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The Most Beautiful Villages of the Cotswolds

Posted 01 Mar 2024

The Cotswolds is one of the most beautiful regions of the UK and Europe, known for its green, rolling hills, gentle streams, and of course its picturesque villages. A slice of rural bliss, the Cotswolds gives you an insight into what the country once looked like in the past. The rural cultural traditions still hold strong here, with vibrant farmers markets and community events in almost every town and village you come across, each celebrating the bounty and beauty of the region.

It's the villages of the Cotswolds that make it such a beautiful destination to visit, with gold-stoned houses and fairytale gardens. Known as ‘Cotswolds stone’, all the homes in the region are made from this, and is known to glow beautifully at sunset when the last rays of light make the villages shine. This stone and the wonderful Georgian architecture make the Cotswolds so distinctive and so unique. If you’re wondering where the best places to explore are, then read on to discover our list of the most beautiful villages in the Cotswolds.

Most beautiful Cotswolds villages

Moreton-in-Marsh

Many of the most famous towns in the region have names you just can’t help but remember. Although Moreton-in-Marsh may have once lied on a wetland with nesting moorhens, but today it’s known for its cobblestone streets and rows of charming houses. As a market town, enjoy browsing its craft and artisan goods when you visit. Thanks to the wool manufacturing in the medieval era, the town was actually designed with markets in mind, so traders could come and purchase goods. It’s because of this reason that there are so many elegant inns and buildings on its high street; wealthy traders and travellers meant the local economy boomed.

The town has various points of interest with rich historical origins. The clock tower, known as the Curfew Tower, has been wonderfully preserved and still stands proud over the village. The White Hart Royal was a former manor house and was in fact visited by King Charles where he took shelter during the English Civil War. The nearby Batford Arboretum and gardens are also a wonderful place to experience Cotswold horticulture first-hand. The region seems to just be naturally verdant, with blooms and thriving flora everywhere you look. It is in fact thanks to the masterful horticulture of the locals that make the Cotswolds so vibrant and full of life. This village is the starting point of our Grand Tour of the Cotswolds cycling holiday.

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Moreton-in-Marsh

Painswick

Known for its orchard of yew trees which decorate the parish church grounds, Painswick is one of the most beautiful villages in the Cotswolds that boasts wonderful traditions and events. It’s said that 99 trees stand guard outside the church and that if a 100th was planted, the devil would pull it out. A survey was recently done which revealed there were actually 103 yew trees, but the tradition still stands. In September, the village holds an annual feast where villages are encouraged to feast, drink, and enjoy ‘disorderly conduct’. In recent times this has become a holiday for children, where ‘dog pie’ is eaten, consisting of a plum pie baked with a porcelain dog.

The village is also home to the Rococo gardens, planted over 200 years ago and a wonderful place to explore or enjoy a picnic. You can explore Painswick on day three of our Cotswolds in Comfort cycling holiday, where you’ll arrive in the beautiful village after cycling through the lush countryside.

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Painswick

Tetbury

Tetbury is another beautiful village in the Cotswolds, with an intact market hall which showcases Georgian architecture wonderfully. Lying in the centre of the village, its stone pillars give it an airy feel and is still a meeting place for the community. The settlement has that characteristic golden stonework that the Cotswolds is known for, and we love getting lost down its winding streets, exploring the village.

Nearby is the famous Westonbirt Arboretum, where thousands of exotic tree species can be found in meticulously designed gardens. Take a walk through the grounds which are very close to Tetbury. Day two of our Cotswolds in Comfort cycling holiday gives you the opportunity to explore this wonderful place.

View our Cotswolds in Comfort cycling holiday

Tetbury

Bourton-on-the-Water

Bourton-on-the-Water is perhaps the most picture-perfect of all the Cotswolds villages. A gentle river runs through its centre, crisscrossed by charming, cobbled bridges which make you feel as if you’re in a Jane Austin novel. Once again, the village was built with that unique golden stone that is just quintessential Cotswolds. One of the most notable features of the village is the miniature replica of the settlement, known as the ‘model village’ where you can walk amongst its streets and feel like a giant. So beautiful and high quality is this replica, that it’s listed as a historic building in itself thanks to the fine craftsmanship and precise details. You’ll have the chance to visit this wonderful village on our second day of the Cotswolds Country Escape.

View our Cotswolds Country Escape cycling holiday

Bourton-on-the-Water

Lower Slaughter

If there was an award for the most memorable village name, it would have to go to Lower Slaughter. The beauty of this village contrasts greatly with its name, adding to the overall charm. The sleepy settlement has a tranquil stream which runs through it, creating a wonderful and tranquil atmosphere. The old water mill and preserved architecture give the village a timeless feel. Visit here on day six of our Cotswolds in Comfort cycling holiday.

View our Cotswolds in Comfort cycling holiday

Lower Slaughter

For more information on the most beautiful villages in the Cotswolds, call our cycle experts today. Alternatively, view our Cotswolds cycling holidays here.

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