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6 Most Picturesque Villages in the Cotswolds

Every year on our birthdays, we usually go to a new destination, and this year we managed to check off another dream location on our wishlist: the fairytale villages of the Cotswolds in England.

Initially, we had planned to celebrate Dorina's birthday in London because it's her favorite city, but since we had been there before, we started looking into how we could also visit the Cotswolds, which we had been dreaming of for some time, knowing that it's quite challenging to reach and can be quite expensive.

We spoke with our friends from Traveling Sisters and we realized that it can be quite affordable if we visit multiple villages in a single day, so we started planning the entire trip together.

We found very cheap plane tickets to London (around $25 per person) and also found a very nice and affordable apartment in the city (around $850 for all four of us)- most accommodations are located near the city and transportation costs are quite high.

How do you get to the Cotswolds?

Initially, we thought of taking the train from Paddington to the villages and using buses between the villages. However, when we calculated the costs, we realized that it was more convenient to rent a car, so that's what we did. During our research on various car rental websites, we came across Turo Car Rental, which is like a Airbnb of cars - you can rent cars from individuals. We found cars at great prices, starting from around 20 pounds per day. However, after adding insurance and taxes, the total amount reached over 60 pounds. It was still okay compared to well-known rental websites and considering the costs of trains and buses, so we proceeded with the booking. However, we exceeded the agreed return time and we were charged extra. This detail was not communicated to us beforehand, and the owner was not fair with us. In the end, there was nothing we could do as the amount was deducted directly from our card, and Turo did not address our complaint. If you decide to rent with them in your chosen locations, be careful to establish all the details from the beginning to avoid unexpected additional charges.

Which villages did we visit in the Cotswolds?

1. Castle Combe

We started our visit to the Cotswolds with the village considered the "crown jewel," the most beautiful in all England: Castle Combe, which took us about two hours to reach. At first, we drove on the highway, but then we encountered very narrow roads, seemingly single-lane, where two cars could barely fit. In Castle Combe not much has changed in the last 400 years, and no new buildings have been constructed since 1617. Even the roads haven't been modernized, which is why they are so narrow, and in the past, there were no cars :) In this village, there is a paid parking lot right at the entrance, but we were lucky to receive a valid 2-hour ticket from a family who had already visited the village and had taken too many hours. However, the parking fee was not expensive: 0.40 pounds for one hour, 1.10 pounds for 2 hours, 2 pounds for 3 hours, and so on. We parked the car and walked along the road until we found the stone houses, which took about a maximum of 10 minutes (and then we saw that cars were also parked on the road where space allowed and it was wider). We visited St. Andrew's Church in the village (where one of the oldest working clocks in England is located) and reached the bridge over a river, where those famous houses were lined up. Many famous movies, including the recent Downton Abbey series, were filmed there. There were quite a few visitors, but not as many as we expected based on what we had seen on the internet. The village is quite small, with only 350 inhabitants, so you don't need to allocate too much time here.

2. Bibury

The second village on our list was Bibury, which is as famous as Castle Combe, with some considering it the most beautiful. It took us about an hour to get here, and the road was narrow, too (we found that the British drive quite aggressively, even on narrow roads, they have no fear and drive at high speeds). We really enjoyed Bibury, which was larger than Castle Combe, with 620 inhabitants. Here, we parked the car freely on the street where we saw other parked cars and set off to admire the village on foot, specifically the famous row of houses called Arlington Row. The English have included a drawing of these houses on the inner cover of British passports. The houses here date back to 1380, and there is also a river, the River Coln, a tributary of the Thames. We liked that there were flowers at almost every house, creating a dreamy atmosphere, just like in the filming locations of an old British movie. There was also a trout farm where you could go fishing, and they could cook the freshly caught fish for you (Trout Farm).

3. Burton-on-the-Water

We then headed towards our next destination, and on the way, we decided to stop and have a small picnic (we were prepared with food from home). So, we pulled over in a field and had our meal, and it was much lovelier than eating at a restaurant, surrounded by nature, flowers, and fresh air. We then drove towards Burton-on-the-Water, and in just 20 minutes, we arrived. This village was also traversed by a river, and due to the hot weather, there were many people in the water, both children and adults, cooling off. Here, we took a longer walk as the village was larger, almost like a small town (with over 3,200 inhabitants), and we also visited a few shops. We knew that the Model Village was located in this village, where you can find miniature models of the buildings in the village, so we decided to visit it (the entrance fee was 4.5 pounds per person, and payment could only be made by card). This place enchanted us; everything was so well-crafted, and the attention to detail was remarkable. We wholeheartedly recommend visiting it; it is definitely worth it.

4. Stow-on-the-Wold

We then proceeded to Stow-on-the-Wold, where we came to see St. Edward's Church, more precisely the back door of the church that appears to be grown into a tree. It is said that this door was the inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien when he wrote about the Doors of Durin in The Lord of the Rings.

5. Moreton in Marsh

As it was starting to get dark, and we didn't have much time left, we headed towards Moreton in Marsh. We spent the least amount of time here, briefly strolling through the town center, taking a few photos, and then leaving, even though it seemed quite charming and there were probably more things to explore.

6. Brodway

The last village we wanted to see was Broadway (which took us about 10 minutes to reach). Specifically, we wanted to see the tower in this village. We went straight there, but initially, we were a bit disoriented because we couldn't find the entrance path to the tower, and then we noticed that the gate was locked. We were disappointed that we had come all the way there for nothing. However, out of nowhere, some photographers appeared and told us to follow them because they would help us get in. We walked a bit to the side, jumped over a small fence, and entered the famous estate. Unfortunately, we couldn't stay for long because it was very windy and freezing cold. We had left the car wearing dresses, and we shivered until we made it back. We're not sure if it's always like that, but when we arrived, there was a storm. What's really lovely there, apart from the tower, is the meadow with deer nearby. They are absolutely adorable!

Brodway cotswolds

 

We absolutely loved the villages in the Cotswolds; each locality has its own unique charm. On one hand, we wanted to visit as many as possible, and on the other hand, we wanted to spend more time in each village and fully enjoy what they had to offer. However, we made a promise to ourselves to come back and stay in the area to truly immerse ourselves in the Cotswolds. Whether you like London or not, you must visit England for these hidden gems of villages. They are absolutely splendid, and you will feel like you're in a movie, especially during the summer!

bibury house
bibury in summer
bibury sat
bibury sate cotswolds
bibury village cotswolds villages
bibury
Burton-on-the-Water house
Burton-on-the-Water houses

Burton-on-the-Water

castle combe cotswolds villages
castle combe village cotswolds

otswolds castle combe village
cotswolds Stow-on-the-Wold
model village Burton-on-the-Water cotswolds

Stow-on-the-Wold model village
Stow-on-the-Wold

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