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Ultimate Guide to the Cotswolds: Best Hotels and Restaurants [2024]

Embrace tranquility in the Cotswolds, surround yourself with rolling hills and charming villages. Whether hiking, cycling, or simply relaxing, this English retreat offers a escape from the bustling city life.

Ultimate Guide to the Cotswolds: Best Hotels and Restaurants [2024]
The Ultimate Guide to the Cotswolds

Table of Contents

When the bustling streets of London become overwhelming and all you need is a few days surrounded by captivating landscapes, nature and tranquillity, head to the Cotswolds. Grab your weekend bag and embark on a journey through the heart of England. To make your life easier, we have put together a guide with suggestions on how to get there, where to stay, where to eat and what to do. Organizing your countryside weekend couldn’t be easier.

A Quick Cotswolds Overview

The Cotswold is located in the heart of England and it is a quintessential English getaway. The combination of rolling hills, picturesque villages, and timeless charm makes this the perfect place to escape reality for a few days.

This area which is considered an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty stretches across five counties: Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, and Worcestershire.

Well known for the distinctive golden limestone, the Cotswolds have elegance and charm, whether in the grandeur of stately homes or the simplicity of country lanes bordered by crafted dry-stone walls. Explore villages like Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Stow-on-the-Wold and take in their natural beauty and culture.

How To Get There: The best way to get to the Cotswolds

Your journey to the Cotswolds will be as charming as the region itself, with transport options to suit every visitor. The most convenient and scenic route is by train, with direct services departing from stations all over the UK to some of the main Cotswold towns like Moreton-in-Marsh and Cheltenham Spa.

For those who prefer schedule flexibility, driving to the Cotswolds will allow you to get there and explore at your pace. Choose a good playlist and enjoy the 2 and a half road trip. For those flying to The United Kingdom, there are transfers available in assuring that travellers can easily get there.

Where To Stay: The Best Hotels in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds have plenty of offer of beautiful and unique hotels to cater to the need of every visitor. From luxurious hotels and private members clubs open to hotel bookings, to smaller cozy inns, you'll be sure to find your new favourite spot here.

Whatley Manor
Whatley Manor

1: Whatley Manor

In the heart of the Cotswolds, Whatley Manor emerges as a refined retreat, exuding timeless elegance. Located in Easton Grey near Malmesbury, this hotel, under the ownership of former event rider Christian Landolt since 2003, features 26 gardens across 12 acres.

Home to two exceptional restaurants, Greys Brasserie and the Michelin-starred The Dining Room, helmed by executive head chef Ricki Weston, the meticulously restored manor seamlessly combines historic character with contemporary comforts. With 10 bedrooms, a billiard room, and an outdoor pool, Whatley Manor promises a lavish yet understated escape. Its culinary excellence, charming ambiance, and enchanting surroundings make it a quintessential symbol of sophistication in the heart of the Cotswolds.

The Swan Hotel
The Swan Hotel

2: The Swan Hotel

Located in the gorgeous village of Bibury, The Swan Hotel stands as a historic place, offering a charming retreat for those seeking a calm getaway. Located near Arlington Row, the hotel has a prime location, giving easy access to Bibury's renowned attractions.

This hotel has been a part of Bibury's landscape for years, and its timeless and classical architecture reflects the character of the village. The hotel has comfortable rooms, inviting guests to recharge batteries and enjoy the tranquility of Cotswold life. The Swan Hotel is the ideal place to stay if you want to explore Bibury and the surrounding countryside.

Painswick Hotel
Painswick Hotel

3: Double Red Duke

This stunning 16th-century Hotel is absolutely taking Tiktok by storm. Set to be the spot of the 2024 Summer, this stone country house hotel has a beautiful garden which is a must-see (and eat at!). You can view more details out the hotel here.

4: Estelle Manor

Estelle Manor

Estelle Manor, located in Oxfordshire at the edge of the Cotswolds, is a luxurious hotel and private members' club set in a Grade-II listed landmark house. It spans a 60-acre estate amidst over 3,000 acres of stunning parkland and gardens, offering guests a blend of traditional elegance and modern amenities.

The manor features a variety of accommodations, including 108 rooms with vintage furnishings and 20th-century pieces, suites showcasing opulent original features, and private houses suitable for groups or families.

