Things to do in The Cotswolds

Our most recommended things to do in The Cotswolds

From London: Full-Day Cotswolds Small-Group Tour

1. From London: Full-Day Cotswolds Small-Group Tour

Spend a day exploring the quintessentially British countryside of the Cotswolds, an area known for its green landscapes, charming villages, and honey-colored stone cottages. Enjoy the highlights of the Cotswolds, as well as some of the quieter, less-seen areas of the countryside. First, stop in the small town of Burford, one of England’s most unchanged medieval towns with many buildings over 500 years old. Visit the historic church, stroll along the attractive high street, and explore the town. Next head to Bibury, known as the prettiest village in all of England. Wander along the river and see Arlington Row, a set of weaver's cottages that are now one of the symbols of the Cotswolds. Enjoy free time to explore the enchanting village. Continue on to the picturesque town of Bourton-on-the-water. Take ample time to stroll by the river and its small bridges, admire the stone cottages and have some lunch.  Cap your tour with a visit to Stow-on-the-Wold, a jumble of inns and antique shops situated around the ancient market square. Stow has been a center of trade in the Cotswolds for centuries and was the location of the last battle of the English Civil War in 1646. It's also the location of ‘England’s oldest pub’.  Afterward, the tour returns to the meeting point.

From London: Oxford and Cotswolds Villages Day Trip

2. From London: Oxford and Cotswolds Villages Day Trip

Embark on a full-day guided trip to Oxford and Cotswolds from London. See the historic Oxford University, explore the Cotswolds villages, and admire the lush English countryside. Depart London and travel by a luxury Mercedes minibus and spend the morning exploring the beautiful university city of Oxford. Wander amongst the listed buildings and colleges, and climb one of the vantage points for breathtaking views of the spires. Marvel at the Ashmolean Museum's collection before making your way to the quaint Cotswolds villages to see traditional tiny cottages built from stone. Arrive at the village of Burford, the Gateway to the Cotswolds, and lose yourself in this bustling market town. Make the short journey to Bibury and stroll to the famous and fairytale-like Arlington Row. Admire these 14th-century cottages and gain an insight into the history from your guide. After, enjoy the scenic ride back to London.

From London: Oxford, Stratford & Cotswolds Guided Day-Trip

3. From London: Oxford, Stratford & Cotswolds Guided Day-Trip

Embark on a full-day guided tour of the English countryside from London. Admire the fairytale houses of the Cotswolds, the historic Oxford University, and the birthplace of William Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon. Depart London on a full-day tour that takes you west to experience the beauty of the Cotswolds countryside, and Oxford and Stratford, England’s most romantic cities. Head to Stratford-upon-Avon in the Warwickshire countryside, and enjoy 2 hours in the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Your guide will provide suggestions on the best sites to see. Take a walk around the town center to see beautiful Tudor-style buildings and sites connected with the life of Shakespeare, including the Swan Theatre. Next, your drive will continue through the Cotswolds, as you enjoy views of the lovely landscape and stone villages. A designated area of outstanding natural beauty, this is the English countryside at its finest. Continue to Oxford to explore the most famous university city in the world. Take a walk among the college buildings and admire their dreamy spires. Your guide will recommend a walking route that covers the most famous sites, including the Bridge of Sighs and Christchurch Cathedral. Learn about Oxford’s connection with Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter. Find a great place for a meal (you guide will provide recommendations), or join local scholars and academics over a pint in the city’s most haunted pub. You'll be back in London in the evening and you can use the London Underground to travel quickly to all areas of London.

From London: Full-Day Cotswolds Tour with Lunch

4. From London: Full-Day Cotswolds Tour with Lunch

Enjoy the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, and visit 4 of its loveliest villages – Burford, Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Stow-on-the-Wold. Travel through the Cotswolds, an area seemingly unchanged with the passing of time. See rolling landscapes, dry stone walls, quaint churches, and streams that tumble past tiny villages and charming hamlets. On this full-day excursion from London, you’ll begin your tour in Burford, where the magnificent High Street slopes down to the River Windrush. See the town’s small tea houses before heading south to picturesque Bibury for lunch. Dine in one of the prettiest villages in England. A 2-course meal awaits you in the heart of the Cotswolds at the Swan Hotel. The restaurant, overlooking the River Coln, is housed in a 17th-century former coach inn, and serves a popular range of traditional dishes, along with ales and fine wines. Explore Bourton-on-the-Water, one of the loveliest villages in the Cotswolds. Afterwards, you’ll travel to Stow-on-the-Wold, a small market town known for its annual fairs. Enjoy a guided walk through the town center before returning to London.

