Our guide to the best places to visit in the Cotswolds feature some of the prettiest towns and villages in the area that are special for their iconic thatched roof cottages, honey colored stoned houses and picture postcard properties. The Cotswolds is a designated Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty set within the glorious English countryside, and is easily identifiable for its iconic rolling hills that elegantly pass between six counties. The area is home to many bustling market towns which offer a taste of quality local produce as well as some of the more quieter and off-the-beaten-track villages. Below are five of Tourist England’s best places to visit in The Cotswolds. Many visitors choose to take a tour to the region, click here for more information.
For those looking for an authentic Cotswolds experience, head to the market town of Cirencester, know by locals as the capital of the Cotswolds and included in our list as one of the best places to visit in the Cotswolds. Be sure to catch the bustling markets that take place each week, the street market (Monday and Fridays), the Cattle Market (Tuesdays) and the Antiques Market (Fridays). The town also has a great selection of boutique shops, restaurants and cafes. Cirencester is one of the best places to visit in the Cotswolds, with a rich historical past, at one point being the second largest town in Britain during the Roman era. Visitors can appreciate remnants of its historic tradition including its impressive Roman amphitheater which offers free entrance to visitors. A trip to the Corinium Museum provides a wealth of history about the area, as well as a rare collection of Roman mosaics. Also of interest are the beautifully landscaped gardens at Cirencester Park, home to the Earl of Bathurst. Cirencester is also included in our 2 day tour of the Cotswolds, Bath & Oxford.
Lacock might seem a familiar sight, having been used in a number of film and TV series including Harry Potter, Wolfman and Pride and Prejudice. The centerpiece of the village is Lacock Abbey, founded in 1232 and later to become a Tudor Family Home. It is famous for being the site where William Henry Fox Talbot took the first photographic negative, which is documented in the Talbot Museum, located on the ground floor of the Abbey. As one of the best places to visit in the Cotswolds, discover the Medieval Cloister, used for hundred of years by nuns as well as the 18th Century Gothic hall and the impressively furnished rooms. Visit Lacock as part of our day tour to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle & Bath
Cauldron, Lacock Abbey by Kevin Friery under CCBY-NC2.0 License
Avebury contains the largest stone circles in Europe which date back thousands of years to Neolithic times. It is one of the best places to visit in the Cotswolds and a designated World Heritage Site which rivals the nearby Stonehenge, attracting thousands of visitors each year who flock to Avebury to see and explore these mysterious sites. The nearby Avebury village contains many picturesque thatched houses, and well as two interesting museums that provide information about the area. We offer a day tour to Avebury from Central London that also visits Stonehenge and Salisbury.
Stone Circles at Avebury by Andy Wright under CCBY2.0 License
The village of Bampton is most recognizable for the role it played in the filming of the TV series Downton Abbey, where it served as the fictitious town of Downton. The old grammar school building was used as Downton Hospital. St Mary’s Church was used for many key events including weddings and funerals. Churchgate house served as Crawley’s family home. Tours to Bampton are available twice a week from London. Click here for more information.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford-upon-Avon is perhaps best known for its literary connection being the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Thousands of Shakespeare admirers flock to this pretty market town each year to check out the five Tudor homes and gardens that are all linked with the life of the great English writer. One of the best places to visit in the Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon is also ideally located on the banks of the River Avon, a popular place to chill out and relax as well as to take advantage of the various water activities on offer. For more information about Stratford-upon-Avon visit our dedicated page here.
best places to visit in the Cotswolds:
other nearby places:
Trips to the Cotswolds are often combined with other nearby towns and cities. The city of Bath lies 15 miles from Lacock village and is famous for its Roman baths as well bustling contemporary shops and restaurants. The city also has some excellent accommodation options. The university town of Oxford is popular with visitors who are returning to London and wish to stop off on the way to break up the journey.
tours to the Cotswolds:
Taking a tour can be the most convenient and effective way to see some of the best places to visit in the Cotswolds. Our top tours to the Cotswolds departing include:
cotswolds tour from london
This day tour to the Cotwolds from London is available 3 times a week and includes a tour guide, transportation, and a two-course lunch. Visit picturesque Cotswolds towns and village including Burford, a medieval market town nicknamed “Gateway to the Cotswolds” and Bourton-on-the-Water, known as the “Venice of the Cotswolds”
For more information see here.
cotswolds, Downton Abbey & Blenheim Palace
This Cotswolds tour also visits the Downton Abbey film sites and the UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Blenheim Palace. It’s the perfect tour for those looking to get a taste of the Cotswolds through the Downton Abbey TV series, since many of the TV shows scenes were shot in Cotswolds towns and countryside. The afternoon is spent at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill and one of the most spectacular country houses in England.
This tour is available with departures from London or Oxford. For more information see here