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A guide to the must see villages of the Cotswolds

If you’re planning on taking a trip away in the UK, then visiting the Cotswolds is simply a must. No other area in England compares to the old-fashioned charm and heritage of the Cotswolds. And with so many wonderful places to stop and explore, it can be hard knowing where to begin! So, to help you plan your route, here are the 10 must-see villages of the Cotswolds.


If you’re looking for one of the nicest villages of the Cotswolds for taking leisurely walks, then Fairford is a good choice. You have the nearby River Coln, which offers beautiful walks through the countryside. Back in the heart of Fairford, you’ll find an old wooden parish church. Complete with 28 stained glass windows. Each one depicting a different story from the Bible.

Castle Combe

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In the Southern Cotswolds area, you’ll find Wiltshire. Within Wiltshire, you’ll discover a small village known as Castle Combe. It is everything you’d imagine a small Cotswolds village to look like. Complete with tea rooms, a cobbled high street and vintage shops selling homemade items. It’s best to enjoy Castle Combe slowly, drifting from one store to the next.

Lower Slaughter

No guide to the Cotswolds would be complete without a mention of Lower Slaughter. It is a typically picturesque English village, situated around the River Eye. The river itself makes for a wonderful walking opportunity, especially on a warm Summer’s day. And all around you are surrounded by old-fashioned cottages that make you reminisce of a time gone past.

Upper Slaughter

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Just down the road on your Cotswold tour, you’ll find the neighbouring village of Upper Slaughter. Once again, this small Cotswold village is best explored in the Summertime, when all of the wonderful flower gardens are in full bloom. Local cottages are all made of stone and it’s a truly mesmerising place, packed full of charm and character.

Chipping Campden

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You will find much of the same vibe in the wonderful village of Chipping Campden. However, what you will also find is a much deeper connection to arts and crafts. Nestled along the high street, besides stone buildings and tea rooms, are art galleries to enjoy. Also, be sure to take time to enjoy the highly praised Court Barn Museum. Possibly the best small museum in England.


Nestled comfortably on the banks of the River Coln, you’ll find Bibury. Which has become by far one of the most popular villages anywhere in the Cotswolds.

Arlington Row is a photographer’s favourite spot and is lined with a variety of 17th-century weavers cottages. This spot attracts visitors from all over the world and it’s really not surprising why.

Bourton on Water

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In Bourton on Water, you’ll find the River Windrush running straight through the centre of town. As such, many have now dubbed this village the Venice of the Cotswolds. The river offers a number of different crossing points, and birds flock there at all hours of the day. Making it an incredible place to walk and take a few photos. Also, be sure to check out the local Model Village and Cotswold Motor Museum.


Cirencester has been an important and busy spot ever since the Roman times. Largely because it sits at the crossroads of three major Roman roads. As you might imagine, they still house a number of relics that date back to the Roman ages, as well as a variety of other medieval sculptures and Anglo Saxon treasures. Cirencester is known by many as the Capital of the Cotswolds.


By Motacilla CC BY-SA 4.0 , from Wikimedia Commons

If you’re wondering where to visit in the Cotswolds if you aren’t able to drive, then Kingham could be a good choice. It is easily accessible by train and is another typical, picturesque spot to explore. The village is truly gorgeous almost everywhere you go. You’ll find an abundance of old Cotswold stone cottages, surrounded by wonderful green gardens and hedges.


Copyright Rob Farrow and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

If Cirencester is the Capital of the Cotswolds, then Painswick is known as the Queen of the Cotswolds. It includes some of the most well-preserved buildings in the entire Cotswolds region, as well as ample walking opportunities around the beautiful surrounding countryside. It is a charming village and a wonderful place to visit on your tour of the area.

Whether you’re taking a coach tour or driving about in your own car, these are arguably the 10 best Cotswold villages to see. But don’t worry, even if you get lost on your way, you’ll never be far from plenty of other wonderful places to stop off and enjoy. In fact, there’s probably no better place in the UK to get yourself lost!

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