Towns & villages

Bibury - is situated in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds on the River Coln 9 miles from the market town of Burford. The village was once described by William Morris as 'the most beautiful village in the Cotswolds'. The village centre clusters around a square near St. Mary's, a Saxon church. Some of the Saxon remains inside the church are replicas as the originals are housed in the British Museum.

One of the village's main tourist spots and overlooking a water meadow and the river is Arlington Row, a group of ancient cottages with steeply pitched roofs dating back to the 16th Century. Bibury has provided the backdrop for blockbuster films including Stardust and Bridget Jones's Diary.

Blockley - bears some resemblance to the villages of the Stroud valley but the stone much more golden in colour. During the eighteenth century when the wool industry was in declinecotswold cottages in Blockley Blockley turned to silk production. By 1884 six silk mills powered by the fast-flowing Blockley brook provided work for about 600 people preparing silk for ribbon-making factories in Coventry.

This small centre of industry began to decline after 1860 when the levy on imported silk was imposed.

The village of Blockley is a unique collection of buildings reflecting its past glory of mills and silk production and is quite different in character to other north Cotswolds villages.

Blockley is now a very peaceful charming village with its mill stream winding its way through the bottom of the valley. With many very enjoyable walks leading from the village and surrounded by beautiful countryside, Blockley has much to offer the holidaymaker. Its attractive village green overlooks the popular Bowling Green and beautiful Norman Church and is a pleasant place to enjoy a picnic on sunny days.

Bourton-on-the-Water -  is only 4 miles from Stow-on-the-Wold and straddles the river Windrush with its series of elegant low bridges beside neat tree-shaded greens and tidy stone banks. Standing back from the river are traditional Cotswolds buildings, many of which are now tourist shops for the day-trippers and visitors.

Bourton-on-the-Water has been described as the 'Little Venice' of the Cotswolds and is one of the most popular tourist spots in the region being serviced by the many shops, cafe's, and attractions.

Birdland - Is an authentic zoo for birds, with a remarkable collection of penguins, some of which have come from the owner's islands in the South Atlantic. Established by the late Len Hill and is also home to a huge variety of exotic birds.

Model Village - Excellent miniature of Bourton using authentic building materials depicting Bourton-on-the-Water as it was in 1937 at 1/9th scale.

Other attractions include a perfume factory and model railway exibition.

Bradford on Avon - In and around the unspoilt market town of Bradford on Avon which is the last outpost of the Cotswolds in the western corner of Wiltshire close to the borders of Somerset.

The magical appeal of the towns position on the banks of the River Avon gives visitors a wonderful setting for leisure, cultural and tourist activities.

Bradford on Avon has delightful shops, restaurants, hotels and bed and breakfasts lining the narrow streets of the town centre. The surrounding hillside is covered with Cotswold stone houses and cottages of every shape and size.

Broadway - The charming village of Broadway nestles beneath the Worcestershire hills of the Cotswolds and attracts visitors from across the world – all drawn to the beauty and attractions of this quintessential English village known as The Jewel of the Cotswolds.

Broadway is a delightful, vibrant village with a superb range of unique shops and designer boutiques, restaurants and hotels but is also steeped in history with its origins dating back to Roman times. Over the centuries it has made its mark in many different ways. In the 1600s it was a major stopping place for the stage coaches that travelled between Worcester and London – with the world-renowned Lygon Arms remaining popular with travelers and visitors.

Broadway has so much to offer its visitors – whether on a ‘day trip’ or for those interested in soaking up all that the village has to offer during a longer stay. Broadway offers accommodation to suit every budget – including award-winning guest houses, charming self-catering cottages, through to world renowned luxury hotels.

For many, Broadway also serves as a ‘base’ for exploring other parts of the Cotswolds and surrounding area. Stratford-On-Avon, Cheltenham Spa and Winchcombe are all within easy access.

The Vale of Evesham is a region which produces some of this country's finest produce and Broadway is no exception.  Our asparagus is second to none, our soft fruits and plums are world beaters and our lush soil ensures that all our local produce tastes exactly as nature intended.  Our local organic cheese producer has won numerous awards.  Our local restaurants and hotels take full advantage of these blessings making Broadway and the surrounding area a wonderful place to eat and drink.

Castle Combe - Castle Combe lies in a valley and is considered one of the loveliest villages in the Cotswolds. It is one of the most visited and frequently finds favour as a backdrop for period television and cinema dramas.

Its adjacent wooded hill was fortified by Britons, Saxons and Normans and like most other places in the Cotswolds, Castle Combe's prosperity was based on sheep and wool. The village was important enough at one time to be granted the privilege of holding a fair where wool and sheep were traded.

