> Hillwalk Tours Blog > Hiking in England > Most beautiful Cotswolds villages and towns: 6 hidden treasures
POSTED BY April 5, 2021

The Cotswolds is synonymous with quintessential British appeal. Those visiting the Cotswolds can expect charming hilly landscapes, impressive castles and manors, and some of England’s most beautiful villages and small towns. A cup of tea in an authentic tea house, a pint in an ancient pub or a look around the local shops are all part of this.

Therefore, in this post, we investigate some of the most beautiful villages and towns in the Cotswolds and what’s makes them so special.

Walkers passing an Oak Tree near Stanway, Cotswold Way

Most beautiful Cotswolds villages and towns

Anyone walking through the Cotswolds will enjoy the traditional architecture and cheerful residents of each town. Lovely houses made of gold-colored stones are a symbol of this inviting region. However, there are always a few places that just stand out. In our opinion, these are 6 of the most beautiful villages and towns in the Cotswolds!

The Parish Church of Saint Catherine in Chipping Campden - Cotswold Way
The Parish Church of Saint Catherine in Chipping Campden

1. Painswick

About half way up the famous Cotswold Way hiking trail is the historic village of Painswick. This is the ideal place to take a break while walking the path! Perched on top of a hill, Painswick is one of the best-preserved places in the Cotswolds. The idyllic stone houses, medieval guest houses and meandering alleys give visitors the feeling that they are taking a trip back in time.

One of the main attractions in the Painswick area is the 18th century Rococo Garden. This flamboyant garden is the only garden from this time that is still open to the public.

Painswick Village - Cotswold Way
Painswick Village

2. Dursley

This sleepy village is set in a wooded valley, surrounded by hills. For this magical location alone, Dursley deserves a spot on the list of the most beautiful villages in the Cotswolds! It is an ultimate destination for hikers, because as well as being on the Cotswold Way, there are also several hiking trails around the town.

One of Dursley’s most striking buildings is the Georgian Market House, built in the 18th century. A farmers market is still held here every month with local produce.

Walkers at Coaley Peak, Hillwalk Tours
Walkers at Coaley Peak with Dursley in the background

3. Broadway

No, we’re not talking about the New York Theater District. Anyone asking directions to Broadway in the Cotswolds will end up in a completely different kind of place. The historic buildings and quiet streets of this village are nothing like the busy, brightly lit streets of Manhattan. Yet there is a similarity with the famous American Broadway: this town also has a reputation in the arts.

The village has long been known as a haven for artists and writers in need of inspiration. The annual Broadway Arts Festival is therefore a major event in the Cotswolds. During this festival, the calm village transforms into a lively mishmash of exhibitions, artistic competitions and musical performances.

Cotswold Way Hillwalk Tours Ltd.
Pretty cottages along the high street in Broadway, The Cotswolds, Worcestershire

4. Bibury

Those looking for the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds will be able to go down a long list. The area in England is known for the authentic atmosphere, the historic architecture and the cozy atmosphere of the places. Perhaps the most iconic of all those “most beautiful villages” is Bibury.

In particular, Arlington Row Street, home to an ancient row of cottages, makes Bibury one of the most famous landmarks in the Cotswolds. The village trout farm – one of the oldest trout farms in the UK – is also worth a visit.

Enjoying the beautiful scenery - Cotswold Way
Enjoying the beautiful scenery on the Cotswold Way

5. Winchcombe

Winchcombe is home to a great number of historic monuments, making it a popular base for exploring the Cotswolds. However, the town itself is also an attraction in itself. The fairy-tale houses on Vineyard Street, the fifteenth-century church and the stately Sudeley Castle make an enchanting impression.

In addition, Winchcombe is a culinary destination. The village has a particularly wide range of restaurants, pubs, tea houses and breweries, most of which are highly regarded in the UK.

Winchcombe, Hillwalk Tours
Winchcombe, The Cotswolds

6. Chipping Campden

No list of the most beautiful villages and towns in the Cotswolds would be complete without including the small market town of Chipping Campden. It is famous for its beautiful terraced High Street which dates from the 14th century to the 17th century.

Much of the town centre is a National Conservation Area which has helped to preserve these buildings in their original condition. Due to this, Chipping Campden is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Cotswolds and has many old inns, shops and lovely restaurants. It is also the starting point of the Cotswold Way.

Chipping Camden, The Cotswolds

Interesting in visiting these villages and towns? There’s no better way to immerse in the Cotswolds than a Cotswold Way walking tour.