18 Of The Prettiest Villages In The Cotswolds

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I know, I know. I’m a guy and I used the word ‘prettiest’, but if you’ve been to the Cotswolds, there’s only so many times you can use the word striking, or stunning, or awesome, or amazing.

I’ve always known Cotswold villages were a picturesque (add that to the word list) part of the country, but it wasn’t until I actually visited and saw the quaint little villages and pubs with my own eyes that I realised the Cotswolds is a very underrated part of the country.

Yes, the Lake District has stunning mountains and Cornwall has the incredible South West Coast path, but there’s something very understated about the Cotswolds. Hidden away in the middle of the country with its rolling hills, it’s easy to pass through without even noticing.

And that dear readers is the reason for this post.

When I was looking at a weekend break in the Cotswolds, I didn’t really know where to stay and which villages to see. But now I’ve visited a large majority of the North Cotswolds and researched villages in the South, I thought I’d bring you a complete list of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds.


The A417 dissects the Cotswolds at roughly the half way point, so the following villages can be found North of that road, and include many that I photographed for my 24 road trip post earlier this month.


Once described by William Morris as ‘the most beautiful village in the Cotswolds’. Need I say more!

Beautiful stone cottages in Bibury, Cotswolds
Photo source: Travelguidechannel.net



Known as the “jewel of the Cotswolds”, Broadway attracts visitors from far and wide. The village high street is lined with horse chestnut trees and a mix of period houses and honey coloured Cotswold stone cottages.

A street in the village of Broadway in the Cotswolds
Photo source: Sensibility.com


The Cotswolds at its best. Honey coloured stone houses, the River Eye flowing through it, a nice pub and an Old Mill.

The River Eye flows through the village of Lower Slaughter, Cotswolds


I may have started with the obvious, but the ‘gateway to the Cotswolds’ really is worth spending a few hours in. Roam up and down the high street, have a nosy in some of the shops and have a stroll by the river.

Burford high street shops, Cotswolds


Whilst Bourton-on-the-Water has a larger population than Burford its centre does feel more compact. That said, there’s more to see in Bourton, including the Cotswold Motoring Museum, the Dragonfly maze and the model village.

Bourton-on-the-water, Cotswolds



I loved Upper Slaughter. Less touristy than Lower Slaughter, you can park in the centre and wander around for an hour and feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. There’s also a ford, so if you’re in a 4×4, take a trip through the River Eye.

A honey coloured stone property in the village of Upper Slaughter, Cotswolds


A lovely couple of pubs and a small centre with an Old Post Office and tea room. This is one of the quaintest villages in the Cotswolds, and well worth stopping by for a pint.


Guiting Power village centre, Cotswolds


Home to Sudeley Castle, and the remains of Hailes Abbey, Winchcombe sits on six long distance footpaths, including the Cotswolds Way and the Gloucestershire Way.

A pub in Winchcombe, Cotswolds
Photo source: Panoramio.com


A history of silk production gives Blockley a different look and feel to other North Cotswolds villages, but it is incredibly charming in its own way. It has a mill stream that runs through the bottom of the valley, enjoyable walks leading into the countryside, and a village green that is perfect for a picnic in the summer months.

Cottages in Blockley, Cotswolds
Photo source: Oliverstravels.com



This village is a masterpiece of ancient houses and limestone craftsmanship. This is an old wool merchants town that is full of charm.

Chipping Campden pretty houses, Cotswolds
Photo source: Sensibility.com



As its name suggests, Snowshill sits on top of the other local villages, so if it is going to snow you’ll find it here first. Home to the Snowshill Arms pub and an idyllic manor house.

Between Winchcombe and Snowshill you should also stop at Belas Knap at Long Barrow.

Photo source: Cotswoldsadventures.co.uk


Stanton is “probably one of the prettiest and idyllic villages in the whole of the Cotswolds”. Its main street is filled with ancient houses built in typical Cotswolds style with steeply pitched gables, mullioned windows and honey coloured limestone walls.

