Looking to spend a day in the Cotswolds? We visited places in our home county Oxfordshire before heading onto some of the best Cotswolds towns and villages in Gloucestershire with our seven-month-old son, Theo, in tow.
Wrapped up snug on a chilly November day, here’s where we visited on our day out in the Cotswolds:
- St Oswald’s Church, Widford
- Burford, West Oxfordshire
- Bibury, Gloucestershire
- Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire
- Lower Slaughter, Gloucestershire
- Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire
St Oswald’s Church, Widford
Our first stop was St Oswald’s Church. Slightly off the beaten track, St Oswald’s Church is a beautiful minuscule English Gothic church nestled amongst lush countryside in the Windrush Valley.
The church’s main construction is said to be from the 13th century but it also has 11th-century remnants. To our surprise, the church was open and you can wander inside and see its wonderful interior.
Nearby, you can find the outlined remains of the deserted medieval village of Widford in crop marks.
Burford, West Oxfordshire
Next, we visited the town of Burford, often referred to as ‘the gateway to the Cotswolds.’ It’s a charming place with a rich history of wool production.
Visitors can see its beautiful church, medieval bridge, the Tolsey Museum, and thriving town centre.
Church of St John the Baptist, Burford
The impressive St John the Baptist Church was the first thing to catch our eye as we arrived in Burford. This Grade I listed church has gone through many restorations, with building starting in the 12th century.
Inside, you can view memorials of Burford’s great families, a 100AD carving said to depict the Celtic goddess, Epona, the tomb of Sir Lawrence and Lady Tanfield, and a memorial tablet of Burford mason, Christopher Kempster.
Burford town centre
Along a hill sloping toward the River Windrush, Burford’s High Street is booming with quaint old stone cottages, independent clothing, gift, and antique shops, as well as numerous old pubs and places to eat.
Our next stop, the picturesque village of Bibury. Famed for its quaint Cotswold stone houses, Arlington Row, Rack Isle, The Church of St Mary’s, Bibury Trout Farm, and Arlington Mill.
Arlington Row is a beautiful row of weavers cottages of honey-coloured Cotswold stone on one side of the River Coln. It is one of the Cotswolds and England’s most photographed sights.
You may have even seen Arlington Row featured in films such as Stardust and Bridget Jones’s Diary!
On to, Bourton-on-the-Water, dubbed ‘the Venice of the Cotswolds.’ Bourton-on-the-Water is a charming village, centered around the tranquil River Windrush, crossable by five stone arch bridges.
Bourton-on-the-Water offers a wealth of things to do. From tea rooms, shops, restaurants, to attractions such as The Model Village, Birdland, Dragonfly Maze, and the Cotswold Motoring Museum.
The Model Village
The Model Village in Bourton-on-the-Water is a must-see. It’s the only Grade II listed model village in the country.
It offers A one-ninth scale model of Bourton-on-the-Water in intricate Cotswold-stone, allowing you to navigate it in its entireity.
There’s a lot of fun to be had pointing out the storefronts and buildings you may have seen earlier in the day, as well as wandering the city like a giant. Interestingly, there’s even a model village within the model!
Entry to The Model Village in Bourton-on-the-Water is £4.50 for an adult ticket.
Lower Slaughter, Gloucestershire
Our next stop, Lower Slaughter. Lower Slaughter is a peaceful place, built upon both banks of the River Eye.
There are a few places to visit, including The Old Mill Museum and the Grade II listed 13th Century Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
The Old Mill
The Old Mill in Lower Slaughter offers a museum, gift shop, riverside tea room, and riverside cafe terrace.
Visitors can learn about the history of the mill and bread making and see the inner workings of its machinery.
Finally, Stow-on-the-Wold, a bustling and charming market town. It offers a lively Market Square, brimming with independent shops, delicious tea rooms, and fine British pubs, alongside a beautiful church.
As it was getting late in the day, we grabbed some pastries to go from Huffkins before heading to St Edward’s Church.
St Edward’s Church
St Edward’s Church is famed for its mythical tree-framed doorway, dominated by two ancient yew trees.
The door is said by locals to be the inspiration for Tolkein’s Doors of Durin, who was supposedly inspired during his many visits to the Cotswolds.
What’s your favourite place in the Cotswolds?