Things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water

Our most recommended things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water

From London: Full-Day Cotswolds Small-Group Tour

1. From London: Full-Day Cotswolds Small-Group Tour

Spend a day exploring the quintessentially British countryside of the Cotswolds, an area known for its green landscapes, charming villages, and honey-colored stone cottages. Enjoy the highlights of the Cotswolds, as well as some of the quieter, less-seen areas of the countryside. First, stop in the small town of Burford, one of England’s most unchanged medieval towns with many buildings over 500 years old. Visit the historic church, stroll along the attractive high street, and explore the town. Next head to Bibury, known as the prettiest village in all of England. Wander along the river and see Arlington Row, a set of weaver's cottages that are now one of the symbols of the Cotswolds. Enjoy free time to explore the enchanting village. Continue on to the picturesque town of Bourton-on-the-water. Take ample time to stroll by the river and its small bridges, admire the stone cottages and have some lunch.  Cap your tour with a visit to Stow-on-the-Wold, a jumble of inns and antique shops situated around the ancient market square. Stow has been a center of trade in the Cotswolds for centuries and was the location of the last battle of the English Civil War in 1646. It's also the location of ‘England’s oldest pub’.  Afterward, the tour returns to the meeting point.

From London: Full-Day Cotswolds Tour with Lunch

2. From London: Full-Day Cotswolds Tour with Lunch

Enjoy the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, and visit 4 of its loveliest villages – Burford, Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Stow-on-the-Wold. Travel through the Cotswolds, an area seemingly unchanged with the passing of time. See rolling landscapes, dry stone walls, quaint churches, and streams that tumble past tiny villages and charming hamlets. On this full-day excursion from London, you’ll begin your tour in Burford, where the magnificent High Street slopes down to the River Windrush. See the town’s small tea houses before heading south to picturesque Bibury for lunch. Dine in one of the prettiest villages in England. A 2-course meal awaits you in the heart of the Cotswolds at the Swan Hotel. The restaurant, overlooking the River Coln, is housed in a 17th-century former coach inn, and serves a popular range of traditional dishes, along with ales and fine wines. Explore Bourton-on-the-Water, one of the loveliest villages in the Cotswolds. Afterwards, you’ll travel to Stow-on-the-Wold, a small market town known for its annual fairs. Enjoy a guided walk through the town center before returning to London.

From London: The Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace & Downtown Abbey

3. From London: The Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace & Downtown Abbey

Tick off some of southern England’s top attractions on a guided day trip by bus from London to Blenheim Palace and Cotswolds villages, including the Bampton filming location of the TV show Downtown Abbey. If you prefer exploring historic towns over attractions, enjoy the flexible tour option. Board your coach in London and head out of the city and towards your first stop at Blenheim Palace. Witness this masterpiece of English Baroque architecture which was also the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Visit the stunning State Rooms, brimming with priceless works of art and magnificent tapestries (if option selected), and admire the 754-hectare gardens, including an exquisite water garden. Next, head into the charming Cotswolds region for a stop at the authentic village of Bourton-on-the-Water. Explore this picturesque location, complete with many attractive bridges crossing the gently-flowing river at its center. Complete your experience with a trip to Bampton; the film setting for many of the famous landmarks featured in the popular Downton Abbey TV series. See the buildings that played the part of the home of Isobel Crawley, the Downton Cottage Hospital, the church, and also the location for two fictional local pubs, The Grantham Arms and The Dog & Duck.

From Oxford: Cotswold Explorer Full-Day Tour

4. From Oxford: Cotswold Explorer Full-Day Tour

Start your unforgettable Cotswold journey by boarding the minibus in Oxford. Then, set off on a scenic drive to the charming village of Minster Lovell. Enjoy seeing the pretty thatched houses and exploring the ruined 15th century Hall. Continue the route through the idyllic villages of Asthall and Swinbrook to Burford, the 'Gateway to the Cotswolds'. Make a stop here to give you time to stroll around the sloping High Street and browse in the quirky shops and cafes. Next, travel further on your panoramic drive through the old quarrying villages of Taynton and the Barringtons towards Bourton-on-the-Water, the 'Venice of the Cotswolds'. Take a walk along the quaint River Windrush crossed with delightful stone bridges. From Bourton-on-the-Water, follow the route through some enchanting Cotswold villages to Broadway with its golden stone houses. Find a pub or cafe for lunch in this village which inspired artists and writers, such as Frank Millet, J M Barrie, and William Morris. After lunch, visit the beautiful market town of Chipping Campden, with its old market hall and wool church. Then, explore Stow-on-the-Wold, the highest town in the Cotswolds. Here you can browse among the narrow footpaths and the antique shops and art galleries. Finally, return to Oxford via the bustling market town of Chipping Norton with a final brief photo stop in Woodstock, the site of Blenheim Palace (the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill).

