Where to stay in Cotswolds - Best Areas And Hotels For 2023
In this guide, I'm sharing the best places to stay in the Cotswolds with my favourite hotels in area, so you can enjoy a fantastic holiday in the English countryside and live your best cottage-core dream.
The Cotswolds region is a picturesque and charming part of England, encompassing a vast expanse of gently sloping green hills, ancient towns, and villages. It is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, covering over 787 square miles, and boasts the largest number of conservation areas in England.
The Cotswold is the ideal place for those who love cottage-core and want to enjoy a holiday drinking their coffee on a wisteria-draped porch or sipping wine in a magical, charming English garden.
Beyond the majesty of the Cotswolds villages, gracious country roads lead to areas of immense natural beauty, with scenic hiking trails dissecting rolling farmland. The Cotswold offers an array of accommodations and dining experiences, from rustic village charm to hip and creative foodie hotspots.
My guide is based on my personal experience exploring the area, and it includes some of the most beautiful and fascinating places to stay in the Cotswolds to fully appreciate this unique corner of England.
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Where to stay in the Cotswolds
For first-time visitors to the Cotswolds, Bibury is an ideal place to stay as it offers a perfect balance of relaxation, natural beauty, and easy access to other popular attractions. The village is home to the iconic Arlington Row, a group of historic cottages that are some of the most photographed buildings in the Cotswolds, and it's easy to see why. Nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds, Bibury is a village that has charmed many visitors with its idyllic setting, quintessential English cottages, and picturesque countryside views. The honey-coloured stone cottages, set against a backdrop of verdant greenery and the gently flowing River Coln, create a fairy-tale-like atmosphere that is truly enchanting.
|❤️ Best Area for first-timers:||Bibury|
|💎 Best luxury 5* hotel:||Oak House No.1|
|🏨 Best iconic hotel:||The Swan Hotel|
|🏰 Best manor house:||Abbots Grange|
|🏘 Best historic hotel:||The Fleece|
What is the best town to stay in the Cotswolds?
What is the best base for visiting the Cotswolds
What is the nicest part of the Cotswolds?
Which is the prettiest Cotswold village?
Best place to stay in the Cotswolds
Bibury is the best place to stay in Cotswold as it's often named the most beautiful place in the area, and it's the most photographed spot in England. Bibury has been described by William Morris as "the most beautiful village in England" and has been featured on many lists of the most picturesque villages in the world.
One of the most iconic sights in Bibury is the Arlington Row cottages, which were originally built in the 14th century as a monastic wool store and were later converted into weavers' cottages. Today, they're typically referred to as the most photographed and beautiful cottages in the country. A walk alongside Arlington Row while grabbing the obligatory selfie is a must-do for visitors.
Bibury is an ideal base for exploring the surrounding area, including the historic Roman town of Cirencester and other Cotswold towns and villages. There are plenty of places to stay in Bibury, including the Swan Hotel and The Catherine Wheel pub, as well as many holiday cottages.
Attractions in Bibury include the Bibury Trout Farm, the Saxon Church of St. Mary, and the picturesque River Coln that flows through the village. With Arlington Row as a backdrop, it makes one of the most picturesque scenes you will find in the Cotswolds.
Our top hotel picks in Bibury are:
- Iconic: The Swan Hotel
- House: Sycamore
- Cottage: Swallows Nest
Best place to stay in the Cotswolds for most picturesque village
Castle Combe is a charming and picturesque village located in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in north-west Wiltshire. The village has remained unchanged for centuries, with no new houses built since the 1600s. This fairy-tale setting has made Castle Combe a popular filming location, featuring in various movies and TV shows such as Bridgerton, The Wolf Man, Stardust, War Horse, and even the original Dr Doolittle film.
This quintessentially English village is made up of honey-coloured Cotswold stone houses, and it has a rich history that is reflected in its architecture. Explore the Market Cross, St. Andrew’s Church, and the Castle Combe Circuit, where drivers can test different vehicles or tackle the Rally course.
The village has a couple of pubs, a luxury hotel, and a golf course. Castle Combe is a great place to stay in the Cotswolds, as it offers several options for accommodation, including bed and breakfasts, self-catering properties, and inns. It is also within easy reach of Chippenham and Corsham, and not far from the M4 motorway.
