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11 Best Cotswolds Tour from London Options and Top Tips

The Cotswolds is a stunning region only 100 miles from London. It covers palaces, oh so cute honey-coloured stone houses, market towns, green hedges, winding roads and is essentially the England of Hollywood movies.

Indeed many films and tv shows have been shot in the Cotswolds – including Downton Abbey. The close proximity makes it super easy to take a Cotswolds Tour from London.

A Cotswolds day tour from London is the most common type but I do encourage you to also consider spending the night in this beautiful area to allow for more exploration.

Here is my complete guide on Cotswolds Tours from London.

Book Your Cotswolds Tour from London Here

Stow on the Wold

Cotswolds Tour from London – What are the Options?

The Cotswolds covers a big area – almost 800 square miles. The single largest town in the Cotswolds is Cirencester. However, the key things to visit in the Cotswolds are its charming villages.

There are market towns such as Cirencester, Tetbury, Stroud and Tewkesbury. The cutest towns are Stow on the Wold, Upper Slaughter, Lower Slaughter, Bourton on the Water, Chipping Norton and Chipping Campden. 

In the Cotswolds Hills, the two main towns are Painswick and Snowshill. Most of the tours of the Cotswolds from London visit some of these cute towns.

They also tend to include several options for stops along the way in Oxford, Stratford Upon Avon, Warwick Castle and Blenheim Palace.

If you’re a Downton Abbey fan there are also Cotswold tours that focus on where the exteriors were shot for the series.

The other option is a Bath and Cotswolds Tour from London which also includes Stonehenge.

Lovely Cotswolds Bridge

Day Trip to Cotswolds from London Options

  1. To see the maximum number of towns on a London to Cotswolds day tour check out the Lunch in the Cotswolds Tour. This London to Cotswolds day tour includes visits to four picture-perfect Cotswolds villages – Burford, Bibury, Bourton-on-the-water and Stow-on-the-Wold.

This is the tour to take if you would like to see as much of the Cotswolds as is possible. It also includes a 2-course lunch in a Cotswolds village.

Logistics: The tour meets at 815am at Victoria Coach Station. It is a full day trip.

2. Visit two of the most charming towns in the Cotswolds – Burford and Bourton-on-the-water in this Cotswolds Day Trip from London.

As this London to Cotswolds tour only has two stops you will have a lot more time to explore each of the towns and visit some of the key sites in the area like the Tolsey museum or the DragonFly Maze.

Logistics: Pick up point to be set at a later date – normally a 730am start and a 630pm return.

Chalkboard butchers sign outside typical honey coloured cotswolds building
You’ll be very tempted to visit the local butcher’s shops in the Cotswolds!

3. If you’re looking to cover the maximum number of sights in this region in your London Cotswolds tour, try this Day Trip from London which includes Warwick Castle, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Oxford. Following this, the coach will drive through the Cotswolds.

Logistics: The tour starts around 830am at Victoria Coach Station and runs for 10 hours. Check the website – this tour to Cotswolds from London runs on different days depending on the time of year.

4. Did you love Downton Abbey? I did! The village that appeared in the series is actually in the Cotswolds (the main home, Highclere Castle, is south of the Cotswolds). 

This Downton Abbey Village and Cotswolds Tour include the town of Bampton (where Downton was filmed), Blenheim Palace, Bibury, and Bourton-on-the-water.

Logistics: The tour begins at Victoria Coach Station at 9 am and returns to the same spot by 7 pm. The tour runs between May and September.

Bampton Library - building used as exterior for the Downton Abbey Hospital
Exterior used for the Downton Abbey Hospital

Cotswolds Plus more Day Trips from London

5. The London to Stonehenge day trip takes in Stonehenge, the lovely town of Bath and the Cotswolds village of Lacock. The tour also drives through the Cotswolds.

6. Combine the Cotswolds with the stunning Blenheim Palace in this Downton Abbey Village Blenheim Palace and the Cotswolds Tour 1 Day

Blenheim Palace is best known as the birthplace of Winston Churchill. It is the only non-royal Palace in the UK and well worth a visit.

Map of the Downton Mile in the cotswolds
Map of the Downton Mile in the cotswolds

7. Visit Shakespeare’s Stratford and the Cotswolds with a free lunch on this Shakespeare’s Stratford and Cotswolds Tour. Pick up point is the Golden Tours office at Victoria Station at 8 am.

8. Visit Stratford plus Bibury and Bourton-on-the-Water on this Cotswolds and Shakespeare tour. This tour also departs at 8 am from the Golden Tours office at Victoria Station.

