Famous for quintessentially English market towns and villages built from honey-coloured stone, the Cotswolds are a range of gently rolling hills and the largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales a perfect base for walkers and cyclists. Buses from Birmingham or Bristol start at $7 or from London Heathrow Airport from $20. Trains from $13 from Bristol, or $33 from Birmingham, $46 from Heathrow. Private rides from $99.
The Cotswolds Key Information
is a large region in England including the cities, towns, and villages of Gloucester, Cheltenham, Cirencester, Stroud, and Chippenham. The largest cities are mainly located on the outskirts of the Cotswolds' AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, an official designation for landscapes with great value).
You will find within the Cotswolds many small villages, such as Bourton-on-the-Water, renowned for being the "Venice of the Cotswolds".
The tricky part
Tipping is always a question mark when going abroad. Although it is not required in the UK, it's always appreciated if the service provided was great! A good tip ranges from 10 to 15 percent of the price.
Public transportation is quite limited in the Cotswolds and other means of transportation will be preferred in order to get the best out of the region.
The left side of the road is used when driving cars in the UK, don't forget about it!
Getting to The Cotswolds
When it comes to roads, the different parts of the Cotswolds are very well connected to each other as well as to the rest of the country. The M4 highway from London in the East or Cardiff in the West, and the M5 highway from Birmingham in the North and Bristol in the South will get you to the Cotswolds the fastest and the easiest.
The closest airport to the Cotswolds are Birmingham Airport (BHX) and Bristol Airport (BRS), which are about 1 hour to 1 hour and a half away from the region. From London, Heathrow International Airport (LHR) is the closest to the area and offers the best routes to access it. They are modern multi-modal hubs with train stations conveniently located within their infrastructure, allowing you to quickly reach all nearby town and cities.
The regional airport of Bristol (BRS) is also an option. While it is technically the closest to the Cotswolds, flights will be more sparsely available given its smaller size (this is especially true for international flights).
With important train stations located in Cam and Dursley, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Kemble Moreton-in-Marsh, Stonehouse, Stroud, and Ashchurch, The Cotswolds are well connected to the rest of England and the UK by its railway network.
From London, the Paddington train station covers the majority of the Cotswolds. Otherwise, London Marylebone station will give you access to Banbury, in the Northeast of the Cotswolds.
The train stations in Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and Exeter will also let you arrive in the Cotswolds quickly.
In the Cotswolds, the main bus stations in the Cotswolds are Cheltenham, Gloucester, and Stroud. From London, the Victoria Coach station will be the main station for going to the Cotswolds, the airport in Heathrow also offer several journeys directly to the Cotswolds.
Buses also make the journey to the Cotswolds from most of the other cities and towns of the UK, including but not limited to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Leeds, Exeter, etc.
The Frugal Option
From London (Victoria bus station):
- To Bath $9.25 (£7)
- To Cheltenham $10.50 (£8)
- To Gloucester $8 (£6)
From London (Heathrow):
- To Bath $20 (£15)
- To Cheltenham $24 (£18)
- To Gloucester $24 (£18)
- To Bath, there were no direct connections.
- To Cheltenham $6.60 (£5)
- To Gloucester $10.50 (£8)
- To Bath $6.60 (£5)
- To Cheltenham $10.50 (£8)
- To Gloucester $10.50 (£8)
- To Bath $20 (£15). This is an 11-hour ride.
- To Cheltenham $13.25 (£10). This is a 4:30-hour ride.
- To Gloucester $17.25 (£13). This is a 4:30-hour ride.
- To Bath $26.50 (£20) (6h ride)
- To Cheltenham no connection
- To Gloucester $26.50 (£20) (6h ride)
- To Bath $26.50 (£20). This is a 3-hour ride serviced once a day.
- To Cheltenham $26.50 (£20). This is a 4:30-hour ride serviced once to twice a day.
- To Gloucester $26.50 (£20). This is a 6:10-hour ride serviced once a day.
Moreton-in-Marsh, by Oxford, is the main station in the North, Stroud is the main station in the center, by Kemble, and Bath is the main station in the South, by Chippenham.
- From London (Heathrow), the fare starts at $46 (£35) to reach Bath, $40 (£30) to reach Stroud and $53 (£40) to reach Moreton. B
- From Birmingham Airport, the fare starts at $79 (£60) to reach Bath, $40 (£30) to reach Stroud and $33 (£25) to reach Moreton.
