What I love about the English Cotswolds, besides the gorgeous flowers, country homes and bucolic, sheep-filled hillsides, is that you can go again and again and never see the same village twice. There are so many picturesque towns and rambling woodland walks that it’s worth visiting year after year.
We hadn’t been in more than a decade, but in 24 hours we were able to see several new places and hike for miles in solitude. It’s under a two-hour drive from central London, and I would recommend having a car since the train and bus service is sparse. Here’s our itinerary if you want to explore the Cotswolds on your next visit to England.
Cricklade – Technically just on the outskirts of the Cotswolds, but pretty all the same, this tiny village is said to lead to the source of the Thames river. Walk the quaint High Street and then duck into The Red Lion pub.
Bibury – Tourists have found this village, but there’s good reason. The Swan Hotel is covered in ivy and begging to be photographed. The Bibury Trout Farm alongside the river Coln deserves a walk-through, as well as the quaint Arlington Row, one of the most photographed places in the Cotswolds.
Bourton on the Water, Upper and Lower Slaughter – Another popular village, we decided to park in Bourton and hike toward Lower and then Upper Slaughter. Bailey was mesmerized by the sheep and cows and we enjoyed meandering along the waterways and quiet streets just before dark.
Chipping Camden – Before we set out on our six-mile hike, we indulged in a proper English breakfast at the Bantam Tea Rooms, a bright stone cafe with exposed beams originating from 1693. The church bells sang throughout the town and we felt like locals perusing the streets in the early morning hours before more tourists showed up.
Stanton – We began our hike in Stanton, doing a loop that would bring us back to The Mount Inn. It turned out to be the perfect plan, because with only 30 minutes left in our trek, the skies turned dark and opened up. We arrived drenched and weary but were welcomed in the dry and homey pub.
Snowshill – Halfway through our hike we stopped in picturesque Snowshill for a pint at The Snowshill Arms. The tiny village is famous for its cameo in the Bridget Jones’ Diary movie, and we sat next to the friendliest locals who gave Bailey dog biscuits while showing us photos of their own pups who had been left at home!
Because Luke doesn’t love to hike (and couldn’t care less about stone cottages and flowers!), we chose to take this trip as a couple + dog. It was a romantic setting for a quick getaway…quintessentially English!