Whilst London may be a buzzing hub of activity, it's so important to take a break from the chaos and escape to a quieter, more picturesque locations. It does a world of good for us and we love especially visiting in Spring and Summer, when the Cotswolds is in it's glory. With its rolling hills, picturesque villages, and charming architecture, is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway from the city.
Just 2-3 hours from London, the Cotswolds has so much to offer. I will take you through the most beautiful towns, child-friendly activities, and scenic spots for Instagram-worthy photos in the this beautiful part of England.
The Most Picturesque Towns Close to London
This stunning village, dubbed the "Venice of the Cotswolds," is a must-visit for its enchanting stone bridges that arch over the River Windrush. You can also find beautiful cafes and boutiques lining the streets, as well as the Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection, which features vintage cars and toys from bygone eras.
Located on the highest point of the Cotswold hills, Stow-on-the-Wold is an idyllic town with an abundance of tea rooms, antique shops, and art galleries. Don't miss the St Edward's Church tower, which provides a stunning panoramic view of the Cotswold countryside.
This picturesque village is home to some of the most beautiful stone cottages in the Cotswolds, known as Arlington Row. Originally built in the 14th century as wool stores, they have since been converted into charming homes. Bibury is also located next to the River Coln, offering scenic walks along the riverbank.
An Oasis of Activities Awaits
The Cotswolds is famous for its stunning countryside, offering a variety of scenic walks. The Cotswold Way is a 102-mile long-distance footpath that passes through several picturesque villages and rolling hills. For shorter walks, the Winchcombe Way and Broadway Tower Circular Walk are also popular options.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
For a truly unique experience, take a hot air balloon ride over the picturesque Cotswold landscape. The views are breathtaking, and it's an unforgettable way to appreciate the beauty of the region from above.
The Cotswolds is home to several historic sites, including castles, manor houses, and stately homes. Blenheim Palace, Sudeley Castle, and Hidcote Manor Garden are popular attractions for visitors.
Your Children Will Love it!
There literally is so much to do with kids in the Cotswolds that you are spoilt for choice. Here are a few of main activities we tried and loved.
Cotswold Wildlife Park
A visit to the Cotswold Wildlife Park is a perfect family day out. Kids can get up close and personal with animals like giraffes, penguins, and lemurs.
Cotswold Farm Park
This family-friendly attraction allows kids to interact with farm animals and even try their hand at farm tasks like egg-collecting and animal feeding.
Birdland Park and Gardens
Located in Bourton-on-the-Water, Birdland Park and Gardens is home to over 500 birds, including penguins, owls, and flamingos. The park also features a Jurassic Journey exhibit, which really fascinated our son.
The Model Village
Located in Bourton-on-the-Water, The Model Village is a 1/9th scale replica of the village itself. Young children will enjoy exploring the miniature buildings and gardens, and learning about the history of the village.
Located in the town of Cirencester, this park offers plenty of open space for children to run around and play. There's also a play area with swings, slides, and climbing frames, as well as a cafe for refreshments.
This enchanted woodland located near Coleford is the perfect place for an adventure with young children. The woodland has winding paths, bridges, and hidden tunnels, and is sure to spark the imagination of young children.
The Most Scenic Spots for Photos
This historic tower, located on a hilltop in Broadway, offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
Snowshill Lavender Fields
These stunning lavender fields, located near Broadway, offer the perfect backdrop for a summertime photo shoot.
Arlington Row, Bibury
This row of 14th-century cottages is one of the most photographed locations in the Cotswolds. With their honey-colored stone walls and steep pitched roofs, the cottages make for a charming photo backdrop.
This picturesque village is often referred to as the prettiest village in England. With its stone houses, old-fashioned street lamps, and idyllic stream running through the village, Castle Combe is the perfect place to take a photo that captures the essence of the Cotswolds.
This historic castle, located in Winchcombe, offers plenty of photo opportunities. From the castle's beautiful gardens to its impressive architecture, there's something for everyone.
This historic market town is full of charming old buildings and narrow streets. The town's market square, complete with an old stone cross, is a particularly photogenic spot.
This town is famous for its elegant honey-colored buildings made from Cotswold stone. Take a stroll along the High Street and stop to snap a picture of the town's iconic Market Hall.
Known as the Venice of the Cotswolds, this town is famous for its picturesque low bridges and beautiful stone houses. A picture of the town's iconic bridge spanning the River Windrush is a must-have for any Cotswolds Instagram feed.
Have an amazing time in the Cotswolds! Let me know if you visit and let me know if you have further recommendations to add here.
The Kensington Diary