Quintessentially English, the Cotswolds are like a beautiful, old garden that spreads out over gentle, rolling hills. Quaint villages with stone cottages beside peaceful streams feel somewhat timeless, as though you had stepped back into the 1940s. Tours to the Cotswolds are easily done from London, and indeed there are many people who commute to London for work everyday from their pleasant homes far from the trappings of city life.
There are many Cotswold tour options available from London, and the range of choice can be off-putting. That is why we have filtered out the best in terms of itinerary, authenticity of experience and value for money, to present you with the best five.
FROM: £38/per person
Certainly the best value Cotswolds tour from London, this narrated coach tour first heads for the timeless town of Burford. There will be time to wander down the main street and peek into the side streets and excellent antiques shops. The tour then heads to Bourton on the Water, which hugs a gentle stream shadowed by weeping willows and crossed by stone bridges. There will be plenty of time to explore Bourton before the return journey to London.
From £88/ per person
Combine the beauty of the Cotswolds with a gourmet 2-course lunch during this full-day tour of the English countryside. Departing by coach from London Victoria, you’ll visit four of the Cotswolds’ most charming villages – Burford, Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Stow-on-the-Wold – passing rolling landscapes, dry stone walls, quaint churches, and streams that tumble past tiny villages and petty hamlets. Lunch will be enjoyed at the Swan Hotel, housed in a 17th-century former coach inn and overlooking the River Coln. After lunch, the tour will conclude with a guided tour walk through the town centre of Stow-on-the-Wold, before returning to London.
From £79/ per person
There is something about picturesque little English villages in rolling countryside and big stately homes that seems to sum up the country. Quite an alternative to London, this tour begins at Blenheim Palace, taking in the gardens of Capability Brown and the exquisite state rooms inside the mansion, before heading to Burford, Bourton on the Water and finally Stow on the Wold, providing plenty of time to explore each place.
From £78/ per person
Many people have heard of Downton Abbey, but few know that this fictional village is based on Bampton. First up however is Winston Churchill’s birthplace of Blenheim Palace, with audio guides providing insight into the history of the regal old building. Next, the trip heads to the Cotswold villages of Bibury and Bourton on the Water, before concluding with a stop in Bampton to see some of the familiar landmarks from Downton Abbey. These include spots like Isobel Crawley’s house and the church used in the series.
From £149/ per person
When one day is not sufficient, a slightly longer trip that also takes in some of the other remarkable sights of South West England is recommended. Not only does this tour from London take in the famous Cotswold landmarks, but it also dips into Celtic Britain at Avebury stone circles, relics of Roman and Georgian Britain at Bath, and one of the world’s major intellectual centres in Oxford, among other stops. A 3 star bed and breakfast stay is also included in the price.