Imagine an idyllic English village with quaint, quiet streets lined with centuries-old storybook houses, romantic walkways, medieval pubs and you’ve got the Cotswolds. This rural series of villages in south-central England is the embodiment of all things English countryside charm. Whether you’re planning to visit or just want some Downton Abbey envy, here are the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds.
Seven of the Prettiest Villages in the Cotswolds
Burford came about in the 12th century, and little has changed since. The small medieval village is famous for its picturesque high street and triple-arched bridge that crosses the River Windrush. In true British fashion, you’ll find tons of quaint pubs ready to serve you up a classic ale and limitless places for tea. Head to Burford Hill for an iconic view of Burford’s perfect row of homes. These homes combined with the atmosphere of Burford are so great in fact that in 2009 Forbes named Burford as one of the most idyllic places to live in Europe.
2. Castle Combe
Castle Combe is straight out of a fairytale with its centuries-old limestone cottages, peaceful alleyways and soft flowing river. Whether you visit the historic Market Cross or 13th century St. Andrew’s Church, you won’t find it hard to see why people love Castle Combe so much. In addition to being unbelievably pretty, Castle Combe carries a lot of historic finds such as the famous faceless clock said to be the oldest working clock in the country.
Painswick is one of the most beautiful villages in the country complete with a stunning church, a Rococo Garden, and homes that seem to be frozen in the 14th century. The tiny village was booming during the wool trade which you can see influenced throughout the town. In addition to quaint wool shops, picture-perfect cottages and quiet alleys, you’ll find the surrounding nature is just as stunning with infinite topiary trees and verdant green hills.
This Southern Cotswold gem is as charming as they come. At Tetbury, you’ll find cheery locals, age-old market halls, and tranquil sunny streets for strolling. This historic wool town boasts tons of mom and pop shops, tweed stores and trinket boutiques of every kind, making it perfect for shoppers. The cosy village also comes complete with the historic 16th century Elizabethan Manor known as Chevenage House. More famously is the Charlton Park House whose history goes as far back as 1086.
Iconic, romantic and charming are just a few words to describe one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds, Stanton. This English countryside gem is famous for its sleepy streets of 16th-century cottages and prehistoric historical finds; it would be a crime to miss it. This unspoilt Gloucestershire village is scattered on the slopes of Shenbarrow Hill with the old homes and quiet pubs perfectly framed by the surrounding landscape.
Once the site of an Iron Age fort, Stow-On-The-Wold was quite the exciting place in its early days. Nowadays the hilltop market town is known as one of the most peaceful and charming villages in England. Maybe it’s the flowers that take over in spring, or maybe it’s the quiet antique shops packed with treasures, either way, the town is absolutely lovely.
7. Chipping Campden
History buffs will love the stories locked within Chipping Campden. Once the bustling centre of Britains wool industry, the small village is home to a host of interesting sites. In fact, Chipping Campden holds the second-highest density of listed buildings in the nation. Nowadays the tune of Chipping Campden is a quiet and peaceful one compared to its industrial days, but that only adds to the charm.