Classic North Cotswolds Road Trip
Tick off the main tourist attractions in the Cotswolds
For the first time visitor to the Cotswolds, our classic North Cotswolds road trip is a great starting point. It begins in the old market town of Chipping Norton and then takes a gentle meander through some of the most iconic and historic landmarks in the Cotswolds as well as involving some of the most spectacular scenery.
Point your car in this direction and you’ll tick off Burford, famous for its high street filled with an unbroken line of Cotswold stone buildings, Stow-on-the-Wold, highest of all the Cotswold towns, and Bourton-on-the-Water, nicknamed the Venice of the Cotswolds. You’ll then continue on to the ancient wool trading town of Chipping Campden and the beautiful village of Broadway, before coming to a well-deserved halt in the medieval town of Winchcombe. With short driving distances, this route allows plenty of time to hop out of the car and stretch your legs for refreshments, photos, and of course, exploration.
Begin your drive in the ancient market town of Chipping Norton, known locally as ‘Chippy’. With mellow honey-hued buildings, this popular town is lively and vibrant and has played host to a local market since the 13th century. Fuel up for your journey at one of the many independent coffee shops and cafes and then hit the road.
11 miles / 20-minute drive
Leaving Chipping Norton behind, you will first come to the more recent addition to the Cotswolds – TV presenter-turned-famer Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat Farm Shop. Follow the road through the pretty Evenlode Valley to Burford. Fans of the infamous Mitford sisters should take a detour through nearby Swinbrook, where the girls grew up.
Burford is one of the most beautiful towns in the Cotswolds, with a sloping high street of stone buildings home to all manner of shops and stores, tumbling down to the medieval bridge over the River Windrush.
10 miles / 25-minute drive
Leave Burford on the A40 before turning off and following the road through the Barrington’s to Bourton-on-the-Water. This absolutely delightful village is known as the Venice of the Cotswolds, and when you see the low stone bridges crisscrossing the river, as it meanders through Bourton, you’ll understand why.
6 miles / 18-minute drive
As you head towards Stow-on-the-Wold, turn left towards the curiously named Slaughters. These delightful, charmingly unspoilt villages have remained unchanged since the start of the 1900s. Park the car and take a wander along the River Eye to the flour mill in Lower Slaughter, which is now a tiny museum, shop and tea room.
Stow-on-the-Wold is a natural and historic meeting point and the epitome of a Cotswold town. This is a great place to stop for lunch, perhaps in one of the many ancient coaching inns – one of which, the Porch House, is reputed to be the oldest in the country.
10 miles / 20-minute drive
From Stow, wend your way northwards through endless fields down into the pretty village of Blockley. Once the centre of the wool trade, this lovely village is now calm and peaceful. Follow the twists and turns of the road through Broad Campden, easily identified by the many beautiful, thatched cottages lining the road.
Chipping Campden is a real jewel in the Cotswolds. The stunning high street is lined with iconic Cotswold stone buildings and it’s the start (or end point depending on your view), for the Cotswold Way National Trail.
6 miles / 12-minute drive
When you leave Chipping Campden, make sure you head upwards out of the village to connect with Five Mile Drive, this, in turn, leads to Fish Hill. Before you make the steep descent down the Cotswold Escarpment take the turning for the Broadway Tower. This landmark can be seen from miles around and on a clear day you’ll be able to see as far as the Black Mountains in Wales. Retrace your drive back to the main road and enjoy the views as you make your way around the hairpin bends of Fish Hill into Broadway.
Broadway is justifiably lauded as a Cotswold beauty spot and a wander along its picture-postcard wide main street, lined with honey-hued buildings, will show you why. There is an abundance of independent shops, café’s, restaurants, and antique shops to explore.
9 miles / 18-minute drive
Depending on how much time you have you can leave Broadway towards Snowshill and then go cross country through the narrow lanes, edged by Cotswold stone walls, to Ford. You are deep in horse-racing country here, then head down Sudeley Hill into Winchcombe. Alternatively, take a little detour towards Stanton for a drink at the Mount at Stanton, the views from the terrace are just stunning. From here it’s a short drive into Winchcombe.