Cotswolds villages share a distinct trend of historic stone buildings, babbling rivers running through them and a peaceful country atmosphere. Some of the most delightful ways to enjoy a picturesque Cotswold village is to go on a road trip, cycling tour, walk up and down the river paths or horseback ride.

    Each village has a unique identity, whether it’s a town museum or a particular heritage site, like the Broadway Tower in Broadway and the Market Hall in Chipping Campden. Check out our list of the most picturesque villages in the Cotswolds to get a taste of what you can see in this beautiful part of England.

    1

    Painswick

    Explore the famous Rococo Garden

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    Painswick is a perfectly picturesque village in the Cotswolds and is home to the popular Rococo Garden. It's also noted for its towering yew trees and historic churches. Historically a wool-trade town, Painswick is now a great holiday destination.

    On your escape to this small town, you can explore the narrow stone streets as you head to the annual art festival or find something unique in one of the local boutiques. The Rococo Garden is a peaceful environment where you can visit the world-renowned snowdrops.

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    2

    Castle Combe

    Explore the historic manor and the modern motor racing circuit

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    Castle Combe is a lovely village with a small river running under arched stone bridges, past quaint stone buildings that line narrow streets. Appropriately secluded, you’ll find Castle Combe is a bit of a drive north of Bath.

    From the ancient church to the medieval town square, every part of Castle Combe that you explore reveals a bit more of its fascinating history. The historic manor house is a 700-year-old English estate that is covered in ivy and has been entertaining guests for nearly as long. Don't expect peace and quiet, though – the Castle Combe Circuit is less than half a mile east.

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    3

    Chipping Campden

    Visit a centuries-old village centre

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    Chipping Campden is a charming village in the Cotswolds with masterful stonework and well-preserved limestone buildings. Many come to Chipping Campden to stroll around and take pictures of the centuries-old centre, most notably the 17th-century Market Hall that's still used to this day for local markets.

    St James Church in Chipping Campden is another top site for its variety of extravagant monuments and a massive stone tower with portions dating back to the Norman era.

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    4

    Upper Slaughter

    Venture through the green countryside along the River Eye

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    You can find the peaceful community of Upper Slaughter on the banks of River Eye, where the sprawling green countryside is as compelling as the historic stone village centre. You can come for a day of sightseeing and delight in the area's natural beauty.

    The river is a prominent part of Upper Slaughter, and it can be a good starting point for meandering through the beautiful village. Other interesting heritage sites include the Lords of the Manor Hotel and the Upper Slaughter Manor.

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    5

    Lower Slaughter

    Explore old stone structures and learn about the Normans

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    Just south of Upper Slaughter, Lower Slaughter has a similar appeal for the River Eye and quaint, historic buildings. With sites easily accessible by vehicle, the top things to do in Lower Slaughter typically involve sightseeing around the unique, centuries-old stone structures.

    The Old Mill Museum provides a fascinating and educational look into the region dating back to the Norman Conquest. A more modern activity would be to check out the local brewing company. On warm summer days, you’ll be pleased to find one of the icebox tricycles pedalling around to sell ice cream.

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    6

    Bibury

    Visit one of the most beautiful villages in England

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    Bibury maintains a claim to the title of 'most beautiful village in England', and the quaint stone homes with slate roofs look like a scene out of a Tolkien book. You'll find endless photo opportunities among the many centuries-old, moss-covered buildings that often serve as pubs or hotels.

    The town gardens and green spaces are immaculately maintained, which makes spring an ideal time to visit. You could be one of the thousands of annual visitors from across the world to this little nook of paradise.

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    7

    Kingham

    Enjoy time away from the city in this quiet village

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    The village and civil parish of Kingham is one of England’s most elegant small towns. This is because of the typical natural beauty and historic stone houses that are representative of the Cotswolds.

    The seclusion of Kingham is one of the more charming aspects because it is still quite easily accessible by vehicle, and there is a nearby train station. One of the best ways to fully enjoy Kingham is to take a walking tour or go cycling throughout the town.

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    8

    Burford

    Visit the Gateway to the Cotswolds

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    Burford is sometimes called the 'Gateway to the Cotswolds'. This small medieval village has the hearty stone houses, historically quaint downtown and elegantly manicured gardens that are representative of the Cotswolds. Burford is also very easy to drive to, as it is right off A40.

    The river views in Burford are quite breathtaking, and many visitors choose to hike or cycle up and down the winding river paths. While historic sites are the main attraction, you can still get in a round of golf at the nearby course.

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    9

    Bourton-on-the-Water

    Visit the Venice of the Cotswolds

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    Bourton-on-the-Water is known as the 'Venice of the Cotswolds' because the vibrating beauty of this picturesque village revolves around the low bridges and winding streams. You can walk around and see an abundance of tall willows that feed off of the rich riverside soil.

    For nature lovers, Bourton-on-the-Water has a bird sanctuary with all sorts of exotic species, both local and from around the world. For car lovers, there is a motoring museum with vintage cars and vintage toy cars.

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    10

    Broadway

    Explore a historic village and the iconic tower

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    Broadway is fantastic for a short holiday or a day trip to see the historic village, with its classic Cotswold stone buildings and the iconic Broadway Tower. Larger than most Cotswolds villages, Broadway is also accustomed to a higher number of annual visitors, and that has resulted in a greater number of shops and restaurants.

    The most famous destination in Broadway is the Broadway Tower, which is a 3-storey castle-like structure set on a hillside where you can see to the horizon in every direction.

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