The Cotswolds is packed full of so many picture perfect villages, filled with chocolate box cottages and flowing rivers. It’s how I suspect people who don’t live in the UK must picture England! It’s a place that I’ve not managed to explore as much of as I’d have liked – I suspect partly as it’s that bit too far away to visit on a whim with small children, but close enough that we’ve not felt it worth staying before. But I completely fell in love with it on our recent trip, and I’m already planning another trip, perhaps in the autumn to see it at a different time of year.
There are so many villages to explore, and we only managed to tick off a few, but I think we definitely picked some good ones. I love the game of ‘if money was no object, which house would I choose to live in’, and this was the perfect spot to play it!
Lower Slaughter is regularly touted as ‘the most beautiful village in England’ and it would be hard to dispute that claim. It has a shallow river running through it, and a row of prettiest cottages running along it, all trying to outdo each other with the charm. Add in an old water mill and you’ve got yourself a postcard worthy village! Parking is tricky – you’re looking at parking along the road leading to the village, and if you’re not lucky and get a space there, you might get one on the road out, which we did.
Bibury was another village high on my list. I’d heard parking was tricky, so we arrived early at 9am and had no trouble at all – there was hardly anyone there! We clearly managed to beat the coach loads of tourists I’d been warned about.
Bibury’s Arlington Row is famous for appearing on the UK passport, but also, more recently, for it’s resident who owned a yellow Vauxhall Corsa which had the word ‘move’ scratched into it’s bonnet, presumably from tourists who objected to it ‘ruining’ their photos. I love this story – it inspired huge support for Peter Maddox, owner of the yellow Corsa, and hundreds of yellow car owners drove through Bibury in a rally in support of him. I did find it a bit sad that the yellow car had been replaced with a grey one, but I loved the fact it had yellow trim inside – you’ve got to love yellow!
Castle Coombe is located down towards Bath, so a bit of a drive if you’re staying in the North of the Cotswolds, but it’s so pretty I think it’s worth the drive. Parking is very tricky, so you’ll want to park in the large car park at the top of the hill and walk down (we did struggle a bit with Max!).
You’ll know the famous view across the bridge – partly famous because there’s really nowhere else to stand to take a photo!
Burford is one of the bigger Cotswold towns, but one that I was keen to have a wander around. Parking is good, with a largish car park just a short walk from the town centre. It has a pretty sloping high street, as lots of back streets to explore with pretty houses. I do love a pretty pink front door – although I’m not sure I’d get away with it in a house of me and 3 boys!
We had lots of other towns and villages that I’d wanted to visit, but with two small children in tow we didn’t quite manage to get to them all. Which means another visit is definitely in store!
Have you visited the Cotswolds? Which town was your favourite?