How to travel around the Cotswolds without a car

Stretching from Oxford in the east to Cheltenham in the west, Stratford-on-Avon in the north to Bath in the south, the Cotswolds are renowned for their charming cottages, bountiful rolling hills and enchanting valleys. One of the best places to visit in the UK, the Cotswolds offer the perfect escape to British quintessence, chocolate-box villages and picture-perfect scenery.

Can you visit the Cotswolds without a car?

Yes, you can explore the Cotswolds without a car, but you’ll only be able to visit a limited number of villages at any given time and you’ll spend a lot of time travelling. You can travel to the main cities near the Cotswolds first and then use the bus services linking the cities to popular Cotswold villages.

Find how to travel to and around the Cotswolds without a car as well as detailed public transport itineraries by Cotswold village.

How to travel to the Cotswolds by public transport

From London and any major city in the UK, you can travel by train or bus to the main cities near the Cotswolds. From there, you can take buses to the picturesque villages of the Cotswolds. The towns and cities with the most transport links to the Cotswolds are Cheltenham, Chippenham, Gloucester, Moreton-in-Marsh, Oxford and Stroud. Other towns and cities with transport links include Bath, Dursley, Kemble (near Cirencester) and Stratford-on-Avon.

Picturesque thatched and stone cottages in Little Badminton on the Badminton Park walk
Little Badminton

If you’re travelling from London or the south east of England, you can easily get to Cheltenham, Chippenham, Moreton-in-Marsh, Oxford, Stroud and most cities on the outskirts of the Cotswolds. From the south west of England or South Wales, you can easily travel to Cheltenham and Gloucester. If you’re visiting from Birmingham or the north of Britain, you can take a direct train or bus to Cheltenham, Gloucester or Oxford.

I’d recommend first deciding which area of the Cotswolds and which villages in the Cotswolds you wish to visit. Then, pick the city on the outskirts of the Cotswolds with the most convenient transport link to those villages and make your travel arrangements from your departure point to that city. To help you plan your travels, you’ll find public transport itineraries by Cotswold village below.

How to get around the Cotswolds without a car

You can get around the Cotswolds by public transport, by taxi or on foot. From Bath, Cheltenham, Chippenham, Dursley, Gloucester, Kemble (near Cirencester), Moreton-in-Marsh, Oxford, Stratford-on-Avon and Stroud, you can take buses or trains to the picturesque villages of the Cotswolds. Each city services only a limited number of Cotswold villages by public transport.

To travel from village to village, you can use the bus services. Each Cotswold village benefits from a limited number of bus lines and only connects to a few other villages. The villages with the most transport links are Bourton-on-the-Water, Broadway, Cirencester, Moreton-in-Marsh, Nailsworth, Northleach and Tetbury.

Cotswold street in Painswick
Painswick

I’d recommend thoroughly researching your itinerary and travel times before setting off. Public transport itineraries and timetables are subject to change. Some buses run infrequently, and most buses and trains have limited services on Sundays and on bank holidays. If you’re planning on using public transport several times a day, you may wish to consider the Cotswolds Discoverer One Day Travel Pass. To help you plan your travels, you’ll find public transport itineraries by Cotswold village below.

You can also get around the Cotswolds by taxi or on foot. Unfortunately, some villages are not accessible by public transport. To visit them, travelling by taxi or on foot may be the easiest and quickest option. The Cotswolds offer countless footpaths linking villages and points of interest. For instance, you can walk from Broadway to Snowshill and from Upper Slaughter to Lower Slaughter.

Public transport itineraries by Cotswold village

I’ve listed the most popular villages in the Cotswolds and detailed how to travel to these villages by public transport. Please note that the itineraries and timetables are subject to change, so thoroughly research your travel plans before setting off. Some villages are not accessible by public transport and are therefore not listed here. You can find more Cotswold villages to visit by public transport in the Explore the Cotswolds booklet (pdf file).

Quaint cottages of Castle Combe in the Cotswolds
Castle Combe

Cotswold villages to visit from each departure city

From the cities near the Cotswolds, you can take direct buses and trains to the villages of the Cotswolds. Find which villages you can visit by public transport from each city.

