27 Cotswolds Places So Ugly, Even the Birds Refuse to Sing

Dive into Darek and Gosia’s wickedly humorous guide to the Cotswolds’ most ‘ghastly’ places. Discover why the unbearable beauty of these top locations might just be too much for any sensible traveller to handle.

Welcome to the Cotswolds, where the ‘ugly’ stick has hit every town square and each cottage roof with alarming precision. Here in this torturously scenic Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the landscape is so offensively picturesque, that you’ll be begging for the sweet, grey concrete of a city high-rise just to feel normal again.

In these top places, the charm is laid on so thick, that you could spread it on your toast – if you liked your toast looking like a postcard, that is. And the stone walls? Built to keep out the barbarians, they now cruelly imprison visitors in a maze of bucolic splendour that’s impossible to escape.

Prepare for a parade of places so stunningly curated by nature and history, they make you wonder if real life has been suspended. Even the local avian population has apparently boycotted the area, unable to compete with such relentless quaintness. So, take a deep breath – if you can stomach the pure, unadulterated country air – and dive into the depths of the Cotswolds’ most visually offensive offerings.

What to see in Cotswolds AONB?

In the Cotswolds AONB, the villages compete in a beauty pageant they’re all overqualified for, each with gardens that could give Versailles a run for its money. The market towns flaunt their historical centres with a smugness that suggests they’ve never heard of a high-rise. Meanwhile, the countryside walks are so idyllic, that you’ll suspect they were engineered by a committee of landscape painters.

Cotswold Checklist:

  • Villages: Overachieving in charm.
  • Market Towns: Flaunting history at every corner.
  • Walks: Suspiciously picturesque.
Top places to visit in the Cotswolds
Top places to visit in the Cotswolds

Best places to visit in the Cotswolds

1. Lacock

Where to go in the Cotswolds? Stepping into Lacock is like walking onto a film set where the director has ordered an excess of historic buildings and cobblestones. This village’s commitment to preserving its medieval look could make you believe you’ve time-travelled, especially when you stumble upon a filming crew capturing its otherworldly aura.

Lacock’s Laments:

  • Historic Buildings: Aggressively authentic.
  • Cobblestones: Outrageously cobbled.
  • Film Sets: Disorientingly commonplace.
Most beautiful places in Cotswolds - Lacock
Most beautiful places in Cotswolds – Lacock

2. Lower Slaughter

Places to see in Cotswolds? Imagine, if you dare, a village with the audacity to have a name like Lower Slaughter and yet be nothing but an onslaught of loveliness, with the River Eye mockingly babbling through it.

You’ll LoatheBecause
The waterwheelIts old-world charm is just too much

Why Lower Slaughter Will Torment You:

  • Too much tranquility could lead to reflection, possibly even peace of mind.
  • Cottages that make your modern flat feel like a cardboard box.
  • Flowers that have the cheek to bloom too brightly.
Cotswolds attractions - Lower Slaughter
Best places to see in the Cotswolds – Lower Slaughter

3. Stanton

Where to visit in the Cotswolds? Stanton is so idyllic, it’s almost insulting. With thatched cottages that have no right to be as picturesque as they are, one can’t help but feel aesthetically attacked.

Stanton’s Sins

Rural RascalityWhy It’s Reproachful
Cotswold stoneShamelessly seductive

A List of Stanton’s Offences:

  1. Public footpaths inviting unwelcome exercise.
  2. Pubs that serve a ploughman’s lunch too perfect to be true.
  3. Views that compel one to become a landscape painter.
Cotswold district places to visit - Stanton
Cotswold district places to visit – Stanton

4. Witney

Best places to see in Cotswolds? Witney, with its traditional wool market, is so steeped in history it makes one yearn for the sweet smell of city smog.

Dreadful AttractionWhy It’s Appalling
Witney Blanket HallOverwhelming heritage – where’s the concrete?

Top Torments of Witney:

  • Brewery tours that could force you to appreciate artisanal crafts.
  • The Buttercross, which has the nerve to stand since the Middle Ages.
  • A high street so quaint it could send you into an aesthetic-induced coma.
Cotswold to do list - Witney
Top places to visit Cotswolds – Witney

5. Broadway

Where to go in Cotswolds? In the egregious spectacle that is Broadway, you’ll be forced to endure the picturesque High Street where the honey-coloured stone buildings insist on bathing in the golden sunlight like it’s their job. Darek recalls squinting at the audacity of it all, while Gosia mused over whether the villagers have a secret pact to maintain an unrealistic level of prettiness.

