The United Kingdom has a whole heap of gorgeous towns, sleepy little villages and vibrant cities to explore! Yeah, I know I’m biased (being a Brit myself) but there’s so much to see across our beautiful islands. From sunny spots in the south of England to ancient villages that have stood for over a thousand … Continue Reading
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Scotland is such a beautiful country to explore, and with so much to see and do, you’ll be wanting to stay for a longer trip. This is especially true when seeing all the best castles in Scotland that are dotted around the country. You see, it’s not only, Scottish culture, music, or Scottish food that … Continue Reading
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If you’re looking for a unique adventure during your stay in Edinburgh, Cramond Island is a must-visit destination. This tidal island in the Firth of Forth is easily accessible via …
I grew up not all that far away from the pretty Cotswolds villages in the UK. While is still seems strange to me that the best villages in the Cotswolds have gained such notoriety, It’s easy to see why. Full of cute cottages, some with thatched roofs, flower boxes and pretty cobbled streets these UK villages have become one of the most popular tourist attractions in England! If you’re planning a trip to England, make sure to plan a Cotswolds road trip to check out some of the most picturesque villages in the Cotswolds!
The prettiest Cotswolds villages and the best towns in Cotswolds
Working mostly north to south, this guide to the Cotswolds prettiest towns and villages will give you a little information about each place. I’ve also given some background to the area itself, as well as some suggestions for things to do and where to stay in the Cotswolds.
I hope you have fun exploring this beautiful English countryside, checking out these villages of the Cotswolds.
Where are the Cotswolds?
Perhaps you’re wondering “what are the Cotswolds?” and just where exactly are they? Wonder no more with this Costwolds travel guide!
The Cotswolds are a part of south-central England in the UK. The Cotswolds AONB (area of outstanding natural beauty) stretches for over 800 square miles, covering 6 counties (the UK equivalent of States and Provinces) including Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.
One of the most notable things about this area is the Cotswolds stone. It’s a yellow limestone that makes the buildings in the Cotswolds unique and super pretty too.
If you’re up for a long hike, you could walk the 102-mile long Cotswold Way walking trail. This Cotswolds hiking trail follows the Cotswold Edge escarpment in Bath to Chipping Campden in the north of the region.
During the Middle Ages, the Cotswolds became rich from the wool trade which has resulted in many of the beautiful manor houses and churches that you’ll come across as you take a Cotswolds tour. Many areas may look familiar from TV shows including Downton Abbey, Harry Potter and Poldark (or just from your Instagram feed!).
The Cotswolds on a map
This Cotswolds map shows the Cotswolds area (the darker green parts). Here you can see some of the villages in the Cotswolds.
[Click to enlarge].
Cotswolds things to do, England
When it comes to things to do in the Cotswolds, you won’t be short on ideas. Besides exploring these beautiful villages in the Cotswolds, you can visit some of the best Cotswolds pubs and restaurants or visit the independent shop and farmers’ markets.
There’s also the famous Cotswold Wildlife Park, plenty of Cotswolds castles and manor houses, and plenty of trails in the area for you to get outside and walk. Sure, there’s no coastline, but there are plenty of lakes, rivers and canals!
Where to stay in the Cotswolds
It’s definitely worth planning a Cotswolds weekend trip. Here are some suggested Cotswolds hotels and best Airbnbs in the Cotswolds to stay at during your stay in some of England’s prettiest villages!
- Castle Gatehouse: This gorgeous Cotswolds Airbnb lets you feel like a king by staying in a castle gatehouse!
- Chester House Hotel: In Bourton-on-water, this hotel in the Cotswolds has a great restaurant and plenty of things to do nearby.
- The Stag at Stow: This Cotswold lodge is tastefully decorated with family rooms available.
- The Slaughters Manor House: Add some luxury to your Cotswolds trip with a stay at this beautiful Manor House!
- Cottage in Stow-on-the-Wold: This cute Cotswolds holiday cottage has everything you need for a charming stay!
1. Chipping Campden
The market town of Chipping Camden in the Cotswolds enjoyed huge wealth in the Middle Ages thanks to wool merchants. Nowadays its the place to go for art as it’s home to the Guild of Handicrafts. There’s also the Court Barn museum which showcases the work of designers from the Arts & Cragts movement at the turn of the 20th Century.
Besides the art, stroll down the historic high street and the Market Hall; a Cotswold National Trust property. The hall was built in 1627 by Sir Baptist Hicks and originally housed cheese, poultry and butter traders as they passed through the small market town.