  • Bath: Box (X31 & 272 buses)
  • Cam & Dursley Railway Station: Nailsworth (65 bus), Uley (65 bus), Wotton-under-Edge (60 bus)
  • Cheltenham: Bourton-on-the-Water (801 bus), Broadway (606 bus), Burford (853 bus), Chipping Campden (606 bus), Cirencester (51 bus), Lower Slaughter (801 bus), Morton-in-Marsh (801 bus), Northleach (801 & 853 buses), Painswick (66 bus), Stanton (606 bus), Stow-on-the-Wold (801 bus), Winchcombe (606 bus)
  • Chippenham: Box (X31 bus), Castle Combe (35 bus), Malmesbury (92 bus)
  • Gloucester: Cirencester (882 bus), Nailsworth (63 bus), Tetbury (882 bus), Wotton-under-Edge (60 bus)
  • Kemble Railway Station: Bibury (indirect – 882 bus, then 855 bus), Cirencester (882 bus), Tetbury (882 bus)
  • Moreton-in-Marsh: Bibury (indirect – 801 bus, then 855 bus), Blockley (1 & 2 buses), Bourton-on-the-Water (801 bus), Broadway (1 bus), Chipping Campden (1 & 2 buses), Lower Slaughter (801 bus), Northleach (801 bus), Stow-on-the-Wold (801 bus)
  • Oxford: Burford (853 bus), Kingham (Train), Moreton-in-Marsh (Train), Northleach (853 bus)
  • Stratford-on-Avon: Blockley (1 & 2 bus), Broadway (1 bus), Chipping Campden (1 & 2 bus)
  • Stroud: Bisley (8B bus), Cirencester (54 bus), Nailsworth (40, 63, 65 & 69 buses), Painswick (66 bus), Tetbury (69 bus), Uley (65 bus), Wotton-under-Edge (40 bus)
Quaint and colourful cottages in Malmesbury
Malmesbury

Travelling by bus to the North Cotswold villages

Find how to travel by public transport to each Cotswold village and which other villages you can visit at the same time.

Bibury

You can travel to Bibury by taking the 882 bus from Kemble Railway Station to Cirencester, then the 855 bus from Cirencester to Bibury (1 to 1 ½ hours in total). Alternatively, you can take the 801 bus from Moreton-in-Marsh to Bourton-on-the-Water, then the 855 bus from Bourton-on-the-Water to Bibury (1 to 1 ½ hours in total). From Bibury, you can visit Bourton-on-the-Water, Cirencester and Northleach with the 855 bus.

Find the itineraries and timetables for the 801, 855 and 882 buses on pulhamscoaches.com. Please note that there are limited services on the 855 bus.

Blockley

You can visit Blockley by taking the 1 or 2 bus from Moreton-in-Marsh (15 minutes) or Stratford-upon-Avon (1 to 1 ½ hours). From Blockley, you can get to Broadway, Chipping Campden and Moreton-in-Marsh with the 1 or 2 bus.

Find the itineraries and timetables for the 1 and 2 buses on johnsonscoaches.co.uk.

Bourton-on-the-Water

You can travel to Bourton-on-the-Water by taking the 801 bus from Moreton-in-Marsh (30 minutes) or Cheltenham (45 minutes to 1 hour). Alternatively, you can take the 802 bus from Kingham (45 minutes). From Bourton-on-the-Water, you can visit Lower Slaughter, Moreton-in-Marsh, Northleach and Stow-on-the-Wold with the 801 bus, Kingham with the 802 bus, and Bibury, Cirencester and Northleach with the 855 bus.

Find the itineraries and timetables for the 801 and 802 buses on pulhamscoaches.com. Please note that there are limited services on the 802 bus.

Broadway

You can visit Broadway by taking the 1 bus from Moreton-in-Marsh (25 minutes) or Stratford-on-Avon (1 hour). Alternatively, you can take the 606 bus from Cheltenham (1 ½ to 2 hours). From Broadway, you can get to Blockley, Chipping Campden and Moreton-in-Marsh with the 1 bus, and Chipping Campden, Stanton and Winchcombe with the 606 bus.

Find the itineraries and timetables for the 1 bus on johnsonscoaches.co.uk and the 606 bus on pulhamscoaches.com. Please note that there are limited services on both the 1 and 606 buses.

Quaint Cotswold cottage in Broadway village
Broadway

Burford

You can travel to Burford by taking the 853 bus from Cheltenham (50 minutes) or Oxford (55 minutes). From Burford, you can visit Northleach with the 853 bus. 

Find the itinerary and timetable for the 853 bus on stagecoachbus.com. Please note that there are limited services on the 853 bus.

