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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 countryside. The first stop will be the small town of Burford. It's one of England’s most unchanged medieval towns and many buildings are over 500 years old. Its church is one of the most historic in the region. Visit the church, stroll along the attractive high street, and explore the town while you're here. The next stop is Bibury, often described as the 'prettiest village in all of England. Wander along the river and see the Arlington Row, a set of weaver's cottages that are now one of the symbols of the Cotswolds. There will be plenty of time to explore the village, an unmissable Cotswolds location. Head on to the picturesque town of Bourton-on-the-water. Affectionately known as ‘the Venice of the Cotswolds’, it's a popular destination for visitors. Take ample time to stroll by the river and its small bridges, admire the stone cottages and there will also be time to have some lunch.  The final stop is 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 Oxford: Cotswold Explorer Full-Day Tour

3. 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 Oxford: Half-Day Cotswold Taster Tour

4. 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

5. 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 home town 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. 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 and still to this day holds items or 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. Quaint villages and breathtaking scenery, the Cotswolds looks like it jumped off the pages of a storybook. The tour makes photo stops at three 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 19:15.

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

6. 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 London: Cotswolds Guided Day Tour

7. From London: Cotswolds Guided Day Tour

On the is private tour you will explore five amazing, historical and beautiful villages in the stunning Cotswolds area of England close to Oxford. You will spend around 1 hour walking around in each location which is plenty of time to explore what the villages have to offer you on this every English day out. Lots of wonderful shops, pubs, tea rooms and churches at each village. Then amazing English country side views for you to admire as we drive between the villages. Plenty of stops for photos and videos of course wherever you wish during the day. Lunch will be in Stow on the Wold at one of the villages fantastic pubs or tea rooms at 1230pm. The day will end at 5pm when we leave the Cotswolds and return to London for approximately 7pm.

From London: Downton Abbey & the Cotswolds Private Day Trip

8. 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.

From Oxford: Cotswolds and Shakespeare Full-Day Tour

9. From Oxford: Cotswolds and Shakespeare Full-Day Tour

See the natural beauty of the North Cotswolds and historic Stratford-upon-Avon on a full-day tour from Oxford. Make several stops in quaint Cotswolds villages and learn about the birthplace of Shakespeare. Head west from medieval Oxford and your first stop will be the old market town of Burford. Explore the ‘Gateway to the Cotswolds’ and stop for a refreshment. From there you’ll be taken on a scenic drive through some of the old quarrying villages of the Cotswolds until you arrive at Bourton-on-the-Water. Wander along the pretty riverside with its historic stone bridges and browse some of the country shops and cafes. Next, after crossing some rolling hills you’ll reach the charming old market town of Chipping Campden. Visit the old market hall and perhaps stop for lunch in a local pub or restaurant. Finally, follow a route that takes you past more breathtaking views until you reach Stratford-upon-Avon. Here you’ll receive a tour of Shakespeare’s hometown, where you’ll see picturesque timber-framed houses, the famous Shakespeare theaters, the River Avon, and Shakespeare’s birthplace.   After Stratford, head back to the Cotswolds via Shottery, where you’ll see the enchanting Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. Return to Oxford via the market town of Shipston, the idyllic village of Great Tew, and Blenheim Palace (birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill).

Cotswolds: Walks and Villages Guided Tour

10. Cotswolds: Walks and Villages Guided Tour

Starting with hotel pick up in Stratford-upon-Avon, or meeting your guide at the train station in Stratford-upon-Avon or Moreton-in-Marsh, set off into the rolling countryside of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Begin with a short, countryside walk to the iconic Broadway Tower (1 mile/1.6km). Soak up the panoramic views and see if you can spot the resident herd of red deer. Walk back to the minibus (1 mile/1.6km) and drive to Broadway village, or descend into the village on foot by walking a short section of the famous Cotswold Way (1.5 miles/2.5km). Enjoy free time in the stunning village of Broadway to explore at your own leisure and grab some lunch. Travel through the scenic countryside before embarking on a beautiful circular walk (2.75 miles/4.5 km) to discover quiet, quaint villages along the Windrush Valley. Here, you'll truly be off the beaten track, discovering hidden churches, surprising history, and gorgeous Cotswold villages without the crowds of tourist hot spots. Unwind after in the historic market town of Burford, where you can admire the historic buildings, shop for gifts or relax in a local pub or cafe. Listen to your guide’s fascinating commentary throughout the day about local life and history.

Other Sightseeing Options in Bourton-on-the-Water

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

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,059 reviews

Our guide ZoZo, was very informative and funny, made the whole day a great one. The driver Eddie, was wonderful navigating school holiday traffic. Lunch at The Swan Hotel was very good. ZoZo ordered ahead , so the food was served as soon as we were seated. The villages were very very pretty, with time allowed to wander at each stop. I would recommend this tour.

amazing trip glen is very knowledgeable and added a good bit of humor to the day out and is very passionate about the cotswolds

Our guide Zozo was fun and informative. Dave the driver was also great. I enjoyed the villages. My lunch was delicious.

Excellent guide and coach driver made the long journey interesting and rich. We enjoyed the visit and the logistics

Worry free trip. Sit back (in the bus), relax (or sleep) and enjoy Cotswold towns.