10 Best places to visit in the Cotswolds & Things to do in the AONB!

What are the best things to do in Cotswolds? From Castle Combe to Bourton-on-the-Water – there are a lot of Cotswolds villages to visit & romantic places to go in the Cotswolds!

Looking for the best place to visit and top things to do in the Cotswolds? Not sure where to find the most charming Cotswolds villages? Wondering if Bourton on the Water is one of the best places to live in the Cotswolds? Or if it’s just one of the top tourist attractions in the Cotswolds?

So many questions about the top things to do and places to see in the Cotswolds, England. 🙂

When you think about the Cotswolds, you probably imagine quaint English villages with cottages made from distinctive golden honey-coloured stone. Perhaps you think of the gently rolling hills, lush green spaces and the odd stately home? While all of this is true, the Cotswolds has all of this and so much more to enjoy. We absolutely love this part of England and try to escape to Cotswold at least a few times a year. Every time we visit this beautiful area, we find new interesting things to do in the Cotswolds 🙂

The Cotswolds is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Just one visit and you’ll be able to see why! It really does have something for everyone. Whether you want to get back to nature, sample the finest gastronomic fayre or see crucial places of British history, the region has it all.

10 Best Places to visit in Cotswolds: At a Glance

  1. Broadway Tower
  2. Bath
  3. Castle Combe
  4. Blenheim Palace
  5. Gloucester
  6. Bibury
  7. Stow on the Wold
  8. Stratford upon Avon
  9. Cotswold Wildlife Park
  10. Bourton on the Water

With so much going on, it can be hard to know where to visit, especially as the region covers almost 800-square miles and five counties. So, to help you with your Cotswolds visit, here are our top must-visit Cotswolds destinations so you can see the best of what the region has to offer. Then, you can decide which one to add to your bucket list ideas UK.

Places to visit in Cotswold District

(Probably the best tourist attractions & things to do in Cotswold!)

Still not sure what to do in the Cotswolds? See our list of the top things to do 🙂

Best places to visit in the Cotswolds:

1. Broadway Tower

The Broadway Tower, Cotswolds’ highest castle, is one of the top things to do in the Cotswolds! If we had to choose one, the most popular tourist attraction in Cotswold, it would be most probably the Broadway Tower. It is one of England’s outstanding viewpoints with amazing views that can reach as far as a 62-mile radius and 16 surrounding counties!

For a small fee, the tower is open to visitors wanting to experience great English heritage. On its 3 floors, you will learn about the history of this great tourist attraction. You can even visit a nuclear bunker! It really is one of the best places to visit in Cotswold, especially for history lovers!

The Broadway Tower is an amazing place to visit in the Cotswolds – make sure you add this to your Cotswolds bucket list attractions!

Cotswolds Broadway Tower

2. Bath

The city of Bath is not only a must-visit destination for the Cotswolds but a city break in itself. Bath, as the name suggests, is most famous for its exquisite Roman baths. The Roman Baths Museum is a fascinating trip back in time to see what the baths were like in Roman times. Afterwards, you can feel like a modern-day Roman by enjoying the natural thermal waters at Thermae Bath Spa. Finally, no trip to Bath is complete without trying the famous Bath bun, also known as the Sally Lunn Bun.

Bath is a place to fall in love with and it’s a huge tourist attraction in the Cotswolds. Is Roman bath on your bucket list of top things to do in Cotswolds? 😉

Have more time in Bath? Read xyuandbeyond’s guide Bath in 2 days and plan amazing 48 hours in this beautiful city 🙂

Bath -Best Places to visit in Cotswold District
Bath -Best Places to visit in Cotswold
Bath -Top Places to visit in Cotswold District

3. Castle Combe

Set in the county of Wiltshire, Castle Combe is regularly listed as one of the prettiest villages in England. Set on the Bybrook river, the charming 15th-century bridges connecting the village make for a beautiful picture-postcard view. There are plenty of independent shops to purchase local produce from as well as a Saturday market which takes place in the centre of the village, where you can also see the Market Cross monument too.

Petrolheads may know Castle Combe village better for its racing circuit, which is regularly claimed to be one of the fastest circuits in Britain. There are plenty of events to take part in at Castle Combe Circuit if you have a need for speed – one of the best things to do in this part of the Cotswolds.

