The Cotswolds
Castle & Palace Tours

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Our most recommended The Cotswolds Castle & Palace Tours

London: Downton Abbey, Cotswolds, and Highclere Castle Tour

1. London: Downton Abbey, Cotswolds, and Highclere Castle Tour

Depart London by luxury mini-coach on an 11-hour Downton Abbey tour. Stop at Yew Tree Farm (Cogges Manor Farm) to see filming sites used throughout the TV series. Continue to the Swan Inn at Swinbrook, location of one of the series' most controversial story lines. Next stop is in Shilton, a Cotswolds village inaccessible to larger coaches. See the old stone footbridge, duck pond and the old pump and well, before the short journey to Bampton (Downton village). Head to Highclere Castle, home to the Grantham family in the series. Enjoy the gardens before entering the castle. Take a guided tour of the castle’s opulent rooms. There will also be time to take in the Egyptian exhibition.

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Blenheim Palace, Downton Abbey Village & the Cotswolds

2. Blenheim Palace, Downton Abbey Village & the Cotswolds

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. Downton Abbey Village 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 church and also the location for two fictional local pubs, The Grantham Arms and The Dog & Duck.

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Wales and the South West: 5-Day Small Group Tour

3. Wales and the South West: 5-Day Small Group Tour

Day 1: Leave London and travel west to the rolling hills of the Cotswolds through England’s prettiest historic villages. Get the best photos and hear the most fascinating local tales. Travel through the Welsh Marches marked out by the ancient Offa’s Dyke. Head into the heart of the Cambrian Mountains and beautiful Elan Valley. Finally, head to the beautiful seaside town and cultural center of Aberystwyth, where you spend the next two nights. Day 2: Travel to the mountainous region of Snowdonia National Park. Visit the mountain village of Beddgelert to see the famous grave of Gelert, the legendary dog, or explore the nearby copper mine. Next, head to the town of Machynlleth to see the ancient clock tower and the quaint houses, and go antique hunting. Move on to Porthmadog and over the Cob causeway before reaching the impenetrable medieval Harlech Castle. After a fulfilling day, return to Aberystwyth in the late afternoon. Day 3: Travel around the coast of Cardigan Bay through Aberaeron to New Quay. Explore the picturesque harbor and get the chance to spot dolphins and whales. Head into the foreboding Black Mountains to explore a bedrock cave under a castle, before you visit Laugharne, where Dylan Thomas wrote the famous play Under Milk Wood. Move on to Tenby, a charming seaside town and your base for two nights. Day 4: See some of Britain’s most gorgeous coastlines at the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Travel to the tiny cathedral city of St Davids for lunch and exploration, and stop in the county town of Pembroke to enter the thick medieval walls of the castle. From here, return to Tenby for a relaxed evening. Day 5: Leaving Tenby in the morning, begin your return journey to London. Head past the industrial cities of South Wales to the outskirts of Cardiff, and visit the outdoor National History Museum. Stop at the well-preserved Roman Fortress at Caerleon. Take the Severn Bridge back into England, and take a break at Castle Combe, a Cotswold village perfect for a relaxed stroll amongst 16th-century ironstone cottages.

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Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds & Warwick Castle Day-Tour

4. Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds & Warwick Castle Day-Tour

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. Take in the famous 'dreaming spires' and see Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. You'll be captivated by the unspoilt narrow alleys and ancient squares of this naturally beautiful town. Brasenose College Brasenose College takes its name from the unique door-knocker of the Hall. This beautiful Oxford University college was founded in 1509 by Sir Richard Sutton, a lawyer, and William Smyth, Bishop of Lincoln. Brasenose is a stunning example of traditional university architecture and is surrounded by lush green lawns and relaxing gardens. The college has been used as a filming location for both TV and movies. Past students include the writer William Golding and Prime Minister David Cameron. 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, the Great Hall is 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.  Arrival time back in London at approximately 18:45.

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Warwick, Oxford and Stratford Full-Day Tour from London

5. 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. Admire the magnificent 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. Then, visit the birthplace of William Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon and get a fascinating insight into the life of the legendary playwright. See the scenic villages of the Cotswolds on the drive to Oxford, where you will embark on a walking tour of the university city on arrival. Admire the famous colleges that date back to the 13th century, and hear about 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.

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Warwick Castle, Stratford, Oxford & Cotswolds Day Trip

6. 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.

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Oxford and The Cotswolds: 3-Day Small-Group Tour