Broadway’s Blunders:

  • High Street: Blindingly quaint.
  • Honey-Coloured Stone: Aggressively charming.
  • Sunlight: Suspiciously cinematic.
Places to visit in Cotswolds UK - Broadway
Places to visit in Cotswolds UK – Broadway

6. Tetbury

Best places in Cotswolds? Tetbury – where every alleyway is a potential postcard, and the local shops are so twee, you could imagine them in a child’s storybook. It’s a place where the annual Woolsack Races provide more excitement than a village has any right to offer, daring you to find any semblance of modern chaos.

Tetbury’s Terrors:

  • Alleyways: Frighteningly photogenic.
  • Local Shops: Unnervingly whimsical.
  • Woolsack Races: Absurdly entertaining.
Best places to go in Cotswolds - Tetbury
Best places to go in Cotswolds – Tetbury

7. Ashton under Hill

Where to visit in Cotswolds? Here lies Ashton under Hill, a village so peaceful it’s almost aggressive in its serenity.

Countryside CatastropheHow It Offends
Thatched cottagesInsultingly adorable

List of Ashton under Hill Lamentations:

  1. Views that could make a poet out of a banker.
  2. An annual garden festival – as if the flowers had any right.
  3. The silence is so loud it’s practically deafening.
Best of the Cotswolds - Ashton under Hill
Cotswold best places to visit – Ashton under Hill

8. Burford

Best place in Cotswolds? Burford, with its medieval bridge, old stone houses, and a high street that slopes more dramatically than a soap opera plotline, could seriously offend the minimalist.

Burford’s Blunders

Architectural AtrocitiesWhy They Appall
Sloped High StreetChallengingly quaint

Burford’s Roll of Dishonours:

  • Shops too independent to be chain stores.
  • Churches too historic to be contemporary.
  • Hills that provide workouts disguised as leisurely walks.
Best places to visit in the Cotswolds - Burford
Best places to visit in the Cotswolds – Burford

9. Chipping Campden

Chipping Campden’s medieval aura is so pervasive; you might find yourself believing you’ve traveled back in time.

Historical HorrorWhy It Horrifies
Market HallMaddeningly majestic

Six Ways Chipping Campden Will Ruin Your Day:

  • Cobbled alleys that will destroy your dislike for walking.
  • Gardens so well-kept, they’ll make you despise your own backyard.
  • Architecture so fine, your own home will feel like a shoebox.
Cotswolds things to do - Chipping Campden
Best places in Cotswolds – Chipping Campden

10. Snowshill

Snowshill, where even the lavender conspires to intoxicate visitors with its scent. It’s so peaceful, it’s practically aggressive.

Snowshill’s Scandals

Pastoral PerilsWhy They’re Pernicious
Lavender fieldsOutrageously fragrant

Reasons Snowshill Might Just Overwhelm You:

  • Manor and garden – because one type of beauty just wasn’t enough.
  • Pubs so cosy, they could make you renounce city life.
  • The sheer silence – it’s deafening.
Best places to visit Cotswolds - Snowshill
Best places to visit Cotswolds – Snowshill

11. Stroud

Lastly, Stroud – a town where the farmers’ market is so robust, locals might just start a revolution if a vegetable isn’t organic. The surrounding valleys are so ruthlessly scenic that Darek wondered if they were computer-generated, while Gosia half-expected to see hobbits frolicking in the fields.

Stroud’s Stumbles:

  • Farmers’ Market: Dangerously fresh.
  • Valleys: Unfairly picturesque.
  • Hobbit Expectations: Unreasonably raised.

12. Broadway Tower

At Broadway Tower, you’ll be ambushed by a panoramic vista that’s unreasonably stunning. It’s a cruel trick to make one feel like a part of something much larger.

Broadway Tower Tragedies

Vexing ViewWhy It’s Unbearable
Folly’s sightYour eyes may never forgive you

Broadway Tower’s Blight List:

  • The audacity of a tower offering views over 13 counties.
  • A nuclear bunker – because history wasn’t heavy enough.
  • Wildlife that insist on being relentlessly picturesque.

Cotswolds where to go - Broadway Tower
Best place to visit in Cotswolds – Broadway Tower

13. Bath

Bath. Here, the streets are a museum, and the museums are… well, also museums. It’s an assault of the classical senses.

Bath’s Bathetic Blunders

Historical HubrisHow It Dares
Georgian crescentsToo symmetrical for comfort
Roman spasAn ancient tease of luxury

The Unbearable List of Bath’s Beauties:

  • The Royal Crescent, showing up every modern building.
  • Pulteney Bridge, with shops too charming for their own good.
  • Tea rooms that threaten to make you forgo coffee forever.

Top places to visit in Cotswolds - Bath
Places to see in the Cotswolds – Bath

14. Castle Combe

Castle Combe has been called ‘the prettiest village in England‘, and that’s exactly the problem. Its perfection is practically an affront.