Our top hotel picks in Castle Combe are:
- Luxury: The Manor House Hotel and Golf Club
- Traditional: The White Hart
- English Inn: The Castle Inn
Ideal place to stay for traditional Cotswolds charm
Nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds, Chipping Campden is a charming town that offers visitors a true taste of Olde Cotswold England. With its central location in the North Cotswolds, Chipping Campden is the ideal base for exploring not only the town itself but also the nearby shire counties of Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, and Warwickshire.
One of the town's most distinguishing features is its well-preserved architecture, with many buildings made of the iconic golden Cotswold stone. This makes Chipping Campden a perfect place to stay if you're looking for an authentic Cotswold experience.
There's plenty of accommodation to pick from, including fantastic hotels located right on its incredibly attractive High Street. You will also find cosy rooms in guest houses and charming cottages.
Our top hotel picks in Chipping Campden are:
- Luxury: Woolmarket House
- Bespoke Hotel: Cotswold House Hotel and Spa
- Manor: Charingworth Manor
- Georgian House: The Seagrave Arms
Great place to stay for families with kids
If you're planning a family holiday in the Cotswolds, Bourton-on-the-Water is a great place to stay. With plenty of activities for kids and adults alike, it's the perfect destination for a fun-filled family break.
Bourton-on-the-Water has earned the nickname "Little Venice" of the Cotswolds, thanks to the picturesque River Windrush that runs through the centre of the village and is crossed by several charming little bridges.
Although Bourton-on-the-Water can get busy, especially during the summer months, it's a great place to stay with kids of all ages. There's plenty to see and do, including visiting the Birdland Park and Gardens, which is home to a wide range of exotic birds, including penguins, flamingos, macaws, emus, and birds of prey. Another popular attraction is The Model Village, a 1/9th scale replica of the centre of the village, which is sure to delight visitors of all ages.
Bourton-on-the-Water offers a wide variety of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. From traditional bed and breakfasts to cosy cottages and elegant hotels. Many of the accommodation options in the village are located in or near the centre of town, offering easy access to the local attractions, shops, and restaurants.
For families with kids, there are also several family-friendly options, including hotels with spacious family rooms and self-catering cottages with fully equipped kitchens. Some accommodation options also offer amenities such as gardens, swimming pools, and pet-friendly rooms.
Our top hotel picks in Bourton-on-the-Water are:
- Country House: Chester House Hotel
- Guest House: The Lansdowne
- Inn: The Lamb Inn
- B&B: Webbys Windrush Walk
Wonderful place to stay in Cotswolds for history buffs
Stow-on-the-Wold is a beautiful market town and a popular destination for visitors exploring the Cotswolds. With its picturesque streets, elegant Cotswold town houses, and stunning countryside views, it's a great place to stay for those who want to experience the historic charms.
There is a wide range of accommodation options in Stow-on-the-Wold, including traditional inns, charming bed and breakfasts, and cosy self-catering cottages. The town is also home to some luxurious hotels that offer spacious rooms, exceptional comfort and amenities.
Stow-on-the-Wold is an important shopping centre in the Cotswolds, with many fine antique shops, art galleries, and gift shops. There are also plenty of restaurants and tea shops, including a wide variety of pub food, so you can enjoy delicious meals while exploring the town.
There are many interesting things to do in Stow-on-the-Wold, such as visiting the Cricket Museum, browsing the independent shops, and exploring the beautiful St Edward's Church, which was built between the 11th and 15th centuries.
Our top hotel picks in Stow-on-the-Wold are:
- Luxury: The Old Stocks Inn
- Mid-Range: Stow Lodge Hotel
- Quaint: Lucy's Tearoom
- Apartment: The Unicorn
Ideal place to stay in the Cotswolds for a peaceful retreat
Painswick, known as 'The Queen of the Cotswolds', is a charming town steeped in history and surrounded by breathtaking countryside. Painswick is one of the finest and best-preserved Cotswold towns, with its picturesque buildings lining the narrow streets.
New Street, in particular, is a must-visit for history buffs, as it is home to the oldest building in England to house a Post Office and the country's oldest bowling green. But the real highlight is the famous parish church of St. Mary, nestled amongst 99 yew trees, making for one of the most memorable churchyards in the country.
Painswick is a popular destination for hikers, as it is situated at the mid-point of the Cotswold Way, offering access to some of the region's most delightful countryside. The world-renowned Rococo Gardens, Painswick Beacon, and the idyllic villages of Sheepscombe, Edge, and Slad are all within a mile or two of the town centre.
Painswick has a variety of accommodation options. There are hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, and self-catering cottages that offer a comfortable and convenient stay in the town.