The village is built around the 14th-century Market Cross with the old water pump beside it. A few yards away are the remains of the Butter Cross which was dismantled during the 19th century. St. Andrew's Church is probably 12th century and of particular interest inside is the modified 15th-century clock which used to ring the hours from the tower.

The classic view of the village is from across the bridge by the old weavers' cottages. The small local museum is up the hill away from the village towards the parking area (where tourists to the village are requested to park).

Charlbury -  located 6 miles North of Witney in the English County of Oxfordshire. The small Market Town of Charlbury is snugly situated in the Evenload valley well away from busy main roads. It looks across the valley to the fine 600 acre Cornbury Park estate almost surrounded by the great woodlands of Wychwood Forest.

The town started life as a small village in a clearing in Wychwood Forest. The town was made prosperous during the 18th century thanks to it's glove making industry. In the attractive town nowadays, there are many fascinating old buildings to see and many shops and country inns.

Chipping Campden - is one of the loveliest small towns in the Cotswolds and a gilded masterpiece of limestone and craftmanship.The main street curves in a shallow arc lined with a succession of ancient houses each grafted to the next but each with its own distinctive embellishments.

Pevsner described Chipping Campden as ‘the best piece of townscape
in Gloucestershire, arguably one of the best in England’.

As the name suggests ("Chipping" means market or market place from the old English "Ceping"). Chipping Campden was one of the most important of the medieval wool towns and famous throughout Europe. This legacy of fame and prosperity is everything that give the town its character.

Chipping Norton - is the highest town in Oxfordshire, situated on the western slopes of a The 'wool' church of St Mary at Chipping Nortonhillside that was once the site of a Norman castle. 'Chipping' is derived from ceapen, an old English word meaning market. Alternatively the meaning comes from the medieval word Chepynge meaning long Market Square as will also be found at Chipping Campden and Chipping Sodbury. There has been a market here since the 13th century and was a major wool-trading town in the 15th century; the great 'wool' church of St Mary, built in perpendicular style, testifies to its prosperity.

The church has one of the finest interiors among the great Cotswold churches. The slender supporting pillars and the clerestory windows form an almost continuous band of glass above the nave to give the church a feeling of great height and lightness. The church is also noted for its unusual hexangonal porch with vaulted ceiling.

The lively little town has a vibrancy about it, but remains unpretentious and the everyday lives of those who live and work there have so far not been overshadowed by the effects of tourism - in other words its a 'real' Cotswold town with 'real' shops and fondly known as 'Chippy' to the locals. It is also known, importantly, for having the last fish and chip shop for 30 miles in the Cheltenham direction.

Chipping Norton offers the visitor plenty of retail therapy including several antique shops and a wide selection of restaurants, Inns and Pubs.

Chipping Sodbury - lies at the foot of the southern Cotswold escarpment below Dodington Park in southern Gloucestershire 8 miles north-west of Bristol. As the Chipping in its name implies, it was once an important market centre in medieval times and stands at the crossroads on the main route between Bristol, Oxford and London.

Chipping Sodbury is very similar to Chipping Norton in that it has a long market square, or Chepynge, as it was called in the medieval times and hence 'Chipping'. Known as Broad Street, this is bordered with a wonderful assortment of houses from every period, but largely 17th-century Cotswold stone buildings or Georgian of mellow brick. Most of these are now occupied by bright and cheerful shops which still retain a lively country atmosphere.

Guiting Power - The typical Cotswolds village of Guiting Power lies on a tributory of the river Windrush, its russet-coloured houses clustered round a sloping green. The buildings are restored by a self-help housing trust, initially set up for twelve cottages in 1934.

This delightful village is a fascinating example of the unconcious harmony created by Cotswold masons over the centuries. The cottages, shops and inns are all beautifully cared for. The Farmers Arms in the village and the Hollow Bottom Inn on the road leading to Winchcombe form welcome breaks on a number of glorious walks that can be taken in this area - north-westwards to Guiting Woods, south-eastwards down the Windrush Valley to Naunton, or south-westwards to Hawling.

Malmesbury - is an ancient market town, dating from the fifth century, and a place of pilgimage since the early times of Christianity in Britain. The town is the oldest borough in England, having been granted its charter by King Edward, son of Alfred the Great, in 924. The first king of all England, King Athelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, made Malmesbury his capital in AD925. Malmesbury also boasts having England's oldest hotel, the Old Bell has been offering bed and board since 1220.

The town offers a wealth of 17th and 18th century buildings, many of which are now host to bright and friendly shops and inns.