9. Or set your own schedule with this Private Tour of Oxford and the Cotswolds.

Sign for the building used as the Downton Abbey Hospital
Opening times for the building which served as the Downton Abbey hospital

Cotswolds Day Tours from Oxford

10. This Cotswolds Villages Small Group Tour from Oxford includes visits to Great Tew, Stow-on-the-Wold, Lower Slaughter, Bourton-on-the-Water, Burford and Minster Lovell.

Logistics: Pick up at 10 am from the Visitor Information Centre on Broad Street. Return for 5 pm.

11. The Cotswolds Adventurer Tour includes Bampton (used for the village in Downton Abbey), Kelmscott, Lechlade, Bibury, Northleach, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold and Blenheim Palace.

Logistics: 930am pick up from the Visitor Information Centre on Broad Street

View over the Cotswolds from a hill top
Is this the best day trip from London? A view over the beautiful Cotswolds

FAQs about Tours from London to Cotswolds:

Which Cotswolds Villages to visit?

The two main towns in the Cotswolds Hills are Painswick and Snowshill. There are market towns such as Cirencester, Tetbury, Stroud and Tewkesbury.

The cutest towns are Stow on the Wold, Upper Slaughter, Lower Slaughter, Bourton on the Water, Chipping Norton and Chipping Campden. All tours of Cotswolds from London will list which towns they visit.

A typical Cotswolds honey building against a bright blue sky.
The quintessential Cotswolds honey stone building

How far is Oxford from the Cotswolds?

Oxford is about 33 miles from the Cotswolds or a one hour drive in decent traffic.

Where are the Cotswolds located?

The Cotswolds is in South Central England – west of London. The area is 40km across and 140km long.

What is the main town in the Cotswolds?

The main town is Cirencester.

The Downton Abbey Church
The church from Downton Abbey

Which town/village is best in the Cotswolds for a weekend away?

If you are looking for a weekend away in the Cotswolds I would highly recommend staying at the lovely Bruern Cottages near Kingham. This area is a fantastic base for visiting the towns of the Cotswolds such as Stow-on-the-Wold, Burford and Chipping Norton.

The cottages are literally in the middle of the Cotswolds so there is easy access to all the key towns.

Entrance to Bruern Cottages
Bruern Cottages

Michael Paul Holidays is a Bristol-based online holiday property agency. They have a fantastic range of four and five stars rated self-catering accommodation that includes cottages, lodges, and log cabins.

Their phone operators have stayed at or have great knowledge of all their accommodation – this is great for getting advice.

Every property they have listed has been personally visited so you can be confident that all their properties are of high quality.

exterior of Bruern Cottages
Bruern Cottages

Bruern Cottages

Bruern Stables were built in 1882 to accommodate the needs of Bruern Abbey, which is across the road. In 1947 the entire estate was purchased by Michael Astor and his wife Nancy.

The process of turning the stables into 12 luxury self-catering cottages began in 1993. Unlike many luxury cottage rentals, it is possible to stay at Bruern Cottages for just 2 nights or more.

The majority of cottages require a one-week minimum stay – this makes Bruern perfect for a weekend away.

Living room at Sandown Cottage - one of the Bruern Cottages
The living room at Sandown Cottage

The Stables

The converted stables at Bruern Cottages are beautiful. The exterior features the beautiful honeyed stone look of the Cotswolds.

Once inside each cottage is uniquely furnished in a boutique luxury style that feels incredibly comfortable. Farrow and Ball have provided most of the paint and the fabrics of many well known British designers are used.

Most of the antiques and furniture have been locally sourced. If you enjoy antiques do ask the owners for their local list of hot spots.

Fireplace at Bruern Cottages
Fireplace at Bruern Cottages

I was delighted to find one of my favourite brands, Elemis, in the bathrooms. Plus towels, robes etc all supplied by another favourite The White Company.

Aintree and Sandown Cottages

A group of 6 of us stayed across Aintree and Sandown Cottages. The cottages are literally attached to each other which makes it super easy to have your own space as well as spending time with friends.

Both cottages have large kitchens. Sandown has a large open area for the kitchen and living room areas.

Double Bedroom at Aintree Cottage
Double Bedroom at Aintree Cottage

Upstairs at Aintree are beautifully furnished bedrooms – a large master double and then two twins with bathrooms. Sandown has a double bedroom and ensuite on the ground floor and twin room upstairs.

Without question, my favourite part of both cottages was the living areas. Bruern Cottages have done a wonderful job making these living areas so comfortable yet stylish.

Once you sit down it is hard to imagine leaving. I simply craved poor weather so I could justify sitting on the couch and popping on the tv (which comes with full Sky to keep everyone happy).

