Stretched over 800 miles of rolling hills and five counties namely - Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire ; Cotswolds is a charming old world town located about 100 miles out of London. Over half a century back it was declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) putting it on the tourist map, furthermore making it famous day trip destination from London.
Cotswolds has been repeatedly honoured as one of the most picturesque rural settings in the British Isles and we wholeheartedly agree! Taking a day trip from London to Cotswolds will unveil to you this golden stone town on rolling hills speckled with honey coloured quaint houses and miles of pristine green reserves and historic trails. If you’re not convinced as yet, read more about all that you can do during your London to Cotswolds tour and you will be packing your bags by the end of this article!
London to Cotswolds Day Trip Deconstructed
Warwick Castle, Shakespeare's England, Oxford & the Cotswolds Day Tour
Enjoy a bit of everything with this tour that begins with walking through the famed city of Oxford before driving through the Cotswolds, allowing you to delve into the birthplace of William Shakespeare before exploring the medieval Warwick Castle.
- Sit back and relax as you travel on air-conditioned, luxury coaches with free Wi-Fi and take in the stunning views outside.
- Disembark and walk through the famed city of Oxford.
- Drive through the beautiful English countryside that constitutes the Cotswolds.
- Visit the town where William Shakespeare was born - Stratford upon Avon
- Enter and discover Stratford-upon-Avon, where William Shakespeare was born.
- Enjoy the interactive yet educational visit to the historic Warwick castle.
Best Cotswolds Villages and Towns
When you think gorgeous idyllic English countrysides, it is likely you are picturing the Cotswolds. The Cotswolds region is a congregation of traditional and charming villages built on rolling hills in golden stone. Amongst the many villages, here's a handpicked curation of our favourite 5 Cotswolds villages that we think you should definitely include in your Cotswolds tour itinerary.
Also known as the "Venice of the Cotswolds”, this village is a great stretch to walk and explore. While you're here, try hitting up the Dragonfly Maze the Cotswold Perfumery, the Birdland and the Cotswold Motor Museum. If you're a foodie, there are many quaint tearooms, cafes and pubs around this village that are visit worthy.
Antique buffs can go wild in Burford because this pictursque town is teeming with all things vintage and collectors will never know what they stumble upon here.There is a traditional medieval bridge towering across River Windrush passing by this town and makes for an ideal photo op.
The Slaughter is divided into two halves - Upper and Lower Slaughter , both on either sides of River Eye. Lower Slaughter is speckled with honey coloured houses, a nice pub and an Old Mill. Upper Slaughter is less touristy than the Lower Slaughter and very much seems like a 'sainted village'.
Called "The Prettiest Village in England" and with good reason; this movie set like village smacks of ancient charm. With limestone cottages, floral hanging baskets and stone-tiled roofs and a weekly Saturday market, Castle Combe is a much sought after Cotswolds village. While you're here, make sure to visit the Town Bridge and click pictures galore against this godly backdrop.
This one's a small market town fabled for its elegant terraced High Street flanked on either sides with an unbroken sweep of old school British houses dating back to the 14th century. While you're in Chipping Campden, make sure to hit the Hidcote Manor Garden, Kiftsgate Court Gardens, Broadway Tower and St. James' Church.
Top things to do in Cotswolds
With countless postcard perfect villages, an array of manor houses, acres of clipped gardens by trickling water and myriad walking trails, seeing all that Cotswolds has to offer might take a good decade or so. Apart from strolling the painting perfect villages, here are a couple of things you could do while in Cotswolds.
Cotswolds Wildlife Park
Set in a sprawling setting of parkland and stunning gardens , the Cotswolds Wildlife Park is home to over 260 different animal species in 160 acres. Stroll on the wild side at this family friendly destination and witness giraffes, asiatic lions, lemurs, zebras, rhinos, penguins, crocodiles, meerkats amongst the many animals here.
Park lovers ought to hit this place as the Westonbirt Arboretum is a lovely place to wander both on and off the paths and trails. Lined with rhododendrons and azaleas, bluebells and wild garlic, this 600 acre land of reserves is all things calming. 2 popular trails here are the Old Arboretum and Silk Wood. Both are starkly different yet outworldly beautiful.
This is the first first full-scale distillery to be established in Cotswolds. Though it makes gin and other natural spirits artisanally, the Cotswolds Distillery focuses on distilling single malt whisky and is one of the only six distilleries still producing English whisky. This 4 acre distillery conducts daily tours and tastings, making it a well worth visit.
