A guide to the best Cotswolds tours from London. The Cotswolds is a beautiful area of the English countryside with lots of picture postcard towns and villages. The area is often divided into the Northern and Southern Cotswolds, with most day tours visiting the southern regions since its closest to London. There are several things to consider when choosing the best Cotswolds tour for you and our comprehensive guide answers some of these questions. In general, whilst some people like to spend the whole day in the area, others prefer to get a taste of the Cotswolds and also visit Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon or Blenheim Palace on the same day. Also, some travellers might opt for the larger coach tours, whilst other visitors prefer small-group tours, using smaller minibuses that are able to drive down the narrow, windy English country lanes.
Top 3 Cotswolds Tours
1. Cotswolds from London with Lunch
This is the best Cotswolds tour from London if you want to spend a full day visiting villages in the area and have time for a pub lunch.
Departing London in a large coach from Victoria station, you’ll visit three pretty villages (Burford, Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water), and have lunch in a charming hotel restaurant in Bibury. The tour is available four times a week during the summer months and every Sunday during the winter.
Our Cotswolds & Oxford small group tour from London is available every Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday. The morning is spent in the Cotswolds and Stratford-upon-Avon, the home town of William Shakespeare. The afternoon is spent in Oxford, with time to explore the city centre, visit some of the University Colleges or admire Bodleian Library. Transportation is in a 16-seater executive minibus and includes a driver/guide.
This is the best Cotswolds trip if you are looking to tour the region in a small group.
A private tour offers the most flexible way of visiting the Cotswolds. Craft your own itinerary according to your interests. So whether its visiting off-the-beaten-track villages or driving to some of the lesser known country estates in the area, we’ll be happy to plan a visit for you! Our private tours can come with or without a guide, and vehicles are available in a number of different sizes.
Top Tips for Choosing the Best Cotswolds Tour for You
1. Are you looking for a taster or in-depth tour?
Most of the Cotswolds tours visit two or three villages in the morning, and will then spend the afternoon at Blenheim Palace, Oxford or Stratford-upon-Avon. This is great if you are looking to spend the day getting a flavour of the Cotswolds, the English Countryside, and some history/culture.
There are a few tours that spend the whole day in the Cotswolds, which offer more time to walk around each village and stop for a long lunch. These slower-paced tours are perfect if you are looking to soak up the special charms of the area!
2. Large-group versus small-group tours
Small-group tours are undoubtedly the best way of seeing the Cotswolds since 16-seater vehicles are able to drive down the narrow and windy country lanes. They can also take you right into the heart of the countryside, giving you an authentic taste of England!
Large 40+ seater buses cannot offer the same experience since they have to stick to the main roads. However, the major advantage of taking a large-group tour is that the price will be less expensive.
3. Getting to the Cotswolds from London by Tour
Almost all the tours operate a coach service with pickup from Central London. The standard pickup location is Victoria Coach Station, although some tours pickup from other London locations that might be more convenient depending on where you are staying in the capital.
The alternative is to take a train from London Paddington to Charlbury station in the Cotswolds. From here, you’ll be met by a tour guide who will spend a full day with you. The major advantage of taking a train is that you maximize the amount of time spent in the Cotswolds. You’ll have a full 8-10 hours in the Cotswolds with a tour guide, and a total of 3 hours spent on the train. (By comparison, if you take a bus tour from London, you’ll have around 6 hours in the Cotswolds, and around 3.5 hours of travel time to/from London.)
Best Small Group Cotswolds Tours from London
1. Cotswolds, Bath & Stonehenge Small Group Tour
This fast-paced tour visits Cotswolds, Bath, Stonehenge & Avebury. Transportation is via a small group 16-seater minibus, which has been optimized to give the best sightseeing experience. Also included is the services of an extremely knowledgeable tour guide. The tour pickups from three very convenient locations in London.
The day begins with a visit to Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its neolithic stone circles. Learn more about the site which dates back over 5,000 years from your knowledgeable guide. We then visit the beautiful city of Bath where you’ll have time to explore the charming streets, have lunch and walk around the Roman Baths. We continue the drive into the Cotswolds hills, visiting the pretty village of Lacock. The village has been used as a filming location in Harry Potter, Pride & Prejudice and the recent Downton Abbey movie. Finally, we arrive at the village of Avebury, home to thatched-roof cottages and another prehistoric stone circle.
This tour is best for those looking for a small-group experience that is fast-paced and visits lots of different places in one day.
Price: £149 per adult
2. Cotswolds & Blenheim Palace Small Group Tour
Our Cotswolds & Blenheim Palace tour from London is available every Saturday. Travel in a small group minibus with an experienced guide, with pickup available from three different locations in London. You’ll spend the morning visiting several Cotswolds villages, including Bourton on the Water, Burford and Stow-on-the-Wold.
The afternoon is spent at Blenheim Palace. Blenheim is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with one of the most impressive country estates in Britain. It is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, and includes incredible State Rooms and landscaped gardens.
Price: £149 per adult
3. Downton Abbey Small-Group Tour
Our Downton Abbey small group tour transports you into the world of the hit TV Series. The Cotswolds was chosen as the setting for this period drama since the area maintains the feeling of a bygone age. Thatched roofed cottages and unspoilt countryside are a quintessential feature of early 20th Century Britain.
You’ll first visit Cogges Farm and the village of Bampton in the Cotswolds, to see all the Downton Abbey related sites. The afternoon is spent at Highclere Castle, which is the real-life Downton Abbey. Here, you’ll be able to see the State Rooms, Dining Room and garden. There might even be time for a spot of afternoon tea!
Price: £189 per adult
Overnight Cotswolds Tour from London
Why not get a true Cotswolds experience with an overnight stay in a bed and breakfast? Departing from Central London, this Cotswolds tour visits Cirencester, which is the largest town in the Cotswolds. It also stops at some of the smaller villages like Bampton, Lacock and Stow-on-the-Wold. On the first day, you’ll also visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites at Stonehenge and Avebury.
This is a private tour of the Cotswolds with pickup from Charlbury station in the Northern Cotswolds, This means you will need to make your own way from London to the Cotswolds via train. (This is easy since the train journey takes 90 minutes from London Paddington Station to Charlbury station.)
From Charlbury, you’ll have a full 7-hour private tour with a local guide to explore many Cotswolds villages, including Great Tew, Stow-on-the-Wold, The Slaughters, Swinbrook, and Minster Lovell. There’s even an option to visit a local farm and have a traditional Cotswolds pub lunch.
This is the best Cotswolds tour from London if you are looking for a personal experience, and to maximize the amount of time you spend in the area.