The Cotswolds
History & Heritage

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Our most recommended The Cotswolds History & Heritage

From London: Oxford and Cotswolds Villages Day Trip

1. From London: Oxford and Cotswolds Villages Day Trip

Depart London and travel by a luxury Mercedes mini-coach to spend the morning exploring the beautiful university city of Oxford. Wander amongst the listed buildings and colleges, and climb one of the vantage points for breathtaking views of the spires. Marvel at the Ashmolean Museum's collection, then head towards the quaint Cotswolds villages to see traditional tiny cottages built from stone. Visit the village of Burford, the Gateway to the Cotswolds, and experience the small market town. Stop at another Cotswold village before heading to Bibury, where you will stroll through the famous Arlington Row.

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From London: Full-Day Tour of the Cotswolds

2. From London: Full-Day Tour of the Cotswolds

Travel from London and spend a relaxing day exploring the quintessentially British countryside of the Cotswolds, an area known for its beautiful green landscape, charming villages and honey-colored stone cottages. This small-group tour spends the day exploring some of the highlights of the Cotswolds, as well as some of the quieter, less visited areas of countryside. The first stop of the day will be the picturesque town of Bourton-on-the-water. Affectionately known as ‘the Venice of the Cotswolds’, this pretty location is one of the most charming towns in the Cotswolds and a popular visitor destination. Take ample time to stroll along the river, wander over the small bridges and admire the stone cottages. The next stop is Stow-on-the-Wold, a jumble of ancient inns and antique shops located around the market square. Stow has been a center of trade in the Cotswolds for centuries and is known historically as the location of the last battle of the English Civil War in 1646. The town has provided inspiration to many, including JRR Tolkein, and while here there will plenty of time to explore, visit ‘England’s oldest pub’ and have a traditional British lunch.  The journey through the heart of the Cotswolds continues and the next stop is Bibury, often described as the prettiest village in all of England. Wander along the gentle river and see the iconic Arlington Row, a set of weavers cottages that are now one of the symbols of the Cotswolds, as shown in the images above. Bibury is an unmissable Cotswolds destination so you can enjoy plenty of time to explore the village. The final stop of the day is the small town of Burford, known as the ‘Gateway to the Cotswolds’. Burford is one of England’s most unchanged medieval towns where many buildings are nearly 600 years old. The magnificent church is also known as one of the most historic in the region and whilst here there will be time to visit the church, stroll along the attractive high street and explore the town. The tour returns to the Mercure Kensington, London, by approximately 5:30 pm

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Oxford, Stratford, and Cotswolds: Day Trip from London

3. Oxford, Stratford, and Cotswolds: Day Trip from London

Depart London on a full-day (10-hour) tour that takes you west to experience the beauty of the Cotswolds countryside, and Oxford and Stratford, England’s most romantic cities. Head to Stratford-upon-Avon in the Warwickshire countryside, and enjoy 2 hours in the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Your guide will provide suggestions on the best sites to see. Take a walk around the town center to see beautiful Tudor-style buildings and sites connected with the life of Shakespeare, including the Swan Theatre. Next, your drive will continue through the Cotswolds, as you enjoy views of the lovely landscape and stone villages. A designated area of outstanding natural beauty, this is the English countryside at its finest. Continue to Oxford to explore the most famous university city in the world. Take a walk among the college buildings and admire their dreamy spires. Your guide will recommend a walking route that covers the most famous sites, including the Bridge of Sighs and Christchurch Cathedral. Learn about Oxford’s connection with Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter. Find a great place for a meal (you guide will provide recommendations), or join local scholars and academics over a pint in the city’s most haunted pub. You'll be back in London by around 18.30 and you can use the London Underground to travel quickly to all areas of London.

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From London: Full-Day Cotswolds Tour with Lunch

4. From London: Full-Day Cotswolds Tour with Lunch

Enjoy the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, and visit 4 of its loveliest villages – Burford, Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Stow-on-the-Wold. Travel through the Cotswolds, an area seemingly unchanged with the passing of time. See rolling landscapes, dry stone walls, quaint churches, and streams that tumble past tiny villages and charming hamlets. On this full-day excursion from London, you’ll begin your tour in Burford, where the magnificent High Street slopes down to the River Windrush. See the town’s small tea houses before heading south to picturesque Bibury for lunch. Dine in one of the prettiest villages in England. A 2-course meal awaits you in the heart of the Cotswolds at the Swan Hotel. The restaurant, overlooking the River Coln, is housed in a 17th-century former coach inn, and serves a popular range of traditional dishes, along with ales and fine wines. Explore Bourton-on-the-Water, one of the loveliest villages in the Cotswolds. Afterwards, you’ll travel to Stow-on-the-Wold, a small market town known for its annual fairs. Enjoy a guided walk through the town center before returning to London.

