Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Cotswolds are nestled in the South of England. Known for their rolling hills and historic attractions, The Cotswolds draw visitors from across the country year after year. If you’re looking for the perfect staycation destination, look no further than this gorgeous region. There’s always something to keep you amazed – even during the winter months.
The Cotswolds are split between six different regions, so getting around can be quite tricky. The roads tend to wind around the hills, so you’ll need to make sure you plan well in advance to avoid getting lost. It’s a popular destination too, so researching where to stay in The Cotswolds shouldn’t take too long.
That being said, we’ve decided to make it even easier for you! We’ve combined our personal experience with advice from locals and travel experts to bring you the lowdown on the five best places to stay in The Cotswolds. Whether you’re looking for family fun, a scenic hideaway, or unique historic attractions, we’ve got you covered.
So, let’s dive right in!
- Where to Stay in The Cotswolds
- The Cotswolds Neighborhood Guide
- Top 5 Places to Stay in The Cotswolds
- #1 Cheltenham – Best Place to Stay in The Cotswolds for your First Time
- #2 Gloucester – Where to Stay in The Cotswolds on a Budget
- #3 Stroud – Romantic Destination in The Cotswolds for Couples
- #4 Broadway – Best Area in The Cotswolds for Families
- #5 Cirencester – Fascinating Town in The Cotswolds with Roman History
- Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in The Cotswolds
In a rush to find accommodation for your trip? The three accommodations below are our absolute favorite places in the Cotswolds. If you’re looking for a more specific neighborhood, keep scrolling and you’ll find the perfect home for you!
Renovated Gem in The Cotswolds – Chic Mews
Airbnb Plus properties are hand-selected for their stylish interiors, above-and-beyond guest service, and unbeatable locations! This stunning mews house is a great example. Mews are former horse stables that have since been converted into living spaces. With bright interiors and a peaceful atmosphere, this apartment is perfect for a countryside getaway. It’s also only a short walk from the main town centre attractions in Cheltenham.
Boutique Hostel in The Cotswolds – The Barrel Store at YHA Cotswold
There aren’t any hostels in the Cotswolds – at least not in the sense you might be used to – but this hotel run by YHA is specifically designed for backpackers. In the heart of Cirencester, you’ll only be a stone’s throw from the historic Roman attractions in the town. Most rooms come with en-suites, giving you a little bit more privacy. All of this at a very favourable rate for guests!
Quaint Hotel in The Cotswolds – The Old Lodge
Nestled in the outskirts of Stroud, this charming four-star hotel gives you gorgeous views of the Five Valleys! The eponymous walk is also just outside the hotel, making this a great option for hikers and adventure travellers. It offers a spacious garden where you can mingle with other guests over beer, as well as a complimentary hot breakfast every morning.
Cheltenham is right in the heart of the Cotswolds – and as the largest town, is a major hub for tourists visiting the region. Best known for its many events throughout the year, Cheltenham is full of life.
Gloucester is located right next to Cheltenham and is the only city in the region! For this reason, it is easily the best destination for budget travellers.
Heading deeper into the Cotswolds, Stroud is the place to be if scenery is your main concern. The gorgeous Five Valleys completely encircle the village, giving you mesmerising views for as far as the eyes can see.
Right in the north of the region, Broadway is a sleepy little gateway to the Cotswolds. For families, this quiet town offers some fantastic accommodation options with gorgeous scenery.
The West Country is packed with Roman Heritage – and nowhere is that more apparent than Cirencester! This ancient town still houses many monuments from the era, giving you a fascinating insight into this turbulent period of English history.
Top 5 Places to Stay in The Cotswolds
The Cotswolds is quite a small area in the heart of the South of England, and have become really popular among those travelling in the UK. If you’re coming by car, we recommend choosing somewhere as a base and taking day trips to all the towns mentioned. It’s a surprisingly diverse destination, so they all showcase completely different sides of the region.
If it’s your first time in the Cotswolds, Cheltenham is a great place to start as it’s well connected to the most popular areas. As the largest town, it is also home to some great shopping destinations. The largest tourism offices are here, so you’ll be able to get some great advice.
