Cotswolds has been repeatedly honoured as one of the most picturesque rural settings in the British Isles and we wholeheartedly agree! Stretched over 800 miles of rolling hills and five counties namely - Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire; Cotswolds is a charming old world town located about 100 miles out of London.
Take a day trip from London to Cotswolds and soak in the intricacies of this quaint little town.
Cotswolds: The UK’s Pastoral Paradise
Spanning five different counties (primarily Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire) over an area of roughly 790 square miles, Cotswolds epitomizes the English countryside.
Rolling hills, magnificent medieval castles, and quaint pastel-shade villages populate much of this vast area.
You will also find market towns selling fresh produce and souvenirs at affordable prices.
The Cotswolds also houses what is arguably the most alluring arboretum in all of England - Westonbirt, The National Arboretum.
What’s more, there are plenty of festivals and shows held in the Cotswolds each year. These include Gold Cup Day, Easter Egg hunts, the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Guiting Music Festival, and the famous Cotswold Show.
Witness forgotten castles and imposing manors tucked away in the woods as you wander unbridled through this breathtaking landscape.
The eclectic collection of monuments and natural wonders of the Cotswolds have been featured in movies like Pride and Prejudice, and the Harry Potter films.
Drive down the winding roads and find vast stretches of colorful flowerbeds.
The Costwolds is an ideal destination for a day trip from London!
Why take a day trip from London to the Cotswolds?
Stroll through pristine wilderness
As one of the largest protected landscapes in the UK, the Cotswolds has a wealth of meadows, hills, and forested landscapes. Breathe in the fresh country air as you wander boundlessly through the tranquil greenery. In spring and early summer, you will find large swathes of land carpeted in colorful wildflowers such as bluebells, violets, and nightshade.
Admire the architecture
It’s fascinating to note that Cotswold itself has its own characteristic architectural style that has been popularized as the ‘storybook style’. You will find old-fashioned chimneys and steep roofs that are reminiscent of the Tudor Revival house style. You will find monuments such as baths, towers, and cathedrals from all eras ranging from the early Bronze age and the Roman era to the Renaissance period.
Shop at small market towns
There are several hamlets that are filled to the brim with local produce. You will also find moderately populated towns that feature excellent shopping centers. This region is particularly well-known for its woolen garments and Cotswold cheeses.
Enjoy an amazing journey from London to Cotswolds by rail
The English countryside is truly a sight to behold on your way from London Marylebone Station to Banbury in the Cotswolds. The train takes a scenic route through stations like Cheltenham, Gloucester, and Kingham. All of these stations are within the designated ‘Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’.
Participate in a local festival
The local festivals celebrated across various towns in the Cotswolds region are a joy to take part in. From daredevil motorcyclists performing stunts to large-scale music shows, the region is often brimming with new experiences.
Best Day Trips from London to the Cotswolds
Guided Tour from London to the Cotswolds
Avoid the hassle of planning your own day trip from London to the Cotswolds from scratch with a convenient guided tour. Led by an expert tour guide and accompanied by a cozy tour group, you're bound to have a great time learning and sightseeing. The tour is inclusive of your admission tickets, transportation charges, and more. This is the most efficient use of your time: you'll see the most without having to worry about the travel logistics.
Self-Guided Tour from London to the Cotswolds
Wish to travel from London to the Cotswolds on your own? If un-coordinated fun and impromptu photo-stops are your thing, you might want to consider a self-guided tour.
What then, are some of the must-visit attractions in the Cotswolds that you should stop at and possibly explore further? Let's find out together:
Where To Go At The Cotswolds
5 Must-visit villages of the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds region is a congregation of traditional and charming villages built on rolling hills in golden stone. Amongst the many villages, here's a handpicked curation of our favourite 5 Cotswolds villages that we think you should definitely include in your Cotswolds tour itinerary.
Also known as the "Venice of the Cotswolds”, this village is a great stretch to walk and explore. While you're here, try hitting up the Dragonfly Maze the Cotswold Perfumery, the Birdland and the Cotswold Motor Museum. If you're a foodie, there are many quaint tearooms, cafes and pubs around this village that are visit worthy.
