Great Britain England Cotswolds Bilbury Burton Stow Slaugher Woodstock Burford Minster Lovell Oxford

Cotswolds Bilbury Burton Stow Slaugher Woodstock Burford Minster Lovell Oxford Great Britain England (6/5-7/2016)

Beautiful Cotwolds
Beautiful Cotwolds!
It was a pure joy to drive the beautiful rural English countryside of England’s Cotswolds in the early summer with canopy tree-covered roads, fields covered with flowers, and visiting picture-perfect villages steeped in history and bursting with beautiful centuries-old mansions built with honey-colored stone and historic churches.

Here are some of the Cotswolds villages and attractions we greatly enjoyed visiting:

Cotswolds Cottage Bilbury England Great Britain
Cotswolds Cottage - 
Bilbury, England

Arlington Row Bilbury Cotswolds England Great Britain
Arlington Row - 
Bilbury, Cotswolds England
Topping our Cotswold’s list is Bilbury with its cluster of beautiful riverside cottages – don’t miss it! When describing something as “post card perfect,” Bilbury comes to our mind. So picturesque and beautifully maintained, it is difficult to determine what is real and what is “post card.”

Bilbury Trout Farm Cotswolds England Great Britain
Bilbury Trout Farm
Cotswolds, England
Easily located with well-marked signs, Arlington Row (see photo) is what dreams are made of and deserving described as the most photographed street in Great Britain (we took scores of photos of it – one prettier than the next).

We stopped into Bilbury’s Swan Bar and Brasserie for lunch and a drink. Try to ignore the below average service because the setting and food is very nice. Also, try some ice cream at the Bilbury Trout Farm (see photo).

Burton on the Water Cotswolds England Great Britain
Burton on the Water - 
Cotswolds, England

Known as the Venice of the Cotswolds with the pretty River Windrush meandering through the center, Burton-on-the-Water was very nice to visit (see photo). Picturesque low walking bridges cross the river in many places. A fun attraction here is Birdland Park and Gardens for children and bird lovers. Another attraction is the Model Village, a perfect representation of the town. Both are within easy walking distance of the town center.

Bienheim Palace Woodstock Cotswolds England Great Britain
Bienheim Palace - Woodstock, 
Cotswolds England
Blenheim Palace

One of the best homes in England is Blenheim Palace (see photo) near the Cotswolds' village of Woodstock. It is absolutely fabulous! Blenheim Palace is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and is a beautifully preserved masterpiece of 18th-century Baroque architecture housing some the finest antique collections in Europe. 

Early Summer Walk Cotwolds Bilbury England Great Britain
Early Summer Walk 
in the Cotwolds - 
Bilbury, England
Interesting and informative tours of Blenheim Palace's gilded staterooms are included with your admission fee. The 35-minute “Untold Stories” tour is also interesting. Then take a walk the over 2,000 acres of wonderfully eye-pleasing landscaped parkland, the great lake, and beautiful formal gardens. You can take a small train out to the family-friendly Pleasure Gardens.

Pat Dunlap Old Swan Inn Minster Lovell Cotstwolds England
Pat Loves the Old Swan Inn
Minster Lovell, Cotstwolds England
Minster Lovell

We loved our visit to the Old Swan & Minster Mill Hotel in the Cotswolds village of Minster Lovell was magical (see photo). It is a luxury hotel so it is on the higher end of pricing but we believe you would enjoy staying here.


Huffkins Bakery Stow on the Wold Cotswolds England
Huffkins Bakery
Stow on the Wold, Cotswolds England
Stow-on-the-Wold is a cute Cotswolds' village with a pretty town center to explore, relax, or have a meal or drink. We enjoy having some ice cream sitting under the trees in the small park in the town center and just soaking in the atmosphere.

Home Upper Slaughter Cotswolds England Great Britain
Home in Upper Slaughter - 
Cotswolds, England
Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter

For some of the most beautiful homes and countryside (see photo) in the Cotswolds, we loved our drive to Upper Slaughter passing through Lower Slaughter.