Gloucester is the only city in the Cotswolds. Despite being smaller than Cheltenham it has the largest population, meaning you won’t be short of things to do. The Cotswolds are notoriously expensive, but Gloucester has its fair share of budget-friendly accommodation and dining options.
Stroud is just south of Gloucester. This small town was once the centre of industry in the area, making it a great historic destination. It’s surrounded by the Five Valleys, so it’s often regarded as the most beautiful part of the region and a perfect spot for a romantic getaway.
No trip to the Cotswolds is complete without a visit to Cirencester. This town dates back to the Roman era (as do most towns that end in -cester), and this influence can still be seen today. For this reason, we recommend visiting Cirencester, even if you choose to stay elsewhere.
Broadway is up in the north of The Cotswolds. This charming little village is known for its Victorian Architecture, showing off another facet of Cotswolds history. Families will find some great accommodation in this area – especially if you’re willing to splurge a little.
Still not sure? Don’t worry, we’ve got more information about each town below – plus our top accommodation and activity picks for each.
Cheltenham is right in the heart of the Cotswolds, and is a major hub for tourists visiting the region. Cheltenham is full of life, and is probably best known for all the events it puts on throughout the year. The colourful streets date back to the 1700s, and simply ooze classic English countryside charm.
Cheltenham is also a spa town, so has its own fair share of historical attractions. For first-time visitors, Cheltenham is one of the best-connected parts of the Cotswolds. This makes it a great base to travel from – especially if you’re relying on public transport.
Stylish Flat in Cheltenham: Chic Mews
This laid-back space is the perfect spot to unwind after a long day of exploring the Cotswolds! The Everyman Theatre and Cheltenham Town Hall are both within walking distance, as well as a number of local pubs and restaurants. Despite the central location, the hidden mews street has a calm and peaceful atmosphere. We love the spacious interiors and calming décor throughout this flat.
Updated Cottage in Cheltenham: Detached Coach House
Cheltenham is packed with modern conversions! This detached cottage was once a coach house, and it has been beautifully restored. The exterior pays homage to the building’s history, while the modern interiors create a comfortable and stylish space. It’s on the outskirts of Cheltenham, meaning you’ll have quick access to the more rural attractions in the area. What’s not to love?
Luxurious Country House in Cheltenham: Detmore House
The ultimate upgrade, this five-star country house is perfect for those ready to splurge on a luxurious getaway. Also located on the outskirts, Detmore House has an extensive private garden where you can enjoy your own slice of the English countryside. They offer a freshly prepared Full English brekky every morning, and some rooms even have their own private balconies.
Things to See and Do in Cheltenham:
- Fragrant Sri Lankan cuisine likely isn’t the first thing you think of when you imagine The Cotswolds, but this cookery experience is here to show you its impact on the region.
- Pittville Pump Room is the historic centre of the town – test the spa waters for yourself or check out one of their many concerts.
- The Promenade and Montpellier Street are the two main shopping streets in the area, with trees lining the way to create a romantic vibe.
- The town is full of cool restaurants. The Daffodil is one of the most unique, and is contained within a converted art-deco cinema
#2 Gloucester – Where to Stay in The Cotswolds on a Budget
Gloucester is located right next to Cheltenham, and is the only city in the region. For this reason, it is easily the best destination for budget travellers. You’ll still have to guard your funds carefully, but with some affordable dining and accommodation options, it will certainly be a bit easier here. Gloucester also has great public transport links.
Despite being a city, Gloucester has managed to maintain an independent spirit that makes it stand out from other parts of the country. The chain shops are few and far between, with local boutiques taking centre stage. Even if you’re not on a budget, Gloucester would be a great option.
Quirky Tiny House in Gloucester: The Garden House
On a strict budget? Look no further than this one-person tiny house! This is the perfect option for solo travellers and backpackers heading to the Cotswolds. This small annexe is part of a larger property, but is fully self-contained and comes with a private entrance. The Quays Shopping Outlet is only a short walk away, as well as the main bus station connecting you to the rest of the region.
Backpacker Friendly Hotel in Gloucester: Central Hotel Gloucester
While there aren’t any hostels in Gloucester, this hotel is a fantastic option for backpackers heading to the Cotswolds! Rooms are super affordable and comfortable, and you’ll have the added benefit of your own private space. It also has large social spaces, so you won’t miss out on the chance to mingle with other travellers. The railway station is a four-minute walk away – perfect for travelling further afield.
