River in the middle of a small town with autumn tree colors

The Cotswolds is an area of outstanding natural beauty in Southern England. Here you will find some of the prettiest villages in the UK, cosy log fire country pubs, luscious countryside, gorgeous thatched cottages and of course the classic English Afternoon tea; everything you need to make the perfect weekend in the Cotswolds. We are going to show you some of the best places to visit in the Cotswolds.

You can easily do a day trip to the Cotswolds from London as it is only 2 hours away or better spend a weekend in the Cotswolds for one of the best weekend getaways in England. The Cotswolds covers a large area of the West of England and 5 counties including Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Wiltshire.

Therefore we advise to not pack all the beautiful must-see villages into one weekend but to spread them out; this itinerary will cover some of the best villages in the Cotswolds to include in your different weekends and excursions: Bourton-on-the-water, Bibury, Stow-on-the-Wold and The Slaughters making for a perfect weekend stay in the Cotswolds. We will also show you where to stay in the Cotswolds and amazing accommodation options in the Cotswolds. This travel itinerary is also great fun for families with younger kids.

When is the best time to visit the Cotswolds

houses near pond during daytime
Photo by Ivy Barn

Spring and Summer are a great time to visit the Cotswolds especially if you want to enjoy the beautiful hikes; although the villages do get crowded there are some hidden gems in the Cotswolds which are less busy which we will show you. September can also be lovely as the crowds get smaller and you may still have some lovely English weather. Winter can also be a special time to visit especially for a romantic Cotswolds getaway when you can enjoy the Christmas markets with hot mulled wine or a cosy log fire country pub.

How to get to the Cotswolds

If you are coming by car then you have easy access from London to Cotswolds which is only a 2-hour drive making it a fantastic day trip to the Cotswolds from London. There are also great links from around the UK with the M5, M4, and M40.

You can easily come by train with good connections from London, Bristol and Bath. If you are going from London get to London Paddington and catch a train to Moreton-in-Marsh; from there walk to the centre of the village which is a 5-minute walk and catch the Pulmans bus no 801 to Bourton-on-the-water.

For a more hassle-free option, you can also choose and book these wonderful tours which are all organised for you so you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Where to Stay in the Cotswolds

There are some beautiful options from luxury stays to cosy countryside style accommodation. We can help you to find the best accommodation deals.

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Best Places to visit in the Cotswolds for a weekend trip

Bourton-on-the-water, prettiest village in the Cotswolds

Bourton-on-the-water is really the ‘Venice of the Cotswold’ with its cute small stone bridges over the River Windrush. It is one of the most beautiful villages in Cotswolds, UK. Walk along the path beside the River and admire the cute cafes and shops along the riverside. If you feel like some very early Christmas shopping then head to the Victorian Christmas Shop which starts selling all things Christmas between April to December.

Model Village in Bourton-on-the-Water
Model Village to feel like a real-life giant; a miniature replica of Bourton-on-the-Water

After having a little walk around this picturesque village head to the Model Village to feel like a real-life giant; a miniature replica of Bourton-on-the-Water built in the 1930s; the attention to detail is pretty amazing. There is even a replica of the Model Minature Village! The entrance price is £4.50 per adult and £3.50 per child and there is a small car park available.

Other places of interest in Bourton-on-the-Water

You could easily spend a few days in Bourton-on-the-Water as there is so much to do and see here for everyone. If you are a motor and toy enthusiast then check out the Cotswold Motoring Museum & Toy Collection where you can find rare and classic vehicles. For families, you have the Birdland Park & Gardens and The Dragonfly Maze which the kids will absolutely love.

Places to eat in Bourton-on-the-water

There are many little cafes beside the River Windrush where you can stop for a snack, ice cream or meal. For a traditional pub-meal try the family pub The Duke of Wellington overlooking the River Windrush with a good selection of freshly cooked food and real ales. There is also a well-known bakery called Bakery on the Water which serves delicious fresh pastries and cakes

Where to stay in Bourton-on-the-water

Book your best stay in Bourton-on-the-water.

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The Slaughters

Although quite a strange name which evokes images of horrid things; but far from it, the word slaughter comes from an English term ‘Slough’ which means muddy place. These two picture perfect places are not too far from each other about a mile. You can infact walk from Bourton-on-the-Water to the Slaughters.

Upper Slaughter, the most quintissensual of English Villages

If you are looking to get away from the crowds yet experience the tranquillity and beauty of a traditional English Village then put this on your UK bucket list. Take a walk along the River Eye past beautiful stone cottages. You can also make a visit to the 12th Century St. Peters Church. Enjoy an afternoon tea at the Lords of the Manor Hotel or even stay the night in this luxury hotel. You can also visit the ‘ford’ which is a shallow stream river which people or vehicles could cross; there is now a stone footbridge and it is the perfect place to relax and soak up the beauty. There is also a Manor which offers private home tours and you can have the chance to visit the histroic gardens.

Lower Slaughter, one of the most picturesque villages in the Cotswolds

The river runs through the middle of the village making this one of the most incredibly picturesque villages. Walk along the Copse Hill Road; once voted as Britains most romantic streets. Visit the historic Old Mill where there is a small museum and riverside cafe. Don’t miss out on their homemade organic ice-cream. It is also worth popping into St Mary’s Church which is architecturally beautiful and has lovely stained glass windows. If you would like to indulge in a delicious lunch by the river side eat at The Slaughters Inn; on Sunday they have a traditional Sunday lunch which you may need to book in advance. You can also stay the night here.

TIP – You will find more parking places in Bourton-on-the-Water but if you would like to visit the Slaughters you can either walk from Bourton-on-the-Water or find free parking opposite Lower Slaughter Manor or towards Upper Slaughter you should be able to park on the roadside.

Bibury, one of the most beautiful villages in England

Bibury is one of the most beautiful villages in England and one of Cotswold’s best villages. You will not want to miss seeing Arlington Row which is the street to have on your bucket list; it is probably one of the most photographed streets in the UK aligned with the famous 14th-century cottages. You can even rent number 9 Arlington Row through the National Trust. There is a lovely 10km circular walk that you can do from Bibury to Coln and stop over for lunch at The New Inn Coln. Whilst you are here, make sure to visit England’s oldest trout farm, where you might even have the chance to feed or catch your own trout. Pop over to their cafe for some delicious homemade treats.

Where to eat in Bibury

Try the village pub, The Catherine Wheel for some delicious homely options. You can also stay and eat at the Swan Hotel which has some tasty Afternoon tea choices.

Where to stay in Bibury

Book your best accommodation in Bibury here.

Stow-On-The-Wold, one of the most charming villages in the Cotswolds


If you are looking for Britains best antique shops then you are at the right place, head to the historic market square for a browse and visit some of the art galleries and cute boutiques. If you are looking for a hidden gem in Stow-on-the-wold make your way to St.Edwards Church, walk around the church to find the mystical door that inspired J.R.R Tolkiens ‘Doors of Durin’ in the Lords of the Rings. The door is entwined by two 700-year-old Yew trees.

Where to eat in Stow-on-the-Wold

There are plenty of choices for pubs and tearooms. You could head to Britain’s oldest pub, The Porch House for a cosy lunch by the 16th century stone fireplace.

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  1. Lots of brilliant info on each suggestion, Asha!
    I’m a resident of The Cotswolds and I love seeing people suggestions and you’ve definitely suggested some amazing options to create a perfect weekend in The Cotswolds!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Cotswolds is such a beautiful place, we definitely want to make another visit soon. How lucky you are a resident there:).

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