From Bristol Airport, the fare starts at $13.21 (£10) to reach Bath, $26.50 (£20) to reach Stroud and $66 (£50) to reach Moreton (which is only sparsely available).
From Manchester the fare starts at $66 (£50) to reach Bath (with a connection in Newport or 2 in Birmingham and Bristol), $53 (£40) to reach Stroud (with 2 connections in Birmingham and Cheltenham), $90 (£70) to reach Moreton (with a connection in Oxford).
From Liverpool, the fare starts at $117 (£90) to reach Bath (with 2 connections in Birmingham and Bristol), $97 (£75) to reach Stroud (with 2 connections in Birmingham and Cheltenham), $90 (£70) to reach Moreton (with 2 connections in Smethwick/Birmingham).
From Exeter, the fare starts at $20 (£15) to reach Bath (with a connection in Bristol/Westbury), $46 (£35) to reach Stroud (with a connection in Cheltenham or 2 in Bristol and Swindon), $40 (£30) to reach Moreton (with a connection in Reading).
Trains are available every hour.
Bear in mind, the sooner you book your train ticket, the better price you will find. Estimations above are for a ticket purchased one month in advance which is sufficient advance notice to get a fair deal.
Private Transfer Options
It is possible to prebook a private driver to take you to your destination at The Cotswolds for a comfortable ride.
Prebooked through Mozio's local partners, Book Taxi Group, Parkers Travel Solution, TransferHub Ltd, Spoton Cars, A1 Cars Heathrow and providing All Inclusive Service, a professional driver will wait for you at the arrivals hall or previously designated area holding a sign with your name on it.
To Moreton-in-Marsh in the north of the Cotswolds
From prices start at $99 (£75) for a private sedan for up to four passengers, $112 (£85) for a private van for up to eight passengers, $159 (£120) for a private SUV , and $593 (£449) for a private bus for up to fourteen passengers.
To Stroud in the center of the Cotswolds
From prices start at $138 (£105) for a private sedan for up to four passengers, $194 (£147) for a private van for up to eight passengers, and $813 (£616) for a private bus for up to fourteen passengers.
To Bath in the south of the Cotswolds
From prices start at $302.50 (£229) for a private sedan for up to four passengers, $363.30 (£275) for a private van for up to eight passengers, and $1084 (£820) for a private bus for up to fourteen passengers.
The Mozio Recommendation
To reach the Cotswolds, we recommend first taking a train or bus to a major town in or nearby the Cotswolds, and then using the services of a taxi company, hailing an Uber, or prebooking a private driver in advance. This will allow you to get there without spending too much and arriving to your lodging from the bus or train station as well. Bear in mind, public transportation is scarce, so taxis and private drivers may be the best choice for navigating the region.
Moving AROUND The Cotswolds
Public transportation is very limited in the Cotswold region. With that in mind, the easiest way to get around will be renting a car or resorting to taxis or private transfers. Uber is also available in the region.
Relying on the sparsely available buses will severely limit your visit of the Cotswolds, and it is as such not recommended to plan on using them.
Bike renting should be considered as an option and many shops operate in the region, for a fair price.
By Train: Moving around in the Cotswolds:
- From Moreton-In-Marsh, the fare starts at $40 (£30) to reach Stroud.
- From Moreton-In-Marsh, the fare starts at $53 (£40) to reach Bath.
- From Bath, the fare starts at $33 (£25) to reach Stroud.
The Frugal Option
Bikes are a widely popular choice for visiting the area and enjoying the views at the same time. With the Cotswolds geography being predominantly hills (but not often mountains), the effort needed is not much even for those unaccustomed to biking.
- in Chipping Norton.
- located at Cheltenham Spa Railway Station.
- bike hire located in Northleach Gloucestershire.
Daily rentals go from $24 (£18) to $33 (£25) for standard bikes, $13.21 (£10) to $26.50 (£20) for children bikes, and $46 (£35) to $66 (£50) for electric bikes.
Taxis, private transfers, and car renting tend to be a middle-of-the-road option for moving around as well since The Cotswolds are a rural area and are most easily, comfortably, and quickly traveled across by taxi or by car.
Some of the companies operating in the area are:
- offer rides with a £10 minimum fare. You will find example fares for different popular routes on their website, such as Moreton-in-Marsh to Cheltenham Spa (£55) or Bourton-on-the-water to Chipping Campden (£30). You can also call them directly by dialing (0044) 07895 575 795.
- offer rides for a £2 per mile as well as a minimum charge of £10. Fares range from £35 to Witney to £160 to London central. You can also contact them directly by phone by dialing (0044) 07801 25 55 54.