Antique buffs can go wild in Burford because this pictursque town is teeming with all things vintage and collectors will never know what they stumble upon here.There is a traditional medieval bridge towering across River Windrush passing by this town and makes for an ideal photo op.
The Slaughter is divided into two halves - Upper and Lower Slaughter , both on either sides of River Eye. Lower Slaughter is speckled with honey coloured houses, a nice pub and an Old Mill. Upper Slaughter is less touristy than the Lower Slaughter and very much seems like a 'sainted village'.
This village is called "The Prettiest Village in England", with limestone cottages, floral hanging baskets and stone-tiled roofs and a weekly Saturday market! While you're here, make sure to visit the Town Bridge and click pictures galore against this godly backdrop.
This one's a small market town fabled for its elegant terraced High Street flanked on either sides with an unbroken sweep of old school British houses dating back to the 14th century. While you're in Chipping Campden, make sure to hit the Hidcote Manor Garden, Kiftsgate Court Gardens, Broadway Tower and St. James' Church.
3 Must-visit attractions of the Cotswolds
With countless postcard perfect villages, an array of manor houses, acres of clipped gardens by trickling water and myriad walking trails, seeing all that Cotswolds has to offer might take a good decade or so. Apart from strolling the painting perfect villages, here are a couple of things you could do while in Cotswolds.
1Cotswolds Wildlife Park
Set in a sprawling setting of parkland and stunning gardens , the Cotswolds Wildlife Park is home to over 260 different animal species in 160 acres. Stroll on the wild side at this family friendly destination and witness giraffes, asiatic lions, lemurs, zebras, rhinos, penguins, crocodiles, meerkats amongst the many animals here.
Ticket Price : Adult: £17.50; Children: £12
Timings : 10 AM - 4 PM (subject to change)
Park lovers ought to hit this place as the Westonbirt Arboretum is a lovely place to wander both on and off the paths and trails. Lined with rhododendrons and azaleas, bluebells and wild garlic, this 600 acre land of reserves is all things calming. 2 popular trails here are the Old Arboretum and Silk Wood. Both are starkly different yet outworldly beautiful.
Ticket Price : Adult: £8-15; Children: £3-7.50
Timings : 9 AM - 5 PM (subject to change)
This is the first first full-scale distillery to be established in Cotswolds. Though it makes gin and other natural spirits artisanally, the Cotswolds Distillery focuses on distilling single malt whisky and is one of the only six distilleries still producing English whisky. This 4 acre distillery conducts daily tours and tastings, making it a well worth visit.
Ticket Price : £20
Tours available : Daily at 11 AM, 1 PM & 3 PM (subject to change)
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Best Time To Visit the Cotswolds from London?
The best time to visit the Cotswolds really depends on your personal preference. As with any other tourist location in England, the spring and early summer months (March, April, and May) are ideal in terms of the weather. Tourist crowds will be moderately high, but not as dense as the peak summer crowds. Daytime temperatures are pleasant and fluctuate between 10°C & 17°C. You will also be able to see all the wildflowers in full bloom.
However, if you are looking for a more serene tour with barely any crowds, the winter months from December to February can be an excellent alternative. Hotels will generally offer off-season discounts as well. The Cotswolds can radiate an entirely different allure in these months, especially on crisp, snowy days with blue skies.
London To Cotswolds Day Trip - All Transport Options
The public transport system in Cotswolds is patchy, hence relying on it to get around Cotswolds is a bad idea. Renting a car is your best option here. However, you can get to Cotswolds from London on a train or coach to help cut costs.
|Mode of Travel||Time||Cost||Best For|
|Train||3 hours||from £37||Scenic route|
|Bus||4 hours||From £9||Scenic route|
|Car||1 hour 30 min||£18||Fastest route|
|Organised Tour||9-10 hours roundtrip||from £60 (all inclusive)||Hassle-free travel|
London to Cotswolds by Train
Trains from Paddington, London to Cotswolds are available daily. Doing a Cotswolds day trip from London by train is a great idea as it is quick, economical and most importantly, the British railways are an impeccable experience in itself. If you plan to do a Cotswolds day trip from London by train, make sure you book your tickets in advance and research on which station you would like to get down at. Here's a list of train stations at Cotswolds - Cam and Dursley, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Kemble , Moreton-in-Marsh, Stonehouse, Stroud and Ashchurch . You can check the train timings and schedule here.