A quieter Cotswold village, Blockley is towards the north of the region and is a cute little village. There aren’t exactly many Cotswolds activities here, but it’s still worth getting out of your car to wander around and perhaps popping in for a traditional pub lunch at one of the pubs in Blockley, or a coffee from the cafe.
Broadway states it’s the ‘jewel of the Cotswolds’ and is a very charming town that’s played host to a number of films. This picturesque Cotswold town is in the county of Worcestershire. It has a pretty high street full of shops, museums, cafes and restaurants. There are also historic hotels that date as far back as the 1300s!
Be sure to make time to visit Boadway Tower, or wander the Broadway Museum and Art Gallery. The Art Gallery is in a 17th-century coaching inn and showcases a collection of art and furniture alongside temporary exhibitions, talks and art classes.
Not far from Broadway, fans of Bridget Jones’ Diary might recognise parts of Snowshill as Bridget’s parents’ house as they wander around the village.
One of the top things to do in Snowshill is to visit the Snowshill Manor which used to house Charles Wade’s unusual collections. Alternatively, if the weather is nice, take a wander around the village to fully appreciate its cuteness.
Winchcombe is the place to go if you enjoy wandering around antique stores. There are plenty of them here as well as independent coffee shops to help provide the energy for some shopping!
If you only have time for one shop, make it the Winchcombe Antiques Centre. The centre is home of a maze of rooms full of unique items that could easily fill a few hours. In the basement, there’s a little cafe with cakes and drinks in case you get peckish!
One of the more well known Cotswolds villages, Stow-on-the-wold is a hilltop market town which used to be the site of an Iron Age fort.
The town centre has several galleries and antique shops (noticing a theme?) and for keen hikers and hill walkers, there are many Cotswolds hills and walking trails in and out of Stow-on-the-wold.
One of the best things about Kingham is that it’s easily accessible by train so you can get from the Cotswolds to London on public transport.
If you love spotting beautiful houses and gardens then be sure to check out Kingham on your Cotswolds visit. There are beautifully manicured Cotswolds gardens and hedges hiding Cotswold stone cottages and you’ll find a photo opportunity everywhere you look. Popping into the Daylesford Organic Farm nearby is well worth doing too!
8. The Slaughters
Ugly name, beautiful villages, the villages of Lower Slaughter and Upper Slaughter are in the peaceful countryside of the Cotswolds.
There aren’t exactly tourist attractions, the windy lanes and the houses are the attraction at the Slaughters in the Cotswolds. Enjoy the River Eye which runs through the middle of Lower Slaughter and the cute cottages of Upper Slaughter.
In Lower Slaughter make sure to walk towards the water mill and grab some photos on the bridges. Upper Slaughter is the quieter of the two as there is less to see, but since you’re nearby you may as well stroll through the village.
9. Bourton on water
The village of Bourton-on-the-Water straddles a stream and is a great place to enjoy riverside walks. As well as walks and small teashops, you can browse several small museums showcasing birds, cars and even model villages! The Model Village is a 1930s replica of the heart of Bourton-on-the-Water which is pretty cool to see.
This village is often named one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds and even the whole of the UK and sometimes as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’. This is because of the small bridges crossing over the River Windrush at the village’s centre.
10. Guiting Power
Guiting Power is a tiny little place but if you’re taking a road trip through the Cotswolds is well worth driving through. Small though it is, there are still a couple of great pubs to visit.
Not far from Stow-on-wold, Naunton is a secluded little village. Pay a visit to Naunton Dovecote; which offers a glimpse of the area’s history. The River Windrush makes a nice stream for a swim on a warm summer’s day too.
In 2009, Forbes listed Burford as one of the most idyllic places to live in Europe and it’s easy to see why. A medieval village, Burford is full of extremely old architecture including the bridge dating back to the Middle Ages and a very ancient church. It’s not just these buildings which are old, Burford is also said to have England’s oldest pharmacy!
If you’re a book lover, make sure to shop at the Madhatter Bookshop in Burford and explore the other boutiques and cafes while you’re there.
The Cotswold village of Bibury is best known for ‘Arlington Row.’ This row features the Cotswold cottages that make up the pages of British passports! The cottages here are from the 17th Century and they’re the main draw for visitors to the village.
Besides Arlington Row, there is a beautiful water meadow known as Rack Isle which plays home to a lot of wildlife in the Cotswolds. If you stay a while you may see kingfishers and water voles!
The village pub, The Catherine Wheel, is a family-run pub that’s well-worth stopping in at before leaving Bibury.
Chedworth’s most popular thing to do is to visit the Roman Villa. This village is around 2,000 years old and is definitely something unique!
