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The Cotswolds

Meet the Locals

Our most recommended The Cotswolds Meet the Locals

From London: Small Group Cotswolds Villages Tour

1. 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 small group 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-coloured 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 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 Oxford: Cotswolds Towns and Villages Small Group Tour

3. From Oxford: Cotswolds Towns and Villages Small Group Tour

Departing from outside the visitor information center on Broad Street, Oxford in the morning at 10:00 AM, head to the village of Great Tew. Continue to Stow-on-the-Wold to reach the highest town in the region and browse the honey-colored buildings and tiny tea rooms. Visit the pretty village of Lower Slaughter before going to Bourton-on-the-Water, known as the "Venice of the Cotswolds", where you will have time for lunch. After lunch, discover the gateway to the Cotswolds in the village of Burford. Journey through the valley of the River Windrush and discover amazing villages such as Swinbrook along with the ruins of 15th-century Minster Lovell Hall. Departure will be late afternoon, returning to the visitor information center in Oxford by 5:00 PM.

From Oxford: Cotswold Explorer Full-Day Tour

4. 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: Half-Day Cotswold Taster Tour

5. From Oxford: Half-Day Cotswold Taster Tour

Leave the medieval city of Oxford and head first to the pretty village of Minster Lovell. Walk through the village and see the pretty thatched cottages and River Windrush. Relax on a scenic drive that takes you through the idyllic hamlets of Asthall and Swinbrook to the old market town of Burford, the 'gateway to the Cotswolds'.  Enjoy time to browse in the sloping High Street of Burford, with its quirky shops and cafes. Continue through the old quarrying villages of Taynton and the Barringtons, where a panoramic drive takes you to Bourton-on-the-Water, often called the 'Venice of the Cotswolds'.  Wander along the banks of the quaint River Windrush with its old stone bridges or stop for a refreshment in one of the many cafes. Leaving Bourton-on-the-Water, you climb up to Stow Hill to Stow-on-the-Wold, the highest town in the Cotswolds and a market town since the 12th century. Stow is known for its many antique shops and art galleries, as well as many other shops and cafes.  Don't forget to visit St Edward's Church with its old door which inspired the writer Tolkien. On your way back to Oxford pass by the market town of Chipping Norton and Woodstock, the site of Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Stop for a brief photo stop of the palace before your return to Oxford.

From Oxford: Cotswolds Adventurer Tour

6. 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.

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

7. 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. 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.

From Oxford: Day Trip to The Cotswolds

8. From Oxford: Day Trip to The Cotswolds

This enchanting half-day tour begins with a drive to the pretty village of Minster Lovell. Enjoy walking through the village and seeing the charming thatched cottages. The route continues to the idyllic village of Bibury, once described by William Morris as the most beautiful village in England.  Delight in a walk along the River Coln and see the trout farm and the famous 17th-century weavers' cottages on Arlington Row. A panoramic drive takes you through the stunning Coln Valley, passing through enchanting stone hamlets, hidden valleys and breathtaking scenery, before arriving in the historic wool town of Northleach.  Visit the famous wool church with its imposing Perpendicular church tower, cross to the North Cotswolds and follow the course of the River Windrush through the beautiful villages of the Windrush Valley. The next stop is in the bustling town of Burford, known as the Gateway to the Cotswolds.

From London: Cotswolds Guided Day Tour

9. From London: Cotswolds Guided Day Tour

On the is private tour you will explore five amazing, historical and beautiful villages in the stunning Cotswolds area of England close to Oxford. You will spend around 1 hour walking around in each location which is plenty of time to explore what the villages have to offer you on this every English day out. Lots of wonderful shops, pubs, tea rooms and churches at each village. Then amazing English country side views for you to admire as we drive between the villages. Plenty of stops for photos and videos of course wherever you wish during the day. Lunch will be in Stow on the Wold at one of the villages fantastic pubs or tea rooms at 1230pm. The day will end at 5pm when we leave the Cotswolds and return to London for approximately 7pm.

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

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

Discover Shakespeare's England on a multiday tour that will take you through town and the countryside. Travel in a 5-star mini coach and stay overnight in comfortable guest houses. On the first day of your tour, 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, continue to the Rollright Standing Stones, 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. Travel to Stratford Upon Avon which will be your base for the next two nights. On the second day, 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, return to Stratford Upon Avon, the birthplace and home of the playwright William Shakespeare, where you will explore the places that shaped his life. Stay overnight in Stratford and soak up the ambiance of this historic and inspiring settlement. On the morning of your final day, 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.  Continue onto Bourton on the Water, nestling in the rolling Cotswolds hills. Known as "The Venice of the Cotswolds", 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, where 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 day's end, return to London.

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What people are saying about The Cotswolds

Overall rating

4.0 / 5

based on 2 reviews

Really lovely day at the Cotswolds. The villages are very pretty and quaint. Our guide hit all the right notes - warm, personable and knowledgeable. She set a nice pace of giving us lots of information but also allowing us time to nap during the 2 hour bus ride. Each village stop had just the right amount of time. I never felt rushed during the trip, and was in fact quite peaceful and relaxing. We also didn't run into any traffic or issues, so the timing (which is a full day) was pretty much as scheduled. The small group is definitely the way to go. The tours with the giant coach buses always makes me feel like we're descending upon the place like a swarm or insects or something. A group can make or break your trip, and everyone in our group was courteous and punctual for all our stops. Our guide even noted that we were the most punctual group she'd had all year. Because of that, we were able to visit 4 villages instead of the 3 that are usually part of the trip! Highly recommend.

Our van driver, Jennifer, did a great job telling us about a variety of British historical facts along the way. You then see two Cotswolds towns and Oxford on your own. They provided us with a nice walking tour handout for Oxford. Would have been nice to see insider of one of the colleges, but we knew that wasn't included. I would highly recommend including this in a London vacation - it felt great to see the countryside and get out of the city.

Colin our guide was fantastic - knowledgeable, engaging, amusing - and was great with highlighting times to meet, loo opportunities etc. Locations picked for the Cotswolds were great as still captured the charm and beauty you come to see but not teeming with tourists. Do recommend!

A charming day exploring the English countryside. This tour made me feel like I was stepping into a painting from the 1800s. My guide, Charolette, gave a wonderful account of the history and stories of the areas we visited.

Great experience trying out the cream tea which was recommended by our tour guide Samuel. English countryside is beautiful.