A vision of golden villages nestling in a softly undulating green landscape, the Cotswolds epitomise the rural English idyll. The region is surprisingly large, stretching across 800 square miles, absorbing the most beautiful corners of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.
The Cotswolds’ wealth, once built on the medieval wool trade and subsequently the textiles industry, is now built largely on tourism. An endless stream of visitors flows through the area each year to marvel at the bucolic patchwork of rolling wolds and to amble through the picturesque villages hewn from honey-coloured stone.
This is a place where willows trail their wispy fingers in burbling rivers, where verdant scenery unfurls before your eyes like a giant blanket, and where you pause and set your picnic basket down to watch the swallows swirl and dive high above your head.
Picture-perfect Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the most famous locations within the Cotswolds. Frequently voted one of the prettiest villages in England, throughout the year visitors flock to see its biscuit-coloured houses and low stone bridges stretching across the River Windrush.
Historic Broadway is a must-see when visiting the Cotswolds. Records going back as far as 860 AD refer to the village and it is mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086.
There are many Cotswolds gems, but Chipping Campden is among the best with its curved high street, townhouses in creamy golden tones and thatched cottages – ever-present reminders that you are in a truly English setting.
Moreton-in-Marsh has always been a town for travellers. It served as an important stopping point on the Fosse Way, a Roman road built in the 1st century between Exeter and Lincoln. It was a popular stopping place for stagecoaches traversing between Oxford, Worcester and London in the 17th and 18th centuries. And today, if you’re travelling from London to the Cotswolds, the service from Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh takes you right into the heart of the county.
WLE RECOMMENDATIONS IN the cotswolds
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USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT the cotswolds
It’s time to plan your visit to the Cotswolds. So where do you start? We’ve got lots of useful information below on how to get there and make your trip go smoothly.
The Cotswolds by Car
The Cotswolds are easily accessible by car, with the area served by the M4, M5 and M40 motorways. With lots of attractions and small villages, the car is ideal for those who want to explore on their own.
Approximate travel time from London - 2h
Approximate travel time from Birmingham - 1h 20m
The Cotswolds cover a large area and spans a number of counties, so it’s best to plan your journey in advance.
The Cotswolds by Bike
In this area of outstanding beauty, what better way to enjoy the sites than on your bike?
Please check here for some great cycle routes: Cotswolds - Cycle Routes
The Cotswolds by Bus
The National Express coach service runs from many major cities throughout the UK. If you're travelling by coach from London to the Cotswolds, services stop at Gloucester, Cheltenham, Cirencester, Stroud and Tewkesbury. See the National Express website here.
Witney Shuttle Bus to and from Heathrow Airport
This is a privately-run shuttle bus service between London Heathrow and the northern end of the Cotswolds. Stopping at Witney, The Rissingtons, Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold. Visit the website for more information and to book.
The Cotswolds by Train
If you're travelling from London to the Cotswolds by train, the service from London Paddington stops at Moreton-in-Marsh. Please visit National Rail or Trainline for information on train times and booking tickets.
If you plan to make several rail journeys, the BritRail pass is a value-for-money ticket that gives unrestricted travel on the British Rail network. The pass cannot be purchased in Britain – follow this link for further information.
The Cotswolds by Plane
A number of regional airports serve the Cotswolds, with Bristol Airport and Birmingham Airport being the closest. Birmingham International Airport serves a large number of direct routes from Europe, North America, the Middle East and beyond. Far less busy than the London airports, baggage collection and passing through customs generally takes less time. Birmingham is often called the gateway to the Cotswolds, and within 50 minutes' drive from Birmingham Airport, you can be in the beautiful village of Broadway in the heart of the English countryside.
Bristol Airport serves both European and some rest of world connections, and is around 1 hour, 20 minutes’ drive from the Cotswolds.
Alternatively, fly into London Heathrow or Gatwick where you are two hours away by car. From London Heathrow, the Heathrow Express train runs every 20 minutes to Paddington Station where you can connect to regional train operators taking you to Moreton-in-Marsh, Evesham, Worcester and Stratford-upon-Avon.
From London Gatwick Airport you can take the train to Reading and pick up a mainline connection to Moreton-in-Marsh. Alternatively, you can take the train from Gatwick to London Victoria Station and then go by tube to London Paddington and from there to Moreton-in-Marsh.