Stanton village houses, Cotswolds
Photo source: TheSoutherner.co.uk


We passed through Stow-on-the-Wold on the way to our starting point for our 24 hour road trip across the Cotswolds. Standing on top of a hill, this is a delightful old market town with many fine antique shops, art galleries, craft shops and is a good centre for walking the Cotswolds countryside.

Stow-on-the-wold centre, Cotswolds
Photo source: Kingsarmsstow.co.uk



It’s difficult to start looking at the prettiest villages in the South Cotswolds without mentioning Bradford On Avon first. Positioned on the banks of the River Avon, this town has delightful shops, restaurants, hotels and bed and breakfasts lining the narrow streets of the town centre. The surrounding hillside is covered with Cotswold stone houses and quaint cottages.

Bradford On Avon bridge, Cotswolds
Photo source: Bath.co.uk



Castle Combe has been called “The Prettiest Village in England” and with good reason; the village smacks of ancient charm. It has a market every Saturday, and the small street leading from the Market Cross down to the By Brook is as picturesque today as it hundreds of years ago. Castle Combe is also around 12 miles from Bath, making it the perfect village to explore the bigger city.

The very pretty Castle Combe - South Cotswolds
Photo source: Cotswoldsadventures.co.uk



‘Chipping’ is derived from the word ceapen, an old English term meaning market. The village lies at the crossroads on the main route between Bristol, Oxford and London.

Chipping Sodbury centre, Cotswolds
Photo source: The HearingShow.co.uk



My favourite village name in the Cotswolds. Once you get your tongue around the pronunciation, go an explore this thriving small hilltop village located between the ‘Golden Valley’ and the Nailsworth valley.

Photo source: Wikipedia



Last but not least, Tetbury has 1300 years of recorded history. The town centre is dominated by the splendid Market House built in 1655. Tetbury is well known for its numerous antique shops, and its close proximity to Prince Charles’s residence of High Grove.

Tetbury - Cotswold Village centre
Photo source: Cotswoldsadventures.co.uk

There you have it – the 18 prettiest villages in the Cotswolds. If you’re looking for a short break to the Cotswolds, check out some of the great one and two night deals on Travelzoo.

If I’ve missed any of your favourite villages from the Cotswolds, please let me know in the comments below, or give me a shout on Twitter 🙂

Lastly, if you want to view all the villages on a map, have a peek at the one I created, below. Happy exploring!

11 replies
  1. smruti
    smruti says:

    thanks for this blog post–using this as a guide, we chose to visit Stow on the Wold, Birbury, and Sudely Castle and they were lovely! I hope to go back to see a few more places next time!

    • Simon Heyes
      Simon Heyes says:

      Hi! Thanks for the comment, and glad you liked the Cotswolds! It’s such a vast area, there are so many quint villages to explore, you can never do them all in one trip! 🙂

  2. jasmine torres
    jasmine torres says:

    I had no idea of any village or town names so I’ll have to keep this list close to hand!, thank you for sharing this post.

  3. Jenny Cudworth
    Jenny Cudworth says:

    I have found this blog so so helpful, so much so that I think anyone planning ( like me ) to visit the Cotswolds for the first time or second etc could gain a lot from this…thank you so much for the info

    • Simon Heyes
      Simon Heyes says:

      Hi Jenny, thanks for reading (and commenting!). There are soooo many nice villages to visit, but these are certainly my top ones to visit 🙂 Have a good trip whenever you go!

  4. Kayley
    Kayley says:

    Hi we are looking for a village that has shops and somewhere to stop for dinner or tea and scone can you recommend which is the best for this out of the list above


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  1. […] must admit, Upper Slaughter was one of my favourite villages in the Cotswolds. Striking stone houses, a stunning Church and little ford over the River Eye, which snakes its way […]

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