The Cotswolds is full of quintessential English charm. With its iconic honey-coloured stone holiday cottages, rolling hills, delicious local produce and cosy country pubs, this is the ultimate spot for a relaxing break. What’s more, with an abundance of charming towns and picturesque villages, you’ll be spoilt for choice on where to stay. Luckily, we’ve put this handy guide together to help you pick your perfect spot.
Best places to stay in the Cotswolds
- Chipping Campden
Best for: That classic Cotswolds charm.
Home to thatched rooftops, an elegant high street and plenty of snug village pubs, Chipping Campden is an idyllic base for exploring the northern stretch of the Cotswolds. Whether you’re tucking into the perfect Victoria sponge, strolling the hideaway passages of Hidcote Manor, or a gazing out across glorious Broadway Tower; Chipping Campden is full of special Cotswolds charm.
Where to stay? There are so many gorgeous cottages in Chipping Campden that picking one is a difficult task indeed. However, the traditional thatched-roof, pretty duck egg blue door and beautiful gardens of Rose Cottage make it stand out from the crowd. This sweet little cottage perfectly embodies the rustic elegance for which the Cotswolds is so famous.
Best for: Culture vultures and sweet tooths.
From churches that look like they’ve been plucked straight from a Tolkien novel, to sophisticated art galleries, the Cotswold town of Stow-on-the-Wold is ideal for those looking to enjoy the finer things in life. And the sweeter things too, as Stow-on-the-Wold is home to the gloriously vintage Cotswold Sweet Company. Enjoy a box of tasty handmade fudge while relaxing in the garden with a good book – a trip to Stow-on-the-Wold promises to be utterly relaxing.
Where to stay? The ivy-clad walls, exposed timber beams and cosy wood-burning stoves of this charming Cotswold house will have you feeling right at home as soon as you step through the door. Set in the heart of Stow-on-the-Wold, Benfield cottage is the ultimate countryside holiday spot.
Best for: A spot of shopping.
Often called ‘the capital of the Cotswolds’, the market town of Cirencester is a great place to escape the city and indulge in a countryside break. Filled with golden stone houses and lush green spaces, it definitely is a relaxing place to stay. What’s more, the town is also home to some of the Cotswolds’ best shopping, as well as the Corinium Museum; a treasure trove of Roman relics and interactive displays.
Where to stay? Dating back to the 18th-century, Stratton Mill is a beautiful old mill conversion in the middle of the countryside. The perfect romantic retreat, just for two. Set on the edge of the River Churn and surrounded by pretty water meadows, this is a peaceful spot, just a 20-minute walk away from the centre of Cirencester.
Best for: Beautiful riverside views.
Affectionately nicknamed the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’, Bourton-on-the-Water straddles the River Windrush and is a picturesque patchwork of traditional stone cottages, low built bridges and lovely riverside views. Additionally, no visit to Bourton-on-the-Water would be complete without a visit to Birdland. Here you’ll find birds of all shapes and sizes, in one beautiful country park for all the family to enjoy.
Where to stay? Set in the centre of town, Vine House is a truly special holiday spot. This gorgeous 17th-century cottage sleeps up to six people – the ideal spot for families and groups of friends alike.
Best for: Relaxing forest strolls.
Tetbury’s charming cobblestone streets are lined with elegant houses and cute cottages, many of which were built in the 17th and 18th centuries. As well as having plenty of postcard-worthy views, the town is also full of antique shops, cosy cafés and traditional pubs. The stunning Westonbirt Arboretum is just three miles away from the town and Tetbury Police Museum & Courtroom is a great option for a rainy afternoon.
Where to stay? Set in the centre of town, The Art House is a pretty Victorian cottage, boasting light and spacious interiors, a private patio and a traditional wood-burning stove. What’s more, the walls are lined with original works of art by local artists, giving the place plenty of colour and character.
Best for: Budding chefs and dedicated foodies.
This tranquil and secluded village is the perfect spot for walkers, cyclists, foodies and nature lovers. Surrounded by gently rolling hills, enchanting forests and lush meadows, you’ll feel relaxed from the moment you arrive. What’s more, Kingham is right next to the famous Daylesford Organic Farm – ideal if you want to stock up on fresh, local produce at the farm shop or else enrol yourself onto a course at their cookery school.
Where to stay? Less than a five-minute drive away from Kingham, the utterly luxurious Cupid’s Lodge comes complete with its very own outdoor hot tub. Perfect for romantic evenings spent sipping on fizz and gazing up at the star-filled night sky.
Best for: Indulgent afternoon teas.
The enchanting village of Broadway is widely lauded as one of the most beautiful spots in the Cotswolds. With a pretty tree-lined high street and plenty of boutique shops and quaint tea shops, there’s lots to keep you occupied in the village itself. What’s more, Broadway is also close by Dormy House and Buckland Manor, two of the finest country house hotels around, where you can treat yourselves to sumptuous afternoon teas next to roaring log fires.
Where to stay? Just five minutes down the road from Broadway, Rose Cottage is a stunning 17th-century Grade II listed building. Exposed stone walls, sturdy oak beams and a tranquil flower-filled garden, characterise this picturesque holiday hideaway.
Best for: A spot of art and culture.
Known as the ‘most colourful town in the Cotswolds’, the narrow streets of Painswick are home to a variety of quirky art galleries, cosy cafes and snug pubs. The town was actually chosen to be the setting for the BBC TV adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy”, testifying to just how picturesque it is. Take a stroll in the famous yew tree-filled churchyard of St. Mary’s or else browse the boutique shops that line New Street – whose name is nowadays somewhat ironic as the street was actually constructed in 1428.
Where to stay? Live like the Lords of the Manor at the grand and majestic Wilfred Manor, just outside Painswick. This vast Grade I listed manor house can house up to 26 people – ideal if you’re planning a big celebration or get together in the Cotswolds.
Best for: History lovers and keen hikers.
Located on the banks of the River Windrush and surrounded by stunning countryside scenery, this charming medieval town is filled with winding alleys, Tudor houses and antique shops. Enjoy great views from the town’s three-arched medieval bridge, hunt in the shops for unique antique treasures and tuck into a decadent cream tea at one of the town’s quaint tea rooms. Burford is the perfect spot for a charming countryside getaway, especially if you’re into your history or hiking.
Where to stay? Set on the town’s famous Sheep Street, Burford House packs plenty of character and charm. The rooms here are grand, spacious and beautifully furnished. What’s more, the cottage’s owners are book lovers and have filled the house with an array of interesting reads.
Best for: Instagram-worthy pictures.
Described by William Morris as the ‘most beautiful village in England’, Bibury is a scenic spot indeed. Nestled on the banks of the River Coln, the village is home to Arlington Row – a painfully picturesque group of ancient stone cottages, which were once the residence of local weavers. This is one of the most photographed sites in the whole of the UK and was featured as the backdrop for some of the scenes in Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Where to stay: Surrounded by stunning countryside, this charming Cotswolds Cottage is a five-minute drive away from the village of Bibury. Spacious and tastefully decorated, you’ll have a peaceful and relaxing stay at this cosy spot.