6 Enchanting Villages to Visit in the Cotswolds

Ahh, the Cotswolds…

This magical region lies just a couple hours outside of London, and was at the top of my bucket list when planning our UK road trip!

Wandering through these medieval villages felt like we’d stepped back in time! Because many of the historic towns that make up the Cotswolds are so close to each other, we were able to visit several of them each day.

After a few fast paced days spent in London city, we loved slowing down and soaking in the gorgeous English countryside.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we rented a car in London and drove to the Cotswolds rather than taking a train. Having our own car made it really easy to drive to and from each village and zip through the back roads, cutting through picturesque farmlands and quaint little neighborhoods.

hailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds

We may or may not have gotten a flat tire from said rural drives on our second day, bless my dear husband. But we were able to get it fixed quickly and continued on our merry way!

Where to Stay:

We stayed at an adorable Airbnb in Upper Swell, just outside of Stow-on-the-Wold. It was one of several cottages settled on a working farm, surrounded by lovely fields and tall trees. We absolutely loved it!

I’m so excited to share with you six of the most enchanting villages we were able to visit in the Cotswolds!

hailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds st edwards church stow on the wold

Stow-on-the-Wold

Being the Lord of the Rings fanatic that I am, I nearly shed tears when we walked by a darling cottage in Stow-on-the-Wold named BAG END!

hailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds st edwards church stow on the wold

And we just HAD to see the infamous tree-flanked door of St. Edward’s church. Legend has it that J.R.R. Tolkien himself used this door as inspiration while writing the series!

So naturally some of my favorite characters had to make an appearance…

hailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds st edwards church stow on the wold

Do you ever have moments where you feel like your most true self? This was most certainly one of those times.

Gimli and Legolas standing before the door to the ELVEN REALM ITSELF!

hailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds st edwards church stow on the wold
hailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds st edwards church stow on the wold

I love a good road trip, but what’s a road trip without the SNACKS? Before hopping back in our car, we picked up some delicious handmade local chocolate at the Cotswold Chocolate Company.

Yeah. Those truffles didn’t last very long.

Speaking of food (like when am I not speaking of food…), cozy tea rooms were calling my name on this drizzly day! Still dreaming of ways I can open one of these back home.

And we just HAD to see the infamous tree-flanked door of St. Edward’s church. Legend has it that J.R.R. Tolkien himself used this door as inspiration while writing the series!
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Bourton-on-the-Water

Bourton-on-the-Water is also known as the Venice of the Cotswolds!

hailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds bourton on the water river windrush

It didn’t take long to wander along the river Windrush (even the name of the river sounds like a fairytale, doth it NOT?!) and through the adorable shops in this village.

hailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds bourton on the water river windrush

PLEASE do yourself and your taste buds a favor and stop at the Bakery on the Water. We had one of the best brownies we’ve ever eaten there and wished we’d gone back to sample more TREATS!

hailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds bibury arlington row

Bibury

“Bibury, bobbitti, boo!” This village is famous for a beautiful row of picturesque cottages called Arlington Row! As soon as we pulled up to this tiny and quaint town, my jaw dropped.

hailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds bibury arlington row

This place is seriously straight out of a fairytale! The swan?! I mean, come on!

hailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds bibury arlington row

We took a short walk along the river and around the town and couldn’t get over how charming Bibury was!

hailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds bibury arlington row

Burford

We stopped for lunch in Burford, and though our lunch was a bit of a let down after some of the other incredible food we’d tried, we still enjoyed walking through the town.

Burford would be a great spot to pop into some local shops, take some photos, or maybe grab something quick to eat!

Broadway

I love me a good musical, but the only sounds on this Broadway were a harmonizing flock of adorable sheep.

We drove straight to the Broadway tower itself, but found out that you can actually walk from the tower on Cotswold Way into town.

It was a little too muddy and rainy for us to brave the 1.5 mile jaunt, but I’m sure it would be gorgeous!

DSChailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds stratfor upon avon shakespeare holy trinity church birthplace

Stratford-upon-Avon

I have had Shakespeare’s birthplace on my travel bucket list ever since I was cast in “A Comedy of Errors” when I was 14. So let me tell ya- I was beyond stoked to visit the Bard’s grave and learn about his early years and family life!

DSChailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds stratfor upon avon shakespeare holy trinity church birthplace

While you can do an official Shakespeare tour, we decided to just stop by the Holy Trinity Church and his birthplace.

DSChailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds stratfor upon avon shakespeare holy trinity church birthplace

Stratford-upon-Avon is absolutely gorgeous! We had a delicious lunch at Wildwood and wished we’d saved some space for an afternoon tea at nearby Fourteas tea room!

DSChailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds stratfor upon avon shakespeare holy trinity church birthplace

My one regret is that we didn’t buy tickets to a show at the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre. Seeing Shakespeare performed in his home town would have been beyond epic!

DSChailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds english countryside

Words and photos just don’t do the Cotswold’s justice! If you’re anywhere near London, I can’t recommend a stop in this gorgeous area enough. These enchanting villages are just as dreamy as they look!

I hope that you found this guide helpful! If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out my guide to London and my post on the Lake District!

hailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds bibury arlington row
hailey gardiner england travel guide cotswolds seven 7 enchanting villages to visit in the cotswolds bibury arlington row

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