Another funny name, this Cotswold village is equally full of cute cottages. The village church has its own superstition revolving around the number of trees planted there. Currently, there are 99 yew trees and it’s believed the 100th tree will die on being planted!
Elsewhere, you can enjoy an afternoon tea or stay in a luxurious manor house for the night.
Garden lovers should visit the Rococo Garden just outside of Painswick. This garden was created in the 1700s and features an unusual mix of plants.
Otherwise, you could walk from Painswick to Slad; our next Cotswold village to visit!
Slad is a tiny little village and if you’ve walked here as suggested above, you should get a pub lunch as a reward!
Laurie Lee, the author of Cider with Rosie and As I stepped out one midsummer morning, is buried in the churchyard in Slad!
The town of Cirencester is most well known for being the ‘Capital of the Cotswolds’. It’s located along the River Churn and some of the best things to do in Cirencester are to visit the Roman history Corinium Museum or Cirencester’s Roman amphitheatre.
Sapperton is another of the best Cotswolds villages to visit. It’s full of pretty Cotswolds cottages, a pub and, of course, has a cute village church: St Kenelm’s Church. It’s actually worth going inside Sapperton church as it’s got a beautiful interior.
Tetbury is often considered to be the southern gateway to the Cotswolds. Walk by the Grade I-listed historic market hall and then stroll through the rest of the town. Nearby, the National Arboretum at Westonbirt makes the perfect places to visit for a summer or autumn picnic!
Malmesbury is a beautiful town known for its large abbey. Today you’ll find plenty of independent shops and eateries to keep you entertained!
21. Castle Combe
One of the most typical English villages you’ll come across is Castle Combe which gets its name from the nearby 12-th century castle. Another contender for the prettiest town in the Cotswolds, Castle Combe has been used as the backdrop in many films thanks to the pretty streets.
Wotton-under-Edge could be considered one of the Cotswold’s best-kept secrets! It’s home to many a pub and tea room! The almshouses are perhaps the highlight in terms of pretty buildings to see with their little chapel and spire.
If you fancy something spooky, head to the Ancient Ram Inn which is a centuries-old former inn & pub claiming to be England’s most haunted house due to ghost sightings!
Hopefully, this has helped plan your Cotswolds UK trip. Have fun!
The post 20+ of the prettiest Cotswolds Villages, towns & cities to visit! appeared first on That Adventurer.
I spent many a summer holiday as a kid down on the beautiful beaches of Cornwall visiting some of the best towns in Cornwall. Renowned for their pretty architecture, great food and, of course, pretty beaches, Cornwall is a popular holiday destination in the UK.
Cornwall is where I (attempted) to learn how to surf, dug massive holes on the beach with my siblings and continued to eat my weight in shellfish. Yum!
While most people think only of the popular seaside town of Newquay, there is SO much more to explore in Cornwall. The area is known for its delicious food, artsy villages, surfing spots and some of Cornwall’s historic mining areas have become Unesco World Heritage sites!
If you’re planning a Cornwall holiday, then make sure to make a trip to these prettiest towns in Cornwall!
The Best towns in Cornwall
I’ve picked out the prettiest towns and fishing villages in Cornwall that you should add to your Cornwall bucket list. These seaside towns in Cornwall are all super cute and have delicious places to eat. I’ve also suggested some places to stay so that you can enjoy a relaxing seaside holiday in the UK.
How to get to Cornwall
Most visitors to Cornwall will drive there from all across the UK. If you’re coming from a larger city in the UK and do not have a car, I recommend getting the train to Cornwall and then renting a car once you’re there.
High-speed trains to Cornwall run frequently from London Paddington. There’s also the Night Riviera Sleeper Service to Penzance. Bath and Bristol also have daily trains to Cornwall.
Getting around Cornwall
Though there is public transport across Cornwall it’s not the most efficient or reliable. Using public transport to get between the smaller villages, or to the beach is very difficult and for that reason, I recommend hiring a car.
When is the best time to visit Cornwall?
Cornwall is a fantastic part of the UK and I would go so far as saying it is the most popular county for Britains to book their own vacations in. Because of this, the summer months of July and August are absolutely heaving! You need to book your accommodation well in advance if you are wanting to play a visit during these months. Yes, the weather is at its best but personally, I can’t stand the crowds. I prefer to visit in May or June. You still get excellent weather but there aren’t as many tourists!
The seaside village of Mousehole in Cornwall (pronounced ‘Mow-zel’ by locals) has a picturesque harbour at the centre and plenty of cute buildings around it. This Cornish fishing village’s pastel-coloured boats in the port mean you won’t be able to resist taking some photos!
