Exploring the Most Beautiful Villages in the Cotswolds

Nestled in the heart of England, the Cotswolds and its villages offer a picturesque landscape that seems straight out of a storybook. With its charming villages, rolling hills, and quintessential English beauty, it’s no wonder the area is a magnet for travelers seeking an authentic and serene experience.

Introduction to the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), spans across multiple counties, primarily Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. Its unique limestone villages, historic market towns, and bucolic landscapes have made it a beloved destination for tourists worldwide.

From the scenic beauty of Bourton-on-the-Water to the historical significance of Chipping Campden, the Cotswolds boasts an array of villages, each with its distinct character and appeal.

Top Attractions in the Cotswolds

Here, we’ll take a stroll through some of the most breathtaking villages in the Cotswolds, each with its unique charm and appeal.


Situated on the River Windrush, Bourton-on-the-Water is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds.’ The village’s low bridges, picturesque stone houses, and vibrant atmosphere make it a must-visit destination. Visitors can explore the fascinating model village and the charming Birdland, home to various exotic bird species.


The iconic high street in Broadway, lined with golden-hued buildings, is a sight to behold. The village offers an array of unique shopping experiences and delightful eateries, making it a hub for tourists seeking leisure and cultural exploration.

Chipping Campden

This historical market town is known for its stunning architecture and cultural significance. Visitors can explore the historic wool church and experience the town’s vibrant arts and music scene.


Stow-on-the-Wold’s market square and antique shops exude a traditional charm. The town’s picturesque setting and local culture offer a unique experience to visitors.


Bibury’s Arlington Row, a line of ancient cottages by the River Coln, presents a timeless and photogenic scene. Its stunning scenery and quaint atmosphere make it a perfect spot for relaxation and appreciation of natural beauty.

Castle Combe

Often acclaimed as England’s prettiest village, Castle Combe’s architectural beauty and historical attractions draw in visitors. Its charm lies in the unspoiled setting and ethereal ambiance.


This vibrant market town offers an array of markets, historical landmarks, and various events throughout the year. The lively atmosphere and local traditions make it a bustling destination.

Lower Slaughter

The tranquil beauty of Lower Slaughter is unparalleled. Visitors can indulge in serene riverside walks and soak in the peaceful ambiance that the village offers.

Upper Slaughter

With its historical mill and unspoiled setting, Upper Slaughter is an idyllic escape. Its charm lies in the unadulterated beauty and quiet ambiance


Known for its stunning Rococo Garden, Painswick offers a unique landscape and historical appeal. The village’s beauty and natural surroundings make it an excellent stop for nature enthusiasts.

The Cotswolds is a treasure trove of natural beauty and historical significance. These charming villages encapsulate the essence of English heritage and tranquility. Visitors are invited to explore these picturesque locations and immerse themselves in the allure of the Cotswolds.

Bibury – Most Photographed Village in the Cotswolds

Known as one of the most photographed village in the Cotswolds, Bibury is a true gem that attracts visitors from all over the world. Nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England, lies the charming picturesque village of Bibury.

Bibury’s history dates back to the Roman era, when a settlement was established along the River Coln. Over the years, the village grew in size and importance, becoming a center for wool production in the Middle Ages. Today, Bibury is a tranquil and idyllic village, filled with beautiful stone cottages, flowing rivers, and verdant meadows.

The village is perhaps best known for its row of quaint 17th-century cottages, known as Arlington Row. These picturesque cottages were originally built as weavers’ cottages in the 1600s and have been beautifully preserved ever since. The buildings, with their honey-colored stone walls and steeply pitched roofs, are a prime example of the traditional Cotswold architecture that the region is famous for.

In the spring and summer months, the banks of the River Coln are awash with wildflowers and the sound of birdsong fills the air. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the river, stopping to admire the charming footbridges that cross the water. Bibury is also home to a number of historic landmarks, including St. Mary’s Church, which dates back to the 12th century and features beautiful stained glass windows and a stunning Gothic interior.

One of the best times to visit Bibury is in the autumn months, when the trees lining the riverbanks turn a fiery red and gold. The village takes on a magical quality during this time of year, as the leaves fall gently to the ground and the air takes on a crisp, refreshing quality.

Another popular attraction in Bibury is the trout farm, which has been in operation since the 1900s. Visitors can take a tour of the farm and learn about the history of trout farming in the region, as well as sample some of the delicious smoked trout that is produced on site.

Despite its popularity with tourists, Bibury has managed to retain its quiet, village atmosphere. There are no chain stores or fast-food restaurants here, just a few independent shops and pubs serving up traditional British fare. Visitors can stop into the local tearoom for a cream tea, or enjoy a pint of local ale at one of the village’s historic pubs.

For those who want to explore the surrounding area, Bibury is ideally situated for day trips to other Cotswold villages and attractions. The nearby town of Cirencester is home to a number of museums and historic landmarks, including the Corinium Museum, which showcases the area’s Roman heritage. The Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens, located just a short drive from Bibury, is a popular family attraction, featuring over 260 different species of animals and birds.

In conclusion, Bibury is a village that truly embodies the beauty and charm of the Cotswolds. With its historic cottages, flowing rivers, and serene countryside, it’s no wonder that it has become one of the most photographed villages in the region.

There are many reasons why having a Cotswold tour with Secret Cottage Cotswold Tours followed by a cream tea in their secret thatched cottage is the perfect way to experience the beauty and charm of the Cotswolds. Firstly, the tour is led by knowledgeable and passionate local guides who will take you to hidden gems and picturesque villages off the beaten track. Secondly, the small group size ensures a personal and intimate experience. Finally, the cream tea in their secret thatched cottage is a quintessential Cotswold experience, complete with homemade scones, clotted cream and jam, and a cozy atmosphere. It’s a perfect way to relax and unwind after a day of exploring the Cotswolds.

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  • star rating  My daughter, Diana and I took the Secret Cottage tour last summer while visiting England.We both feel it is the very best experience we had while visiting the beautiful country.... read more

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    star rating  Everything and more!! - We went on this tour the end of July 2019. I just realized that we didn't leave this review recently, when I was making my book for the trip, (sorry!),... read more

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    star rating  Secret cottage tour was lovely! - Becky was prompt, friendly and knowledgeable about the regions history and residents. She was an accommodating tour guide in the roomy Mercedes van for 7 adults. Plenty of room... read more

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  • star rating  Perfect Day in Every Way - Perfect day trip from London! We took the train from Paddington Station and were met by Becky and her daughter. What a wonderful way to see the Cotswolds as if... read more

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    star rating  A Must Do!!!! - We were transported back in time while being chauffeured in a lovely, roomy Mercedes! Our tour included an excellent lunch in a local homegrown pub along with all the breathtaking... read more

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    star rating  Perfect Day trip from London!  - This tour was the perfect way to experience the Cotswolds region. You get the benefit of a small group and seeing villages not accessible to the big tours - plus... read more

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