The 10 Prettiest Villages in the Cotswolds You’ll Love
Nestled in the heart of England, the Cotswolds is a region renowned for its rolling hills, honey-coloured stone cottages, and quintessential English Charm. With its enchanting landscapes and captivating villages, the Cotswolds offers a delightful escape for everyone. So why not check out our list of the 10 prettiest villages in the Cotswolds and get your next staycation booked?
Often referred to as the ‘gateway to the Cotswolds’, Burford is a charming Cotswolds town famous for its picture-perfect high street. Burford’s high street is a tapestry of historic buildings dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. It’s location and vibrant high street positioned on a pretty steep hill is what makes it worthy of a mention on our prettiest villages in the Cotswolds list.
Discover plenty of pubs and cafes where you can take your tastebuds on a culinary journey. Spend the morning participating in some retail therapy with a wide range of shops. And be sure to take a walk downhill towards the River Windrush and snap that famous pic of the medieval bridge stretching over the river with the stunning St John the Baptist Church in the background.
2. Chipping Campden
Next up on our list of prettiest villages in the Cotswolds is the quaint market town of Chipping Campden. Known for its elegant terraced houses and delightful gardens, Chipping Campden is widely considered to be the epitome of timeless beauty.
Here you can discover its ancient history by starting off with a visit to the well-preserved Market Hall which is now owned and maintained by the National Trust. The high street is also home to a wide selection of shops, hotels, cafes, and restaurants so you can shop and eat to your heart’s content.
Whilst visiting this pretty village in the Cotswolds, be sure to take a wander through St. James’ Church, explore exhibitions in The Court Barn Museum, and discover the unusual Old Campden House.
Bibury was once described as ‘the most beautiful village in England’ by William Morris and we tend to think he was right. Tucked away on the B4425 between Cirencester and Burford, Bibury is most famously known as the location for Arlington Row. This row of charming honey-stone cottages is what makes Bibury a popular tourist hotstop.
Whilst staying in this pretty village be sure to spend some time exploring the Chedworth Roman Villa, catching your own fish at Bibury Trout Farm, or walk along the banks of the River Coln.
Located just 5 miles from Chipping Campden, Broadway boast one of the largest and widest High Street in the Cotswolds. It’s just as popular as its neighbour Chipping Campden and the medley of boutiques, tearooms, and art galleries give it the quintessential Cotswolds feel.
Just outside the village centre, up Fish Hill, is the iconic Broadway Tower, a family-owned castle set in a 200-acre estate of parkland. Watch the deer grazing in the grounds, dine in the onsite cafe, explore the nuclear bunkers, and fall in love with panoramic views of the Cotswolds from the top of the tower.
Walking through Stanton you’ll be excused for thinking you’re on a film set, which is why this makes it onto our list of the top 10 prettiest villages in the Cotswolds. Known for its traditional limestone thatched cottages, Stanton is a truly picture-perfect and quintessentially English village.
This idyllic setting provides the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whilst you’re here, discover the 17th-century Mount Inn where you can enjoy a post-walk, locally-brewed pint with spectacular views of the Malvern Hills. Participate in an expert-led course at Stanton Guildhouse where you can learn everything from Stained-glass making to pottery and woodturning.
Just like most of the villages in the Cotswolds, there are numerous walking trails you can explore. Whether you’re staying close by, visiting for the day, or simply want to explore what’s on your holiday home doorstep, Stanton offers a little something for everyone.
With its charming low bridges spanning the River Windrush, Bourton-on-the-Water has earned itself the nickname ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’. This large village is very popular with locals and tourists alike and has plenty to offer everyone.
Whilst it’s definitely one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds to visit, it’s also home to an array of attractions. Feel like giants as you walk through the Old New Inn’s Model Village that shows you what Bourton looked like in 1937.
Discover over 500 species of birds at Birdland and see how many you can name. Get lost in the dragonfly maze. Uncover a wealth of toys and vintage cars at the Cotswolds Motoring Museum & Toy Collection. No matter what you decide to do, Bourton-on-the-Water is a definitely must-see village.
7. The Slaughters
When trying to decide on which villages should make it onto our list, we kept coming back to The Slaughters. So here they are, generally considered the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds, The Slaughters (Lower and Upper) provide some of the best walking routes in the Cotswolds.
These villages are linked by the River Eye and are adorned with traditional Cotswold limestone cottages. Although the name might conjure images of historic battles, ‘Slaughter’ actually derives from the Old English term signifying a muddy, miry place, akin to a ‘slough’ or ‘slothre’. This description aptly characterises the terrain these Cotswolds villages are nestled upon.
Whilst visiting, explore Lower Slaughters history at the Lower Slaughter Museum, take a wander through the iconic red brick Old Mill, and dine at the luxurious 5-star The Slaughters House Manor.
Although not officially in the Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon is located on the Northern edges of the Cotswolds and its association with Shakespeare along with its Tudor-style architecture means it deserves a place on our list of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds. Most famously known for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare, Stratford provides a city getaway steeped in history.
Here, you can discover the life of one of the greatest poets and screenwriters in the world. Explore the place where Shakespeare first penned his immortal words, go and see one of his incredible plays at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and spend the day making memories at Mary Arden’s Farm.
Discover some of the best places to eat in Stratford-upon-Avon.
As the largest town in the Cotswolds, Cirencester seamlessly blends historical significance with modern-day charm. It flourishes as a vibrant market town and locals are accustomed to uncovering fragments of Roman pottery as they tend to their gardens.
This quaint Cotswolds town continues to captivate all who visit and has plenty to offer in the way of cafes, restaurants, and attractions. Take a visit to the Corinium Museum and be astounded by the array of archaeological discoveries exhibited there. Discover the sprawling 3000 acres of woodlands and pastures at Cirencester Park and marvel at the intricate architecture of the St John Baptist Church.
10. Castle Combe
Nestled within the breathtaking Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in northwest Wiltshire, Castle Combe has earned its spot as one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds. This charming enclave stands as a quintessential Cotswolds gem, steeped in history and visual splendour.
This quaint village has retained its historic appeal by refraining from new house constructions since the 1600s. Which has resulted in a place that exudes a fairy-tale essence. With its beautiful honey-hued houses, it’s no surprise that Castle Combe has frequently played host to an array of movies and TV series including Bridgerton, Stardust, War Horse, and the original Dr Dolittle.
Be sure to capture the obligatory photograph of the iconic bridge from Water Lane before exploring the woodland trail. Keep your eyes peeled for an array of wildlife as you traverse this delightful 5.5 miles loop. Get yourself to the Castle Combe Circuit where you can take part in all sorts of race days. Or enjoy a delicious Afternoon Tea at the Manor House Hotel.
Looking for more inspiration during your holiday to the Cotswolds? Check out these blogs:
- Best places to staycation in the Cotswolds
- A season-by-season guide on the best time to visit the Cotswolds
Accommodation in the Cotswolds
You’ve chosen the Cotswolds as your next holiday destination. Now you need to find accommodation. At Short Let Space, we have a wide range of properties for you to choose from. Whether you need a pet-friendly cottage, a family-friendly home, or a romantic bolthole for you and your significant other, we’ve got you covered.
Can’t decide? Give our team of experts a call on 01993 222200 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we be happy to help.