Malmesbury is famous for its 7th century abbey and the Abbey Gardens including its extensive collection of roses. With the abbey as dramatic backdrop its five acres feature more than 10,000 plant varieties spread between formal gardens dotted with fish ponds and a wilder section that cascades into a valley cut through by a tributary of the River Avon.

Minchinhampton -  is a thriving small hilltop town on a tongue of high land between the 'Golden Valley' and the Nailsworth valley. Located in southern Gloucestershire 1.5 miles North East of Nailsworth.

Situated on the eastern fringes of Minchinhampton Common, high above the valleys once prosperous with the production of cloth, this is a very attractive small Cotswold town.

Market HouseCentred on its High Street and old Market Square, the main features of which are the late 17th-century Market House supported on stone columns, the handsome Crown Hotel, and the Post Office, a genuine Queen Anne building.

The interesting church has a truncated spire looking over the Market Square but at the same time stands aloof from it. The church was given Caen's Abbaye aux Dames by William the Conqueror, and then in 1415 passed to Syon Abbey, in whose hands it remained until the Dissolution.

The present building dates from the 12th century and is full of interest. There are old cloth mills in the valleys to the south of Minchinhampton.

Moreton-in-Marsh - is one of the principal market towns in the northern Cotswolds situated on the Fosse Way and now served by the main line railway from London Paddington. It grew up in the thirteenth century as a market town with a wide main street, narrow burgage plots and back lanes. There still is a busy Tuesday market with about 200 stalls attracting many visitors. See image of Tolls charged in 1905.

Moreton has been a traveller's town for at least 1700 years and was used as a coaching station before the coming of the Oxford to Worcester railway in 1853. There are several pubs, inns, hotels, tea shops, restaurants and accommodation in the form of B&Bs and holiday cottages in the immediate vicinity. A popular caravan site exists just on the outskirts of the town.

Northleach - The Cotswold town of Northleach in Gloucestershire is located at an important crossroads, just off the roman road, the Fosse Way (A429) 10 miles north-east of Cirencester and 10 miles south-west of Stow-on-the-Wold. Northleach was at one time a great market town, celebrated throughout Europe as a major centre for the Cotswold wool trade. The fifteenth-century church of St Peter and St Paul, paid for by the wealth wool merchants, was built with stone dug from the quarry in the town itself and what is now the Market Square.

Snowshill - village sits on the top of the escarpement above the villages of Broadway, Buckland, and Laverton. It is a secluded village where ancient pretty cottages and a 19th century church cluster around a small green. As its name implies - if there is any snow about then you will find it here first.

Snowshill is renowned for its manor house, now administered by the National Trust. It is interesting architecturally as a typical 15th to 16th Century manor house, with a good dovecote. The beautiful gardens are terraced and were designed by Charles Wade.

On the site is a teashop and restaurant.

Here in Snowshill you will find ancient charm and peaceful ambling with refreshments to be had at the Snowshill Arms pub.

Village of Snowshillview of the village of Snowshill

Stanton - is probably one of the prettiest and idyllic villages in the whole of the Cotswolds. Little changed in 300 years it nestles beneath the slopes of Shenbarrow Hill. It has a very pleasing long main street with several delightful corners where the ancient house are built in typical Cotswolds style with steeply pitched gables, mullioned windows and glowing honey coloured limestone walls.

The village contains a number of 16th and 17th century houses as well as a restored , medieval cross and a church in which some Norman work is still evident.

Stanton is a typical Cotswold sleepy village with no signs of commercialisation or shops, except for The Mount pub which stands on a mount at the end of the village with spectacular views across the Vale of Evesham towards the Malvern Hills and Welsh mountains beyond.

Stow-on-the-Wold - is a delightful market town and along with Moreton in Marsh, perhaps the best known of the small Cotswolds towns.The Cotswold Market Town of Stow

Stow-on the-Wold stands exposed on a 700 feet high hill at a junction of seven major roads, including the Roman Fosse Way.

At the height of the Cotswold wool industry the town was famous for it's huge annual fairs where as many as 20,000 sheep were sold at one time.

The vast Market Square testifies to the towns former importance. At one end stands the ancient cross, and at the other the town stocks, shaded between an old elm tree. Around the square the visitor is faced with an elegant array of Cotswold town houses.

Stow is an important shopping centre and has many fine Antique shops, Art galleries, Gifts and Crafts and is a centre for Walking the Cotswolds countryside.

Read about the last battle of the English Civil War at Stow-on-the-Wold in 1646.