From Stratford-upon-Avon / Moreton-in-Marsh: Cotswolds Tour

5. From Stratford-upon-Avon / Moreton-in-Marsh: Cotswolds Tour

Join a local driver/guide on a relaxing full-day tour of the Cotswolds National Landscape. Experience the very best of this quintessentially English region on a tour that stops at 6 different and unique locations with ample time built into the day for self-exploration, shopping, and lunch. The tour stops at: • Dover's Hill: the Northern-most Cotswolds viewpoint offering panoramic views out towards Stratford-upon-Avon, Birmingham & Coventry • Chipping Campden: a historic wool town where you have an hour of free time to explore with our unique maps and local recommendations • A secret off-the-beaten-track Cotswolds village (join to find this one out) • Stow-on-the-Wold: your designated lunch stop with a wide range of wonderful food options to choose from  • Bibury: often referred to as the prettiest village in England it's also the home of the iconic Arlington Row of cottages • Bourton-on-the-Water: famed for the crystal clear waters of the River Windrush and the pretty bridges that cross it Between the stops, your driver-guide will tell you the story of the Cotswolds with a fun, fact-filled commentary as you travel the narrow back lanes only the locals know about.

From Oxford: Cotswolds Towns and Villages Small Group Tour

6. From Oxford: Cotswolds Towns and Villages Small Group Tour

Discover quaint villages, tiny tea rooms, and 15th-century ruins on a day trip to the Cotswolds from Oxford. Explore Stow-on-the-Wold, Burford, Bourton-on-the-Water, and more unusually named places. Admire the scenery as you drive through the pretty countryside to picturesque villages. Departing from outside Oxford Railway Station in the morning at 10:00 AM, head to the village of Great Tew. Continue to Stow-on-the-Wold to reach the highest town in the region and browse the honey-colored buildings and tiny tea rooms. Visit the pretty village of Lower Slaughter before going to Bourton-on-the-Water, known as the "Venice of the Cotswolds", where you will have time for lunch. After lunch, discover the gateway to the Cotswolds in the village of Burford. Journey through the valley of the River Windrush and discover amazing villages such as Swinbrook along with the ruins of 15th-century Minster Lovell Hall. Departure will be late afternoon, returning to Oxford Railway Station by 5:00 PM

From Oxford: Half-Day Cotswold Taster Tour

7. From Oxford: Half-Day Cotswold Taster Tour

Leave the medieval city of Oxford and head first to the pretty village of Minster Lovell. Walk through the village and see the pretty thatched cottages and River Windrush. Relax on a scenic drive that takes you through the idyllic hamlets of Asthall and Swinbrook to the old market town of Burford, the 'gateway to the Cotswolds'.  Enjoy time to browse in the sloping High Street of Burford, with its quirky shops and cafes. Continue through the old quarrying villages of Taynton and the Barringtons, where a panoramic drive takes you to Bourton-on-the-Water, often called the 'Venice of the Cotswolds'.  Wander along the banks of the quaint River Windrush with its old stone bridges or stop for a refreshment in one of the many cafes. Leaving Bourton-on-the-Water, you climb up to Stow Hill to Stow-on-the-Wold, the highest town in the Cotswolds and a market town since the 12th century. Stow is known for its many antique shops and art galleries, as well as many other shops and cafes.  Don't forget to visit St Edward's Church with its old door which inspired the writer Tolkien. On your way back to Oxford pass by the market town of Chipping Norton and Woodstock, the site of Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Stop for a brief photo stop of the palace before your return to Oxford.

