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The Cotswolds Castle & palace tours

Our most recommended The Cotswolds Castle & palace tours

From London: The Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace & Downtown Abbey

1. 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.

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

2. 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. 

Warwick, Oxford and Stratford Full-Day Tour from London

3. Warwick, Oxford and Stratford Full-Day Tour from London

Journey back more than 1,000 years and learn about the bloody battles and extravagant banquets of Warwick Castle on this day trip from London by bus. See where Shakespeare was born and explore the campus of Oxford.  Hop aboard a climate-controlled bus and relax on the drive to Warwick Castle. Admire the Great Hall and State Rooms, and climb the towers and ramparts for an archer’s view of the historic town.  Join Richard Neville as he prepares for battle at the multi-sensory Kingmaker attraction, or stroll through the landscaped gardens. Board the bus for the drive to Stratford-upon-Avon. Gain fascinating insights into Shakespeare at his birthplace.  Discover the scenic villages of the Cotswolds on the drive to Oxford. Stop for a guided walking tour of the university city. Take in the famous colleges that date back to the 13th century. Listen to tales of former students such as Bill Clinton, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Lewis Carroll. Discover where Harry Potter was filmed at Christ Church college before the drive back to London.

From London: Blenheim Palace & the Cotswolds with Lunch

4. From London: Blenheim Palace & the Cotswolds with Lunch

Discover the captivating Cotswolds! Enjoy views of breathtaking countryside, sleepy villages, and bustling market towns on this panoramic tour of one of England’s most beautiful regions. Bask in the beauty of Blenheim Palace! Early arrival at the Palace ensures an almost private visit of this fairy-tale country mansion. See the sumptuous State Rooms with their priceless treasures, stroll through sweeping landscaped gardens designed by Capability Brown, and grab a photo opportunity at the shimmering lake. Known as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’, the picturesque village of Bourton–on–the–Water boasts of many traditional features of the Cotswolds. Take time to marvel at its elegant low bridges and stroll along the magnificent Main Street. Estimated arrival time back to London is around 6.30 pm.

From London: Downton Abbey & the Cotswolds Private Day Trip

5. From London: Downton Abbey & the Cotswolds Private Day Trip

Visit the village of Bampton; the film setting for many of the famous landmarks featured within the popular Downton Abbey TV series. See the buildings that played the part of the home of Isobel Crawley, the Downton Cottage Hospital. The local church is where Lady Mary marries both Matthew and Henry Talbot, and where Edith is both jilted at the altar and marries the man of her dreams – Bertie Pelham. The location of fictional local pub The Grantham Arms. Blenheim Palace Blenheim Palace is a masterpiece of English Baroque architecture and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The stunning State Rooms are brimming with priceless works of art and magnificent tapestries. The Palace is still inhabited today by the Duke of Marlborough. The Gardens are set in over 754 hectares of land with an exquisite water garden. The Cotswolds In the Cotswolds you'll visit one the areas most beautiful villages, Bourton-on-the-Water. This is a must-see village, referred to as the 'Venice of the Cotswolds' due to the number of attractive bridges that cross the gently-flowing river at its center.

From London: Cotswolds, Country Pub Lunch, & Blenheim Palace

6. From London: Cotswolds, Country Pub Lunch, & Blenheim Palace

Drive through the narrow, winding lanes of the Windrush Valley to Minster Lovell, with its ribbon of thatched cottages lining the main street. Meander on through Asthall and Swinbrook. picture-perfect houses nestle either side of the River Windrush as the bus travels up the narrow lanes to Stow-on-the-Wold. Admire the town square and the views from the hilltop, before stopping for a delicious lunch at one of the regions finest pubs, a traditional pub in Burford. Continue to neighbouring Bibury, a village referred to by authors and poets alike as "the prettiest in England." Admire the clear, trout-filled stream and village green, before traveling up the single-track country lane, through Ablington. Travel a little further along this secluded valley before heading onward to Bourton-on-the-Water, otherwise known as 'The Venice of the Cotswolds' with its stream running through the center of the village, dotted with stone bridges.  The tour then continues after lunch down to Woodstock and the magnificent Blenheim Palace - the largest privately-owned house in the country and birthplace of none other than Winston Churchill. Dating back to 1704, beautiful landscaped grounds surround the Palace. Explore the opulent interior, see the room where Sir Winston Churchill was born and marvel at the great dining hall and library. A wonderful way to end the day before the leisurely drive back to London.

Warwick Castle, Stratford, Oxford & Cotswolds Day Trip

7. Warwick Castle, Stratford, Oxford & Cotswolds Day Trip

Travel into Britain's past as you escape the hustle and bustle of London. Start off the day with a short walking tour of Oxford, home to one of the world’s most famous universities. The ivy-clad colleges that make up the university are seen as some of the finest architecture in Europe. There will be some free time to shop for souvenirs before heading through the Cotswolds towards Stratford. Private tour of Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall Described as ‘one of the most atmospheric, magical and important buildings in the whole of Britain,’ Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall opened it’s doors to the public for the first time in 2016 to mark the 400th anniversary of the writer's death. Step back in time to the 1570’s when William Shakespeare was a pupil learning to read and write, and see the room where leading theater companies came to perform - a strong influence on the young playwright. You will be invited to enjoy a private tour before the school opens to the public in the morning, including the chance to take part in a Tudor lesson, write with a quill and ink, witness the rare medieval wall paintings, and much more.  Stratford-Upon-Avon The birthplace of William Shakespeare, the greatest writer in the English language and home to the theatres of the world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford is a charming market town set in the heart of rural England. A delightful river winds its way through the town, past the beautiful Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare lies buried. See some wonderful half-wooden buildings that date back to Shakespeare's time, including Shakespeare’s birthplace. Warwick Castle This is, quite simply, the greatest medieval castle in Britain. With a history that dates back over 1,000 years, Warwick Castle will take you back in time to a world of sumptuous banquets, bloody battles, and royal splendor. Enter over the footbridge and explore the castle's ramparts, towers, and gardens. Oxford and the Cotswolds Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, boasts one of the world’s greatest and oldest universities as well as some of the finest architecture in Europe. The colleges themselves, which make up the university, are amongst the architectural highlights, their ivy-clad stone walls protecting beautiful chapels, halls and libraries. Soak up the atmosphere of this remarkable town with a guided walking tour of the city or take tea in the shop where the real-life Alice (inspiration for Alice in Wonderland) bought her sweets! Your trip to Oxford promises an unforgettable experience for young and old alike. On the way to the remarkable city you will also enjoy a short drive through the scenic Cotswolds.