Estelle Manor in Oxfordshire - Galavante (Travel & Lifestyle Web

Dining options at Estelle Manor are diverse, with four restaurants including a lively Brasserie, a traditional Chinese restaurant in The Billiards Room, and The Glasshouse, set within a walled garden for a shared dining experience focused on wood-fired dishes​​. For relaxation and indulgence, the estate offers the Roman-inspired Eynsham Baths, a spa covering 3,000 square meters with a tepidarium bathing hall, five pools, and a lounge, designed to be a serene space for unwinding​​.

There are plenty of activities and amenities here, featuring a state-of-the-art gym with 37 classes a week, a kids’ club, private dining rooms for special occasions, and a retail space offering a taste of the manor experience to take home​​.

5: Painswick Hotel

In the vibrant village of Painswick, the Painswick Hotel will make you feel at home. This establishment stands as a testament to the unique character of Painswick, providing guests with an immersive experience in the Cotswolds. Known for their exceptional staff you can expect a memorable stay.

The rooms are stylish and comfortable and equipped with everything you might need. With beautiful surroundings you can explore local restaurants or go for long walks with a beautiful view. Enjoy a cozy meal in the hotel and spend your night relaxing and enjoying the quietude of this place.

The Manor House

5: The Manor House

This is one of the most popular hotels in the region and there is a reason why. This 14th-century retreat is located in the village of Castle Combe in Wiltshire and it looks like it was taken from a fairy tale book. The stunning Italian gardens, the lounges and the fireplaces will have you transported to a different universe.

The Manor House

There is a Michelin-starred restaurant- Bybrook that promises to be a highlight of you stay. If golf sounds like a good plan then you will love to know that The Manor House has a breath-taking 18-hole championship golf course. This is a pet friendly hotel so your paw companion can come with you!

Barnsley House

6: Barnsley House

This hotel, located 20 minutes away from Kemble station is the perfect place to stay if you are in the mood to stay in your hotel the whole weekend. With a private cinema, spa, a restaurant that uses local produce and even a pub we can’t blame you if you never want to leave.

Barnsley House

The rooms and suites are tastefully decorated and offer views of the gardens crafted by Rosemary Verey which are the center of this hotel inspiring everything from the freshly-picked ingredients on the menu at the Potager to the cut flowers used to decorate the hotel, to the hand-tied bundles of lavender in the spa.

7: Soho Farmhouse

Soho Farmhouse is a luxurious retreat set in the beautiful countryside, offering a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The crown jewl of the Soho House empire - it's the ultimate getaway just an hour or so from London.

It features cozy cabins, cottages, and unique rooms, all designed with comfort and style in mind. Guests can enjoy a variety of activities, including horseback riding, swimming in outdoor pools, and relaxing in the spa.

The Pool, Spa and Sushi Restaurant at Soho Farmhouse

With its stunning surroundings and top-notch amenities, Soho Farmhouse provides a special experience that makes it a dream destination for those looking for a pampered getaway.

Where To Eat: Top Picks

The Potting Shed, Crudwell
The Potting Shed, Crudwell

The Potting Shed, Crudwell

The Potting Shed offers a unique experience of flavors using locally sourced ingredients that take center stage in your meal. The rustic charm of The Potting Shed creates a warm and inviting atmosphere making you feel like you are having dinner at you grandma’s house. From garden to plate, the restaurant's commitment to fresh, seasonal produce is present in every dish. Perfect for a fun meal with friends or a romantic dinner, The Potting Shed in Crudwell promises an authentic and memorable dining experience.

The Chequers, Churchill
The Chequers, Churchill

The Chequers, Churchill

This gastro pub with beautiful floors and wood details is unpretentious and simple promising you a great meal and maybe a round of darts and a round of beers. Try their signature twice-baked cheddar soufflé, bobby battered market fish and steaks cooked perfectly in Josper ovens. Great to come with friends to enjoy the laid back vibe of the pub.

Grill and Tavern at The Lygon Arms, Broadway

Chef James Martin's partnership with the 650-year-old Lygon Arms brings two restaurants—Grill and Tavern—each offering traditional dishes in an cozy, welcoming ambiance. Perfect for a date night with it's dim lights and sophisticated decor.

