The Most Picturesque Towns and Villages in Gloucestershire

Arlington Row Bibury
Arlington Row Bibury | © SaffronBlaze/WikiCommons
Sarah Dawson

With picture-perfect Cotswolds cottages, idyllic village greens, cosy tea rooms and traditional pubs, Gloucestershire is packed with Old English charm. Read our guide to the prettiest towns and villages to explore.


When it comes to chocolate box villages, you can’t beat Bibury. Once described by William Morris as ‘the most beautiful village in England’, it’s hard not to fall in love with this quintessential Cotswolds gem. Packed with character and charm, Bibury is an enduringly popular spot with sightseers keen to get a picture of Arlington Row. Overlooking a water meadow and the River Coln, this row of 14th-century weaver’s cottages is instantly recognisable as one of the most photographed streets in the country. Spend a lazy, sunny afternoon wandering around the village and along the river for a true Cotswolds experience.

Arlington Row Bibury


Abbey from the Ham Tewkesbury


With the calm waters of the River Windrush meandering under elegant, low bridges through the village, it’s easy to see why Bourton-on-the-Water has been fondly dubbed ‘the Venice of the Cotswolds’. The banks of the river are lined with traditional honey-coloured stone cottages, shops and tea rooms, where you can happily while away a day exploring what’s on offer. If you prefer, take a seat a bench overlooking the river and just kick back and watch the world go by.


The Slaughters

Just a short walk from Bouton-on-the-Water, the twin villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter are unspoilt Gloucestershire treasures. Their unusual names are actually derived from the old English for ‘muddy place’, but they are far from that today! Elegant and idyllic, both villages are steeped in history and have remained untouched architecturally since 1906 – so a trip here feels like a step back in time. Enjoy the slow pace of life and take a gentle stroll around the villages (don’t miss Copse Hill Road in Lower Slaughter, voted the most romantic street in England), the old flour mill and alongside the stream that connects the two.

Upper Slaughter


Sitting proud, high up in the Gloucestershire hills, this historic wool town close to Stroud is a visual delight. Known as ‘The Queen of the Cotswolds’, there’s a regal feel to this vibrant town, thanks to its captivating architecture in local honey-hued stone, which gives the town a golden glow. Take a visit to the stunning churchyard of St Mary’s, with its 99 ancient yew trees (legend has it that the Devil won’t let the 100th grow), and the Rococo Gardens at Painswick House, which are at their best in late winter and early spring, when a carpet of snowdrops covers the ground. Perched halfway along the Cotswold Way National Trail, Painswick is surrounded by a walker’s paradise, with scenery to match.

Towards Painswick


Unspoilt, peaceful and full of charm, Blockley is a picture-perfect village set among green rolling hills. Golden Cotswold stone cottages provide the backdrop to this beautiful, sleepy village, which still has plenty to offer holiday makers. Explore pretty Mill Dene Garden, before taking a seat by the mill pond, where you can enjoy a cream tea while trying to spot a kingfisher. Or head to the village green, which overlooks the Norman Church and makes the perfect spot for a summer picnic.

The Square Blockley

Chipping Campden

Once a prosperous medieval wool town, Chipping Campden is now a picturesque market town that is home to one of the prettiest high streets in England. The main street, which gently curves in a shallow arc, is lined with ancient limestone houses – each a masterpiece of Cotswolds craftsmanship and individual character. Surrounded by scenic countryside, Chipping Campden marks the start/finish point of the Cotswold Way, so has plenty to offer keen ramblers – not least a fantastic choice of cosy pubs to refuel or relax at the end of a good day’s walking.

Chipping Campden

Find places to stay with our partner,

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article