London to Cotswolds by Bus
From the Victoria Coach Station in London, you can catch a bus to Cotswolds and get down at either Cheltenham, Gloucester or Stroud as per your plan. Though this is a slightly more expensive and longer option, the roads are scenic and making a road trip of it without the hassle of driving is well worth the money spent.
London to Cotswolds by Car
You can take the M4, M5 and M40 to get to Cotswolds from London. If you plan on taking pit stops in the middle, you should check out each route specifically. Though this is an expensive option, if you have plans of exploring all of Cotswolds in a short span of time, having a car handy is great as the public transit system in Cotswolds is not extensive.
London to Cotswolds Guided Tours
This is without doubt the most convinient option as you have everything taken care of and all you have to do in sit back, relax and consume the breathtaking beauty. Coach Tours to Cotswolds mostly comes in combo packages covering the nearby towns of Bath, Oxford, Stratford Upon Avon and more, hence if you are looking for a day trip that covers maximum British ground, guided tours to Cotswolds are highly recommended.
Recommended London to Cotswolds Day Trips
Where can I eat in the Cotswolds?
After all that sightseeing, you're bound to work up an appetite. In a city far away from home, you might need some help finding the best places to visit. Here are our favorite eateries in the Cotswolds and we're sure you'll like them too!
Like many of the eateries in the Cotswolds, the Ox Barn at Thyme uses only the freshest of ingredients picked from the kitchen garden and surrounding farmlands. The open fire and leather chairs add to the rural ambiance. Roast pork and chicken terrine made with wild garlic are the most popular items on the menu.
Sample the incredible pork pie or fish pie topped with special Thermidor sauce if you visit the Kingham Plough. While the setting may seem somewhat rustic, the menu is filled with modern British dishes.
With its characteristic flagstones and open fire, this inn looks like it is straight out of a Tolkein novel. Browse through the exceptional beer options and relish English fishcakes, pork sausages with mashed potato, and a dash of ale, or venison loin.
This old inn that dates back to the 17th century is one of the best places to eat in Cheltenham. Enjoy an entire array of mouthwatering dishes such as celeriac puree, slow-cooked beef, and puddings.
Savor a summer tart or cucumber finger sandwiches for a classic afternoon tea at this charming tea room. You can also purchase takeaway grazing platters, cone cups, and special teas after your meal.
Where can I stay at the Cotswolds?
Rest your weary legs after a long day of sightseeing at a local hotel. This is also super beneficial if you're thinking of extending your trip for another day or two. Here are some of our top hotel recommendations.
With a storied 300-year history, this traditional coaching inn is the beating heart of the charming hamlet of Fossebridge. If you are visiting the inn during the winter, you can sip on hot chocolate or wine as you sit next to a warm log fire.
Starts from £109/night
Located in the tiny village of Bourton-on-the-Water, The Duke of Wellington is a pet-friendly hotel that offers free parking, dining, and in-room TVs.
Starts from £100/night
The Frogmill could perhaps be regarded as the chef-d’oeuvre of English country clubs. This hotel boasts 25+ boutique bedrooms, great dining options, and an exquisite bar.
Starts from £150/night
Where to Shop at the Cotswolds?
Hand-crafted kitchenware and pots can be bought at this cozy shop in the village of Bourton-on-the-Water. Each of the beautiful pieces available here is almost entirely unique.
The Cotswold Chocolate Company
The company sells delicious chocolates made from ethically sourced natural ingredients and native Cotswolds cream. You will find an impressive collection of handmade chocolate boxes that you can take back home for your family and friends.
