate some of the Kennet and Avon Canal.
Stow-on-the-Wold, Lower Slaughter and Bourton-on-the-Water
My second itinerary begins at Stow-on-the-Wold, more specifically Lucy’s Tea Room, a lovely spot for a cream tea or breakfast before wandering around the charming gift shops, homeware and clothing boutiques in the town centre.
Lower & Upper Slaughter
Located a few miles down the road from Stow-on-the-Wold, the small villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter are mostly residential lining a shallow river. However, the pretty honey coloured cottages and Old Mill in Lower Slaughter make this such a stunning spot to visit on a summers day. I’ve also stopped a few times in The Slaughters Country Inn for a drink or meal before walking or driving onwards to Bourton-on-the-Water.
Further reading: 5 Lesser-Known Cotswold Locations Loved By Locals
Split by the River Windrush, the leafy high street of Bourton on the Water is stitched together by several small arched bridges, giving the village its nickname as the Venice of The Cotswolds.
This wide street is lined with antique shops, perfumeries, tea rooms and traditional English pubs with gardens for outdoor dining.
On a summers day I like to pick up a bag of chips, find a bench near the river and watch the world (and the ducks) go by…
Broadway Tower and Cotswold Lavender Farm
My final day trip takes you to Broadway, another quintessential Cotswold village with fruit markets and ice cream carts wheeled onto the main street in the summer months. The Swan is situated right on the edge of the village and is a good starting point for a pub lunch or Sunday roast. Alternatively there’s the historic Lygon Arms with a luxurious wine bar and courtyard for High Tea.
After spending some time in the village, head over to Broadway Tower, it’s the Cotswolds highest castle that overlooks 16 counties – yes 16! It’s safe to say if you’re lucky to visit on a fine summers day the view up here is spectacular.
Further reading: Visiting Bibury, The Quintessential Cotswold Village
Cotswold Lavender Farm
Minutes down from Broadway (near Snowshill) is Cotswold Lavender Farm, a beautiful place to visit in July when the lavender tends to be at its peak. Walking through the field of lavender is a delight for the senses and a very relaxing way to finish a day of exploring – see what I tried in their cafe by visiting the link below…
Further reading: A dreamy trip to the Lavender Farm
What itinerary appeals to you? Have you explored The Cotswolds before?