Wondering what are the most Instagrammable places in Cotwolds and what are Cotswolds’ most photogenic villages? Look no further, in this post, you will find a guide to the most Instagrammable villages in Cotswolds!
If you’re new to this blog, hi, I’m Liza. I’m a Digital Marketer based in London who is obsessed with Instagtammable locations, history, photography and videography. I’ve covered a lot of Instagrammable locations around the UK, so feel free to check some of my other posts in this category (you’ll find Bristol, London, Manchester, York, Edinburgh and more).
Here’s what you can find in this post:
What is Cotswolds, and why is Cotswolds so beautiful?
If you’re wondering what exactly is Cotswolds, it’s an area of outstanding natural beauty or AONB. It’s a bit similar to a national park, but the key difference is that AONB has a lot of villages and protected historical buildings rather than nature spots and wildlife. Cotswolds is a really beautiful AONB because of its hilly landscapes and fairytale-like villages (Cotswolds used to be a wealthy region in the 13th-16th centuries due to the wool trade).
How many days should you spend in the Cotswolds?
Cotswolds is huge! Visiting all of Cotswolds in one day is impossible, however, if you only have one day, you can visit some of its main highlights. You can read more in my post about visiting Cotswolds in 1 day from London.
I recommend spending AT LEAST 2 days in Cotswolds or better 3 days if you combine Cotswolds with visiting Bath as well. If you want to check an alternative itinerary, you can check my post about my weekend road trip to Bath and Cotswolds.
If you want to visit some of the main highlights in Cotswolds, stay in Bath as well and visit beautiful Stratford-upon-Avon, I recommend spending 3-4 days in the Cotswolds.
How to get to Cotswolds?
Another question that gets asked a lot of times is how to get to Cotswolds? While most of the UK is quite easy to explore by train, I don’t recommend going to Cotswolds by train, because most of the villages don’t have train stations, so you will be limiting yourself. There are, of course, public buses in Cotswolds, but they don’t go very often.
So what are other options?
I recommend hiring a car (we always hire through Rentalcars.com) and driving to Cotswolds, but keep in mind that during busy periods, it’s tough to find parking in Cotswolds’ most charming and popular villages, so make sure to arrive there early. Some of the most challenging ones are definitely Bibury and Castle Combe.
If you’re okay going to Cotswolds for one day only, you can also buy a tour like this one, for example.
Where to stay in Cotswolds?
Before we start with the most beautiful villages in Cotswolds, I wanted to share with you some of the best places to stay in Cotswolds, if you decide to stay there overnight.
Keep in mind that many of the hotels get sold out very quickly, so try to book in advance.
Some of the best places to stay in Cotswolds include Barnsley House in beautiful Cirencester with a lot of amazing restaurants around. Aylworth Manor is a lovely village called Naunton and The Slaughters Manor House – a stunning manor in the heart of Cotswolds. Make sure to book them in advance, as these are some of the most sought-after hotels in Cotswolds!
We stayed at the Thames Head Inn, and it was a charming and cosy medieval inn. We initially thought that the Inn is located in the middle of nowhere, but as it turned out, there was a couple of fantastic walking routes starting right around this hotel, including the spot where the Thames river has originated.
Planning to visit Bath as well?
If you’re also planning to stay in Bath, we stayed at the affordable and lovely Z Hotel Bath located right in the heart of the city. Some other options to consider are The Gainsborough Hotel for the ultimate luxury, The Kennard for traditional architecture and interior design and Eight for stylish and sleek interiors.
Alright, I hope that I answered some of the frequently asked questions and we can start with the most Instagrammable villages and other spots in Cotswolds!
The most Instagrammable places in Cotswolds: villages, manors and more!
Castle Combe is Cotswolds’ most beautiful village. Located just 20 minutes away from Bath, this place is a must for everyone, who’s visiting Cotswolds. The main street of Castle Combe is easily the most photographed streets in Cotswolds AONB. The best part – it’s beautiful in any weather! We saw it when it was pouring, and it still looked stunning!
Another picture-perfect village in Cotswolds is Bibury. Bibury is located in the eastern part of Cotswolds, close to Cirencester. Bibury is a bit bigger than Castle Combe but equally has very few parking spaces, which is good, because it prevents overcrowding of Bibury. If you want a guaranteed parking space, come early! We arrived in Bibury at 9 am, and there were already not so many parking spots left.