Twin room at Sandown Cottage
Twin room at Sandown Cottage
Double Bedroom at Sandown Cottage
Double Bedroom at Sandown Cottage

Eating at Bruern Cottages

The cottages are self-catering but Bruern knows that often when you arrive at a cottage you haven’t had time to get to a store. They provide a fantastic welcome pack that is stocked with local products.

Salted butter, fresh eggs, cheese, local bacon and sausages, cake and even bubbles (or wine. It was such a wonderful package to receive on arrival.

food and drinks on a wooden table in Bruern cottage - welcome pack
What a great welcome pack at Bruern!

Bruern Facilities

Bruern caters for literally everyone. I can imagine a romantic weekend here with a partner as much as I can imagine a multi-generational family. The cottages themselves have full wifi, sky etc for teenagers.

The outdoor areas are perfect for younger kids and running around. There is an entire play area kitted out with toys outside the fantastic spa and gym area.

Sign to the Spa at Bruern Cottages
Sign to the Spa!

The indoor pool is heated so it is ready to be used no matter what the weather. For warmer days there is a lovely outdoor area with sun loungers.

The spa area also has treatment rooms and Bruern Cottages can organise massages, facials etc if booked in advance. And the gym has the latest equipment.

The pool at Bruern Cottages
Gym at Bruern Cottages
The gym at Bruern Cottages

No wonder Bruern Cottages is so often full of repeat customers. [separator type=”thick”]

⇒ Planning a trip to England or Wales? Don’t miss my posts on the 40 Top English Landmarks, The Crown Filming Locations, Most Beautiful Castles in Cornwall and Boutique Hotels in Cornwall, Boutique Hotels in Kent, Where to Stay in the Cotswolds, 61 Magnificent Landmarks of the UK, Places to Visit in South Wales, Fun Things to do in Cardiff, Luxury Hotels in Yorkshire, Spa Hotels in the South West, Day trip to Brighton, Things to do in Exmouth, Cafes in Exeter, Pubs with Rooms in the New Forest, Ockenden Manor Spa and the Best Things to do in Winchester.

Living Room at Aintree Cottage
Living Room at Aintree Cottage

Something Special:

For the ultimate in the English countryside don’t miss a visit to Daylesford Organic. This luxury farm has an amazing shop filled with food and home design items.

There is a restaurant, a spa, places to stay, a cooking school and so much more. It is a stunning place to visit.

Looking for some more great ideas for a weekend away from London? Check out this post on Weekend Getaways in Europe.

Pumpkin and squash at <a class=
daylesford Organic” width=”470″ height=”700″> Pumpkin and squash at Daylesford Organic

Great Deals if you are making your own way to the Cotswolds from London

If you have made your own way to the Cotswolds book your ticket for Blenheim Palace Tickets here in advance to save time.

If you are planning Warwick Castle then buy your  Warwick castle tickets now to save money and time. And check out this Oxford Castle Unlocked guided tour.

There are some fantastic UK City and Sightseeing passes which offer free entry to all must-see attractions & great deals.

How do I get to the Cotswolds?

If you’re coming from outside the UK then London is the best place to fly into for the Cotswolds. Option one is to stay in London and then take one of the Cotswolds day tour from London options above.

Option two is taking a Cotswolds day trip from London by train. Paddington is the key station for trains to the Cotswolds – some great value options for UK rail passes are listed below.

Typical Cotswolds cottage at twilight
A gorgeous Cotswolds Cottage

Option three is hiring a car and driving yourself to the Cotswolds. Heathrow is a great place to pick up a hire car for the Cotswolds. Heathrow is the closest airport to the Cotswolds.

Also, picking up the car at Heathrow means you will avoid central London traffic which is always a good idea.

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The train from Paddington to the Cotswolds

Getting to London and Getting Around:

Flights to London

When in London the tube and buses are absolutely the best way to get around town quickly and cheaply. The best way to pay for this is to get a London visitor oyster card– which you can order before you leave home.

The backyard/outside area of Sandown Cottage at Bruern Cottages
The backyard/outside area of Sandown Cottage

Best Ways to get from the Airport into London

London has several airports. It can be confusing and expensive to get from each of the airports into central London. And the last thing you need after a flight. It is much easier to organize tickets before you fly.

Heathrow is the most common airport for international flights. The fastest way to get from Heathrow into Central London is the Heathrow Express.

This train only takes 15 minutes to get from Heathrow to Paddington Station and runs 4 times an hour. The Heathrow Express is much faster than a cab or any other option.

Save £5 per standard ticket on Heathrow express tickets 

Honey stone cotswolds cottage with lilac window frame and trees

There is also a bus or coach option which drops passengers at Victoria Station. This is a cheap option but you will have to deal with London traffic! If you are taking this option during peak hour it could take up to 2 hours each way.

