Top 6 picturesque villages to explore in the North Cotswolds

The Cotswolds are renowned for their picturesque villages and charming cottages. Nested in enchanting valleys and surrounded by rolling hills, the Cotswold villages enjoy quaint streets painted in honey-coloured stone, delightful shops and cafés, and striking scenery.

The North Cotswolds offer a gorgeous collection of picturesque villages and quaint sights. While I would also recommend visiting the South Cotswolds, the North Cotswolds present the quintessence of the Cotswold soul in every village and every hill. To explore the best of the North Cotswolds, visit the following 6 picturesque Cotswold villages near Broadway.

Contents:
1. Stanton: The idyllic Cotswold village
2. Lower Slaughter: The waterside Cotswold village
3. Upper Slaughter: The peaceful Cotswold village
4. Chipping Campden: The typical Cotswold market town
5. Broadway: The retail Cotswold village
6. Bourton-on-the-Water: The touristy Cotswold village

1. Stanton: The idyllic Cotswold village

Stanton is a village tucked away at the northern edge of the Cotswolds near Broadway. If you only visit one Cotswold village, this is the one to explore. Stanton is a small, idyllic and quaint village with gorgeous cottages in the typical honey Cotswold stone.

Village square in Stanton in North Cotswolds
Village square in Stanton

Comprising only two streets and no shops or cafés, Stanton lacks the retail charm of a typical English village. But what it lacks in delightful shops and cafés, the village makes up for in the splendour and soul of its quaint cottages. To admire Stanton to the fullest, walk along its charming streets and take in each and every cottage.

2. Lower Slaughter: The waterside Cotswold village

The top attraction of Lower Slaughter is the quaint street overlooking the charming Eye stream and lined with golden-coloured Cotswold cottages. Located near Stow-on-the-Wold, Lower Slaughter is one of the most picturesque villages in the heart of the Cotswolds. The pretty stream running through this village lends it a picture-perfect quality.

Charming street along stream in Lower Slaughter, top picturesque village in the North Cotswolds
Most picturesque street in Lower Slaughter

At one end of Lower Slaughter, the old mill has been turned into a museum, while at the other end, the stateliness of the Manor House attracts the eye. The remaining village streets and lanes are also worth a visit, although the houses there seem grander and more modern. All in all, you will not find a more charming view than along the banks of the Eye stream.

3. Upper Slaughter: The peaceful Cotswold village

Upper Slaughter is Lower Slaughter’s sister village. Located a 5-minute drive up the hill, the two villages do not have much in common apart from their name and their charm. Upper Slaughter offers a serene hamlet feel with its cluster of quaint honey-coloured cottages.

Stream and quaint cottage in Upper Slaughter, Cotswold village
Eye stream running through Upper Slaughter

Comprising a triangle of lovely streets, Upper Slaughter is also built along the banks of the Eye stream. Although the village isn’t centred around the stream, the stream’s enchanting feature adds to Upper Slaughter’s peaceful aura. This picturesque Cotswold village is less visited than its sister, which also adds to its charm.

4. Chipping Campden: The typical Cotswold market town

Located at the northern tip of the Cotswolds, Chipping Campden offers a welcoming market town feel. Much larger than Stanton or the Slaughters, the medieval market town features a remarkable market hall, windy narrow streets and quaint cottages painted in the golden Cotswold stone.

Red telephone box and street in Chipping Campden, North Cotswold village
High Street in Chipping Campden

Chipping Campden, like all Cotswold villages, is best explored on foot. The High Street is a delight of small cafés and shops, but the side streets are equally striking with their collection of distinctive cottages and houses. On your way to town, you can stop at Dover’s Hill for breathtaking views of the Cotswold Hills.

5. Broadway: The retail Cotswold village

Also located at the northern edge of the Cotswolds, Broadway features a wide high street and imposing architecture in the typical Cotswold stone. Full of shops and cafés, Broadway is the ideal stop for a leisurely afternoon in town.

Quaint Cotswold cottage in Broadway village
Quaint cottage in Broadway

The width of the high street is unusual for a country village, and lends Broadway a grand appearance which the other Cotswold villages cannot match. However, I find the spaciousness of the town layout does take away some of the Cotswold charm. From Broadway, you can walk or drive to Broadway Tower, which offers lovely views of the surrounding Cotswold countryside.

6. Bourton-on-the-Water: The touristy Cotswold village

Bourton-on-the-Water is built along the River Windrush in the heart of the North Cotswolds. This village delights with its charming high street straddling the river, delightful low bridges and picture-perfect cottages. Bourton-on-the-Water also offers many shops and cafés.

Cotswold cottages lining the river in Bourton-on-the-water village
River Windrush in Bourton-on-the-Water

Unfortunately, Bourton-on-the-water is very touristy. So much so that I find the village has lost its Cotswold charm. The town centre is usually swarming with tourists and the rest of town is not worth a detour. This is such a shame for what must have been one of the prettiest Cotswold villages.

Explore the Cotswolds further

The Cotswolds feature many quaint villages nested in enchanting valleys and surrounded by bountiful hills. From the picturesque village of Castle Combe to the breathtaking Cotswold countryside, discover spectacular scenery with the Cotswold travel guides.

Cotswold cottages along the By Brook stream in Castle Combe
Cotswold cottages in Castle Combe

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