- offer more tailored taxi services, as well as tours starting at £140. You can also contact them by phone by dialing (0044) 07538 184 691.
Are Rideshare & TaxiApps Readily Available In The Cotswolds?
Car Rental Options
The following documentation will be requested for you to rent a car:
- Driver's Licence
- International Driving Permit
- Proof of Address
Proof of travel to the UK.
You will also be asked to hire an insurance policy.
Even if there is an age requirement asking that renters be above the age of 17, car rental companies may impose a higher age limit (above 20 to 25 years old in some cases) for renting a vehicle. Extra fees are charged for younger drivers and drivers exceeding the age of 70 years.
No car rental companies operate in the smaller villages in the Cotswolds, it is recommended to visit the offices in the bigger cities and at airports instead.
Day Trips Around The Cotswolds
The campus for the famous Oxford University is about 50 kilometers away from the center of the Cotswolds and is easily accessible by car, bus, and train.
By car, the main road to get to the city in the North are the A44 from Moreton-in-Marsh and the A40 from Cheltenham, and A420 via the M4 from the South.
The bus station in Oxford is the Gloucester Green station but direct buses are not available to this location from the Cotswolds.
The train station is only a few hundred meters away from the campus.
- From Moreton-In-Marsh, the fare starts at $13.21 (£10).
- From Stroud, the fare starts at $17.10 (£13).
- From Bath, the fare starts at $26.50 (£20).
Stratford-upon-Avon is known for being the birthplace of the very famous William Shakespeare and is home to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre. It is also a pretty town to visit with a very laid-back atmosphere!
By car you can access it via the A46 road in the South-West (from Cheltenham), the A429 road in the center / eastern part of the region (going right through the middle of the Cotswolds).
If coming by train, the Stratford-upon-Avon station is very conveniently located in the middle of the town and is somewhat busy. Connections may be required.
- From Moreton, there are several trains departing every hour with fares starting at $52 (£40) for the 2 hour trip.
- From Stroud, fares start at $45 (£35) for the 3 and a half hour trip.
- From Bath, fares start at $90 (£70).
, located in North Wessex Downs, is famous for being the setting for the renowned TV series Downton Abbey. The castle was originally built in 1679 and rebuilt in the 1840s, in a Jacobethan architectural style.
Once you arrive to Newbury, you will need to get in a taxi as no public transportation connects the town of Newbury to the castle. You will need to book your return trip too as taxis are not allowed on the castle grounds. Taxi companies that operate there are:
- +44 01635 33333
- +44 01635 821444
- +44 01635 800 990
- +44 020 8590 3621 or +44 07970 911 223
- 01635 31212
- Apex Cars (Andover) +44 01264 355555, +44 01264 356689
By car, it is most quickly accessible via the M4 route from the South of the Cotswolds (from Bath and Bristol), the A417, A419 and M4 from the center (from Gloucester/Cheltenham), and the A44 and A34 from the North (from Moreton-in-Marsh).
The closest train station to the Highclere Castle is Newbury train station, located about 8 kilometers away (5 miles). To get there:
- From Moreton with a 2 hour trip fares start at £35.
- From Stroud, with a 1:30 hour trip fares start at £15.
From Bath, with a 1:30 hour trip fares start at £10.
A connection may be required for these trains.
Stonehenge is a world famous prehistoric monument located in the region of Wiltshire, South of the Cotswolds (about 20km away from Bath). Tickets to access the site can be bought from with rates from £21.50 for 1 adult (18+), discounted fares are available for childs and families as well..
By car, it is accessed via the A36 route and the B390 from the South of the Cotswolds (from Bath and Bristol), the A419; A346 and A345 from the center (from Cheltenham / Gloucester, Stroud and Cirencester), and A361; A419; A346 and A345 form the North-eastern part (from Moreton-in-Marsh, Chipping Campden).
The nearest town is Salisbury and some bus lines connect it to the Cotswolds.
The Salisbury station is the closest train station to Stonehenge, about 14km away (9 miles):
- From Moreton, trains are available hourly with fares starting at £45 for the 2 and a half hour ride.
- From Stroud, trains are available hourly with fares starting at £15 for the 2 hour ride.
From Bath, several trains are available hourly with fares from £10 for the 1 hour ride.
Once you have arrived to Salisbury, the will let you reach Stonehenge. The earliest bus departs from the Salisbury rail station at 10am and the last one at 2pm. A bus-only round-trip ticket (without the tour) costs £16.