COTSWOLDS TRAVEL GUIDE
One of the most magical trips I have been on was our visit to The Cotswolds in May 2023. About a two hour drive from London, The Cotswolds are made up of charming villages in the English countryside. With green rolling hills, local gardens and farms, sharing some info about the Cotswolds, what is unique about Cotswolds, why someone should travel there, how it is a landscape of green rolling hills with charming little towns and villages, and so today, you are sharing your Cotswolds Travel Guide so that your readers can make the most out of their trip.
HOW TO GET TO THE COTSWOLDS FROM LONDON
While there are trains to take out to the different villages, we decided to rent a car as we wanted to be able to explore all the towns on our own time. We rented a car from a Hertz in London and then drove out to our first village from there. Driving on the opposite side of the road and car was VERY scary for me but it helped having Meghan with me to direct and reassure me!
I definitely recommend a car as there is so many towns that are spread a part and truly the only way to fit everything in but make sure you have experience or someone who is a great driver with you! The country roads are very narrow and winding. Definitely felt like Amanda Woods in The Holiday!
THINGS TO DO IN THE COTSWOLDS
Visit The Different Villages and Towns
As I mentioned, The Cotswolds is made up of many different villages and towns, all filled with charming shops, sights and restaurants. With that said, your visit does require proper planning. We mapped out our stay by breaking up ours days with what villages we wanted to visit, what restaurants were near there and then also how close they were to our hotel. Most of our drives between villages were about 20ish minutes and some towns are much busier than others so recommend getting there early for parking!
Go Antique Shopping
The Cotswolds has so many charming historic spots and the towns are filled with amazing shopping. While we didn’t do too much antique shopping (no room in our suitcase!), this area is very much known for it so highly recommend researching where to visit! For overall shopping, Stow On The Wold definitely had the most to offer with favorites such as Cutter Brooks.
Relax At The Spas
Our goal during our visit to the English countryside was to relax and oh did we ever! The Cotswolds has so many beautiful spas and places to relax. We spent one afternoon at Soho Farmhouse and highly recommend if you are a member! We spent the day by the pool, bike riding through the property and fully unplugging. Our hotel stay at Thyme we also made sure to get a massage at their Meadow Spa and it was one of the best ones I’ve had thanks to their local products they used.
WHERE TO EAT IN THE COTSWOLDS
This famous deli and grocery store is located right across the street from The Lygon Arms and a perfect place to grab a sandwich, coffee or treat while exploring the village.
Stow On The Wold is one of the busiest villages and this local pub is a favorite thanks to their classic British dishes.
Our favorite meal of our Cotswolds trip was at The Wild Rabbit so make sure it’s a must on your trip! Located in Chipping Norton, we did the tasting menu for lunch and it truly one of the best meals I’ve ever had. The menu is ever changing with the seasons and every bite was unique and special. The restaurant is also so charming with it’s open air kitchen and gorgeous patio covered in wisteria.
Daylesford Farm is a favorite of mine to shop at when in London for their gorgeous products and prepared dishes so I was so excited to visit their original farm and restaurant. The property is beautiful and features a few different restaurants as well as their store to shop at. Our meal was ok (not the best service) but would still recommend a visit if in the area.
I’m always searching for the best baked goods on trips and this was our favorite in the charming town of Bourton-On-The-Water. Come here for a sausage roll and a cinnamon roll and you’re guaranteed a perfect start to your day.
Another one of my favorite spots was The Double Red Duke that we stopped at for lunch one of our days. The charming hotel and restaurant is decorated to perfection and we had a great meal under their red and white umbrellas.
During our stay at Thyme, we dined at their local pub on property. The pub features classic English favorites and felt straight out of The Holiday with its low ceilings and cozy decor.
When in Englad, a proper Sunday roast is a must! We dined at this spot one afternoon and had a delicious and filling classic roast while sitting outside along the bubbling river.
Another incredible meal took place during our stay at Thyme at their award winning restaurant, The Ox Barn. The space is inside an old barn and the menu is ever changing with the seasonal produce. A gorgeous place to spend the evening in the countryside!
WHERE TO STAY IN THE COTSWOLDS
To kick off our Cotswolds stay, we stayed two nights at The Lygon Arms in Broadway. This historic and charming hotel has been around for over 600 years and felt quintessentially English countryside. What we loved about this stay was the great central location from the other villages as well as it having a great downtown with favorites like the Broadway Deli and more.
Our second half of our stay was spent at the magical Thyme hotel in Southrop. Thyme is truly it’s own village as it is a restored Cotswold manor and farm. The property is made up of charming cottages and homes with no two rooms the same. There’s a relaxing spa, pool, farm to table restaurant and even a working garden and farm.
We came here to truly relax and spend the days by the pool and enjoying all the property had to offer. Would come back here every year if I could!