Places to visit in Europe

The Cotswolds romantic towns and villages

The charming little village of Bibury is probably one of the prettiest in England

The Cotswolds region is undoubtedly a charming and romantic destination for all lovers of beautiful things "so british"! The Cotswolds have a lot of smaller towns and villages typically English. The houses of the English Cotswolds villages are built with limestone. For centuries, this stone was used for all constructions: cottages, manor houses, churches or pubs ... Tourists come here to soak up the atmosphere "so british", to hike from village to village, for shopping, to relax and live the pace of the past...

Villages of the Cotswolds, a charming destination

There are hundreds of towns and villages in the Cotswolds all of which will be a discovery on their own. The churches and streets of some small cities show how the region was prosperous at the time of sheep ranching and wool trade.

The places people talk about are Winchcombe (and Sudeley Castle there), Nailsworth, Snowshill (eccentric museum in a lovely house), Painswick. If you are near Slimbridge on the Severn Estuary you should go there - a historic wild bird reserve with something to interest everyone.

The traditionally beautiful part of the Cotswolds is the northern part. Places like Bourton-on-the-Water, Moreton-in-Marsh, Broadway, Chipping Campden, Stow-on-the-Wold, Burford, Stanway, Stanton. There are famous hotels and restaurants like the Lygon Arms in Bourton-on-the-Water, the Pudding Club in Mickleton (this is a resto in defence of the Great British Pudding - you don't have to be a member! - it's in a place called the Three Ways House Hotel).

The best places to visit and walk around are Stow on the Wold, and Chipping Campden - each has great church, gardens, pubs and hotels, a stylish craft centre and of course all the usual antique shops. We had a great lunch out in the garden of Hicks's Brasserie, which is part of the Cotswold House Hotel in Chipping Campden. There is a pub - hotel called the Royalist in Stow that has exposed beams and walls that are more than 1000 years old. Just north, there is Hidcote, perhaps the best garden, very influential...

Here is a list (alphabetical order, not an interest ranking!) of some of the most beautiful villages of the Cotswolds:

Bourton-on-the-Water or the "Venice of the Cotswolds", is one of the most popular destinations. Charming low bridges spanning the River Windrush. Bourton on the Water is a city with many shops and traditional tearooms. The two delightful small villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter are nearby.

Cirencester is the former "capital" of the Cotswolds. Lovely village with a beautiful church dating back to flourishing medieval wool  trade and nicknamed the "Cathedral of the Cotswolds." In Cirencester we will also visit the Brewery Arts Centre. Beautiful shops.

Chipping Campden arrives prominently in the list of visitors. Enjoy the Trails for walking around a long main street bustling with superbly preserved historic buildings, including Town Hall and Market Hall. Many shops and cafes. Less groups and coaches in Chipping Campden than in some other villages of the Cotswolds.

Fairford is built on the river Coln. See the very beautiful St Mary church with stained glass, as well as remarkable relay posts and picturesque hotels. Fairford is close to the Cotswold Water Park and the famous village of Bibury dubbed "the most beautiful village in England."

Lechlade-on-Thames is located on the waterway section of the Thames. Lechlade-on-Thames is a very lively village with remarkable bridges and a beautiful medieval church.

Moreton-in-Marsh is a large village of the 13th century. Previously, Moreton-in-Marsh was an important meeting place on the Roman Fosse Way, the ancient Roman road. The tradition has remained: the village of Moreton-in-Marsh welcomes every Tuesday one of the biggest street markets in the Cotswolds.

Northleach is a small medieval town intact with a remarkable 15th century church.

Painswick is nicknamed the "Queen of the Cotswolds." A perfect little jewel on the hillside, with steep streets and traditional houses.

Stow-on-the-Wold is the highest town in the Cotswolds. Built around an impressive square where once the sheep fairs were organised. Nowadays Stow-on-the-Wold is known for its antique shops.

Tetbury was an important town in the Middle Ages, but the first written traces its history back to 681 BC. Historical buildings, including a pillar hall (covered market), the houses of wool merchants and cottages of the weavers. The magnificent Westonbirt Arboretum is located nearby.

Tewkesbury is a pretty small town located at the north edge of the Cotswolds. Outstanding Norman abbey dating back to 1090. Tewkesbury's buildings are notable for their architecture, a lot of secret gardens and a maze of narrow streets with almost 30 total (follow the route "Alley Trail").

Winchcombe is a small medieval town well preserved, certainly one of the most beautiful places in the southern Cotswolds. Many antique shops and specialty shops. Sudeley Castle, the last remains of the Queen Katherine Parr is nearby. It is the image that everyone could have of an English fairy tale castle.

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