Burford Garden Company
In characteristic Cotswolds fashion, the Burford Garden Company sells an eclectic range of gardening-oriented products. You can buy gardening accessories, furniture, fresh local produce, and gardening art.
Tips for your London to Cotswolds Day Trip
- Not only will the rolling hills and wild meadows take you breath away, but so shall the food and drinks you gorge on here. While you’re here, make sure you dig into a Gloucester Old Spot pork some Stinking Bishop cheese,munch on a Hobbs House bread and try the Bibury trout. Their locally brewed ales and beers , single malts and gins don’t disappoint either.
- The pub culture here is traditional with a magical vibe. You will get to witness the whole course from roaring open fire, friendly pub dogs, and idyllic beer gardens in most pubs around here. Make sure to hop by one!
- Make sure you don your most comfortable pair of walking shoes during your trip as there is a lot of walking and it will sure make you weary by the end of the day.
- Though Cotswolds does not look like the hub of high-octane adrenaline sports, you’ll be shocked to know that it actually is. If you’re into mountain biking,wild swimming, water-skiing or wakeboarding, try your hands at it the English way.
Other Day Trips from London
London to Stonehenge
One of the most historically significant remnants of Britain’s yesteryears is the Stonehenge, an unassuming but awe-inspiring structure of stones arranged on a field 5,000 years ago. Situated about 115 miles from London in Salisbury, Stonehenge can easily be visited in a day, making it one of the most popular, if not the most, day excursion destinations from London. Constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC, Stonehenge consists of a ring of standing stones, each weighing around 25 tons and almost 15 feet high. Read more about the London to Stonehenge Day trip here.
London to Stonehenge Recommended Experiences
Find more London to Stonehenge tours here.
London to Oxford
Situated 60 miles from London, Oxford is one of the easiest day trip that you can take from London. At Oxford; emphatic university buildings, utterly charming houses, museums and experiences such as punting on the River Thames (or The Isis in Oxford) and having a drink at a bar where J. R. R. Tolkien used to hang out await you. If you want to walk the hallowed halls of old university buildings, go cruising down the Thames, explore “haunted” buildings, check out the shoot locations for the Harry Potter movies or simply admire the architecture and sights of a medieval British town, then a day trip to Oxford from London is your best bet. Read more about the London to Oxford Day trip here.
London to Oxford Recommended Experiences
London to Bath
Bath is one of the most sought after day trip from London due to its close proximity. That apart, Bath has a lot to see and do , just the right amount for a day making it easy to cover and hence an all time favourite. Unique experiences like the Jane Austen Center, Fashion Museum and the ever gorgeous Prior Park is sure to make your day trip from London to Bath memorable and well worth your while. You can read more about all that you can do in Bath during your day trip here.
London to Bath Recommended Experiences
London to Cotswolds FAQs
Is it safe to visit Cotswolds post-COVID-19?
Cotswolds now accepts only pre-booked reservations to prevent physical transactions. Furthermore, the village has administered several health measures in place to ensure the safety of its visitors
What are the safety and hygiene measures administered in Cotswolds?
Several safety measures are in place at Coswolds in light of COVID-19. Only pre-booked reservations are accepted now. It is also mandatory that visitors wear masks that cover their nose and face at all times and those with temperatures higher than 99.5°F (37.5°C) will not be permitted in. The number of visitors allowed in have also been limited to ensure social distancing.
Are Cotswolds tickets available online now?
Yes. You can book your London to Cotswolds tickets online as they now accept only pre-booked reservations.
What is the cancelation policy for London to Cotswolds tickets?
It depends on the ticket you choose. While some tickets offer a full refund on cancelation within a stipulated time period, other cannot be canceled or refunded. Please check the details before you complete your booking.
How do I get from London to Cotswolds?
While you can take a car, train or bus to get from London to Cotswolds, your best bet would be to opt for a guided tour. On a guided tour, guests would journey back and forth on a luxury, air-conditioned coach without having to worry about arranging for public transport.