London: Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds, and Warwick Day Trip

5. London: Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds, and Warwick Day Trip

Make the most of your time in England with a day trip to the English countryside. Enjoy a walking tour of Oxford city and university including entry to the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, witness the scenery of the Cotswolds, enter Warwick Castle, and visit the birthplace of Shakespeare. Walking tour of Oxford Follow in the footsteps of Oxford's famous students, from C.S. Lewis to Bill Clinton, as you stroll the captivating college courtyards and cobbled lanes of this historic university town, on this guided day trip by bus from London. Take in the famous 'dreaming spires' and see the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. Be captivated by the unspoiled narrow alleys and ancient squares of this naturally beautiful town. Oxford is famous for being home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world – countless bright young things have wandered the town’s cobbled streets over the years! During this guided walking tour you will see the stunning University Church of St Mary the Virgin and furtively discover unspoiled narrow alleyways, ancient squares, and towering spires. Entry to the 13th-century University Church of St Mary the Virgin. Soak in spectacular sights of the unique baroque design and architecture as you explore the center of the University of Oxford. This absolute gem is a must-visit on your trip to Oxford. The Cotswolds Enjoy views of the breathtaking countryside, sleepy villages, and bustling market towns as you drive through the charming scenery of one of England's most beautiful regions. Stratford–upon–Avon  A unique market town, famous as the home of William Shakespeare, arguably the world's greatest writer. Visit the picturesque half-timber house where the legendary bard was born, and gain fascinating insights into his childhood. Shakespeare’s birthplace: See where the famous playwright grew up and spent his years as a married man. Warwick Castle  Be part of Britain’s greatest medieval experience deep in the heart of Warwick Castle. Immerse yourself in battle preparations and feel the weight of a medieval sword. Become a soldier – try on a battle helmet for size. Visit the spectacular State Rooms and feast your eyes on Victorian party preparations. 

From London: The Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace & Downtown Abbey

6. From London: The Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace & Downtown Abbey

Tick off some of southern England’s top attractions on a guided day trip by bus from London to Blenheim Palace and Cotswolds villages, including the Bampton filming location of the TV show Downtown Abbey. If you prefer exploring historic towns over attractions, enjoy the flexible tour option. Board your coach in London and head out of the city and towards your first stop at Blenheim Palace. Witness this masterpiece of English Baroque architecture which was also the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Visit the stunning State Rooms, brimming with priceless works of art and magnificent tapestries (if option selected), and admire the 754-hectare gardens, including an exquisite water garden. Next, head into the charming Cotswolds region for a stop at the authentic village of Bourton-on-the-Water. Explore this picturesque location, complete with many attractive bridges crossing the gently-flowing river at its center. Complete your experience with a trip to Bampton; the film setting for many of the famous landmarks featured in the popular Downton Abbey TV series. See the buildings that played the part of the home of Isobel Crawley, the Downton Cottage Hospital, the church, and also the location for two fictional local pubs, The Grantham Arms and The Dog & Duck.

From London: Small Group Cotswolds Villages Tour

7. From London: Small Group Cotswolds Villages Tour

Depart from London and leave the busy streets of the city behind as you head towards the Cotswolds, the single largest Designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK. With its rustic rural charm, rolling hills, vibrant market towns, and picture-perfect villages, the Cotswolds covers nearly 800 square miles of unspoiled countryside. Take a trip through its rolling hills, home to some of the most famous and historic towns and villages of England.  An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this range of hills in west-central England is packed with picturesque villages built of Cotswold stone, beautiful churches, and vast manor houses.  As you make your way through little villages and historic market towns you will have the opportunity to explore the honey-colored cottages of Bourton-on-the-Water, Bibury, and Burford.  Highlights include a stunning row of 17th-century weaver’s cottages and a tranquil river flowing through the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’.