However, Bibury is definitely one of the most photographed villages in England, so it’s definitely worth to visit it!
Another one of the most Instagrammable places in Cotswolds is the famous village called Lower Slaughter. It’s renowned for its idyllic landscapes, a mill and a lovely hike to another photogenic place of our list – the village called Upper Slaughter.
You can either drive to Upper Slaughter or walk there from Lower Slaughter. The walk shouldn’t take more than 25 minutes, and it’s very pleasurable – it passes through fields, goes along a small stream when finally bringing you to the gorgeous village of Upper Slaughter.
Another trendy spot in Cotswolds is a town called Bourton-on-the-Water. It’s located very close to the Slaughters, and we actually walked to the Slaughters from there, as Bourton-on-the-Water has the biggest car park out of all.
Bourton-on-the-Water is also the most commercial out of all the places we mentioned so far – it has an incredible amount of shops and cute cafes – hence, countless opportunities for pictures!
However, it’s always the busiest town in Cotswolds, so taking a beautiful photo might get problematic.
Stow-on-the-Wold is another one of the most Instagrammable villages in Cotswolds AONB. It’s famous for its tearoom in the heart of the village as well as this stunning door that looks like it came straight from a fairytale!
Broadway might as well be my favourite place in the entire Cotswolds. This village is different compared to Bibury or Stow-on-the-Wold. It has a wide commercial street in the middle, and all the village is basically aligned on this street. All the prettiest places are located on this street as well. In Broadway, I’ve seen some of the most impressive and stunning buildings in Cotswolds, and I definitely recommend visiting Broadway!
Chipping Campden is a medieval market town located in Cotswolds, quite close to Broadway, circa 10-15 minutes driving. It reminded me of Broadway with its shopping street (although not quite as wide and long as in Broadway). Chipping Campden’s Medieval Market Hall is just impressive as well!
Tetbury is another beautiful market town and one of the most photogenic villages in Cotswolds. The most Instagrammable street in Tetbury is called Chipping steps. Usually, it’s absolutely packed, but we were able to find it empty. If you’re wondering how to find Chipping steps in Tetbury, just head to the main car park and walk through the top right corner – you’ll see Chipping steps.
We spent circa 20 minutes trying to find Chipping Steps and desperately googling “Where to find Chipping Steps in Tetbury”, as they are not on Google maps, hence, I’m just trying to save you a bit of time. Nonetheless, please do walk around the lovely town centre of Tetbury, as it’s a very lovely and cheerful place.
Naunton is another lovely village. Unlike other places, it doesn’t have that many things to do, and its nicest spot is the Dove Cottage. Naunton is not a very touristic place, and there isn’t even a visitor parking, so it might be challenging to park there at times.
Cirencester is one of the biggest towns in Costwolds. In 2017, we actually started discovering Costwolds from Cirencester, and we couldn’t have wished for a better place to start our trip!
Beautiful walks all over Cotswolds
Cotswolds is a wonderful destination for day walks. In fact, many people book holidays in Cotswolds just to walk around and enjoy the green and peaceful scenery. There are stunning walks everywhere around Cotswolds. We, for example, walked a circular walk from Bourton-on-the-Water to the Slaughters and saw places like these on our way.
If you want to read more about the best walks and hikes in Cotswolds, you can find them here.
One place on this list that I haven’t visited yet is Westonbirt Arboretum. It’s exceptionally beautiful in Autumn (because of the autumn leaves) and in Spring because everything is blooming, so I’m keeping this place for the end of October.
Summary of the most Instagrammable places in Cotswolds – most charming Cotswolds villages and more
Alright, I hope you enjoyed this post and now added some of these fantastic Instagrammable places in Cotswolds to your list. Cotswolds is really full of charming villages, stunning manors and beautiful nature spots. You can easily spend more than a week in Cotswolds, and there will be still so many places to explore. Hence, I want to update this post every time we visit some new spots in Cotswolds, so stay tuned!
If you liked this post, here are some other posts you might find useful:
Our 1-day trip to Cotswolds from London (how to see Cotswolds in 1 day)
Weekend road trip to Bath & Cotswolds from London
Most Instagrammable places in Bath
Best things to do in Bristol
Most Instagrammable places in Bristol
Most Instagrammable Locations in England