After a few wonderful days eating our way through London, we made our way to the Cotswolds, a rural area in South Central England known for its rolling hills and small, quaint towns full of medieval style buildings. While I’ve heard that this area is especially beautiful in the springtime, to avoid the crowds we decided to make the trip in the winter and let me tell you, was it worth it! Sites that are normally swarmed with tourists were practically empty and luckily for us, the weather was extremely mild so only a light jacket was required most days.
Now, while there’s not much to do in the Cotswolds in the way of activities, there is quite a lot to see so expect a lot of driving, walking and of course, eating! Scroll down to read how to spend two days in the Cotswolds.
Stop 1: Bath
We only had two days to explore the five counties that make up the Cotswolds, so we set out early in the morning on day one to make the drive to our first stop – Bath. Located only about 2 hours and 15 minutes from the city of London, while Bath is not technically in the Cotswolds, it is conveniently located on the way from London so we decided to make the stop.
What to Do in Bath:
- Walk along the River Avon and take in the impressive views of the city
- Grab a coffee & a pastry at Pickled Greens
- Check out the shops on the Pulteney Bridge
- Visit The Bathwick Boatman for a DELICIOUS lunch – seriously, it’s worth the walk from town!
- Experience the famous Roman Baths that Bath is known for
Stop 2: Castle Combe
After Bath, make the roughly 30 mile drive to your official first stop in the Cotswolds – Castle Combe. A small village where all of the towns’ houses were built in the 1600s from the ancient honey-colored Cotswolds stone, Castle Combe is in my opinion, one of the most beautiful spots in the Cotswolds.
What to Do in Castle Combe:
- Wander down to the town bridge and feel like you’ve been transported back in time
- Visit St. Andrew’s Church
Stop 3: Tetbury
After a long day of exploring, make the trip to Tetbury for a quick bite and a much-needed good nights sleep at the quaint The Royal Oak Tetbury.
What to Do in Tetbury:
- Grab a tasty burger at the cozy Snooty Fox Hotel down the street from the inn
- Top off the night with a pint at the The Royal Oak Tetbury pub
Before heading out for the day, order a bite off The Royal Oak Tetbury breakfast menu included in your stay – I highly recommend the traditional English breakfast to fuel your body for a long day of exploring!
Stop 1: Stow-on-the-Wold
Only a 45-minute ride from the town of Tetbury, Stow-on-the-Wold is a market town in Gloucestershire, England, and was the farthest stop on our Cotswolds tour.
What to Do in Stow-on-the-Wold:
- Grab some yummy English cheese at The Cotswold Cheese Company
- Check out The Porch House, a quaint bed & breakfast and restaurant dating from 947 AD
- Stop by to see St Edward’s Church Stow-on-the-Wold, a medieval church located in the center of town
Stop 2: Bourton on the Water
Making our way back towards Tetbury, we stopped at Bourton on the Water, a village sitting on the River Windrush, conveniently located only seven minutes from Stow-on-the-Wold. Aside from Beth, this was the liveliest and most crowded town that we visited on our trip.
What to Do in Bourton on the Water:
- Take in the views along the River Windrush
- Enjoy some English tea, and scones with clotted cream at Bakery on the Water – I’m still dreaming about this breakfast to this day!
- Pop by the Costwolds Distillery shop to pick up some Cotswolds Dry Gin and try out their tasty Cream Liqueur
- Check out all of the gift shops along High Street
Stop 3: Lower Slaughter
After you’ve taken in Bourton the Water, make the five minute drive to Lower Slaughter, a small picturesque village built on the River Eye.
What to Do in Lower Slaughter:
- Though there’s not much to do in Lower Slaughter due to its size, I highly recommend you take a walk along the River Eye to see the Old Mill – the whole town really makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time
Stop 4: Bibury
From Lower Slaughter, head 20 minutes to Bibury, a town that has been called “one of the world’s most picturesque villages.”
What to Do in Bibury:
- Take a walk through the village to see St. Mary’s Church
- View the quaint cottages on Arlington Row, but don’t forget to be respectful – these are people’s homes!
- Grab a Gin & Tonic at The Swan Hotel, a quaint 4-star hotel located right in town
Stop 5: Tetbury
After another day of exploring, head back to home base to check out the town of Tetbury. On this particular night we decided to wander through town on our own self-guided Gin & Tonic tour.
What to Do in Tetbury:
- Walk down Long & Chipping Streets to check out some of Tetbury’s hot spots
- Stop by The Ormond & The Close Hotel for some quality Gin & Tonics
- Head back to the pub at The Royal Oak Tetbury for a pint and a hearty, tasty dish of Fish & Chips
On your last day in the Cotswolds, wake up early and grab one more breakfast at The Royal Oak Tetbury before heading out on one last adventure.
Final Stop: Malmesbury
Located just 15 minutes from Tetbury this is the perfect town to stop in before heading out of the Cotswolds. Though parking is limited, we were able to find a spot at the last minute and take in the sites that this historic town has to offer.
What to Do in Malmesbury:
- Take in the sights of Malmesbury Abbey that dates back to the 12th century and contains a number of notable historical artifacts, including King Athelstan’s Tomb, the crest of Henry VII and a 15th century Bible
- Walk along High Street to check out all of the local village shops
Although we only had a few days in the Cotswolds, because the region isn’t too large, I feel like we were able to cover a lot of ground and really get a taste and feel of life in the Cotswolds.36