A visit to one of the idyllic villages of the Cotswolds is an absolute must when looking for a break from it all be it for a weekend or even a longer break.
Call us biased, but we believe that the British countryside is, without question, amongst the best and most beautiful in the world! We’ve got everything from sweeping coastlines and rugged clifftops, to lush green pastures, trees, forests, woodland, hills, heather-laden moorland and the occasional mountain thrown in for good measure.
When you think of authentic British chocolate box countryside villages, however, you simply must consider the Cotswolds. The Cotswolds are situated in the South of England, between Bristol, Birmingham and Oxford.
It is a region renowned for its natural beauty. This is why we’re looking at the most beautiful villages of the Cotswolds to point you in the right direction for your next trip. If you’re thinking of visiting, here are some stunning Cotswolds villages you should seriously consider seeing.
The Four Most Beautiful Villages of the Cotswolds
With a name like this, you just know that you’re going to see something truly special. Bourton-on-the-water does not disappoint. This village is often included on lists looking at the prettiest villages in the UK, and sometimes Europe with the rest of the world too for that matter.
As you might expect, water features heavily in this village, as the River Windrush is a real hit amongst tourists and sightseers. It is also the reason why Bourton-on-the-water is often affectionately known as ‘the Venice of the Cotswolds’.
Cirencester is another of the most beautiful villages of the Cotswolds. This buzzing market town is steeped in ancient history, which can be traced way back to the Ancient Romans. Back then, it was known as ‘Corinium’. These days, though, because of its thriving economy, stunning architecture and the sheer volume of tourists, Cirencester is referred to as the ‘capital of the Cotswolds’.
If you do visit, be sure to visit the Roman amphitheatre, as well as the historic and fabulous church of St John the Baptist. In the summer, a stroll through the picturesque Cirencester Park is also a very enjoyable way to relax.
3. Castle Combe
If Cirencester is a little too metropolitan and too over-crowded for your taste, why not visit Castle Combe instead? If you imagine a romance novel set in the English countryside during the 16th century, that is pretty much the surroundings that you can expect with Castle Combe. It’s yet another of the most beautiful villages of the Cotswolds and words just can’t do it justice.
Castle Combe has actually been featured in a number of Hollywood movies, including Steven Spielberg’s War Horse. With everything from expansive stately homes to quaint limestone ‘chocolate box’ cottages and running streams, Castle Combe has something for everybody that can appreciate the great outdoors.
Finally, we have the village of Blockley. Blockley has a rich and storied industrial past. Originally it was famous for its silk production in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Of course, the silk mills are closed nowadays, but many of them have been converted into antiquated little cottages. This is yet another reason why Blockey is another of the most beautiful villages of the Cotswolds and well worth a visit.
A destination for antique lovers, Burford is an enjoyable place to visit. Located on the River Windrush, the town has a traditional medieval bridge that spans the water. In addition to its beauty and history, Burford is popular with visitors for its shopping.
It’s not hard to understand why Forbes magazine included Burford on its list of the most idyllic places to live in Europe in 2009. It is often referred to as the ‘gateway’ to the Cotswolds.
Stow, near 800ft above sea level, is the highest of the Cotswold towns. A Norman lord founded the town as a trading station for the roads that converged there. A horse fair is still held on the edge of the town in May and October each year.
A charming old market town that is rich in character.
In the whole of the Cotswolds, Stanton is probably one of the prettiest and most idyllic villages. Besides the restored, medieval cross and a church in which some Norman work remains, the village has a variety of 16th and 17th-century houses.
There are no signs of commercialization or shops in the sleepy village of Stanton, apart from The Mount pub on a mountain at the end of the village with sweeping views over the Vale of Evesham to the Malvern Hills and Welsh Mountains beyond.
8. Chipping Campden
Although small, this market town can get busy, especially with one of its more historical features such as the Wool Market in the center of town. Lovely tea rooms and welcoming pubs are all part of this historic town.
Chipping Campden is a favorite under tourists, with old inns, hotels, specialist shops, and restaurants. It is sure to meet and exceed all your expectations.