Castle Combe’s Catastrophes

PitfallWhy It’s Preposterous
Stone cottagesThey might just steal your heart

Castle Combe’s List of Crimes:

  1. Streets that look like a film set (because they are).
  2. Cars banned from the main street – the nerve!
  3. A village so quaint, it should be illegal.
Top 10 Cotswolds - Castle Combe
Most beautiful places in the Cotswolds – Castle Combe

15. Bourton on the Water

Bourton on the Water dares to dub itself the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’. Expect to be dreadfully delighted at every turn.

Bourton’s Bedevilments

Watery WoesWhy It’s Dreadful
Miniature bridgesOverly charming, it’s disgusting

The Agonising Allure of Bourton on the Water:

  • Ducks parading around like they own the place.
  • Model villages – because the real one wasn’t quaint enough.
  • Tea rooms too tempting to pass by.
10 best things to do in the Cotswolds - Bourton on the Water
Best places to go in the Cotswolds – Bourton on the Water

16. Blenheim Palace

Behold Blenheim Palace, a monstrous display of grandeur that will ruin modest homes for you for life.

Blenheim’s Blasphemies

Baroque ExcessHow It’s Excessive
The Great HallIntolerably grand

The Overwhelming Opulence of Blenheim Palace:

  • Gardens that put your local park to shame.
  • An estate so large, one could get lost – and find themselves.
  • A palace so rich in history, you may leave feeling culturally bloated.
Days out Cotswolds - Blenheim Palace
Cotswolds best places to visit – Blenheim Palace

17. Gloucester

In Gloucester, history doesn’t just whisper; it shouts at you from every cobbled corner, making it quite impossible to enjoy a quiet walk without tripping over some ancient relic.

Gloucester’s Grievances

Medieval MaladiesHow They Maul
Cathedral grandeurFrighteningly sublime

Reasons to Rue Gloucester:

  • Docks so revitalised, you might actually enjoy a stroll.
  • Beatrix Potter’s House of the Tailor of Gloucester, cheekily nudging you to childhood nostalgia.
  • Antiques that could compel you to start a collection.

18. Bibury

Bibury, with Arlington Row, has homes so outrageously photogenic, that they’re nothing short of visual tyranny.

Bibury Blunders

Charming CatastropheHow It Harms
Arlington RowToo quaint for words

Bibury’s Beastly List:

  1. Trout farms that could seduce you into angling.
  2. Flowers in bloom – a blatant show-off.
  3. Tea shops that could convert you from a coffee aficionado.
Cotswolds what to do - Bibury
Best place to go in Cotswolds – Bibury

19. Stow on the Wold

Stow on the Wold’s market square has seen more history than most textbooks, and its quintessential Englishness could sicken the most cosmopolitan soul.

Stow’s Snares

Quaint QuandariesWhy They’re Quelling
Market SquareDisgustingly historical

Stow on the Wold’s Sly Tricks:

  • Antique shops too tempting to ignore.
  • Inns that make one want to settle in and never leave.
  • A church door flanked by ancient yew trees, unnervingly picturesque.
Cotswold things to do - Stow on the Wold
Places of interest in the Cotswolds – Stow on the Wold

20. Cotswold Wildlife Park

Cotswold Wildlife Park will lure you into believing in magic with its menagerie of creatures, a veritable trap for anyone who thought they were too grown-up for zoos.

Wildlife Park Warnings

Creature ComfortWhy It’s Criminal
Rhinos at restUnfairly enchanting

The Wild Wonders of the Wildlife Park:

  • Gardens where even the flamingos are graceful.
  • Manor grounds that could tempt you to picnic – indefinitely.
  • Play areas that will make you wish you were a child.

21. Stratford upon Avon

The birthplace of Shakespeare, Stratford upon Avon, has the audacity to be as theatrical as its native son’s plays.

Stratford’s Scandals

Theatrical ThornsHow They Thorn
Tudor streetsPainfully well-preserved

Five Acts of Stratford upon Avon’s Drama:

  1. Shakespeare’s birthplace – far too inspiring.
  2. Theatres that could make you an art lover.
  3. Swan-filled rivers, because the plays weren’t enough.
Things to do Cotswolds - Stratford upon Avon
Best places to visit in Cotswold – Stratford upon Avon

22. Moreton-in-Marsh

Moreton-in-Marsh, with a high street that could charm the socks off a statue, has the kind of rural market town vibes that could drive a city-dweller mad with contentment.