Affordable Hotel in Gloucester: The Mulberry House
Another budget-friendly hotel, the Mulberry House gives you a bit of an upgrade without breaking the bank. It’s a little bit further out, but you’re only a short walk from the Kingsholm Stadium, and a short bus journey from the railway station. A complimentary hot breakfast is included in the morning, and the rooms have a traditional vibe.
Things to See and Do in Gloucester:
- Budget travellers rejoice at this super affordable history walk through Gloucester that details some of the hidden secrets of the city.
- On the other end of the scale, this stained-glass workshop is definitely a bit of a splurge, but totally worth it for those keen to get their creative juices flowing.
- Gloucester Antiques Centre, in the heart of the city, is a must-visit for shopaholics ready to discover fascinating antiques and knick-knacks.
- Greek on the Docks is a firm favourite with locals looking for laid-back vibes, an affordable menu, and stunning views.
#3 Stroud – Romantic Destination in The Cotswolds for Couples
Heading deeper into the Cotswolds, Stroud is the place to be if scenery is what you’re after. The gorgeous Five Valleys completely encircle the village, giving you mesmerising views for as far as the eyes can see. This makes it an excellent choice for couples looking for a romantic getaway in the countryside.
The town itself is pretty small, but the shopping street has a few quirky boutiques and restaurants. The ambience is infectious, and you’ll never want to leave. It’s also a great place for those interested in staying in historic conversions.
Romantic Cottage in Stroud: Butterrow Gate
Nestled in the heart of Stroud, Butterrow Gate is a Grade II listed building that has recently been renovated. The rustic exterior harks back to the building’s history, while the interiors are a careful blend of classic design and contemporary comfort. The farmers’ market is right on your doorstep, keeping you in the heart of the community. It’s also close to the Five Valleys Walk!
Converted Barn near Stroud: Slad Valley
If modern living is more your thing, you need to make a beeline for this stunning barn conversion! It’s actually located outside of Stroud in Slad Valley – one of the Five Valleys that make up the most scenic section of the Cotswolds. The Laurie Lee Wildlife Way runs right by the property, connecting you with two Gloucester Wildlife Trust reserves.
Gorgeous Hotel in Stroud: The Old Lodge
This hotel is on the outskirts of Stroud, but close enough to the town centre that you can reach most attractions on foot. The Five Valleys Walk runs right past the lodge, making this a favourite for hikers. Our top feature is the massive garden, which also has some seating where you can chill out with a beer or two in the evening.
Things to See and Do in Stroud:
- Interested in wildlife? The Cotswold Reindeer Herd run an experience where you can learn about the animals and meet them in person.
- Get back to basics with this incredible woodsman experience with a local expert deep in the woods of the Cotswolds.
- The Five Valleys Walk completely circles the town – the route itself is used as a charity walk every year, but tourists can also follow it to enjoy the scenery.
- If you’re looking for the quintessential English pub, look no further than the Golden Fleece – a firm favourite with locals thanks to the cosy vibe.
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#4 Broadway – Best Area in The Cotswolds for Families
Right in the north of the region, Broadway is a sleepy little gateway to the Cotswolds. For families, this quiet town offers some fantastic accommodation options with gorgeous scenery. Nicknamed the “Show Village of England,” it’s a picture-perfect representation of English heritage and historic architecture.
Broadway can get a little pricey, but if you’re looking to splurge on an easy-going staycation, then it’s worth every penny. The neighbouring Bourton-on-the-Water (nicknamed ‘The Venice of the Cotswolds’) is also a great family destination, so be sure to take a day trip when you’re here.
Charming Cottage in Broadway: Orchard Cottage
The timber frame and thatched roof of Orchard Cottage takes you right back to Ye Olde England. It’s right on Broadway High Street, so you’ll have quick access to all of the restaurants, pubs and boutique stores. Inside, you will find contemporary interior design that perfectly complements the classic architectural features. We love the log burner – perfect for those looking for a cosy winter getaway.