From London: Oxford, Stratford, and Cotswolds Day Trip

8. From London: Oxford, Stratford, and Cotswolds Day Trip

After a morning pick-up in central London, you’ll head to Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, and the Cotswolds on a full-day tour that takes you through English history and beautiful countryside. Visit Shakespeare’s Stratford, take a short walk past the house where Shakespeare was born in the center of town, and then visit Shakespeare's Schoolroom with your tour manager. Afterward, you will have free time to explore Stratford with its rich Tudor and Shakespearean history. Enjoy a drive through the picturesque Cotswolds, an area of astounding natural beauty. Admire the landscapes of beautiful rolling hills and honey-colored stone villages. Weather permitting there will be time for photo stops. Next stop is Oxford for a walking tour with a guide who will show you many points of interest, such as the Sheldonian Theater, Balliol College, Christ Church, and the Museum of Science. Your expected arrival time back in central London is 19:00.

From Oxford: Cotswold Explorer Full-Day Tour

9. From Oxford: Cotswold Explorer Full-Day Tour

Start your unforgettable Cotswold journey by boarding the minibus in Oxford. Then, set off on a scenic drive to the charming village of Minster Lovell. Enjoy seeing the pretty thatched houses and exploring the ruined 15th century Hall. Continue the route through the idyllic villages of Asthall and Swinbrook to Burford, the 'Gateway to the Cotswolds'. Make a stop here to give you time to stroll around the sloping High Street and browse in the quirky shops and cafes. Next, travel further on your panoramic drive through the old quarrying villages of Taynton and the Barringtons towards Bourton-on-the-Water, the 'Venice of the Cotswolds'. Take a walk along the quaint River Windrush crossed with delightful stone bridges. From Bourton-on-the-Water, follow the route through some enchanting Cotswold villages to Broadway with its golden stone houses. Find a pub or cafe for lunch in this village which inspired artists and writers, such as Frank Millet, J M Barrie, and William Morris. After lunch, visit the beautiful market town of Chipping Campden, with its old market hall and wool church. Then, explore Stow-on-the-Wold, the highest town in the Cotswolds. Here you can browse among the narrow footpaths and the antique shops and art galleries. Finally, return to Oxford via the bustling market town of Chipping Norton with a final brief photo stop in Woodstock, the site of Blenheim Palace (the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill).

From Oxford: Cotswolds Adventurer Tour

10. From Oxford: Cotswolds Adventurer Tour

Be introduced to some of the most enchanting villages in the Cotswolds on a full-day tour from Oxford. Head to the ancient town of Bampton, one of the oldest towns in England, known as the village in the TV series Downton Abbey. Stop to see the village church and library, where many scenes of this popular show were filmed. Continue to Kelmscott, once the summer home of the famous Arts and Crafts movement founder, William Morris. Afterwards you’ll visit Lechlade, an old market town on the River Thames. From there, your route takes you through pretty stone villages with a chance to stop and have a refreshment in a typical village shop. A short scenic drive takes you to Bibury to see its 17th-century cottages, beautiful river, and trout farm. Following the picturesque Coln Valley, drive through narrow country lanes and over rolling hills, before arriving in the quiet town of Winchcombe. Enjoy lunch in a rustic pub and browse the quirky shops. After lunch, a panoramic drive takes you past Sudeley Castle, the burial place of Catherine Parr, 6th wife of Henry VIII. Continue through pretty hamlets to Stow-on-the-Wold, to browse its quaint cafes and antiques shops. Return to Oxford via Woodstock, home to Blenheim Palace where Sir Winston Churchill was born.

Frequently asked questions about The Cotswolds

What top attractions are a must-see in The Cotswolds?

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Other Sightseeing Options in The Cotswolds

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What people are saying about The Cotswolds

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 2,483 reviews

The guide-driver of such day-trip tour make or break the whole tour experience. We are super fortunate to have Kevin as our guide-driver on 31 Oct 22. He is a true professional. He not only provides clear and comprehensive guides, he is also very caring of travelers’ well being. Kevin is truly a tip-top professional! Well done, Kevin!

It was amazing. The lady Crisi i think, was so polite and nice and she knows a lot about London. I would definitely recommended the trip to every one who goes to England. The driver was also amazing and the driving was very good.

Great trip. The guide Eileen was knowledgeable, friendly and very funny. You could not ask for a better guide. This trip was a great way to experience some new places and get a feel for something different.

It’s well planned. It covers 4 towns which is great for those whose time is tight. We really enjoyed the trip. The guide is hardworking and humorous. We loved this trip

everything was great, the guide was very nice and sweet, the english countryside is beautiful and so worth visiting!