Castle Combe -Best Places to visit in Cotswold District
Castle Combe -Top Places to visit in Cotswold District
Castle Combe -Top Places to visit in Cotswold

4. Blenheim Palace

A top tourist attraction in the Cotswolds! Blenheim Palace is a true national treasure which was a very special place in England’s history. The palace is located just 8 miles from Oxford. With over 2000 acres of stunning parkland and more than 300 years of history to discover, a visit to Blenheim Palace offers an unforgettable experience!

Make sure you go for a walk in Blenheim Park! It’s a top place to spend a day during a weekend trip to Cotswold!

There is also a very special tree, which most Harry Potter fans will probably recognize from the movie 😊 A top photography spot in the Cotswolds! It really is one of the best places to visit in Cotswolds.

5. Gloucester

Gloucester is a busy city that has carefully combined regeneration while retaining its history. Shoppers should head to the historic docks. Once the docks were famed for being the most inland port. Now Gloucester Docks are a place to shop and eat.

Gloucester has plenty of museums and entertainment too, so you can spend as much or as little time as you like there.

6. Bibury

Another village in the Cotswolds that is regularly in competition with Castle Combe for the most beautiful village in England is Bibury. Bibury features the famous Arlington Row, a series of picturesque cottages. Those are one of the most famously photographed sights in the UK, even starring in UK passports. Some even say that this is one of the best landscapes in Europe – would you agree?

Bibury village has plenty of traditional tea shops and picnic spots to make the most of the beautiful surroundings. For many tourists, this is the top attraction and the best place to visit in Cotswolds – would you agree with that? 🙂

Bibury -Best Places to visit in Cotswold District
Bibury -Top Places to visit in Cotswold
Bibury -The Best Places to visit in Cotswold
Bibury - The best Places to visit in Cotswold District

7. Stow on the Wold

Stow on the Wold is a popular market town in the Cotswolds thanks to its great connections with the Fosse Way which is a Roman road in the region. The little market town has lots of antique and craft shops and many cafes and inns. It is regularly used as a start and finish point for walkers making the most of the Cotswolds countryside.

Stow on the Wold may be small but has a fascinating history. In fact, the last battle in the English Civil War took place here – just in case you are a massive history-lover 😉

It is one of the most unique towns to visit in Europe.

Things to do in the Cotswolds - Stow on the Wold

(read our guide to renting a car in Europe)

8. Stratford upon Avon

As the birthplace of William Shakespeare, you can find out all there is to know about the prolific writer in this pretty market town. During a visit to Stratford upon Avon, you can see Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Hall’s Croft which was owned by Shakespeare’s daughter.

On sunny days, you can rent a boat and enjoy a river cruise through the town and if you stay for an evening check out a show at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Don’t forget to visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (no, not the American actress 😉 ) – a wattle-and-daub cottage which used to be a family home of Shakespeare’s wife. This cottage is one of the nicest places to see in the Cotswolds!

Stratford upon Avon -Best Places to visit in Cotswold District
Stratford upon Avon -Best Places to visit in Cotswold
Stratford upon Avon -Top Places to visit in Cotswold District
Stratford upon Avon -Top Places to visit in Cotswold

9. Cotswold Wildlife Park

Cotswold Wildlife Park is home to many weird and wonderful creatures 🙂 You need a whole day to make the most of the park and catch all of the daily activities such as lemur feeding and seeing the big cats.

Kids will love the farmyard! They can feed and stroke the animals as well as making the most of the adventure playground where they can burn off any excess energy.

The adventure playground is not just any playground. It has climbs of over 20 feet high and has a sky maze that connects a range of treehouses and slides. Grown-ups will be jealous! 😉

10. Bourton on the Water

Another village with picture-postcard views is Bourton on the Water. It has typical Cotswold architecture and the River Windrush flowing through the centre. On sunny days, the river is busy with people eating fish and chips and ice cream while the ducks eagerly watch for dropped food – Seriously! They will be watching you! 😉

There are plenty of attractions to visit in Bourton on the Water too such as the model village where you can feel like a GIANT 🙂 You will love this place! It’s one of the things you just must see in Costwold.