As you walk further into the village from the port, there are some great independent shops and galleries and plenty of delicious restaurants and cafes too!
A short drive away, there’s the Minack Theatre; the open air, the world-famous theatre that puts on great productions every year.
Mousehole isn’t just one of the best coastal villages in Cornwall, it also makes up part of the Cornwall Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Make sure you spend some time walking the coastline to really appreciate the wild beauty of Cornwall.
Where to stay in Mousehole
These hotels in Mousehole come with great views of this pretty town in Cornwall.
- Boatman’s Cottage: Right on the beachfront in Mousehole.
- 9 Chapel Street: A super cute holiday cottage in Cornwall.
- The Old Pilchard Works: Sea views with this beachfront location.
One of the more well-known and nicest towns in Cornwall, St. Ives is renowned as a surfing hotspot and has been voted one of the best European beach destinations too. The fact that the colour of the water makes it seem like a tropical beach must’ve helped! The streets are lined with colourful bunting and the cobbled buildings and streets are just so pretty!
It’s one of the best places to go in Cornwall for independent shops, food and art gallery browsing. The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is well worth a visit.
Where to stay in St Ives
- 27 The Terrace St Ives: In the centre of St Ives with a bar, lounge and garden area.
- Lifeboat Inn: A beachside Inn just steps from Porthmeor Beach
- Tregenna Castle Resort: Within 72 acres of private grounds, this Tregenna Castle Resort overlooks St Ives and the Cornish coast.
The small village of Coverack in Cornwall is another great Cornish village to visit. This coastal village and fishing port in Cornwall, UK is on the east side of the Lizard peninsula about 9 miles away from Falmouth. It’s a hotspot for watersports including windsurfing, sailing and diving.
Walk the Cornish Pisky Pal Trail to discover Coverack. There are clues to follow all around the village and the first letters of their name spell out a secret phrase!
Where to stay in Coverack
- The Bay Hotel: This hotel has a lounge and garden and some great views of the sea.
The Paris Hotel: offers a bar and restaurant, along with wonderful sea views from the garden.
Another of the most beautiful holiday villages in Cornwall is Helford. This historically important port used to be the gateway to imports from Europe but these days the port serves as a picturesque location in a popular holiday destination in Cornwall.
The village of Helford gets its name from the Cornish word for ‘estuary’. And, as the village is on the banks of the Helford River, it’s easy to see why it’s been given such a name. Walking along the grassy banks of the river is a perfect activity in Helford.
Where to stay in Helford
- The Old Vicarage: Cute holiday home with 5 bedrooms.
Between Plymouth and Falmouth, Fowey is one of the best Cornwall villages and it’s super cute. It’s a popular destination for holidays in the UK and is a great place to stay if you enjoy sailing (or just like watching it!).
Full of English maritime heritage, Fowey has breathtaking views which is no surprised given it’s also in the Cornish Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty!
Get some fish ‘n’ chips and head down to the harbour to enjoy them while taking in the views.
Where to stay in Fowey
- Fowey River Views: Beachfront property just 2 km from St Catherines Castle with plenty of hiking opportunities.
- Fowey Hall: Waterfront views of Fowey Port at this luxurious spa and hotel.
- The Old Quay House Hotel: A luxury hotel in Cornwall overlooking the Fowey’s attractive waterfront.
One of the most popular cities in Cornwall for holidays, Falmouth is home to the third-largest deep water harbour in the world! The high street is lined with independent boutiques and art galleries. There are live shows regularly scheduled throughout the summer from some of the best musicians in Cornwall. Falmouth is also a foodie hotspot with some delicious waterfront restaurants serving locally sourced seafood dishes.
Where to stay in Falmouth
- Greenbank Hotel: Seafront location overlooking Falmouth Harbour, Greenbank Hotel offers panoramic views and traditional charm.
- Chainlocker: Situated in Falmouth with beautiful views.
- The Red House Guesthouse: The Red House is an elegant and distinctive Victorian house overlooking the harbour and the River Fal.
A quieter Cornish village, Polperro is incredibly charming and deserving of being called one of the prettiest villages in Cornwall. It’s become pretty famous for the beautiful white fishermen cottages with their dark slate roofs. And if that wasn’t quaint enough, the narrow cobbled streets add to the effect. A stroll alongside the River Pol which runs through the village of Polperro is a super peaceful thing to do in Cornwall.
Hotels in Polperro, Cornwall
- Lannear Farm: Beautiful holiday home with great views and a garden.
- The House on the Props: Situated in Polperro, The House on the Props is right in the historic harbour.