Sudeley Castle

Sudeley Castle Winchcombe Cotswolds England Great Britain
Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe - 
Cotswolds, England
If you are visiting the eastern side of the Cotswolds, the Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe is an interesting place steeped in British history (see photo). Several English kings, including Henry VIII, stayed here. The displays and short movies are interesting to learn more about this period of English history and the gardens are fun to wander. Note: Blenheim Palace described above is far better if you have limited time.


High Street Burford England Great Britain
High Street - Burford, England
We stayed in the attractive village of Burford because of its central location in the Cotswolds making taking day trips around the area very enjoyable. When we returned from our day of exploration, we had many nice restaurants and pubs along High Street to have dinner (see photo). Little has changed in Burford since the 18th century and staying in one of its 15th century inns gave us a good travel experience and better understanding how hospitality was done centuries ago.

English Countryside Cotswolds England Great Britain
English Countryside - 
Cotswolds, England
Originally built in 1480, we stayed at Burford’s Highway Inn. It gave us a great experience of what a full service Cotswolds' Inn can be. The friendly staff was very helpful. The food and pub was atmospheric and very good. Dinner just down the street at the Golden Pleasant and the Spice Lounge was very good.


Harry Potter Christ Church College Oxford England Great Britain
Christ Church College - 
Oxford, England (Think Harry Potter)
From fans of great universities and Harry Potter films, a day-trip to Oxford while visiting the Cotswolds is easily done. Medieval Gothic churches and colleges dominate the Oxford’s architecture. Oxford has 38 colleges where students live, study, and eat at their specific college. We started our visit at Christ Church (think Harry Potter), one of the largest colleges in Oxford with about 645 students and founded in 1524 (see photo). It was fun to see the great hall featured in the Potter movies and the rest of the self-guided tour is interesting.
Great Hall Christ Church College Oxford England Great Britain Harry Potter
Great Hall at Christ Church College - 
Oxford, England

We then walked over to the Radcliff Camera building considered one the most famous in Oxford. We didn’t see what the fuss was all about. Located next door is Oxford’s main library (Bodleian Library) that can also be visited. 

Bill Clinton Sign Turf Tarvern Pub Oxford England Great Britain
Bill Clinton Sign 
at Turf Tarvern Pub
Oxford, England
We had fun across the street from Bodlein Library at the Turf Tavern Pub located down New College Lane. This is one of Oxford’s oldest pubs dating back 800 years ago. We loved the non-PC sign about Bill Clinton’s visit here (see photo). Museum fans will love Ashmolean Museum (free admission). Britain’s oldest museum and is second in reputation only to London’s British Museum.

Travel Tips... Parking in Oxford: Parking in the downtown area is very limited, so if you are visiting Oxford for the day, you should use one of several Park and Ride bus services located just outside of town.

Driving Cotswolds Countryside Road  England Great Britain
Driving Cotswolds Countryside Road
Important driving tip: Because many of the roads in England, especially in the Cotswolds, are smaller country roads with many confusing roundabouts, getting lost is not hard. In fact, it can be fun if you can get back on track. 

Here is a wonderful tip... Make sure you have GPS. The postal code in Great Britain typically has enough information to direct you to your hotel or destination. So, look up your Cotswolds postal codes for your hotels and destinations so you can enter them in as you go through your day of explorations. We used a centrally located church or hotel for the villages. Sometimes the GPS asks to confirm the street name and number, so also having an address helps. Also, often just putting in the town/village name will take you to the right direction and you can follow signs to the town center.

Map of Cotswolds England Great Britain
Map of Cotswolds
Some Cotswolds history: The villages in the Cotswolds boomed during medieval times because of the wool trade. The wonderful buildings you see today were built hundreds of years ago. Today about 80% is open fields and farmland with only about 160,000 people living in the smaller towns and villages.

Please see our other 12 travel blog posts on Great Britain:

York, England

Highclere Castle (Downton Abby), England

Stonehenge, England

Stratford-Upon-Avon, England (Birthplace of Shakespere)

England's Southern Coast Canterbury Rye Sandwich Salisbury, England

Hadrian's Wall, England

Beamish Museum, England

Chester, England

Magnificent Castle Howard, England

Alnwick Castle (Harry Potter), England   

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