Stroud - In ‘the Covent Garden of the Cotswolds’, you will find an eclectic mix of galleries, cafes and shops – selling everything from fossils to fairies and vintage to vinyl - and one of the best Farmers’ Markets in the country. Set against the beautiful backdrop of the Five Valleys, the town is easily reachable by train, bus or car.
Stroud thrived on its woollen mills in the Industrial Revolution, some of which now open to visitors to enjoy guided tours. The town features some interesting landmark buildings and you can learn more on the Heritage Board Map Trail, from the Tourist Information Centre in the historic Subscription Rooms. Stroud is now a centre for the creative industries with writers, artists and craftspeople residing in the five sweeping valleys encircling the town, made famous by Laurie Lee’s “Cider with Rosie”. Throughout the year, the town is home to a varied programme of festivals including contemporary textiles and arts.
The Cotswold Way runs close by and Rodborough, Minchinhampton and Selsley Commons overlook the town. On the commons, you will find a mix of roaming cattle, walkers, horse-riders, paragliders, golfers, kite-flyers, picnicking families, orchids and rare butterflies.

A huge project is currently underway to restore the Stroudwater canal back to its former glory. Take the opportunity to walk or cycle along the tow path (Thames and Severn Way) stopping at a traditional pub or café on the way. To find out more, drop in to the Cotswold Canals Centre located at Wallbridge Lock in Stroud.

Tetbury - The town of Tetbury is in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds and is proud of it's 1300 years of recorded history since 681 when Tetta's Monastery was mentioned in a charter by King Ethelred of Mercia. In the Middle Ages, Tetbury was an important market town for the Cotswolds wool trade and the town centre is still dominated by the splendid pillared Market House built in 1655 (see main picture above). The town is known as an 'architectural gem' as many of the wool merchants houses still look as they did 300 years ago.

Tetbury is well known for its 25 antique shops and its close proximity to Prince Charles's residence of High Grove.

The town has a wonderful variety of shops including many specialist shops offering a wide choice. Many of the shops are individually owned where you will receive personal attention of the owner and experience a level of service long since vanished from many high streets.

Several of Tetbury's retailers have received national awards for excellence and the visitor will notice that many of the towns businesses bear the Prince of Wales feathers as a sign that they hold the Royal Warrant.

The market town of Tetbury has a wide choice of tea shops, bistros, cafes, pubs and restaurants which offer a good choice of food and drink.

Upper Slaughter - The village of Upper Slaughter in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds is one mile away from Lower Slaughter and resides on a gentle grassy slope above the stream that connects the two villages.

Once the village was dominated by a Norman castle but all that can be seen of it today are the remains of the motte and bailey.

The building that dominates Upper Slaughter is the beautiful gabled Manor House which is one of the finest buildings in the area. The oldest part of the house dates from the 15th century but the front is Elizabethan. The Manor is now a hotel.

Winchcombe - The ancient Saxon town of Winchcombe is situated in a beautiful Cotswold valley mid-way between Broadway and Cheltenham (approx each 15 minutes away by car).

The name Winchcombe means 'valley with a bend', and today the town still retains street which curve gracefully along the 'combe'.

The inns, restaurants, tea rooms, and shops set among Winchcombe's three main streets are full of the character of times past.

The town has Walkers are Welcome status which means they will endeavour to make your stay and experience memorable. The town also organises a very popular annual walking festival in May and has recently launched a brand new walking route, the Winchcombe Way.

Local Attractions

Sudely Castle with beautiful gardens. Queen Katherine Parr is entombed here.

Cheltenham racecourse at Prestbury Park is a big attraction for National Hunt fans, and the Prescott Hillclimb Course hold motoring events at various times throughout the year.

The ancient abbey at Hailes is a few miles out towards Broadway and the the stone age 'long barrow' burial ground at Belas Knap is located on the hill overlooking Corndean a few miles out on the road to Andoversford. A short walk from the road and worth it for the magnificent views.

Wotton-under-Edge - Unlike many Cotswolds country towns in which the parish church, market place and principal buildings lie close to one another, Wotton-under-Edge has no recognised centre point. Its church and the Chipping, or old market place, are nearly half a mile apart and separated by the busy Long Street and High Street.

The 'Edge' refers to the Cotswold edge, under which Wotton-under-Edge nestles, overlooking the Severn Vale. An interesting Heritage Centre tells some of the history of the town. This is an excellent centre for walking and is on the Cotswold Way. Its main street has been called a 'department store within a street'. The refurbished Wotton Electric Picture House, an all digital cinema, offering an enhanced 3D film experience, attracts both mainstream and contemporary films. There is a vibrant community arts centre, a highly respected auction room and the town has an outdoor swimming pool with retractable cover, open in the summer. On Sunday afternoons - April to October - many visitors enjoy the excellent "Town Hall Teas" provided in the Town Hall by local charities and groups.