The Cotswolds is one of the most visited places in England with just a two hour car ride from London, showing you the most beautiful countryside views along the way. If you don’t have time to stay in the Cotswolds, day trips to the countryside are extremely common from London. Click here to view just a few of the amazing day trips you can take out to the Cotswolds.
In 2013, my family and I were blessed enough to spend two weeks – over Christmas – in a little cottage within a town called Bourton-on-the-Water. That was the best Christmas I have had, with a real tree, a fire place with stockings hung overhead (for an Aussie this was very exciting) and hidden amongst the luscious countryside of one of England’s greatest locations.
Getting to the Cotswolds
Getting to the Cotswolds is easiest and closest from London, as there are endless transport services.
If you wish to travel by train which is just under a two hour trip, Paddington Station, London is the place to go. The train runs every hour for only £20 if you book a week in advance taking you to Bath, Cheltenham, Stratford, Chippenham, Gloucester, Kemble, Moreton-in-Marsh, Kingham and Oxford (recommend strongly that you visit Oxford).
Renting a car in England can be expensive but extremely practical. Travelling by car in England is super easy and makes for trotting around the Cotswolds a piece of cake. The price on average is £60 daily to hire a car .
Getting a coach to the Cotswolds is the cheaper option, taking about 4 hours. The coach departs from Victoria Coach Station costing you around £17. The coach stops at more of the popular places within the Cotswolds, taking you to Bath, Bourton-on-the-Water, Cheltenham, Chippenham, Gloucester, Moreton-in-Marsh, Northleach, Oxford, Stow-on-the-Wold, Stratford-upon-Avon and Stroud.
The best places to visit
Oxford – Home to Oxford University, numerous Harry Potter scenes and where the writer of Alice in Wonderland was inspired by red roses, Oxford is my favourite place in the Cotswolds. I first visited the city when I was only 7 years old, and ever since then I was head over heels.
Bath – Bath is home to one of Johnny Depp’s villas and the historic Roman Baths. The Roman Baths is a must visit, with it’s naturally steaming hot water and an abundance of history behind its development. Bath also has a heap of 18th century Georgian architecture.
Stow-on-the- Wold – The beautiful streets of buildings covered in vines and flowers, it truly makes you feel like you’re in an old English novel. Plus, the pubs here have the best vegetarian burgers as well as party steaks, cream teas and plenty more.
Stratford-upon-Avon – Even though this city isn’t counted as the Cotswolds, it’s worth taking the trip out (around a 40 minute trip). This city was home to the very talented Shakespeare, who has been someone I have looked up to for years, so visiting the home where he grew up felt like a privilege.
Burford – Burford is one of the most beautiful towns hidden amongst the English countryside. It is home to the best sweet shops in the country (English sweets has and always will be the best sweets in the world), perfect for people with a sweet tooth. The main street sits on a hill filled with ancient houses done up to be shops, pubs and tea rooms.
Bourton-on-the-Water – This place has been somewhere my family and I visit every time we come to England, and is the place where we spent Christmas 2013. It is a sweet, elegant and picturesque village with a heap of things to do and roughly a 30 minute drive from Oxford. Through the centre of the village, there is a stream with tiny bridges crossing over and a flock of ducks all year round. There is a bunch to do such as the Motor Museum (being home to the famous little yellow car “Brum”), a Model Village, a bird park, shops, tea rooms and beautiful walks through the hills of the Cotswolds.
After visiting the Cotswolds on five different occasions, I can guarantee that it will not disappoint you. You will continue to be lost amongst the fields of the English countryside time after time.
I’d love to answer any questions, or hear any personal experiences, so please comment them below.