The Ten Prettiest Villages in the Cotswolds
When we think ‘quintessentially English’, our thoughts immediately land on the rolling hills, the picture-perfect honey-coloured stone cottages and pretty, little villages of the Cotswolds, and with good reason. 102 miles from the North in Chipping Campden to Bath in the South, and stretched over parts of 6 counties in the South and Central England, the Cotswolds is one of the UK’s 46 places classed as Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The list of pretty villages in the Cotswolds would be one with hundreds of locations, but for now, we will share with you just ten of them. These are ten of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds:
Famous for the picture-perfect High Street on a pretty, steep hill, Burford is a must on a list of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds. The vibrant High Street, comprised of an unbroken line of ancient houses that now house shops, pubs and cafes, sweeps downhill towards the River Windrush, culminating at the bottom with a medieval bridge over the river and the beautiful St John the Baptist Church.
Widely considered to be one of most elegant market towns in the Cotswolds, Chipping Campden is a full of both ancient history and life. With the well-preserved Market Hall from 1627 right in the centre of the town, now owned and maintained by National Trust, you get a sense of the history, the traders who have been and gone through time, and years gone by in this beautiful Cotswold location. Now home to wonderful shops, hotels, cafes, restaurants and some wonderful attractions and places of historic interest, Chipping Campden is absolutely among the ten prettiest villages in the Cotswolds.
Once described as “the most beautiful village in England” by William Morris, Bibury in the South Cotswolds is definitely a contender for the top spot on our list of the ten prettiest villages in the Cotswolds. Bibury is most famous for the picturesque row on honey-coloured stone cottages on Arlington Row.
Broadway has one of the largest and widest High Streets in the Cotswolds, and it is one of the most visited villages in the area for those looking for a mix of shopping, eating and experiencing that quintessential Cotswold feel. Just outside the village centre, about a mile up Fish Hill, is the iconic Broadway Tower which is not to be missed when you’re in the Cotswolds.
Walking through Stanton you will be excused for thinking you’re in a film set and everything was created to be the most picture-perfect quintessentially English village scene… but you’re not, of course, it really is just that unspoilt and picturesque. Like almost anywhere in the Cotswolds, some fantastic public footpaths go through Stanton, so do plan your Cotswold walk from, to or through here, just don’t expect gift shops, cafes or any public conveniences, it’s not that kind of village.
With the River Windrush running though Bourton-on-the-Water, it is affectionately known as “The Venice of the Cotswolds”. This is a large village and a very popular one, so if you’re looking for a nice breakfast, meal, ice cream, or drink, you will find it here.
It’s sounds like the worst place in the World… but it’s not, not at all! The Slaughters is actually two villages, Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter, and you can do some of the most beautiful walking in the Cotswolds here.
The pretty village of Painswick in the South Cotswolds is known also as ‘The Queen of the Cotswolds’, maybe because of its slightly lighter and more mellow honey-coloured stone which is all from the Painswick Beacon Quarry. Painswick has a small number of cafes, pubs and shops, so is a lovely stop on your tour through the Cotswolds.
Chipping Norton is very much a living town in the Cotswolds, and that’s part of the charm. Here you can find some wonderful shopping experiences, great eateries and even a regular market. Chipping Norton is home to one of the best theatres in the Cotswolds, The Chipping Norton Theatre, which is famous for its Christmas pantomime.
Stroud is like no other town or village in the Cotswolds. Known by all as “Bohemian Cotswolds”, it has the most wonderful feel to it. Here you will find fantastic independent eateries, shops, art galleries, and one of the very best farmers’ markets in the UK.