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5 of the Best Villages in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds are renowned for many things. The rolling, emerald-green countryside, the fresh, tasty local produce, and of course, the villages. While our variety of tours takes in many lovely villages in the Cotswolds, here are our five favorites.

1. Bourton-on-the-Water

Bourtononthewater Bourton-on-the-Water

Bourton-on-the-Water is known locally as the Venice of the Cotswolds.  Sitting on River Windrush, this idyllic little village is regularly voted as the prettiest village in England, and it is a firm favorite in the office.  The Windrush is crisscrossed with delightful bridges, dating from 1654, and by the riverside is Bakery on the Water, one of the best bakeries we have ever been to. There is even a perfect scale model of the village, with a perfect scale model of the village in it!

You can visit Bourton-on-the-Water on our Cotswold Round and Cotswold Trail trips.

2. Chipping Campden


Chipping Campden - a delightful traditional village

Chipping Campden is your proper Olde Worlde England. It has classic honey-colored buildings, and unlike almost every other place in the UK, it has the most beautiful high street you will ever see. Primark and Starbucks have never landed here. Instead, you have the Oxford Shirt Company and the Red Lion. A pleasant traditional village and if you are there on a Friday at the end of May/start of June, you can witness their very own Olympick Games (sic) where you can win medals in shin kicking.

You can take in Chipping Campden on the Cotswold Way and the Cotswold Trail.

3. Painswick

Dancers at a festival in the Cotswolds

Rural English traditions in action!

Painswick is the 'Queen of the Cotswolds.' A classic Cotswolds wool town, filled with houses built from locally quarried stone.  The televised version of J.K. Rowlings 'A Casual Vacancy' was filmed here and captures much of the old world charm. Its narrow streets and location, on top of a hill, overlooking one of the five valleys, makes it an excellent place to spend some time.  If you are there in September, you can take part in Feast Sunday, where feasting, drinking, and disorderly conduct (good-natured) are encouraged.  You can also get stuck into some Dog Pie (not made of a real dog!)

Painswick can be found on the Cotswold Way

4. Naunton

Typically tranquil, Naunton is a picture-perfect small village.

Naunton is a tiny village of just over 350 people. Naunton is peace and quiet made physical.  Located deep in the middle of glorious nowhere, this former farming community has a strong community spirit, and the villagers are keen to preserve and showcase their way of life. The village pub is still the beating heart of the village and Sunday lunch is a particular favorite here.

5. Broadway

Broadway tower, a picturesque folly built in the late 1700s

Rather than the glitz and glamour of its more famous namesake, Broadway is a center for arts and antiques. You can easily lose a day, absorbed in the browsing of its many galleries and antique shops and we would encourage you to do just that. A honey-colored main street, draped in Wysteria makes for a delightful center to one of the most charming of all the Cotswold villages. Overlooking the town is the dramatic Broadway Tower, a must-visit on your stay in the Cotswolds.

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