One day Cotswolds tour – a short guide to the countryside


One day Cotswolds tour

One day Cotswolds tour – a short guide to the most charming region and landscape in Britain. Includes plenty of photos and recommendations.

Ladies and Gentleman, let’s go for a short walk…

It’s Cotswolds tour, we will explore a beautiful English rural landscape and countryside full of history, atmosphere, lovely architecture (famous Cotswolds golden coloured stone which is used to build houses and churchers here) and  gardens. You must know that Cotswolds area was called an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966.

I will give you some advices how to see the most important places here. This post is full of pictures, because Cotswolds region is so picturesque!

I don’t know whether you’re a Cotswolds tour lover or you haven’t heard about this place and it’s your first glimpse, but I need to tell you some things about this wonderful place. “Cotswolds” is a name of area (including following counties: Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire) – it’s long 145 km and width 40 km. It’s a place where Cotswolds stone is used to build everything – the colours of Cotswolds stone is different in any parts of the area, f.e. ston in Broadway is more honey – coloured than white stone in Bath. The highest point of the region is Cleeve Hill (330 m).

Thames River begins here! You can meet sheeps everywhere in Cotswolds. It’s a region of villages and little towns, very charming – it looks like time has stopped here hundreds of years ago. It looks like a movie set, full of charming cottages (some of them with 500 – 600 years history), little houses, restaurants, tea rooms, old churches and inn’s. It’s a very touristic places, now it’s very popular among rich English residents. There are plenty of nice accommodation places,  hotels and boutique shops. I didn’t know about it, I thought Cotswolds is a forbidden area when I first saw the pictures (that’s why I wanted to go there) – I was in shock when I’ve seen how expensive and popular it is! It’ s avery touristic place. What’s more – it’s famous now because of well – known TV – series “Escape to the country”. It’s about how rich British people search for nice houses and cottages to move from big cities to live a typical and calm country life. If you want to buy a new house and you have 400 thousand pounds to spend (minimum), feel free to buy a house here! You won’t be disappointed for sure! You have to consider few pounds for renovation too.

I saw Cotswolds pictures on Pinterest first, I was so stubborn to get here and to see Bourton – On The Water and Woodstock – and I finally did it! It was hard to find cheap way to travel around full area – there are some busses but if you want to take a glimpse of a whole Cotswolds area, you need to take an organised one – day tour. Searching for coaches for specific villages is possible, but it takes too much time to get from one village to another, believe me. You would have to consider few days there. But if you will choose one village or town to stay in  –  do it and take a long walk around this beautiful English countryside, you won’t be disappointed. You will truly fall in love witha rchitecture, atmosphere and landscape.

How to get here?

There are busses f.e. from Oxford Coach Station. If you stay in Oxford for a bit longer, you can visit many Cotswolds places. Renting a car is quite expensive, especially if you earn your salary in Polish zloty (like me), driving on the left side will be a challenge, especially on a roundabouts (how do they do it?). There are some tour companies which provide one – day tours around Cotswolds – some links at the end of this post, check it! You can also organise a private tour as well as cycle tour.

I took a trip with “Cotswolds Romming Tours”, it was the last chance to took this trip, because the owner retired few months after that. The owner was also our driver. As a historician, he had huge knowledge about the places we visited. I think I’ve seen as many places as can be done in one day. He was also a really charming person. Such kind of tours are really nice if you are open person, even if you travel by yourself, you can meet some nice people!
Below you can find my Cotswolds tour itinerary from non – existing company, if you have or hire a car, you can check it and organise your day in Cotswolds by yourself. Be aware that Oxford traffic is quite annoying and you have to include some time in this traffic in your tour itinerary.

Cotsolwds Tour Itinerary – starting point: Oxford

Great Barrington
Little Barrington
Great Rissington
Bourton – on – the – Water (stop for 45 minutes) – a charming centre, a Cotswolds iconic village!
Lower Slaughter (20 minutes break)
Upper Slaughter
Windrush Valley
Chipping Campden (1,5 hour break for sighsteeing and lunch, you ca take a bus to Stratford – Upon- Avon from the centre)
Broadway (25 minutes stop) – one of the most popular and most photographed places in Cotswolds
Stow – on – the – Wold (45 minutes break)
Chipping Norton – you can get to Stratford – Upon – Avon from here
Woodstock – 15 minutes from Oxford, a beautiful village with Blenheim Palace – one of the most popular places in Britain.

Price for such kind of tour is about 45 GBP/person, it was really worth it! It’s a shame I didn’t had a camera I have right now, but I did my best to show you this beautiful place with the equipment I had. Last photos from Woodstock village are taken with professional Canon camera. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.





This is how “new” buildings in Cotswolds look like. Famous cottages are historic, so everyone who wants to build a new house or cottage, must build it in style of old cottages – this is the responsibility of The Cotswolds Convservation Board. Cotswolds stone in old houses is “natural”, building material in new houses is made by people.

If you are interested in this subject, you have to watch “Escape to the Country” – originally from BBC Two. Aren’t these thatched roofs lovely?

Cotswolds episode

Bourton – on – the – Water – one of the most popular Cotswolds places. Full of tourists, nice tea roms and cafes. Perfect place for retirement. You can visit “Modern village” here.

What a beautiful contrast between “new” and “historical”

It was probably the most beautiful Autumn day I’ve ever seen.

Our journey ends in Woodstock – a beautiful village where you can visit famous Blenheim Palace – place, where Sir Winston Churchill grew up. I must stay it’s a very nice place to grow up, indeed. On my second visit (X 2016) I took some nice pictures of Blenheim Palace from the outside, a marathon that took place in Blenheim gardens and Woodstock village itself. Next time I want to visit Blenheim inside, it will take probably about 3 hours. It’s an impressive palace!


fot. Katarzyna Pracuch
fot. Katarzyna Pracuch

Magical Woodstock Village 🙂


Check some companies which provides one – day (or more if you want) tours to Cotswolds.

Cotswold Tours :
They provide:

– Oxford, Stratford and Cotswolds tour (one day)
– Downton Abbey location tour & Blenheim Palace (one day)
– Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds & Warwick Castle (day tour)
– Cotswolds tour with lunch (11 hour)
– Warwick Castle, Stratford, Oxford & Cotswolds (one day)
– London, Oxford, Stratford & CHristmas lunch in the Cotswolds (one day)
– Stonehenge, Stratford, Bath & Cotswolds (one day)
– Blenheim Palace, Downton Village & the Cotswolds (one day)
– Stonehenge, Stratford – Christmas tour (one day)
– Oxford, Stratford, Warwick Castle New Year’s Day tour (one day)

Cotswolds Adventures:

– Classic Cotswolds day tour – group (one day)
– Cotswolds Cycle tour

Cotswolds tours from London

The most interesting places in Cotswolds:
Broadway Tower

Movie sets in Cotswolds

Important links:
The official Cotswolds website
The Cotswolds Tourism