The Wild Rabbit, Kingham
The Wild Rabbit, Kingham

The Wild Rabbit, Kingham

Located in Kingham, known for events like Alex James's Big Feastival and Lady Carole Bamford’s pioneering Daylesford farm shop, this pub/inn is owned by Lady Bamford. With a Josper grill for meat sourced from her Wootton Lodge and a dedicated market garden, head chef Sam Bowser uses only the best ingredients.

What to do

When you escape to the countryside you get to choose how to relax and spend your days depending on your preferences. If you want to stay active we recommend a hike or a bicycle ride around the cute villages.

For those who want a full-on zen getaway there are plenty of spas with amazing treatments. Soho Farmhouse and Estelle Manor are a must for this.

If you will be visiting with children you can spend a day at a farm. The kids will get to see the animals, meet farmers and experience life in a farm for the day. We absolutely love diddly squat farm, Jeremy Clarkson Farm.


From a romantic weekend, a solo getaway or a family holiday the Cotswolds are the perfect escape from the busy city life. Enjoy the nature, outstanding hospitality at some of the best boutique hotels and meals prepared using locally sourced ingredients by renowned chefs. A weekend in the Cotswolds will be an unforgettable experience and you will make memories that will stay with you forever.

Top Villages to visit

  • Bibury: Explore the charm of Bibury, known for Arlington Row's historic cottages and picturesque landscapes.
  • Bourton-on-the-Water: Visit the "Venice of the Cotswolds" with its idyllic riverside setting and charming stone bridges.
  • Stow-on-the-Wold: Discover this historic market town, perched on a hilltop and surrounded by stunning countryside.
  • Lower Slaughter: Experience the Cotswold mystery in this tranquil village, as described by J.B. Priestley.
  • Chipping Campden: Admire the impressive historic wool church of St James in this market town at the northern tip of the Cotswolds.
  • Painswick: Explore the vibrant village of Painswick, known for its exceptional character and unique Cotswold experience.
  • Kingham: Immerse yourself in the cultural events of Kingham, home to Alex James's Big Feastival and Lady Carole Bamford’s Daylesford farm shop.
  • Castle Combe: Step into a fairy tale at Castle Combe, a 14th-century retreat surrounded by stunning Italian gardens.
  • Ampney Crucis: Visit this peaceful village near Cirencester, home to the Wild Thyme & Honey boutique country inn.
  • Oddington: Experience the refurbished Fox at Oddington, a pub with rooms near Daylesford Organic farm shop and Bamford Wellness spa.


Frequently Asked Questions about the Cotswolds:

What defines the Cotswolds?

The Cotswolds, located in central England, is renowned for its rolling hills, charming villages, and golden limestone architecture.

How do I get to the Cotswolds?

Accessible by train, car, or air, the Cotswolds is well-connected. Train services run to major towns, and driving provides flexibility. The nearest airports are Birmingham and Bristol.

When is the best time to visit?

Spring and summer (May to September) offer pleasant weather, blooming landscapes, and outdoor activities. Autumn (September to November) showcases vibrant foliage.

Which villages are must-visit?

Iconic villages include Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold, and Castle Combe. Each offers unique charm and attractions.

Are there hiking trails?

Yes, the Cotswold Way is a popular 102-mile walking trail, providing stunning views of the countryside. Numerous footpaths offer shorter walks.

What are the local delicacies?

Try Cotswold cheeses, cream teas, and locally brewed ales. Many pubs and restaurants feature dishes made with fresh, regional ingredients.

Can I explore the Cotswolds in a day?

While a day allows for a glimpse, spending a weekend or longer is ideal to fully appreciate the beauty and culture of the region.

Are there guided tours available?

Yes, various companies offer guided tours, walking tours, and day trips, providing insights into the history and highlights of the Cotswolds.

Is it pet-friendly?

Many accommodations, pubs, and walking paths are pet-friendly. Check with specific places beforehand.

Do I need a car to explore?

While not essential, having a car offers flexibility to explore off-the-beaten-path villages. Train and bus services connect major towns for those without a car.

Hugo Cannon profile image Hugo Cannon
Hugo Cannon BSc is the founder & CEO of Velloy on a mission to build the #1 private travel club worldwide. He writes across travel, dining, product reviews & general lifestyle categories.