Historic Manor near Broadway: The Manor Villas
Airbnb Luxe goes one step beyond the Plus range and offers a whole suite of additional services as part of a luxurious package! This particular villa comes with driver, concierge, and spa services, among others. The stunning interiors use rustic hardwood beams to create a period feel, with elegant furnishings and modern comforts included. It’s a little bit outside Broadway, but as it sleeps up to 12 guests, it’s great for large families.
Unique Hotel in Broadway: The Lygon Arms
Right in the heart of the village, the Lygon Arms is a local pub that has been serving the community for 500 years! It is also a stunning four-star hotel, with luxurious extras including a wine bar and an indoor pool. The Bar & Grill offers a complimentary hot breakfast for guests every morning. You can also enjoy live music a couple of nights a week.
Things to See and Do in Broadway:
- Want to experience the Cotswolds without dealing with the stresses of organising it yourself? Let this experienced tour guide tailor a day-long itinerary for you.
- While we love this autumn hand tied bouquet workshop, the host also runs plenty of other floral experiences that are worth checking out.
- Broadway Tower is a massive Victorian monument that was once the home of famous designer William Morris.
- If you’re looking to curb your spending a little, Russell’s is an excellent restaurant that won’t break the bank.
#5 Cirencester – Fascinating Town in The Cotswolds with Roman History
The West Country is packed with Roman Heritage – and nowhere is that more apparent than Cirencester! This ancient town still houses many monuments from the era, giving you a fascinating insight into this turbulent period of English history. It’s small and easy to get around, so it would also make a great day trip.
Beyond the Roman history, Cirencester has a laid-back atmosphere and is known for its friendly locals. The stunning scenery surrounding the town can be spotted from the many viewpoints on offer, so make sure to bring your camera!
If you want to explore more Roman history, we recommend visiting Bath down in the south of The Cotswolds for its Roman Baths and Spa.
Rustic Villa in Cirencester: Castle Mews
This gorgeous mews house is surprisingly affordable and is a fantastic option for couples looking for a romantic retreat in the historic heart of the Cotswolds. Although it’s in the town centre, it’s located down a gated pathway, giving it a calm and peaceful atmosphere. Nevertheless, you’ll find most historical attractions within walking distance – as well as some delightful pubs.
Friendly Hostel in Cirencester: The Barrel Store at YHA Cotswold
If you’re planning a trip to the Cotswolds on a super strict budget, then you absolutely must consider the Barrel Store! Operated by YHA, this hotel is run by backpackers for backpackers. The only difference from a typical hostel is that you will get your own private room, most of which also have private en-suites. We also love the locally crafted furnishings, adding a touch of class.
Historic Hotel in Cirencester: The Fleece at Cirencester
This extravagant five-star hotel is perfect for those looking to splurge! The spacious rooms combine modern interior design with classic detailing to create a cosy, heritage vibe. It’s close to the bus station, so you’ll have quick access to the best attractions in the Cotswolds. We love the on-site restaurant, which offers a complimentary breakfast every morning and international cuisine in the evenings.
Things to See and Do in Cirencester:
- Looking for a unique culinary experience? Head out to nearby Calcot, where you can experience a tasting menu that uses ingredients from the local area.
- The Roman Amphitheatre is on the outskirts of the modern town – it is an excellent photo spot, especially in the winter.
- New Brewery Arts is the local creative centre offering workshops, galleries and events throughout the year.
- Head down to Castle Street to sample the many restaurants on offer – we love Malt & Anchor in particular.
Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in The Cotswolds
The Cotswolds are packed with the classic English charm that will take you back to quieter times. The rolling hills create a relaxing backdrop – perfect for a staycation to get away from the stresses of life. In the towns, you will also find endless historical attractions dating all the way back to the Roman era.
If we had to pick one place as our favourite, we would have to go with Stroud! Right in the heart of The Cotswolds, it is well connected to everywhere else mentioned in this guide. The Five Valleys scenery creates a romantic backdrop, while the shops and restaurants have a laid-back, local vibe.
That being said, everywhere mentioned in this guide is worth visiting, so why not embark on a Cotswolds Road Trip! If you don’t have a car with you, there’s always public transport available. Note it can get a little pricey, but even then it only takes just over an hour to get from one end to the other.
We hope this guide has helped you narrow down your options on where to stay in The Cotswolds!
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
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