Chipping Campden

You can visit Chipping Campden by taking the 1 or 2 bus from Moreton-in-Marsh (30 to 45 minutes) or Stratford-on-Avon (45 minutes to 1 hour). Alternatively, you can take the 606 bus from Cheltenham (2 hours). From Chipping Campden, you can get to Blockley, Broadway and Moreton-in-Marsh with the 1 or 2 bus, and Broadway, Stanton and Winchcombe with the 606 bus. 

Find the itineraries and timetables for the 1 and 2 buses on johnsonscoaches.co.uk and the 606 bus on pulhamscoaches.com. Please note that there are limited services on the 606 bus.

Kingham

You can travel to Kingham by train from Oxford (30 minutes), Worcester (50 minutes), London Paddington (1 ½ hours) or Hereford (1 ½ hours). From Kingham, you can visit Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold with the 802 bus.

Find the itinerary and timetable for the T6 London and Oxford to Hereford and Worcester train (the Cotswolds and Malverns line) on gwr.com.

Lower Slaughter

You can visit Lower Slaughter by taking the 801 bus from Moreton-in-Marsh (30 minutes) or Cheltenham (45 minutes to 1 hour). From Lower Slaughter, you can get to Bourton-on-the-Water, Moreton-in-Marsh, Northleach and Stow-on-the-Wold with the 801 bus. You can also get to Upper Slaughter on foot (20 minutes).

Find the itinerary and timetable for the 801 bus on pulhamscoaches.com. Please note that the bus stop for Lower Slaughter is called Slaughter Pike. It’s not listed on the timetable, but is located between Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water.

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

Northleach

You can travel to Northleach by taking the 853 bus from Cheltenham (35 minutes) or Oxford (1 ¼ hours). Alternatively, you can take the 801 bus from Cheltenham (40 minutes) or Moreton-in-Marsh (55 minutes). From Northleach, you can visit Bourton-on-the-Water, Moreton-in-Marsh, Lower Slaughter and Stow-on-the-Wold with the 801 bus, Burford with the 853 bus and Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water and Cirencester with the 855 bus.

Find the itineraries and timetables for the 801 bus on pulhamscoaches.com and the 853 bus on stagecoachbus.com. Please note that there are limited services on the 801 and 853 buses.

Moreton-in-Marsh

You can visit Moreton-in-Marsh by train from Oxford (35 minutes), Worcester (40 minutes), London Paddington (1 ½ hours) or Hereford (1 ½ hours). Alternatively, you can take the 801 bus from Cheltenham (1 ¼ hours). From Moreton-in-Marsh, you can get to Blockley, Broadway and Chipping Campden with the 1 or 2 bus, and Bourton-on-the-Water, Lower Slaughter, Northleach and Stow-on-the-Wold with the 801 bus.

Find the itineraries and timetables for the T6 London and Oxford to Hereford and Worcester train (the Cotswolds and Malverns line) on gwr.com and the 801 bus on pulhamscoaches.com.

Stanton

You can travel to Stanton by taking the 606 bus from Cheltenham (1 ½ hours). From Stanton, you can visit Broadway, Chipping Campden and Winchcombe with the 606 bus. 

Find the itinerary and timetable for the 606 bus on pulhamscoaches.com. Please note that there are limited services on the 606 bus.

Bright red telephone box and post box contrast against the honey-coloured Cotswold cottage in Stanton
Stanton

Stow-on-the-Wold

You can visit Stow-on-the-Wold by taking the 801 bus from Moreton-in-Marsh (25 minutes) or Cheltenham (1 hour). Alternatively, you can take the 802 bus from Kingham (15 minutes). From Stow-on-the-Wold, you can get to Bourton-on-the-Water, Lower Slaughter, Moreton-in-Marsh and Northleach with the 801 bus, and Bourton-on-the-Water and Kingham with the 802 bus.

Find the itineraries and timetables for the 801 and 802 buses on pulhamscoaches.com. Please note that there are limited services on the 802 bus.

Winchcombe

You can travel to Winchcombe by taking the 606 bus from Cheltenham (50 minutes). From Winchcombe, you can visit Broadway, Chipping Campden and Stanton with the 606 bus. 

Find the itinerary and timetable for the 606 bus on pulhamscoaches.com.

Visiting the Central Cotswold villages without a car

Bisley

You can visit Bisley by taking the 8B bus from Stroud (20 minutes). From Stroud, you can also get to Cirencester, Nailsworth, Painswick, Tetbury, Uley and Wotton-under-Edge. Please note that there are limited services on the 8B bus.