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London: Downton Abbey, Cotswolds, and Highclere Castle Tour

5. London: Downton Abbey, Cotswolds, and Highclere Castle Tour

Depart London by luxury mini-coach on an 11-hour Downton Abbey tour. Stop at Yew Tree Farm (Cogges Manor Farm) to see filming sites used throughout the TV series. Continue to the Swan Inn at Swinbrook, location of one of the series' most controversial story lines. Next stop is in Shilton, a Cotswolds village inaccessible to larger coaches. See the old stone footbridge, duck pond and the old pump and well, before the short journey to Bampton (Downton village). Head to Highclere Castle, home to the Grantham family in the series. Enjoy the gardens before entering the castle. Take a guided tour of the castle’s opulent rooms. There will also be time to take in the Egyptian exhibition.

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Blenheim Palace, Downton Abbey Village & the Cotswolds

6. Blenheim Palace, Downton Abbey Village & the Cotswolds

Blenheim Palace Blenheim Palace is a masterpiece of English Baroque architecture and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The stunning State Rooms are brimming with priceless works of art and magnificent tapestries. The Palace is still inhabited today by the Duke of Marlborough. The Gardens are set in over 754 hectares of land with an exquisite water garden. The Cotswolds In the Cotswolds you'll visit one the areas most beautiful villages, Bourton-on-the-Water. This is a must-see village, referred to as the 'Venice of the Cotswolds' due to the number of attractive bridges that cross the gently-flowing river at its center. Downton Abbey Village Visit the village of Bampton; the film setting for many of the famous landmarks featured within the popular Downton Abbey TV series. See the buildings that played the part of the home of Isobel Crawley, the Downton Cottage Hospital, the church and also the location for two fictional local pubs, The Grantham Arms and The Dog & Duck.

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London: Stonehenge, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Bath, and Cotswolds

7. London: Stonehenge, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Bath, and Cotswolds

Explore the region beyond London with a full-day excursion to sites of cultural and historical significance. First, you will head straight to Stonehenge, the most popular prehistoric monument in the world. Marvel at the huge 40-ton Sarsens and the volcanic blue stones that were brought from the Preseli Mountains, located more than 280 miles away. Next, visit the beautiful Georgian city of Bath. You'll have plenty of time to shop and explore before driving through the Cotswolds, for breathtaking views of open countryside, crisscrossed by dry stone walls and bustling market towns. Finally, the birthplace of William Shakespeare awaits at Stratford-upon-Avon. Visit the home of the greatest writer in the English language and the world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company. Admire Stratford, a charming market town in the heart of rural England with a delightful river that winds its way past the Holy Trinity church, where Shakespeare was laid to rest. Get a private tour of Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall. You will be invited to take part in a Tudor lesson, write with a quill and ink, witness the rare medieval wall paintings and much more.

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London: Stonehenge, Bath, Lacock, & Avebury Small Group Tour

8. London: Stonehenge, Bath, Lacock, & Avebury Small Group Tour

Depart London in the early morning and be one of the first visitors of the day to Stonehenge. As you arrive at Stonehenge your guide will tell you the facts and theories behind this most famous of Stone Age structures. Was it a temple, a clock, a place of worship, or a burial site for the elite? Then it’s on to Bath, which has seen visitors since the time of the Celts. Centuries later, in the 1st century A.D. the Romans arrived, calling this place Aqua Sulis. Even later, during the Georgian Era of the 18th century, the rich and wealthy arrived from London to see and be seen and took to the waters to rid themselves of joint stiffness and gout.  Stop for a break in the delightful village of Lacock. Seemingly untouched by modern times, this charming place has been used as a setting in many films, including Cranford, Moll Flanders, Pride and Prejudice, and Harry Potter. Enjoy a guided tour of this lovely village before you make your way to Avebury, a pretty village of thatched cottages nestling in the middle of a huge stone circle. After a guided walk in Avebury, depart for your return journey to London.

