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Complete Guide to Bourton-on-the-Water, Cotswolds
You just can’t visit Cotswolds and not see “the little Venice of the region, Bourton-on-the-Water.
What should you expect to see? The most wonderful and vibrant town build around the River Windrush.
While this is considered to be one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds (show me one village which isn’t pretty though), it is also very touristy. Therefore, plan your trip well ahead if you can, and do try to avoid peak days or times. Especially when traveling with children, if it’s the case.
Let me share all the things to see and do and also where to eat in Bourton-on-the-Water. There are quite a few options for families and kids, so you might want to save this one for later.
For families with kids
Stroll through The Model Village and feel like a giant
At The Model Village, you will see a one-ninth scale replica of Bourton-on-the-water. Built from 1936 to 1940, this is a perfect reproduction of Bourton-on-the-Water. They literally replicated the gardens, trees, and the River Windrush as they were then.
This is the perfect location to visit for families with kids.
Open daily (except for Christmas Day)
Summer 10am – 6pm (Last admission 5.45pm)
Winter – 10am – 4pm (Last admission 3.45pm)
Get lost in The Dragonfly Maze
If you like a garden maze with a twist, The Dragonfly Maze is the place to see in Bourton-on-the-Water. Inside the maze, there are 14 hidden clues that help you solve a riddle. That’s the way you can reach the center of the maze where you would discover the hidden Golden Dragonfly. A very fun distraction for people of all ages.
Opening times: Open Wednesday – Sunday 10 am – 4 pm
Cotswold Motoring Museum & Toy Collection
If you are passionate about vintage cars and motoring exhibits, you need to see the Cotswold Motoring Museum & Toy Collection. There are so many wonderful toys and an extensive motoring collection, to admire by adults as well as children.
Opening times: Open daily 10 am – 6 pm
Birdland Park and Gardens
Minutes away from the parking lot and directly across from The Dragonfly Maze is the 9 acre Birdland Park and Gardens. You can find here over 500 birds – flamingos, pelicans, penguins, cranes, storks, cassowary, and waterfowl.
There are also over 50 aviaries featuring parrots, falcons, pheasants, hornbills, touracos and so many more. A range of unique experiences is available as well, like feeding the penguins and being a keeper for a day. It’s such a wonderful place for all ages to visit.
Opening times: Open daily 10 am – 5 pm. Last admission 4 pm.
For more details, visit the official Birdland Park & Gardens website.
WHERE TO EAT + DRINK
Bakery on the Water
After all of the sightseeing, it’s time for a snack and a hot drink, isn’t it? Let’s head to a sweet little family-run artisan bakery, the Bakery on the Water. Time to have some hot from the oven scones and tea. It doesn’t get more British than that.
Opening times: Open daily 8 am – 5 pm
L’Anatra Italian Restaurant
Maybe you had enough British cuisine, for now, what about an Italian menu instead? L’Anatra restaurant sources local ingredients to make delicious stone-based pizza dough, pasta, risotto, and desserts.
Opening times: lunch from midday until 3 pm and dinner from 5 pm
WHAT TO DO
Farmers’ & Producers’ Market
If you’d like to buy local produce, visit the farmer’s market for high-quality food sold directly from local farmers and producers. The market is open on the fourth Sunday of each month and located in the Royal British Legion Car Park from 9 am – 12:30 pm.
Cotswolds Distillery Shop
It’s always Gin o’clock somewhere so you might as well try some award-winning dry gin and single malt whiskey at Cotswolds Distillery Shop.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday – 9:30am – 5:30pm; Sunday – 10:30am – 5pm
Time to sample some local lager produced in the Bourton-on-the-Water brewery for over 10 years by Cotswolds Brewing.
Learn to make perfume at the Cotswold Perfumery. It’s also famous for making perfumes for the Royal family, so it would be a shame not to poke your nose in for a bit. They also offer courses with chief perfumer John Stephen, one of only six independent perfumers in the whole of the UK.
EAT + SLEEP
The Mousetrap Inn
There are so many incredible locations for an overnight stay in Bourton-on-the-Water. If you only do very quick research (the map is attached below), you’ll see they all have brilliant reviews as well, so you’re guaranteed a great experience anywhere you chose.
We have decided to recommend The Mousetrap Inn first, simply because it has the most raving reviews from satisfied customers and they serve British-style tapas. That’s a win for us.
One of the highest-rated guest homes in Bourton, Coombe House is a fantastic option if you’re single, or in a group. There are several rooms for your stay. Book your stay here and enjoy some wonderful memories!
Another charming option for your stay in Bourton. Appletree Cottage is a 3 bedrooms holiday home, so perfect for a larger family or a small group. The reviews speak for themselves, so hurry up to book if you’re looking for a proper English cottage!
The Lamb Inn
We can not forget about this beautiful inn with such cozy Cotswolds style! At the Lamb Inn you will not only be spoilt with a fine place to relax and stay but also fine dining, from local ingredients. It saves you the energy of looking for other options when you can just go downstairs and wait to be served by the very welcoming staff.
Bourton-on-the-Water is located around 15 minutes drive from Stow-on-the-Wold, and 5 minutes from Lower Slaughter and Upper Slaughter. You can also walk from Lower Slaughter on the shore of the river all the way to Bourton.
This makes it the perfect place to visit and also to stay overnight when visiting the Cotswolds. You could have breakfast and spend a couple of hours here, have a quiet lunch at Lower Slaughter and spend the afternoon in Stow. I can’t imagine a better way to spend a day in the Cotswolds.
We love meeting people from all over the world and introducing you to some of our favorite places in Cotswolds. We know a thing or two about this region and we can help you capture some sweet memories!
Did you know we share all of our favorite locations in the Cotswolds that you can visit or take some photos at? We highly recommend you check our photography blog for more hidden gems or other popular spots in the Cotswolds!
GET IN TOUCH soon, as we get very busy during the peak season!
Can’t wait to meet you in the Cotswolds!
This article contains a few affiliate links meaning, at NO additional cost to you, I can earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase of any of the products. We would only recommend things we trust and have seen work at other events.
You can book your stay right now by searching for available locations during the period of time you’re in the area.
DON’T FORGET TO PIN THIS SO YOU CAN SAVE IT FOR LATER!