Boscastle is set in a stunning coastline location with a beautiful natural harbour and old thatched cottages which I just love. There’s lots of medieval history in the village in Cornwall and plenty to discover including pottery and the mysterious Museum of Witchcraft and Magic which make great rainy day activities in Cornwall!
Hotels in Boscastle, Cornwall
- Boscastle House: Built in 1839, this historic building set in its own grounds, is located at the top of Boscastle. Just a 15-minute walk to the harbour.
- The Old Coach House: Situated in Boscastle, The Old Coach House is in a beautiful building with a terrace and garden.
- The Bull Pen: This cute holiday home has everything you need for a self-catering holiday in Cornwall.
With whitewashed thatched cottages, old crabbing boats and a great pub (get the crab sandwich!), this Cornish village is one of the most beautiful places in Cornwall.
Popular with locals and tourists alike due to its live music scene, Cadgwith Cove has everything you need for a peaceful Cornish getaway.
It’s well worth taking the short drive to the Kynance Cove which has a beautiful white sandy beach and is close by to a cliff formation called The Devil’s Frying Pan which is 200ft high!
Where to stay in Cadgwith Cove
- Cadgwith Cove Inn: Beachfront accommodation, some rooms with their own terrace
Padstow, or Padstein as its sometimes called due to the number of Rick Stein restaurants and eateries, is a beautiful harbourside town and one of the best villages in Cornwall for great restaurants. At the head of the Camel River in northern Cornwall, this town is a favourite for holidaymakers.
One of the top things to do in Padstow is to go crabbing from the harbour. Many of the shops sell little crabbing kits and it’s such a fun thing to do in Cornwall!
Be sure to try at least one of Rick Stein’s restaurants as they’re all delicious!
Where to stay in Padstow
- The Old Custom House: The Old Custom House overlooks Padstow’s medieval harbour. Fresh, local fish and seafood are served in the stylish restaurant.
- The Pickwick Inn: The Pickwick Inn is slightly out of the centre but is the same location as a fantastic Padstow restaurant and has an outdoor pool.
- The Old Mill House: The Old Mill House is set in a renovated Grade II listed former corn mill featuring a restaurant, bar, terrace and garden adjacent to a stream.
Considered Cornwall’s oldest town, Marazion is full of local historical attractions. If historical attractions in Cornwall aren’t your thing, you’ll still enjoy walking around this small village in Cornwall. The village runs an annual competition called “The Garden Cup” which sees locals adorn their cottages with hanging baskets and making the village even prettier!
Marazion is also well known for being the village to visit to get to St Michael’s Mount. This tiny tidal island is home to a medieval church and castle and is part of The National Trust. You have to time your visit carefully to make sure you don’t get stuck, but it’s a very cool thing to do in Cornwall.
Where to stay in Marazion
- Marazion Hotel: The Marazion Hotel offers a restaurant, bar and stylish rooms, some with views of the sea towards St Michael’s Mount.
- Chyreen@marazion: This Cornwall B&B has garden views and is located in Marazion, 350 metres from Marazion Beach.
- Sandpiper: You can’t get much closer to the beach! This accommodation in Marazion is just 30 metres from Marazion Beach!
Beautiful beaches and a refreshing breeze pretty much sum up the town of Looe in Cornwall. Another Cornish harbourside town, Looe is also the gateway to miles and miles of sandy beaches and rock pools full of creatures. Rockpooling is such a fun activity, you never quite know what you’re going to fin!
Looe is also full of independent shops full of pretty bits and pieces and you could easily spend an afternoon exploring them!
Where to stay in Looe
- The Portbyhan Hotel: Right on the quayside overlooking the picturesque Cornish fishing port of Looe.
- Shell seekers Guest House: Another Quayside hotel in Looe with great reviews.
- Deganwy Hotel: A gorgeous hotel with a bar and beautiful rooms.
Port Isaac featured as the backdrop in ITV shop Doc Martin so it may look familiar if you were a fan of the show! In the northwest of Cornwall, Port Isaac has a slightly less tropical feel that some of those on the south coast but, nevertheless, it’s often said to be one of the best places to visit in Cornwall.
Explore the medieval village and spend some time watching the local fishermen haul in their catch at the harbour. Then, head to Nathan Outlaw’s restaurants in Port Isaac to eat the freshest catch of the day!
Where to stay in Port Isaac
- The Slipaway: The Slipway is a Grade II listed building that dates back to 1527 and is located opposite Port Isaac harbour.
- Signal Field B&B: A B&B in Port Isaac with asea view and garden.