With all the bridges that criss-cross the village, Bourton-on-the-Water has earned the nickname ‘little Venice’. The River Windrush plays a big part in local life – the village Christmas tree, for example, is on a floating island, and each summer the local football team play a game in the water; a tradition that’s lasted for over a hundred years. Here’s Culture Trip’s guide to the best hotels in Bourton-on-the-Water.
At only a hundred years old, The Old Manse Hotel is a baby by Cotswolds standards. Just one road over from the high street, this hotel sits right next to the river, giving guests a great view of the water, particularly from the beer garden. The fifteen guest rooms are pared back but comfortable – each has tea and coffee making facilities, as well as a hairdryer and TV and original features such as exposed beams. This is a great base from which to explore Bourton and enjoy a pint on a sunny day.
The Dial House Hotel has all the character and charm you’d expect from a Cotswolds establishment and the honey-hued stone to match. Dating back to the 17th century, the flagstone floors and enormous fireplaces make it a truly rustic retreat for the weekend. Each of the 14 guest rooms has its own style, keeping with the old country house theme that runs throughout the hotel. Whether you plan to walk along the river or want to relax in the on-site hot tub, the Dial House provides a peaceful pocket away from the busy high street. If you’re there between Wednesday and Saturday, book into the on-site Moonlight restaurant for a spot of beautiful French cuisine.
Set in a beautiful eight-acre garden, Lords of the Manor Hotel is one of the finest places to stay in both Bourton-on-the-Water and the Cotswolds. The hotel comes with its very own turret and the bedrooms are nothing short of cavernous – there’s enough space for two to enjoy the room without getting under each other’s feet. The afternoon tea here has been highly praised thanks to the chef’s Michelin-star credentials, so make sure to book yourself in. Even dogs – who are welcome at the hotel – will get an afternoon treat in the form of homemade biscuits and organic dog food. In colder weather, the lounge provides the perfect spot for some fire gazing and reading.
An elegant estate in the heart of Slaughter – a few minutes down the road from Bourton-on-the-Water – The Slaughters Country Inn has been a refuge for weary travellers for centuries. Though it retains much of its historic character, it now features a range of modern, luxury guest rooms. Opt for one of the Superior rooms and you’ll be rewarded with an open-plan space where you can watch TV from the bathtub with L’Occitane products. Staying true to its pub roots, the lounge downstairs serves locally sourced ales and dishes, set among a cluster of battered old books and weather-beaten armchairs. On summer evenings, you can take your meal outside to the courtyard, which overlooks the beautiful, untamed gardens.
Pick The Mousetrap Inn for your stay in Bourton-on-the-Water and you’ll be just a few minutes’ walk from the Cotswolds Motoring Museum and the glorious local Rose Tree or Croft restaurants. A simple inn featuring several twin and double en suite rooms, it has everything you need for a comfortable rest after a long day of exploring. Whether nestling next to the lounge fire with a drink or heading straight to bed, the uncomplicated charm of The Mousetrap Inn will stay with you forever.
The Lansdowne is a modern guesthouse just a few hundred metres from the heart of Bourton-on-the-Water, making it a perfect pit stop from which to explore the local area. Each of the guest rooms is kitted out with modern decoration and amenities in its own style – there’s a room with a four-poster bed, another with exposed brickwork and even one with a single bed for solo parties. It’s family-run, so the service is both friendly and personal – expect breakfast with a smile in the dining room each day.