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London to the Cotswolds: The Best of Tours, Excursions & Itineraries

Last Updated on 18th May 2021 by Sophie Nadeau

Want to visit the Cotswolds but are short on time? Well, luckily for you, it’s perfectly possible to visit this Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty as a day trip from London, the UK’s capital city! Here’s your guide to the best Cotswolds tours, itineraries, experiences, and itineraries from London to the Cotswolds…

15 Beautiful Cotswolds Villages & Towns You Must Visit! The Cotswolds is an area of outstanding natural beauty in England filled with charming streets, pretty architecture, and plenty of great eats.


Should you visit the Cotswolds as a day trip from London?

In an ideal world, it would be better to dedicate at least a long weekend to getting to know the Cotswolds as, if you are only able to visit for a few short hours, then you won’t be able to get the true Cotswold experience.

However, if you don’t have access to the car and want to pack plenty more into your travels, then taking a single day trip to Cotswolds is more than worth the journey time, if only to see the kind of charming villages that England is known for, as well as getting the opportunity to explore more of the UK outside of London!

Best Cotswolds Tours from London

There are countless tours and excursions you can book between London, Oxford, and the Cotswolds. Whether you’re looking for a historical excursion, a foodie experience, or a cultural day out, here’s your guide to the best of Cotswolds tours!

Oxford, Stratford, and Cotswolds: Day Trip from London

This full-day tour from London lasts for 10 hours and includes a visit to Shakespeare’s Birthplace (Stratford-upon-Avon), which is known for its many eateries and timber-framed houses, the chance to spy the beautiful buildings of Oxford, and a drive through the stunning Cotswolds. Check prices and availability here.

Oxford and Cotswolds Villages Day Trip from London

This 10-hour guided day trip from London includes a visit to the University City of Oxford, where there’s the chance to the Great Hall which inspired Harry Potter, as well as the breathtakingly beautiful villages of Bibury and Bampton (which was used to film many scenes from Downton Abbey). Check prices and availability here.

Self-Guided Tour to the Best of Harry Potter in Oxford: here are the very best filming locations in Oxford, England (Christ Church College, Bodleian Library, etc.)

Cotswolds Tour with Lunch

Incredibly well-reviewed, this 11-hour experience includes not only the chance to enjoy some of the prettiest towns in the Cotswolds, but also the opportunity to have a two-course lunch at the Swan Hotel. Other highlights of this day trip from London include a visit to Burford, Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Stow-on-the-Wold. Check prices and availability here.

Blenheim Palace, Downton Abbey Village & the Cotswolds

For those who are searching for a taste of the quaint and regal during a day excrusion from London, this Blenheim Palace and Downton Abbey filming locations visit is an absolute must. Packed with a visit to the Royal Residence, as well as a visit to Bampton (the Cotswold village where lots of Downton Abbey was filmed). Check prices and availability here.

Warwick Castle, Stratford, Oxford & Cotswolds Day Trip

Imposing and impressive, Warwick Castle is widely regarded to be one of the most beautiful castles in England. This full day tour from London to the Cotswolds includes a tour of Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall in Stratford-upon-Avon, a fast-track entrance to Warwick Castle, and the chance to enjoy scenic Cotswolds views, as well as the city of Oxford. Check prices and availability here.

Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon Locations: William Shakespeare places to see in Stratford medieval market town and its surrounds, West Midlands, England.

Stonehenge, Windsor Castle & Bath Tour

Though this excursion is more about big monuments and famous residences as opposed to the chocolate box villages that are so synonymous with the Cotswolds, this London day trip is an absolute must for all the history buffs out there.

Be amazed by the Royal Residence of Windsor Castle, see the prehistoric stones of Stonehenge, and experience the Roman Bath that transformed into a wealthy resort town during the Georgian period. Check prices and availability here.

Cornwall and Cotswolds: 5-Day Small-Group Tour

If you have a little more time than a day trip from London to the Cotswolds, then you might consider booking this 5-day visit to the Cotswolds and to Cornwall, the most South Westerly part of England.

Filled with castles and stunning scenery, this well-reviewed exploration of England includes the chance to sample plenty of local cuisines, as well as the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Doc Martin, Poldark, Sherlock Holmes, and even King Arthur. Check prices and availability here.

Doc Martin Filming Locations in Cornwall & Beyond (England filming locations). 14th century fishing village Port Isaac, Doyden Fortress, Altarnun, and more

Cotswolds Villages you can visit without a car as a day trip from London

While, of course, the best way to see many of the smaller and more remote Cotswolds villages is by car, this is not always possible! Instead, though, you’ll be pleased to know that there are still several Cotswold towns you can visit via train and get to within a couple of hours of London.

With this being said, if you truly want to make the most of your visit to Gloucestershire/ Oxfordshire, then you’ll want to book a guided tour or rent a vehicle so as to truly see everything! If you’re still planning on visiting the Cotswolds without a car, then you’ll likely want to book overnight accommodation in a Cotswold town. This way, you won’t be pressed for time and can enjoy your Cotswolds excursion at a leisurely pace…

A quick guide to the best things to do in Painswick, a beautiful market town in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, England (church, old inn, pub, bowling green)


Though not as cosy and quaint as some of the other Cotswolds villages that are indeed a little more remote, one of the easiest towns to visit via train is Moreton-in-Marsh. There are direct services between London and the town on a regular basis and these take around 1.5 hours each way. The main attractions of Moreton-in-Marsh include St David’s Church and Wellington Aviation Museum.



At just over an hour from London, Charlbury is undoubtedly one of the easiest Cotswolds towns to visit without a car. The direct route via train from London to this charming settlement doesn’t require any changes and once there, you’re free to explore the stunning streets and enjoy some local produce in one of Charlbury’s many cafés, pubs, and taverns.


Whether this market town is ‘truly’ part of the Cotswolds remains up for debate. However, if there is one thing that’s clear, is that Cheltenham is certainly worth your time! Best-known as being home to the famous ‘Cheltenham Ladies School,’ highlights of this town include relaxing in Montpellier Gardens and the Holst Birthplace Museum. London to Cheltenham takes just over two hours and the train line is direct, meaning no changes!

Cheltenham Cotswolds

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London to the Cotswolds: The Best of Tours, Excursions & Itineraries and day trips from London, England

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Wednesday 12th of June 2019

Love to be there. i"ll try to visit Cotswolds on my next trip. thanks for sharing.


Monday 3rd of June 2019

I love a good trip to the Cotswolds! Your photos are gorgeous and you capture it perfectly!


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