For self-catering options, there are a number of holiday cottages available in and around Painswick, providing you with more flexibility and privacy. You can pick between staying in a manor house, or enjoying charming rooms with outdoor hot tub and beautifully landscaped gardens.
Our top hotel picks in Painswick are:
- B&B: Troy House
- B&B: St Annes
Best place to stay in the Cotswolds for countryside
Broadway is known as "The Village for All Seasons," and there's always something going on. The picturesque high street, adorned with horse chestnut trees, is a sight to behold, and the period houses and stone cottages make it a place you won't soon forget. Broadway is a perfect base from which to explore the surrounding countryside or to take a stroll down the Cotswold Way.
Broadway is renowned for its shopping and galleries, and the independent shops make for a delightful experience. A particular attraction is the state-of-the-art children's activity park, which is a great place to take the kids. Broadway also boasts some excellent eateries and charming tea shops.
If you're looking for a place to stay, there are many welcoming accommodations available, from bed and breakfasts to hotels and self-catering cottages. You can stay in a delightful country house hotel with four poster beds or have a restful night in a local inn. There are plenty of holiday cottages available as well.
Broadway has a rich history dating back to the 9th century and played an important role in the wool trade. There are many historical sites to visit, such as St Eadburgha's Church and the Broadway Museum and Art Gallery.
Our top hotel picks in Broadway are:
- Luxury: The Lygon Arms
- Luxury Manor: Abbots Grange
- 16th Century Retreat: The Broadway Hotel
Best place to stay in Cotswolds for a mix of history, culture, and modern amenities
Cirencester, also known as the Capital of the Cotswolds, is a lovely market town with a rich history that is sure to leave a lasting impression on any visitor. As someone who has had the pleasure of exploring this charming town, I can attest to the warm welcome you will receive here. Did you know that Cirencester was once the second-largest town in Roman Britain, after London?
One of the highlights of Cirencester is its fantastic shopping scene. The Market Place, at the heart of the town, is home to a Charter Market and a Farmers' Market. Cirencester's Corn Hall also has a regular programme of markets including an Antiques and Collectables market, the Original Craftsman's Market and the Cotswold Craft Market. Cirencester has some of the best indie shops in the region, including fascinating antique emporiums, craft shops, and special boutiques.
Don't miss the Corinium Museum, a multi-award winning museum that is home to one of the largest collections of Romano-British antiquities in the country. The Roman Amphitheatre is another must-visit site, built in the early 2nd century as part of a grand scheme of Roman town planning. The New Brewery Arts, based in a converted Victorian brewery, is an important centre for crafts in the Cotswolds, and the Parish Church of St. John Baptist is one of the finest Cotswold wool churches.
When it comes to accommodation, Cirencester has plenty of options including boutique hotels with history and charm to bed & breakfasts with stone walls, guest houses, and self-catering options such as farmhouses and traditional Cotswold cottages.
Our top hotel picks in Cirencester are:
- Luxury: Kings Head Hotel
- B&B: The Long House
- Inn: The Masons Arms
- 300 year-old building: The Fleece
Best place to stay in Cotswolds for antique shops
Tetbury is a town in the Cotswolds known for its great architecture and historical significance. It has retained much of its original look from the 16th and 17th centuries, when it was a thriving wool town.
The Market House in the centre of Tetbury is a beautiful building that reminds us of the town's past. Walking down the Chipping Steps and into Gumstool Hill will reveal even more of Tetbury's history, with 17th century weaver's cottages.
Tetbury is perfectly situated for exploring the Cotswolds, being just 10 miles from Cirencester and 5 miles from Malmesbury, and with easy access to Bath by car or bus.
Tetbury is renowned for its range of antique shops, which attract many visitors every year. Spend a day or more browsing the collection of shops and enjoying afternoon tea. Nearby Highgrove House has its own shop, the Highgrove Shop, which sells produce from the Royal estate and is very popular.
One of the town's most unusual events is the Tetbury Woolsack Races, which originated in the 17th century. Participants run up a hill carrying a 60lb (for men) or 35lb (for women) woolsack along a 240-yard route with a 1 in 4 gradient. The event raises money for local causes and is featured in the Guinness Book of Records.
Tetbury's best hotels and restaurants are all within walking distance of the town's market place, making it a very compact town to explore on foot.
Our top hotel picks in Tetbury are:
- Luxury: Oak House No.1
- Country Inn: The Queen Matilda
- 1535 House: The Close Hotel
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