London To Cotswolds Day Trip - Transport Options
The public transport system in Cotswolds is patchy, hence relying on it to get around Cotswolds is a bad idea. Renting a car is your best option here. However, you can get to Cotswolds from London on a train or coach which can help cut costs.
London to Cotswolds by Train
Trains from Paddington, London to Cotswolds are available daily. Doing a Cotswolds day trip from London by train is a great idea as it is quick, economical and most importantly, the British railways are an impeccable experience in itself. If you plan to do a Cotswolds day trip from London by train, make sure you book your tickets in advance and research on which station you would like to get down at. Here's a list of train stations at Cotswolds - Cam and Dursley, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Kemble , Moreton-in-Marsh, Stonehouse, Stroud and Ashchurch . You can check the train timings and schedule here.
Duration : 1 hour 40 minutes
London to Cotswolds by Bus
From the Vistoria Coach Station in London, you can catch a bus to Cotswolds and get down at either Cheltenham, Gloucester or Stroud as per your plan. Though this is a slightly more expensive and longer option, the roads are scenic and making a road trip of it without the hassle of driving is well worth the money spent.
Duration : 2 hour 30 minutes
London to Cotswolds by Car
You can take the M4, M5 and M40 to get to Cotswolds from London. If you plan on taking pit stops in the middle, you should check out each route specifically. Though this is an expensive option, if you have plans of exploring all of Cotswolds in a short span of time, having a car handy is great as the public transit system in Cotswolds is not extensive.
Duration : 1 hour 30 minutes
London to Cotswolds Guided Tours
This is without doubt the most convinient option as you have everything taken care of and all you have to do in sit back, relax and consume the breathtaking beauty. Coach Tours to Cotswolds mostly comes in combo packages covering the nearby towns of Bath, Oxford, Stratford Upon Avon and more, hence if you are looking for a day trip that covers maximum British ground, coach tours to Cotswolds is highly recommended.
Duration of day tour : 8-10 hours
Tips for your London to Cotswolds Day Trip
- Not only will the rolling hills and wild meadows take you breath away, but so shall the food and drinks you gorge on here. While you’re here, make sure you dig into a Gloucester Old Spot pork some Stinking Bishop cheese,munch on a Hobbs House bread and try the Bibury trout. Their locally brewed ales and beers , single malts and gins don’t disappoint either.
- The pub culture here is traditional with a magical vibe. You will get to witness the whole course from roaring open fire, friendly pub dogs, and idyllic beer gardens in most pubs around here. Make sure to hop by one!
- Make sure you don your most comfortable pair of walking shoes during your trip as there is a lot of walking and it will sure make you weary by the end of the day.
- Though Cotswolds does not look like the hub of high-octane adrenaline sports, you’ll be shocked to know that it actually is. If you’re into mountain biking,wild swimming, water-skiing or wakeboarding, try your hands at it the English way.
Other Day Trips from London
London to Stonehenge
One of the most historically significant remnants of Britain’s yesteryears is the Stonehenge, an unassuming but awe-inspiring structure of stones arranged on a field 5,000 years ago. Situated about 115 miles from London in Salisbury, Stonehenge can easily be visited in a day, making it one of the most popular, if not the most, day excursion destinations from London. Constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC, Stonehenge consists of a ring of standing stones, each weighing around 25 tons and almost 15 feet high. Read more about the London to Stonehenge Day trip here.
London to Oxford
Situated 60 miles from London, Oxford is one of the easiest day trip that you can take from London. At Oxford; emphatic university buildings, utterly charming houses, museums and experiences such as punting on the River Thames (or The Isis in Oxford) and having a drink at a bar where J. R. R. Tolkien used to hang out await you. If you want to walk the hallowed halls of old university buildings, go cruising down the Thames, explore “haunted” buildings, check out the shoot locations for the Harry Potter movies or simply admire the architecture and sights of a medieval British town, then a day trip to Oxford from London is your best bet. Read more about the London to Oxford Day trip here.
London to Bath
Bath is one of the most sought after day trip from London due to its close proximity. That apart, Bath has a lot to see and do , just the right amount for a day making it easy to cover and hence an all time favourite. Unique experiences like the Jane Austen Center, Fashion Museum and the ever gorgeous Prior Park is sure to make your day trip from London to Bath memorable and well worth your while. You can read more about all that you can do in Bath during your day trip here.