Whether you are a rugged rambler, a foodie, or a cute village junky, our guide on the best places to stay in the Cotswolds will help you narrow down the perfect spot
Combining the rustic charm of village life with a broad selection of accommodation and dining experiences, there are places to stay in the Cotswolds for every budget and traveller.
Do visions of a sleepy honeypot hamlet with a deserted movie-set feel lure you, or are you beguiled by the imposing stone splendour of majestic historic centres? Are you a foodie seeking a hip hotel for a weekend of creative indulgence, or do you see yourself stationed by the open fire with a glass of red all weekend?
We’ve explored the area a lot over the years. There are few paths we haven’t walked, pubs we haven’t frequented and villages we haven’t photographed.
Our guide to the best places to stay in the Cotswolds helps you decide where to stay to appreciate this unique corner of England.
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1 – BOURTON & CENTRAL COTSWOLDS
Best place to stay in the Cotswolds for exploring charming villages
The defining image of the Cotswolds is honey-coloured cottages with steep pitched roofs, gathered to form idyllic villages lost in time. Set amongst wooded areas or curving around babbling brooks, the villages around Bourton and the central Cotswolds are some of the most photogenic spots in the UK.
While there is no shortage of cute villages all across the Cotswolds, the Bourton region gets our pick for the most atmospheric ones conveniently located in a central hub.
Our selection of hotels are full of rustic country charisma and plant you within spitting distance of the iconic weaver cottages of Bibury, the river-lined charm of Bourton-on-the-Water and the quaint beauty of Upper and Lower Slaughter.
2 – BATH & CASTLE COMBE
Best place to stay in the Cotswolds for independent shopping and immaculate villages
With Cotswold stone used to grandiose effect and cutting a niche between refined elegance and confident independence, Bath is one of our favourite cities in the UK. It’s loaded with Roman history, great architecture, a thriving coffee scene and a selection of restaurants at each end of the scale.
Just outside Bath, Castle Combe is nestled between forested hills and a meandering river. It’s regularly regarded as one of the most picturesque villages in the country and a great spot to base yourself for a weekend in the Cotswolds.
Read more on our guide to spending one day in Bath.
3 – BROADWAY & THE ESCARPMENT
Best place to stay in the Cotswolds for quirky galleries, great walks and big views
In the northwest of the Cotswolds, an escarpment cuts a natural divide between the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Severn Valley.
Here, the most dramatic sections of the Cotswolds Way provide some of the best hiking opportunities in the area. If you’re looking to spend more time in the outdoors, surrounded by excellent views, this is one of the best places to stay in the Cotswolds.
In addition to getting some mud on your walking boots, slip into your elegant footwear to visit two charming towns. Chipping Campden and Broadway is where you’ll find artists in their galleries and the well-heeled in their antique shops.
4 – KINGHAM, DAYLESFORD & SOUTHROP
Where to stay in the Cotswolds for top-notch food and drink
Over the last 20 years, the food scene has well and truly made its mark on the Cotswolds. Gone are the days of drab pub lunches and soggy sandwiches. Now, innovative creations appear on pub menus and quality local produce is available in hipster farm shops and local market stalls.
The best place to stay in the Cotswolds for a foodie weekend is in or around Kingham – a great destination to include on a UK road trip.
The nearby Daylesford Organic has a decent brunch, cooking courses and a shop stocked with local produce. A little further north, the Hook Norton Brewery has been churning out ales for centuries, while the Cotswolds Distillery brings a touch of modern sheen to gin and whiskey production.
5 – OXFORD & BLENHEIM
Best place to stay in the Cotswolds for grand palaces and stunning architecture
To experience the imposing architecture built on the early wealth and power of the wool industry, head to the eastern edge of the Cotswolds.
Few places conjure up more majesty and glory than Oxford. Meander the quads of the colleges and stroll wonky laneways providing intermittent views of Oxford’s dreaming spires. Explore what is possibly the finest library in the world. Read our one-day Oxford itinerary for some ideas.
A few miles away visit Blenheim Palace, the seat of the Marlboroughs and one-time home of Winston Churchill. It’s one of the finest stately homes in the country with rooms teeming with aristocrat history, surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens.
Read more in our curated guide to the best things to do in Oxford.
6 – DESTINATION STAYS
Best places to stay in the Cotswolds for destination dining and accommodation
If you’re thinking of a weekend getaway in the UK where you’ll spend more time in the hotel than outside it, there are some great places to stay in the Cotswolds to enjoy a luxurious getaway.
Spend lazy weekends unwinding in a stunning indoor pool; surrender to the care of a qualified massage therapist, or simply relax, feet up, in front of a roaring open fire.
There is no shortage of top-quality hotels in the Cotswolds to indulge for a weekend. But here are some suggestions from us where the accommodation is the destination.
MORE BRITAIN READING
We’ve spent a lot of time exploring Britain, from rain-soaked outings in the Lake District to strolling historic centres. Here are some more of our guides from our home country including popular iconic sights and lesser-known hidden gems. For ideas on how to visit Oxford on a day trip, read our 1-day itinerary.
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