Shakespeare’s Stratford & Cotswolds

8. Shakespeare’s Stratford & Cotswolds

An expert guide leads the way, regaling you with stories and interesting facts about the rich history of these beautiful places. Stratford-upon-Avon, the hometown of legendary playwright William Shakespeare, is the first stop on this day trip.  Filled with history, pay a visit to the place the famous Bard was born - a quaint, unassuming half-timbered house. Learn amazing stories and quirks of Elizabethan living from your expert guide. The next stop is a visit to Shakespeare’s bride Anne Hathaway’s cottage and gardens. This beautiful little thatched farmhouse is the place where the Bard courted his bride. To this day, the property holds items of original furniture, including the Hathaway bed. It is nestled within stunning grounds and gardens, overflowing with fragrant blooms and traditional shrubs. Then continue to the Cotswolds. Visit what is often agreed to be one of the most beautiful areas in the whole of the UK. With quaint villages and breathtaking scenery, the Cotswolds looks like it jumped off the pages of a storybook. The tour makes photo stops at 3 stunning Cotswolds villages: Bourton-on-the-Water, also known as ‘Little Venice’ due to its low bridges and stone banks, Burford which features an ornate medieval bridge and Bibury, a town once described by William Morris as ‘the most beautiful village in England’. After a wonderful day of sightseeing, arrive back to London at the approximate time of 7:15 PM.

From London: Blenheim Palace & the Cotswolds with Lunch

9. From London: Blenheim Palace & the Cotswolds with Lunch

Discover the captivating Cotswolds! Enjoy views of breathtaking countryside, sleepy villages, and bustling market towns on this panoramic tour of one of England’s most beautiful regions. Bask in the beauty of Blenheim Palace! Early arrival at the Palace ensures an almost private visit of this fairy-tale country mansion. See the sumptuous State Rooms with their priceless treasures, stroll through sweeping landscaped gardens designed by Capability Brown, and grab a photo opportunity at the shimmering lake. Known as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’, the picturesque village of Bourton–on–the–Water boasts of many traditional features of the Cotswolds. Take time to marvel at its elegant low bridges and stroll along the magnificent Main Street. Estimated arrival time back to London is around 6.30 pm.

From London: Downton Abbey & the Cotswolds Private Day Trip

10. From London: Downton Abbey & the Cotswolds Private Day Trip

Visit the village of Bampton; the film setting for many of the famous landmarks featured within the popular Downton Abbey TV series. See the buildings that played the part of the home of Isobel Crawley, the Downton Cottage Hospital. The local church is where Lady Mary marries both Matthew and Henry Talbot, and where Edith is both jilted at the altar and marries the man of her dreams – Bertie Pelham. The location of fictional local pub The Grantham Arms. Blenheim Palace Blenheim Palace is a masterpiece of English Baroque architecture and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The stunning State Rooms are brimming with priceless works of art and magnificent tapestries. The Palace is still inhabited today by the Duke of Marlborough. The Gardens are set in over 754 hectares of land with an exquisite water garden. The Cotswolds In the Cotswolds you'll visit one the areas most beautiful villages, Bourton-on-the-Water. This is a must-see village, referred to as the 'Venice of the Cotswolds' due to the number of attractive bridges that cross the gently-flowing river at its center.

Frequently asked questions about Bourton-on-the-Water

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What people are saying about Bourton-on-the-Water

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,448 reviews

It was a smooth, seamless tour. David and Richard were kind and excellent guide and driver. David was a wealth of information on history and expert on the Ins and outs of our tour. Richard was a safe and professional driver. One bit of advice, review your meeting point directions and get there early! Also know that rules regarding late arrivals and late arrival to meeting times on the bus between tour routes are strictly enforced as per travel company protocols. The guide and driver cannot veer from them!

The guide-driver of such day-trip tour make or break the whole tour experience. We are super fortunate to have Kevin as our guide-driver on 31 Oct 22. He is a true professional. He not only provides clear and comprehensive guides, he is also very caring of travelers’ well being. Kevin is truly a tip-top professional! Well done, Kevin!

It was amazing. The lady Crisi i think, was so polite and nice and she knows a lot about London. I would definitely recommended the trip to every one who goes to England. The driver was also amazing and the driving was very good.

The trip was excelente! One that I had liked the most so far. The places are beautiful and it never felt rushed. Would 100% recommend it. The guide and driver were super nice and friendly.

It’s well planned. It covers 4 towns which is great for those whose time is tight. We really enjoyed the trip. The guide is hardworking and humorous. We loved this trip