Discover the Best of the Cotswolds: A 4-Day Itinerary for Unforgettable Adventures

Advisor - Bijoy Shah
Curated By

Bijoy Shah

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  • Arts & Culture

  • Wellness Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Honeymoons

  • England

  • Cotswolds

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

  • Sightseeing

A lavender field near a white house in daytime.
Curator’s statement

Welcome to the picturesque region of the Cotswolds, nestled in the heart of England. With its rolling hills, charming villages and rich history, the Cotswolds is a destination that should be on every traveler's bucket list. From exploring quaint towns and villages to immersing in the local culture and indulging in culinary delights, get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the Cotswolds.

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Where to stay

The Lygon Arms

Luxe property in a converted coaching inn from the 17th-century with plush rooms and suites.

The Painswick

Where timeless elegance meets picturesque tranquility.

The Swan Hotel

A timeless haven of luxury and charm on the banks of serenity.

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Day 1: Chipping Campden, Broadway & Bourton-on-the-Water

A telephone booth picture in the daytime.

On your first day in the Cotswolds, I recommend starting your adventure in the charming town of Chipping Campden. Known for its beautiful stone buildings and vibrant arts scene, Chipping Campden is the perfect place to get a taste of traditional Cotswolds charm. Take a leisurely stroll along the town's High Street, lined with independent shops, galleries and tea rooms. Don't miss a visit to St James' Church, a stunning example of medieval architecture.

From Chipping Campden, make your way to the nearby village of Broadway, often referred to as the "Jewel of the Cotswolds". With its picturesque honey-colored buildings and bustling high street, Broadway is a delight to explore. Take some time to browse the boutique shops, enjoy a traditional cream tea and soak up the atmosphere of this quintessential Cotswolds village.

After lunch, head to the village of Bourton-on-the-Water, often called the "Venice of the Cotswolds" due to its charming low bridges and tranquil river. Here, you can visit the Cotswold Motoring Museum, home to a fascinating collection of vintage cars and memorabilia, or simply enjoy a leisurely walk along the river, taking in the picturesque scenery.

As the day draws to a close, make your way to the village of Bibury, one of the most picturesque spots in the Cotswolds. Here, you'll find Arlington Row, a row of ancient cottages dating back to the 17th century. Be sure to capture some photographs of this iconic spot before heading back to your accommodation for a well-deserved rest.

Day 2: Snowshill & lavender farm

An aerial view of the foggy forest during daytime.

On your second day in the Cotswolds, it's time to immerse yourself in the region's stunning natural beauty. Start your day with a visit to the Cotswolds Way, a long-distance walking trail that spans 102 miles and offers breathtaking views of the countryside. Whether you choose to tackle a short section of the trail or embark on a full-day hike, you're guaranteed to be rewarded with panoramic vistas and a sense of tranquility.

After your walk, make your way to the village of Snowshill, home to the enchanting Snowshill Manor and Garden. This National Trust property is a treasure trove of eclectic collections, from ancient costumes and musical instruments to exotic objects from around the world. Explore the manor and its beautiful gardens, and don't forget to take a moment to appreciate the sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.

Next, head to the Cotswold Lavender Farm, located near the village of Snowshill. Here, you can wander through rows of fragrant lavender fields, take in the vibrant colors and intoxicating scents and even pick your own bouquet to take home as a souvenir. The farm also has a charming café where you can enjoy a delicious lunch surrounded by the beauty of nature.

As the day comes to an end, make your way to the village of Bourton-on-the-Hill, where you can visit the iconic Broadway Tower. Climb to the top of this 18th-century folly and be rewarded with panoramic views of the Cotswolds countryside. If you're visiting in the summer, be sure to catch one of the tower's outdoor concerts or theater performances for a truly unforgettable experience.

Day 3: Bath, Lacock & Tetbury

An ancient concrete building near green trees.

On your third day in the Cotswolds, it's time to delve into the region's rich culture and history. Start your day with a visit to the city of Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its Roman baths and stunning Georgian architecture. Explore the Roman Baths, where you can learn about the city's ancient past and even sample the natural spring water. Take a stroll through the elegant streets lined with Georgian townhouses and don't miss a visit to the iconic Bath Abbey.

After lunch in Bath, make your way to the village of Lacock, another charming spot steeped in history. Lacock is famous for its well-preserved medieval buildings, and it has served as a filming location for numerous period dramas, including "Pride and Prejudice" and "Harry Potter". Take a guided tour of Lacock Abbey, a former nunnery turned stately home and explore the village's quaint streets and picturesque cottages.

From Lacock, head to the town of Tetbury, often referred to as the "Antiques Capital of the Cotswolds". Here, you'll find a treasure trove of spectacular antique shops, art galleries and independent boutiques. Take some time to browse the shops and perhaps pick up a unique souvenir to remind you of your adventure in the Cotswolds.

As the day draws to a close, make your way back to your accommodation and take some time to relax and reflect on the rich history and culture you've experienced throughout the day.

Day 4: Daylesford, Stow-on-the-Wold & Cheltenham

A picture of brown concrete building near green trees.

On your final day in the Cotswolds, it's time to indulge in the region's culinary delights. Start your day with a visit to the Daylesford Organic Farm, a true food lover's paradise. Here, you can explore the farm's organic gardens, browse the gourmet shop filled with locally sourced produce and enjoy a delicious farm-to-table meal at one of the farm's restaurants. Don't forget to pick up some artisanal cheeses, freshly baked bread and locally made preserves to take home with you.

From Daylesford, make your way to the charming village of Stow-on-the-Wold, where you'll find an array of traditional English pubs and tearooms. Take a break and enjoy a leisurely lunch, sampling classic Cotswolds dishes such as beef and ale pie or fish and chips. Afterward, explore the village's quaint streets and perhaps pick up some handmade chocolates or locally brewed beer to take home as edible souvenirs.

In the afternoon, head to the town of Cheltenham, known for its vibrant food and drink scene. Take a guided food tour of the town, where you can sample a variety of local delicacies, from traditional afternoon tea to artisanal gin. Explore the town's independent shops and boutiques and perhaps treat yourself to some luxury spa treatments to end your Cotswolds vacation on a pampering note.

Need to Know

The Cotswolds is a destination that truly has it all – stunning natural landscapes, charming towns and villages, rich history and culture and a thriving food scene. Whether you're a nature lover, history buff, or food aficionado, the Cotswolds offers something for everyone. By following my carefully curated 4-day itinerary, you'll have the opportunity to discover the best of the Cotswolds and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, 4-Day Itinerary for the Ultimate Louisville Bachelor Party.

Advisor - Bijoy Shah

Travel Advisor

Bijoy Shah

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to England.