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The Cotswolds
Literary activities

Literary activities

Our most recommended The Cotswolds Literary activities

From London: Full-Day Cotswolds Small-Group Tour

1. From London: Full-Day Cotswolds Small-Group Tour

Spend a day exploring the quintessentially British countryside of the Cotswolds, an area known for its green landscapes, charming villages, and honey-colored stone cottages. Enjoy the highlights of the Cotswolds, as well as some of the quieter, less-seen areas of the countryside. First, stop in the small town of Burford, one of England’s most unchanged medieval towns with many buildings over 500 years old. Visit the historic church, stroll along the attractive high street, and explore the town. Next head to Bibury, known as the prettiest village in all of England. Wander along the river and see Arlington Row, a set of weaver's cottages that are now one of the symbols of the Cotswolds. Enjoy free time to explore the enchanting village. Continue on to the picturesque town of Bourton-on-the-water. Take ample time to stroll by the river and its small bridges, admire the stone cottages and have some lunch.  Cap your tour with a visit to Stow-on-the-Wold, a jumble of inns and antique shops situated around the ancient market square. Stow has been a center of trade in the Cotswolds for centuries and was the location of the last battle of the English Civil War in 1646. It's also the location of ‘England’s oldest pub’.  Afterward, the tour returns to the meeting point.

From London: Cotswolds and Oxford Guided Day-Trip

2. From London: Cotswolds and Oxford Guided Day-Trip

Embark on a full-day guided tour of the English countryside from London. Admire the fairytale houses of the Cotswolds, the historic Oxford University, and the beauty of the English Countryside. Depart London on a full-day tour that takes you west to experience the beauty of the Cotswolds countryside, and the university city of Oxford. Drive 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. We will stop at Bourton-on-the-water and Bibury, the two most loved villages of the Cotswolds. Continue to Oxford to explore the most famous university city in the world. Free-time for lunch in the heart of the city. 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 6 in the evening and you can use the London Underground to travel quickly to all areas of London.

From London: Full-Day Cotswolds Tour with Lunch

3. 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.

From London: Oxford and Cotswolds Villages Day Trip

4. From London: Oxford and Cotswolds Villages Day Trip

You head northwest out of London, passing through the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The picturesque countryside here has inspired the television shows Midsomer Murders and Vicar of Dibley. Your first stop is Oxford, where you have time to explore the precincts of the many colleges, climb to the vantage points to admire the skyline, or see the art and antiquities collections in the Ashmolean Museum. You stop in Burford, the ‘Gateway to the Cotswolds’. This is a small market town with enormous character and depth. The main street is lined with all those quaint properties that you’ve dreamt of owning. You have time here to take in the local charm and hospitality; and if you’re hungry, you can try a traditional English ‘Afternoon Tea’. Then, you make the short journey to Bibury. This place was described by William Morris as the prettiest village in England, and Henry Ford wanted to dismantle it and ship it back to the USA. You have time here to stroll to the famous and fairytale-like Arlington Row. After a full day exploring the city of Oxford and the villages of the Cotswolds, you embark on the comfortable return journey to London. This route may be reversed on some occasions.

From London: Small Group Cotswolds Villages Tour

5. From London: Small Group Cotswolds Villages Tour

Depart from London and leave the busy streets of the city behind as you head towards the Cotswolds, the single largest Designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK. With its rustic rural charm, rolling hills, vibrant market towns, and picture-perfect villages, the Cotswolds covers nearly 800 square miles of unspoiled countryside. Take a trip through its rolling hills, home to some of the most famous and historic towns and villages of England.  An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this range of hills in west-central England is packed with picturesque villages built of Cotswold stone, beautiful churches, and vast manor houses.  As you make your way through little villages and historic market towns you will have the opportunity to explore the honey-colored cottages of Bourton-on-the-Water, Bibury, and Burford.  Highlights include a stunning row of 17th-century weaver’s cottages and a tranquil river flowing through the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’.

From London: Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace & Downtown Abbey

6. From London: Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace & Downtown Abbey

Tick off some of southern England’s top attractions on a guided day trip by bus from London to Blenheim Palace and Cotswolds villages, including the Bampton filming location of the TV show Downtown Abbey. If you prefer exploring historic towns over attractions, enjoy the flexible tour option. Board your coach in London and head out of the city and towards your first stop at Blenheim Palace. Witness this masterpiece of English Baroque architecture which was also the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Visit the stunning State Rooms, brimming with priceless works of art and magnificent tapestries (if option selected), and admire the 754-hectare gardens, including an exquisite water garden. Next, head into the charming Cotswolds region for a stop at the authentic village of Bourton-on-the-Water. Explore this picturesque location, complete with many attractive bridges crossing the gently-flowing river at its center. Complete your experience with a trip to Bampton; the film setting for many of the famous landmarks featured in 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.