Moreton’s Misdemeanours

Rural WrongdoingsHow They Ravage
Tuesday MarketExcessively vibrant

Reasons Moreton-in-Marsh Might Ruin You:

  • Coaching inns that could spoil modern hotels for you.
  • Galleries that make you consider art theft.
  • Trainspotting at the station – it’s not just a movie title here.
Cotswold places to visit - Moreton-in-Marsh
Cotswold places to visit – Moreton-in-Marsh

23. Chipping Norton

Chipping Norton sits smugly on its hill, luring unsuspecting visitors into its web of woollen weaves and whispers of bygone market days.

Chippy’s Chicaneries

High Street HistrionicsWhy It’s Harrowing
Antique charmDangerously inviting

Chipping Norton’s Checklist of Charms:

  • Views over the Cotswolds – eye candy that’s just too sweet.
  • Cosy pubs that threaten sobriety.
  • Theatre performances – suspiciously good for a small town.
Places to visit Cotswolds - Chipping Norton
Places to visit Cotswolds – Chipping Norton

24. Winchcombe

Winchcombe is so full of history, you might trip over it. With Sudeley Castle and ancient alleys, it’s a veritable assault of the ancestral.

Winchcombe’s Wrongs

Historical HauntsWhy It Horrifies
Sudeley CastleUnforgivably grandiose

A Summary of Winchcombe’s Woes:

  • A festival of walking, the sheer audacity!
  • Tea rooms that taunt with the scent of fresh scones.
  • Ruins that rudely remind one of the relentless march of time.
Places to see in Cotswolds - Winchcombe
Places to see in Cotswolds – Winchcombe

25. Guiting Power

Guiting Power, where even the name sounds like it’s trying too hard. The village green is so quintessentially English, it might just turn you into a Morris dancer.

Guiting’s Grievances

Village VexationsWhy They’re Vile
Too traditionalBrazenly bucolic

The Galling List of Guiting Power:

  • A bakery with pastries too buttery to be legal.
  • Footpaths that lead to unwanted tranquillity.
  • Cotswold stone cottages – yet another visual onslaught.
Cotswolds places to visit - Guiting Power
Cotswolds places to visit – Guiting Power

26. Naunton

Naunton, with the River Windrush flowing through it like it owns the place, flaunts its natural beauty without a care for the urban soul.

Naunton’s Nuisances

Natural NettlesWhy They’re Nasty
River WindrushInsolently scenic

Naunton’s List of Natural No-Nos:

  • Dovecote standing since the 17th century – ostentatiously old.
  • Walks along the river – an unwanted respite.
  • The serenity that might just make you write poetry.
Unusual places to visit in the Cotswolds - Naunton
Unusual places to visit in the Cotswolds – Naunton

27. Tewkesbury

Tewkesbury, with its medieval streets and the Abbey that watches over them, is so steeped in history it’s practically pickled in it.

Tewkesbury’s Troubles

Medieval MisgivingsHow They Miff
The AbbeyOverbearingly historic

Tewkesbury’s Tally of Terrors:

  • Alleys that could lead you to believe in time travel.
  • Mustard that’s suspiciously tasty – a culinary conspiracy, perhaps?
  • Battles reenacted – as if daily life weren’t struggle enough.
Places to go in the Cotswolds - Tewkesbury
Places to go in the Cotswolds – Tewkesbury

What are the 5 most visited places in the Cotswolds?

In the Cotswolds’ parade of pastoral panache, the following locales draw the masses like moths to a flame:

  1. Bath: This city is like a history lesson in stone, seducing visitors with Georgian crescents and Roman baths that simply refuse to be anything less than magnificent.
  2. Chipping Campden: A High Street so quaintly lined with ancient limestone buildings, it’s as if the town is stuck in a time loop of charm.
  3. Bourton-on-the-Water: Here, the river doesn’t just flow; it performs a ballet, with the audience perpetually enraptured by its watery grace.
  4. Blenheim Palace: A home so stately and gardens so meticulously landscaped, they make Buckingham Palace seem like a modest bungalow in comparison.
  5. Stow-on-the-Wold: Replacing Cirencester with a marketplace that’s a whirlpool of antiques and tea rooms, Stow lures those with a penchant for the past like bees to a blossom.
Top Places to visit in Cotswold District
Best places in the Cotswolds

Are places in Cotswolds AONB worth visiting?

Absolutely, if you have the fortitude to withstand the relentless assault of scenic vistas in the Cotswolds AONB, they are worth every exaggerated sigh. Each village is a front-runner in an unspoken competition to out-pretty the next, with enough charm to make a garden gnome blush. The market towns are a historian’s dream, brazenly displaying their untainted heritage at every cobblestoned turn.

The walks will have your camera working overtime, capturing landscapes that blatantly refuse to take a bad photo. And let’s not forget the local fare, which could easily convert a devoted city slicker into a countryside gastronome.