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Wales and the South West: 5-Day Small Group Tour

9. Wales and the South West: 5-Day Small Group Tour

Day 1: Leave London and travel west to the rolling hills of the Cotswolds through England’s prettiest historic villages. Get the best photos and hear the most fascinating local tales. Travel through the Welsh Marches marked out by the ancient Offa’s Dyke. Head into the heart of the Cambrian Mountains and beautiful Elan Valley. Finally, head to the beautiful seaside town and cultural center of Aberystwyth, where you spend the next two nights. Day 2: Travel to the mountainous region of Snowdonia National Park. Visit the mountain village of Beddgelert to see the famous grave of Gelert, the legendary dog, or explore the nearby copper mine. Next, head to the town of Machynlleth to see the ancient clock tower and the quaint houses, and go antique hunting. Move on to Porthmadog and over the Cob causeway before reaching the impenetrable medieval Harlech Castle. After a fulfilling day, return to Aberystwyth in the late afternoon. Day 3: Travel around the coast of Cardigan Bay through Aberaeron to New Quay. Explore the picturesque harbor and get the chance to spot dolphins and whales. Head into the foreboding Black Mountains to explore a bedrock cave under a castle, before you visit Laugharne, where Dylan Thomas wrote the famous play Under Milk Wood. Move on to Tenby, a charming seaside town and your base for two nights. Day 4: See some of Britain’s most gorgeous coastlines at the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Travel to the tiny cathedral city of St Davids for lunch and exploration, and stop in the county town of Pembroke to enter the thick medieval walls of the castle. From here, return to Tenby for a relaxed evening. Day 5: Leaving Tenby in the morning, begin your return journey to London. Head past the industrial cities of South Wales to the outskirts of Cardiff, and visit the outdoor National History Museum. Stop at the well-preserved Roman Fortress at Caerleon. Take the Severn Bridge back into England, and take a break at Castle Combe, a Cotswold village perfect for a relaxed stroll amongst 16th-century ironstone cottages.

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Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds & Warwick Castle Day-Tour

10. Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds & Warwick Castle Day-Tour

Walking tour of Oxford Follow in the footsteps of Oxford's famous students, from C.S. Lewis to Bill Clinton, as you stroll the captivating college courtyards and cobbled lanes of this historic university town. Take in the famous 'dreaming spires' and see Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. You'll be captivated by the unspoilt narrow alleys and ancient squares of this naturally beautiful town. Brasenose College Brasenose College takes its name from the unique door-knocker of the Hall. This beautiful Oxford University college was founded in 1509 by Sir Richard Sutton, a lawyer, and William Smyth, Bishop of Lincoln. Brasenose is a stunning example of traditional university architecture and is surrounded by lush green lawns and relaxing gardens. The college has been used as a filming location for both TV and movies. Past students include the writer William Golding and Prime Minister David Cameron. The Cotswolds Enjoy views of the breathtaking countryside, sleepy villages, and bustling market towns as you drive through the charming scenery of one of England's most beautiful regions. Stratford–upon–Avon  A unique market town, famous as the home of William Shakespeare, arguably the world's greatest writer. Visit the picturesque half–timber house where the legendary bard was born, and gain fascinating insights into his childhood. Shakespeare’s birthplace: See where the famous playwright grew up and spent his years as a married man. Warwick Castle  Be part of Britain’s greatest medieval experience! Deep in the heart of Warwick Castle, the Great Hall is a hive of activity! Immerse yourself in battle preparations and feel the weight of a medieval sword. Become a soldier – try on a battle helmet for size! Visit the spectacular State Rooms and feast your eyes on Victorian party preparations.  Arrival time back in London at approximately 18:45.

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What people are saying about The Cotswolds

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,355 reviews

My family of 4 enjoyed our full day tour to Cotswold yesterday, 29 Dec. Our tour guide /driver was Glenn. He was prompt and was at the pick up point waiting for us. Glenn's explanation on cotswold was very informative and knowledgeable. He was very clear in his explanation on the history of cotswold. He was clear in his instructions on the meet up timings at the various stops/towns and gave us enough time to explore.

Darren was a great guide. comfortable journey to and fro, lot of incredible information about the places we visited. really well planned trip and great spots. would highly recommend this trip to all

The tour guide, Robert, was very informative and patient. Overall a pleasant trip, but it's better to plan your visit before arriving in Oxford.

This was a really great tour. Our guide, Glenn was awesome. He was informative and funny and the tour was paced nicely

This day trip was great. Specially the guide/driver told was lot of facts about Cotswold.