If you are an animal lover, you can visit Birdland which has over 500 birds to marvel at – you can take many pictures of parrots and penguins 🙂

Bourton on the Water -Best Places to visit in Cotswold District
Bourton on the Water -Best Places to visit in Cotswold
Bourton on the Water -Top Places to visit in Cotswold District

All you HAVE to know about the Cotswolds:

What is there to do in the Cotswolds in the winter?

The Cotswolds is a beautiful part of the UK, no matter the time of year. However, you may wonder if there is actually going to be much to do in the winter months. Thankfully there are plenty of pubs, museums, art galleries and shops for you to visit in the area if the weather isn’t looking so kind outside.

What is there to do in the Cotswolds for kids?

The Cotswolds is great for a family holiday, thanks to the assortment of things you can do. This includes the Cotswolds Water Park, Adam Hensons Cotswold Farm Park, Blenheim Palace and Cattle Country Adventure Farm Park.

What is the best town to stay in the Cotswolds?

The best town to stay in will really depend on what you are looking for. Most of the Cotswolds are quaint and charming however Bourton on the Water and Burford are particularly beautiful. If you are looking for a larger space then you might want to consider Cirencester instead. You could choose an even larger city and go for Bath or perhaps Cheltenham.

Where can I walk in the Cotswolds?

There are plenty of beautiful hiking and walking routes in the Cotswolds. One of the most popular and well-known has to be the Cotswold Way, which stretches for over 100 miles throughout the entire region. However, you can also take a look at the Diamond Way and the Cleeve Hill Ring.

How do you get to the Cotswolds?

With an excellent road network in the area, the Cotswolds can be relatively easy to get to by car. You can also reach the area via public transport, such as trains and buses. You could even fly into a local airport, perhaps London or Birmingham and then make your way into the area.


What celebrities live in the Cotswolds?

Thanks to the beauty of the area, the Cotswolds has become a popular area for many celebrities to live in. Some of the rumoured famous faces that you might spot whilst you are visiting include Kate Moss, Hugh Grant, Patrick Stewart and Lily Allen.

Why is it called the Cotswolds?

The Cotswolds name comes from an Anglo Saxon chieftain who was named Cod. Cod owned the high land in the 12th Century and at that time this high land was known as the “wold”. It didn’t take long for the two to come together and the area to be known as the Cotswold or the land that was owned by Cod.

What does Cotswold AONB mean?

The Cotswolds are known to be an AONB. This means that the entire region is an Area of Natural Beauty. If you do happen to spend some time in the Cotswolds, then you will soon see why this is the case.

Where does the Cotswold Way start?

Thinking about tackling the famous Cotswold Way walk? If you are then you will need to head to Chipping Campden. The trail then heads off for 102 miles and ends at Bath Abbey.

Is Stonehenge in the Cotswolds?

The historical monument of Stonehenge is often thought to be in the Cotswolds. However, it is actually found in nearby Wiltshire, which is not too far away if you do want to travel to visit this amazing space.

Where to stay in the Cotswolds?

There is no shortage of amazing places to stay during your holiday in Cotswolds. Please see below some of the TOP hotels we have selected for you:

“Trinity House Upper Oddington offers accommodations near Stow on the Wold. Free private parking is available on site. The area is popular for golfing. Oxford is 22 mi from Trinity House Upper Oddington, while Stratford-upon-Avon is 18 mi away.”

“Located in Bourton on the Water, The Mousetrap Inn has a garden and a terrace. Providing a restaurant, the property also features a bar. Both private parking and free WiFi are available at this property.”

Need more inspiration? Find a hotel your favourite part of Cotswolds,

What is your best place to visit in Cotswolds?

Make sure you visit Cotswold at least once! Even for a day trip from London – it’s 100% worth to see one of the most romantic places in Europe! With so many great places to visit and one of the top attractions in England, Cotswold is a dream destination for tourist from the whole world! Don’t wait too long and try to visit all the best places in the Cotswold!

Love England and the rest of the UK?

Read our other articles related to this stunning country:

Weekend trips UK

Best Cotswold villages

Things to do in St. Albans

Seven Sisters Cliffs

Visiting Stonehenge

Isle of Wight attractions

Top Places to visit in Cotswold District

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