London: Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds, and Warwick Day Trip

7. London: Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds, and Warwick Day Trip

Make the most of your time in England with a day trip to the English countryside. Enjoy a walking tour of Oxford city and university including entry to the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, witness the scenery of the Cotswolds, enter Warwick Castle, and visit the birthplace of Shakespeare. 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, on this guided day trip by bus from London. Take in the famous 'dreaming spires' and see the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. Be captivated by the unspoiled narrow alleys and ancient squares of this naturally beautiful town. Oxford is famous for being home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world – countless bright young things have wandered the town’s cobbled streets over the years! During this guided walking tour you will see the stunning University Church of St Mary the Virgin and furtively discover unspoiled narrow alleyways, ancient squares, and towering spires. Entry to the 13th-century University Church of St Mary the Virgin. Soak in spectacular sights of the unique baroque design and architecture as you explore the center of the University of Oxford. This absolute gem is a must-visit on your trip to Oxford. 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. 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. Enjoy a meet and greet from a medieval host as well as an introduction to the spectacular castle.

From London: Day Trip to Downton Abbey, Oxford and Bampton

8. From London: Day Trip to Downton Abbey, Oxford and Bampton

Visit Oxford and top 'Downton Abbey' filming locations on this guided day trip from London. Start the day with a walking tour of Oxford and its famous university buildings. Continue to the Cotswolds’ village of Bampton. Visit the magnificent Highclere Castle with entry tickets included. Board your bus in London and set out on your tour. Journey in a comfortable bus as you head towards your first stop for the day, the city of Oxford. Here, embark on a guided walking tour of the city, home to one of the world’s oldest universities and packed with architectural highlights. Next up is a visit to Bampton, the filming location and setting for the exterior village scenes in Downton Abbey. See the church, the house of Matthew Crawley's mother, and homes transformed into the post office and various pubs. Head to Highclere Castle, the country seat of the Earls of Carnarvon. The tour of the Castle’s public rooms includes the magnificent main hall, the library, sitting rooms, and other rooms featured in Downton Abbey. Take home a copy of Lady Carnarvon's book as a souvenir of your visit.

From Bristol: Stonehenge and Cotswold Villages Day Tour

9. From Bristol: Stonehenge and Cotswold Villages Day Tour

A day full of wonder awaits us today. Departing Bristol, your first stop for the day is the prehistoric monument Stonehenge. Many legends surround these incredible standing stones that weigh about 25 tons each and have attracted people from all over the world for years. Perhaps you believe they were created by Merlin, who magically transported them from Ireland. Maybe you believe Stonehenge is a landing site for alien spacecraft. They might remind you of the ruins of a Roman temple. You can't deny their magnificence, no matter what you believe. Avebury is your next stop. Enjoy your free time here: grab some lunch, wander around the area, and, of course, see the three stone circles. Avebury henge boasts the largest stone circle in Britain, so big it fits the entire quaint English village inside. So you can grab a pint and bite to eat while surrounded by a stone circle. Pretty magical, right? Your journey continues to the quaint village of Lacock. You have free time here, you might be interested in visiting the Abbey. Harry Potter fans will obsess over seeing the Lacock Abbey Cloisters, used as Hogwarts corridors in the movies. Visitors can also explore the medieval rooms and cloister court, before taking a look at the Fox Talbot Museum which explores the history of photography. Castle Combe is our last stop, often called one of the prettiest villages in England. Fans of movies like War Horse and Neil Gaiman’s Stardust may just recognize this spot, so get your camera ready. From here, it’s only a short drive back to Bristol.

From Oxford: Cotswolds Towns and Villages Small Group Tour

10. From Oxford: Cotswolds Towns and Villages Small Group Tour

Discover quaint villages, tiny tea rooms, and 15th-century ruins on a day trip to the Cotswolds from Oxford. Explore Stow-on-the-Wold, Burford, Bourton-on-the-Water, and more unusually named places. Admire the scenery as you drive through the pretty countryside to picturesque villages. Departing from outside Oxford Railway Station in the morning at 10:00 AM, head to the village of Great Tew. Continue to Stow-on-the-Wold to reach the highest town in the region and browse the honey-colored buildings and tiny tea rooms. Visit the pretty village of Lower Slaughter before going to Bourton-on-the-Water, known as the "Venice of the Cotswolds", where you will have time for lunch. After lunch, discover the gateway to the Cotswolds in the village of Burford. Journey through the valley of the River Windrush and discover amazing villages such as Swinbrook along with the ruins of 15th-century Minster Lovell Hall. Departure will be late afternoon, returning to Oxford Railway Station by 5:00 PM

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The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds

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What people are saying about The Cotswolds

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 170 reviews

Our guide Iggy was very polite and personable. While driving between the different places, he always told us interesting information about the places we drove past and put on the right music. At the various stops you had enough time to take a look around. At Stonehenge there was a shuttle bus that you could use for free or you could walk the route. All in all, a successful day trip!

There were 13 of us in a 17-seater minibus. Glad that we stopped 45-min in Bibury and 1 hour in Bourton on the Water then head back to Oxford for 2 hours exploring. The scenery was not as great as in photos probably it’s now winter that I visited the places. A good choice to have a short getaway from the city.

We really liked the knowledge of our guide James. We also really liked the pacing of the trip and just the right amount of guided activities and free time.

The Oxford Walking tour was very comprehensive with fun fact and interesting stories. Love the guides. The Cotswolds was very lovely.

Iggy has done a great job, really enjoyed his humor and commentary and the scenery despite very rainy weather :)