Downton Abbey Film Locations & Blenheim Palace Day Tour

8. Downton Abbey Film Locations & Blenheim Palace Day Tour

Head away from London and to the rolling limestone hills of Oxfordshire to see key filming sites of the hit series Downton Abbey. The first stop on this full-day tour is Yew Tree Farm (Cogges). After a break for tea or coffee in the delightfully refurbished and rustic Cogges Café, you’ll enjoy a tour and learn about the relationship between the tenant farmers and landowners. Next you’ll take a short drive to Bampton, a picturesque Oxfordshire Cotswolds village. The village has been used extensively in Downton village filming. Bampton Library was the site of the Downton Cottage Hospital and doctors’ surgery. St. Mary’s Church became Downton Church and Churchgate House was used as the Crawley’s family home. Walk along the street that was the scene of shops, the post office, and the Grantham Arms. The stunning town of Burford, traditionally known as the Gateway to the Cotswolds, will be your destination for lunch. You’ll have a chance to see the famous Wool Church, built on the wealth of the wool trade, and have time to wander around this medieval market town. After lunch you’ll enjoy a drive through the Oxfordshire Cotswolds countryside, stopping en route at the Swan Inn in Swinbrook. The Swan Inn was the site of the elopement of Lady Sybil with Branson, the family’s chauffeur! On the approach to Blenheim Palace you’ll see the graves of Sir Winston and Lady Churchill in the village of Bladon. At Blenheim Palace your tour begins with an introduction to the upstairs and downstairs of a class-conscious life. Built in the early 18th century for the first Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill, this historic stately home was the birthplace of Winston Churchill in 1874. Discover how the aristocracy lived and how the state apartments increased in importance, as you move from room to room. After the tour of the house, there will be time for a walk through the landscaped gardens to see the Temple of Diana where Sir Winston Churchill proposed to Clementine Hozier in 1908.

From London: Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, & Warwick Day Trip

9. From London: Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, & Warwick Day Trip

Enjoy the opulence of Oxford! Renowned for over 900 years as a centre of academic excellence, follow in the footsteps of its famous students; from Bill Clinton to Lewis Carroll and C.S. Lewis. Uncover the university town of Oxford at a leisurely pace and take in the Bodleian Library and the captivating college courtyards on your travels. Be guided through unspoilt narrow alleys and ancient squares of the historic town and view the many colleges, notably Christ Church, the film location for the Harry Potter movies. Entry to Christ Church is included. Cotswolds The tour drives through the Cotswolds, a charming blend of breathtaking natural beauty, bustling market towns and sleepy villages. Shakespeare’s Stratford-Upon-Avon Stratford is a market town with a difference. Bask in the birthplace of arguably the world's greatest writer, William Shakespeare, situated on the outskirts of the Forest of Arden. See Shakespeare's Birthplace - the half timbered house where he was born, to gain a fascinating insight into his childhood. You will view Shakespeare's birthplace from the outside, as it is closed for the holiday. Warwick Castle Be part of Britain’s greatest Medieval experience! Deep in the heart of Warwick Castle, the Great Hall becomes a hive of activity! 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. (Entrance to Warwick Castle Dungeon is not included in this tour).

London: The Cotswolds & Broadway Tower Small Group Tour

10. London: The Cotswolds & Broadway Tower Small Group Tour

The Cotswolds is classified as an area of outstanding beauty, famed for its traditional villages, rolling hills, cream teas, sheep, and Victorian follies. It is one of the UK’s most popular tourist spots so join us on our small group tour to get a more ‘off the beaten track’ experience of this charming area. Beautiful in all seasons we will visit some of the highlights of the Cotswolds, all within a day’s driving distance from London. A rural idyll that was once the heart of the wool industry in the medieval times, exporting textiles throughout Europe. During the Victorian Era the newly built railways passed this area by, meaning that its medieval charm has been preserved. It was rediscovered by the pioneers of Arts & Crafts Movement and the Pre-Raphaelites in the late Victorian era, who made it fashionable and created lots of small artisan workshops making goods such as furniture, jewelry and ceramics. First we will go to Burford, known as the Gateway to the Cotswolds, an old Market town on the River Windrush that winds around a medieval church with a fascinating history. Then we will visit a variety of villages including Bibury with its Trout Farm and the old Weavers Cottages of Arlington Row. After a meander through nearby villages including Bourton on the Water, we will visit the iconic Broadway Tower for some great views across the countryside.

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What people are saying about The Cotswolds

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 247 reviews

Everything was excellent and Dolly, our guide, extraordinary! Without her, our experience was very good, but she offered us a lot of interesting information "from inside", as she studied at Oxford.

Great fun informative and well organized and delivered. Our guide was awesome! Well worth taking a day for this trip.

It’s really nice trip and we went such a wonderful places. I highly recommend it

The Guide madam Christine and the driver Ives wa very very helfull and nice

Best bang for your buck! Sandra the guide was knowledgeable and kind.