⇒ Book your national express Heathrow airport coach transfer 

The lowest cost way to get from Heathrow to central London is the tube. The tube is actually one of the fastest options as well – and will get you the closest to your final destination.

Avoid the Queue – Book Your Heathrow airport to London tube

trees and grass along the Cotswolds Way
Greenery along the Cotswolds Way

Gatwick Airport is south of London and can be quite the distance in a car. The Gatwick Express is the fastest option into London and runs directly from Gatwick to Victoria Station.

Book Here and Save £5 per standard ticket on your Gatwick express eticket

building with flowers in Lower Slaughter
Lower Slaughter in the Cotswolds

If you don’t need the express option there is a slightly slower-moving train that has several more options in terms of stops including Clapham Junction, Kings Cross St Pancras, and London Bridge.

The third option is the national express Gatwick airport coach transfer. This is the least expensive option but it can take some time with London traffic. There is one departure an hour and the average journey time is 90 minutes.

Bare tree along the Cotswolds Way
Bare tree along the Cotswolds Way

Boutique Hotels in Londons

Artist Residence is located in Pimlico which is fabulously central. It is in a gorgeous 5 store regency building and has a cute bar.

Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

Bridges and lake in Bourton on the water
Bourton on the Water

The Portobello Hotel is located in one of London’s best known and cutest neighbourhoods Notting Hill. This is also the hotel where Kate Moss and Johnny Depp filled up the bath with champagne. The hotel is located on a quiet street but is a great location.

Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now [separator type=”thick”]

⇒ Heading to London? Check out my posts on 13 Unusual Experiences in London, the best London Food Tours, my virtual London Travel Blog, some great Earlsfield restaurants, 14 Things to do in Notting Hill, restaurants near Clapham Junction and Victoria Station restaurants, 16 Famous Landmarks in Europe, a mad hatter afternoon tea party and a day trip to Brighton, 67 Fascinating Facts about London, 18 Landmarks of London from a local, 15 Places to see Sunsets in London, 9 Places to watch the Sunrise in London, 10 Bridges in London Not to Miss and Cotswolds tour from London options.

grass and lake with blue sky in the Cotswolds
The beautiful Cotswolds

The Great Northern Hotel is ridiculously close to Kings Cross and St Pancras stations which is incredibly convenient. The hotel dates back to 1854 but has had a major refurb so it feels fresh and modern.

Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

The Hoxton hotel is in the heart of East London in Shoreditch and a perfect base for exploration. The rooms aren’t huge but the location makes up for it – as does the great value for London with rooms starting at £99 a night.

Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

Painswick Cathedral
Painswick Cathedral

Great Deals for those visiting London from outside the UK

Visit Great Britain has some fantastic offers that are just for those who live outside the UK. It is possible to make significant savings if you book certain things before you travel – not to mention how much easier it is to already have tickets for things when you arrive.

If you have just moved to the UK you can buy these passes in your first six months of residency.

old fashioned street light with cotswolds greenery behind
The streets of Painswick

There are a number of Brit Rail passes available. The BritRail London Plus Pass is the best option if you are planning to base yourself in London and take a few day trips. The Britrail England pass covers all of England including getting to and from the airport.

If you are planning on travelling around the south-west of England then BritRail South West Pass is the best option. Finally, if you’re planning on travelling around England and Scotland then the best option is to buy the BritRail GB Pass.

sign post for the Cotswold Way
Yew Trees in Painswick
Yew Trees in Painswick

British Rail Passes for Overseas Visitors

Rail is a brilliant way to get around Scotland. The BritRail Central Scotland Pass covers the key central cities in Scotland – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Fife Station. If you’re planning on exploring the Highlands and the islands of Scotland then a better option is the BritRail Scottish Freedom Pass.

Bampton Green town green
Bampton Green

If you prefer travelling via a bus to train then check out the skimmer pass national express coach. National Express travels to over 1000 locations and has free wifi, USB and power sockets, onboard entertainment, air conditioning and reclining leather seats.

bruern cottages exterior
Bruern Cottages
stow on the wold buildings with pale blue doors
Stow on the Wold

The National Trust Touring Pass covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It will get you entry into over 300 properties including some of the venues where films such as Pride and Prejudice and Harry Potter were filmed.

The Historic Scotland Explorer Pass covers more than 75 properties including Edinburgh and Stirling Castles, Urquhart Castle at Lochness and many more. The Scottish Heritage Pass covers over 120 properties but can only be used between April 1 and October 31.

typical cotswolds building

Who Paid for What in this Post

Thanks to Michael Paul Holidays and Bruern Cottages for hosting me in the Cotswolds.

If you click through on the links in this post and end up making a purchase on that site I will get a small commission. Just wanted to let you know!

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