Quaint row of cottages in Bisley
Bisley

Cirencester

You can travel to Cirencester by taking the 882 bus from Kemble Railway Station (20 minutes) or Gloucester (50 minutes). Alternatively, you can take the 51 bus from Cheltenham (40 minutes) or Swindon (1 ¼ hours), or the 54 bus from Stroud (40 minutes). From Cirencester, you can visit Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach with the 855 bus, Malmesbury with the 93 bus and Tetbury with the 882 bus. 

Find the itineraries and timetables for the 882 bus on pulhamscoaches.com and the 51 bus on stagecoachbus.com. Please note that there are limited services on the 54 bus from Stroud.

Nailsworth

You can travel to Nailsworth by taking the 63 bus from Stroud (20 minutes) or Gloucester (1 hour).  Alternatively, you can take the 40, 65 or 69 bus from Stroud (20 minutes, 10 minutes and 25 minutes respectively) or the 65 bus from Cam & Dursley Railway Station (50 minutes). From Nailsworth, you can visit Nympsfield and Uley with the 65 bus, Tetbury with the 69 bus and Wotton-under-Edge with the 40 bus. 

Find the itineraries and timetables for the 63, 65 and 69 buses on stagecoachbus.com. Please note that there are limited services on the 40, 65 and 69 buses.

Painswick

You can visit Painswick by taking the 66 bus from Stroud (10 minutes) or Cheltenham (40 minutes). From Stroud, you can also get to Bisley, Cirencester, Nailsworth, Tetbury, Uley and Wotton-under-Edge.

Find the itinerary and timetable for the 66 bus on stagecoachbus.com.

Typical Cotswold cottage in Painswick
Painswick

Uley

You can travel to Uley by taking the 65 bus from Stroud (20 minutes) or Cam & Dursley Railway Station (35 minutes). From Uley, you visit Nailsworth and Nympsfield with the 65 bus.

Find the itinerary and timetable for the 65 bus on stagecoachbus.com. Please note that there are limited services on the 65 bus.

Exploring the South Cotswold villages by bus

Badminton

You can visit Badminton by taking the Y1, Y2, Y3, Y4 or Y5 bus from Bristol to Yate Shopping Centre, then the 41 bus from Yate to Badminton (1 ¼ hours in total). From Badminton, you can get to Malmesbury with the 41 bus. Please note that there are limited services on the 41 bus.

Box

You can travel to Box by taking the X31 bus from Bath (20 minutes) or Chippenham (45 minutes). Alternatively, you can take the 272 bus from Bath (20 minutes). From Chippenham, you can also get to Castle Combe and Malmesbury.

Find the itineraries and timetables for the X31 and 272 buses on faresaver.co.uk.

Castle Combe

You can visit Castle Combe by taking the 35 bus from Chippenham (30 minutes). From Chippenham, you can also get to Box and Malmesbury.

Find the itinerary and timetable for the 35 bus on faresaver.co.uk. Please note that there are limited services on the 35 bus.

Picturesque Cotswold cottages and charming stream along the main road in Castle Combe
Castle Combe

Malmesbury

You can travel to Malmesbury by taking the 92 bus from Chippenham (50 minutes). Alternatively, you can take the 31 bus from Swindon Bus Station (1 hour). From Malmesbury, you visit Badminton with the 41 bus, Cirencester with the 93 bus and Tetbury with the 30 bus.

Find the itinerary and timetable for the 92 bus on coachstyle.uk.

Tetbury

You can visit Tetbury by taking the 882 bus from Kemble Railway Station (15 minutes) or Gloucester (1 ¾ hours). Alternatively, you can take the 69 bus from Stroud (50 minutes). From Tetbury, you can get to Cirencester with the 882 bus, Malmesbury with the 30 bus and Nailsworth with the 69 bus.

Find the itineraries and timetables for the 882 bus on pulhamcoaches.com and the 69 bus on stagecoachbus.com.

Wotton-under-Edge

You can visit Wotton-under-Edge by taking the 60 bus from Cam & Dursley Railway Station (40 minutes) or Gloucester (1 ¼ hours). Alternatively, you can take the 40 bus from Stroud (40 minutes). From Wotton-under-Edge, you can get to Nailsworth with the 40 bus.

Find the itinerary and timetable for the 60 bus on stagecoachbus.com. Please note that there are limited services on the 40 bus.

Explore the Cotswolds further

The Cotswolds offer picturesque villages, charming cottages, honey-coloured stone, bountiful hills and spectacular scenery. From Castle Combe to Painswick and Broadway, the Cotswolds are full of charming British quintessence. Explore this enchanting region with the Cotswold travel guides.

Views of Uley village nested in Cotswold valley
Uley

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