If you’re visiting England, be sure to go beyond the hustle and bustle that is London and get a taste of the country’s quiet and beautiful English countryside. A good place to start is the famed Cotswolds region, an area of outstanding beauty located in south central England, around an hour and a half train ride from London.
Cotswolds is quintessentially English in that it is peppered with ancient limestone villages with thatched roofed cottages, rolling wolds countrysides, grand historic castles, elegant homes, and lush gardens. A visit to England would not be complete without a glimpse of the Cotswolds villages.
Here are some of Cotswolds’ prettiest villages to help you start planning your trip.
This tiny village in the county of Wiltshire is perhaps my favorite Cotswolds village in all. With thatched roof cottages, a quiet stream (at least I think its a stream), and a 14th-century market cross, among others, Castle Combe is very picturesque and every photographer’s dream. That explains why it has been made the setting of movies such as Stardust, The Wolfman, and Steven Spielberg’s War Horse.
Bibury is another lovely traditional rural village, this time in the Gloucestershire county in South West, England. It boasts of Arlington Row, a line of honey-colored 17th-century cottages with sharply pitched roofs, which were once inhabited by weavers supplying cloth to nearby Arlington Mill (long been closed and now a private residence). It is a popular tourist attraction and perhaps one of the most photographed Cotswolds scenes. Also found in the village are quaint tea shops, where you can take your afternoon tea (don’t forget to try the scones with clotted cream and jam), and lovely little gift shops.
Another favorite Cotswolds village of mine is Bourton-on-the-Water, just a few minutes drive from Bibury and another famous tourist destination. Also a part of the Gloucestershire county, it’s larger than Bibury and is in fact larger than other Cotswolds market towns.
It is called the “Venice of the Cotswolds” because of the River Windrush that runs through its picturesque high street and large expanse of greens, with many low-arched stone bridges crossing it. My personal favorite are the quaint little shops peppered across town that you can duck into while sightseeing.
Burford, considered as the gateway to the Cotswolds, is a market town in West Oxfordshire, just 18 miles from the City of Oxford. It’s a medieval town and you can see traces of that in its buildings’ architecture. A small tidbit: it’s said to be Kate Moss’ hometown.
Lacock, the setting of several movies including the Harry Potter films, BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, and Downton Abbey, among others, is a village in the county of Wiltshire. Most of Lacock is owned by the National Trust, and it is visited often because of its preserved and unspoiled beauty that being there is like going back in time.
I hope you enjoy taking a peek at these lovely villages. Now which village in the Cotswolds would you most likely go to?