Cotswolds

Sudeley Castle & Gardens, Gloucestershire © VisitBritain

The Cotswolds

A ridiculously pretty series of villages amid rolling hills, full of chocolate box cottages and winding country lanes.
Bourton House Garden, Bourton-on-the-Hill © VisitBritain
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With its rustic rural charm, rolling hills, vibrant market towns and picture-perfect villages, the Cotswolds offers nearly 800 square miles of unspoilt countryside. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the range of hills in west-central England is packed with picturesque villages built of Cotswold stone, beautiful churches and vast manor houses. From the charming town of Cirencester that can trace its roots back to Roman times, to the honey-coloured cottages of Bourton-on-the-Water, Bibury and Burford, the area was once renowned for its wool production, reminders of which you can still see today. Delve into history at Sudeley Castle and Gardens, scale the heights of Broadway Tower and surround yourself with nature at Westonbirt Arboretum on your way to discovering one of Britain’s most spectacular locations. 

Where is the Cotswolds?

The nearest airport to the Cotswolds is in Bristol around 50 miles away (around 60 minutes by car)  which serves more than 70 destinations. London Heathrow Airport also has flights to and from more than 350 destinations worldwide and the Cotswolds is less than two hours away by car. The region is also served by main line train links from London, the Midlands, the North and South West of England. National Express also operates services from the main London hubs to a range of Cotswolds towns and villages.

Getting around the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is highly accessible by rail, with mainline railway stations in Banbury, Cam and Dursley, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Kemble, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stroud, Charlbury and Kingham. Great Western Railway also serves Bath, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon, with the three popular tourist destinations all found close to the boundaries of the Cotswolds. Once in the Cotswolds, driving is the easiest way of getting around, although there is also an extensive bus network.

  • This interactive map highlights the main attractions in the Cotswolds, helping you to plan your Cotswolds visit.
  • Download the latest Explore the Cotswolds by Public Transport guide from the Cotswolds Conservation Board for walking and cycling routes, attractions and information on how to get between the main Cotswolds villages
  • Visit the Tourist Information Centre in Stow-on-the-Wold, situated on the main market square, for up-to-date guides and details on events across the Cotswolds

BY FOOT

With more than 3,000 miles of footpaths and public rights of way, the Cotswolds provides ample opportunity for recreational walking. The Cotswold Way and Thames Path are two routes for serious hikers, while the majority of Cotswold towns and villages have shorter circular walking routes.

BY BUS

Stagecoach, Pulham’s Coaches, Swanbrook and Johnson’s Excelbus all provide services across the Cotswolds where you can purchase tickets from the driver using cash. Several companies also offer coach and minibus Cotswolds tours that visit the main towns and villages, with drivers and guides providing information in numerous languages.

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