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The Ultimate Cotswolds Guide: 8 Picturesque Towns and Villages


The Ultimate Cotswolds Guide: 8 Picturesque Towns and Villages

Alixe Lay

There is only one way to describe the Cotswolds - quintessentially English. It is an absolute delight to visit, with an abundance of honey-coloured cottages looking as if they came straight out of a fairy tale. It's one of my favourite places to photograph in England and even after so many trips, I keep coming back for more. Having visited quite a lot of Cotswold villages over the past two years, I thought I'd compile a list of my favourites. Click here to save all of the locations on Google Maps.


8. Cirencester

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The capital of the Cotswolds, Cirencester, is a large town in Gloucestershire. The high street is lively and buzzing, though the real charm of this town lies in the quiet residential areas where the gorgeous houses and winding streets are.


7. Burford

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Burford is a lively Cotswolds town only a 40-minute drive away from Oxford. It is home to rows and rows of lovely cottages and a buzzing high street where you can find characterful tearooms, pubs and independent shops.


6. Chipping Campden

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Chipping Campden is one of the least touristy towns situated at the north of the Cotswolds. You can find some unique thatched and rich honey-coloured cottages around here. If you're looking for a less conventional but equally charming Cotswold village to visit, then you will not want to miss Chipping Campden.


5. Stow-on-the-Wold

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One of the busiest and most popular Cotswold towns, Stow-on-the-Wold is strategically placed on the cross roads in the Cotswolds. You will find lots of independent shops selling vintage items as well as old inns and tearooms. If you wander slightly away from the high street, you'll find lots of gorgeous foliage-covered houses.


4. Bibury

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Pictured above is the famous Arlington Row, featured in the British passport. If you overlook the fact that it is an incredibly popular tourist destination, Bibury is a charming little village that is truly representative of the Cotswolds. 


3. Bourton-on-the-Water

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Considered one of the largest villages in the Cotswolds, there is plenty to see in Bourton-on-the-Water. There will be no shortage of picturesque corners to be photographed, or tearooms to enjoy some afternoon tea in. The name gives it away - there is a river called Windrush that flows through the village, making it one of the most popular spots for picnics on warmer days.


2. Lower Slaughter

If you are after some peace and quiet, Lower Slaughter is the village for you. It is a small, intimate and romantic place with surprisingly few tourists, so you will most likely find that you're almost having the whole place to yourself. There is a little stream that flows through the village and you will often find the happiest dogs or kids in wellies just splashing about in the water. 


1. Castle Combe

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Of course, Castle Combe has to be at the top of the list (or bottom in this case). Though small, this village is packed with so many photogenic corners that it makes everyone a photographer. It is truly the most beautiful village in England as it is definitely one of the most well-kept and unspoilt n England, making every bit looking postcard-worthy. You need to visit Castle Combe if you want to experience somewhere that is quintessentially English.


I hope that this guide will be useful in helping you plan your trip to the Cotswolds. If you do end up using this guide, please tag your photos with #cotswoldswithalixe - I'd love to see them!