How to see the Cotswolds without a car

This tour was gifted by Tourist England

The Cotswolds is hands down one of the most beautiful parts of the UK. Picture perfect villages, babbling brooks and cottages that are worthy of starring in a rom com. The only problem with the Cotswolds is that public transport is essentially non-existent there, and given that the main activity is hopping from village to village it poses quite a quandary. Without a car, you are pretty much locked out of the area. Tourist England offered me the pick of one of their tours, so I of course chose the Cotswolds – the place that I would have no other way of seeing without grand theft auto.

Tours in general make my skin itch. I don’t follow instructions well at the best of times, and the rebel in me just can’t deal with conforming to a group. But given that this was my only option for seeing the Cotswolds, and not only that but it would allow me to see four villages in a day, it was time for me to suck it up.

The fear was real when I saw the 50 seater tour bus. I instantly felt like the type of tourist that I hate. But in for a penny, there was nothing for it but to sit down (at the back, because I’m a cool kid) and enjoy the ride. The Cotswolds is quite a drive from London, between 2.5hours and 4hours depending on traffic. But I was prepped, I had enough coffee (read: 3 shots minimum) and podcasts to keep me going.

The tour was going to take us to four of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds; Burford, Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water & Stow-on-the-Wold. The first stop was Burford where most of my tour fears were assuaged, as soon as the bus stopped I wandered off by myself to find a coffee. Yes, even in the Cotswolds I managed to find good coffee (4th shot of the day for those playing at home). I also managed to find a crystal shop in every village, yes every village. Turns out if you want rose quarts but don’t want to pay London prices then this is the tour for you.

At every village I wandered off and did my own thing, which to be honest was mostly taking photos and eating snacks. The only village I went to an actual tourist attraction in was Bourton-on-the-Water (nicknamed the Venice of the Cotswolds) where I went to see the Model Village, an exact replica of the village in miniature form. There was even a miniature Model Village in the place of the real model village. It was trippy.

The only downside of the tour for me was lunch which wasn’t the best quality. I just gulped it down and then spent the time wandering through a bluebell field next to a babbling brook – idyllic.

The villages are absolutely worth a visit, especially if you can time it for a sunny day. If you are car-less and in need of a day trip then this tour ticks all the boxes.


Author: runawaykiwi