7. Oxford and The Cotswolds: 3-Day Small-Group Tour

The first day of your tour will begin with you leaving London at 9:15AM, after which you will visit the world heritage site of Blenheim Palace. Learn about the history, explore the gardens, or even take a ride on the estate’s very own miniature railway line. Following lunch you will continue to the Rollright Standing Stones, these are an ancient complex of Neolithic and bronze age monuments that sit on the crest of the Cotswold Hills. This magnificent site marks the borderlands between the great counties of Oxfordshire and Warwickshire. You will round off the afternoon with a visit to the Hook Norton Brewery, where you will learn about the production of beer in one of the Cotswolds’ most beautiful areas and savor a lovingly produced local drink. At this conclusion of this day you will travel to Stratford Upon Avon which will be your base for the next two nights. On the second day you will travel to Warwick Castle, one of England’s best preserved medieval castles. Dating back to the time of William the Conqueror, Warwick Castle is often named as one of the best historic monuments in Britain. In the early afternoon, you will return to Stratford Upon Avon, the birthplace and home of the playwright William Shakespeare. Here you will have a chance to explore the places that shaped the life of Shakespeare, by visiting Shakespeare’s birthplace. At the conclusion of this day you will have an overnight in Stratford and soak up the ambience of this historic and inspiring settlement. On the morning of your final day, you will leave Stratford Upon Avon on a journey to the Cotswolds, a huge area that covers five counties and offers a variety of unique landscapes and charming villages. The rolling hills, villages, and farms of this area give you a glimpse back in time to an England with a gentler pace of life. The first stop of the day is Broadway Tower, a unique Saxon tower with a curious history. Then visit Stow on the Wold, the highest of the Cotswolds Towns. The large market square is testament to the huge markets and fairs that were once held in this hill top market town. You will continue onto Bourton on the Water, nestling in the rolling Cotswolds hills. Known as "The Venice of the Cotswolds", you have time to explore this ancient village that has stood on this spot since Anglo Saxon times. Your final stop of the tour is in the City of Oxford, here you have time to explore the beautiful listed buildings, explore the precincts of the colleges, climb one of the vantage points to take in the skyline, or see the art and antique collections in the Ashmolean Museum. At the conclusion of this day you will return back to London.

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From Oxford: Downton Abbey and the Cotswolds Full-Day Tour

8. From Oxford: Downton Abbey and the Cotswolds Full-Day Tour

Leaving the beautiful medieval city of Oxford, head south to Highclere Castle for a morning visit of the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Immerse yourself in the history of this 19th century castle, still very much a family home, and explore the grounds and beautiful gardens. Imagine sitting at the grand table in the family dining room with the 'Dowager' Violet, Lady Mary and Lady Cora, being served your lunch by Mr. Carson. After the visit to Highclere Castle, your tour continues to quaint Bampton, one of the oldest villages in Britain. Wander around the part of the village used to film Downton Abbey and visit St Mary's Church, where so many events in the life of the Crawley family took place. From Bampton, a scenic drive takes you to the charming old market town of Burford, the 'gateway to the Cotswolds,' with its sloping high street and quaint shops. Enjoy lunch in a typical local cafe or pub. After lunch, go on a panoramic drive through some of the sleepy stone villages of the Cotswolds. Make your last stop in the idyllic village of Swinbrook, which was a film location for 'Downton Abbey' and 'Bridget Jones' Baby.' Delight in a walk through this charming village, before returning to Oxford.

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From Oxford: Cotswolds and Blenheim Palace with Pub Lunch

9. From Oxford: Cotswolds and Blenheim Palace with Pub Lunch

This small-group tour takes place in England's most outstandingly beautiful countryside, the region of the Cotswolds. The small, executive vehicles allow the tour to go off the beaten track through the valley of the River Windrush, and along single track roads to the town of Burford. Take a guided walk to the historic church, then after further exploration, continue to the Coln Valley and the charming Bibury, once described as the prettiest village in England. Stroll through the water meadows and see historic Arlington Row, a group of ancient weaver's cottages. It's then onwards to Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold, all the while taking in the leafy, winding country lanes that big coaches cannot travel on.  After that, enjoy lunch at a traditional country pub. Menu choices include Pan Roast Chicken Breast, served with Potato Cake, Roast Carrots & Tarragon Cream, or Chef's vegetarian special of the day; examples are Caramelised polenta cake, served with aubergine caviar, confit shallots, rocket & Parmesan (v) OR Goats Cheese and Sun Blush Tomato Croquettes. Then explore the beautiful village before the tour departs for the final and perhaps most impressive stop, Blenheim Palace. Next, head over to Blenheim Palace, the largest privately-owned house in Britain, home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill in 1874. The house was designed by Sir John Vanburgh over 300 years ago, to rival the Palace of Versailles. You will be able to tour the magnificent rooms, stroll around the stunning gardens, see the Winston Churchill exhibition, all the while enjoying the sheer opulence and breathtaking beauty of the Palace before returning to Oxford.

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From Oxford: Cotswold Explorer Full-Day Tour

10. 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).

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What people are saying about The Cotswolds

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 247 reviews

Isobel was our guide and David was our Tour driver. Isobel was very knowledgeable and helped us get around the beautiful Cotswold villages. The tour was well planned and we had ample time at every village to explore with Isobel highlighting the history and significance of each place. David and Isobel were both kind and even helped us to choose the best place to have our lunch and shopping. The tour even included stops at the eccentric lavender, poppy and wild flower fields. The tour along with Isobel and David made our day special.

Evans and Evans unfortunately had to cancel my original trip due to lack of bookings but set me up with another trip with no extra charge, and I had an even more amazing time! Debbie, the tour guide, was so knowledgeable, personable, and amazing throughout the entire trip! The company was fantastic, buses were comfortable, and it was an amazing way to get out of London and see a different part of England. 10/10

I really enjoyed the 5 day trip to Wales! It was my first tour with Rabbies, and I couldn't be happier. the small group size was great and we all got along super well by the last night... we didn't want it to end. Rob and his trusty sidekick Draco was helpful and full of so much knowledge! I would travel with them again!

Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and we enjoyed hearing all the facts. She also was very helpful.

Very well organised tour. Good value . Would definitely travel with them again.