Most of us, at some time or another, have harboured a dream of living in the Cotswolds. From the rolling hills to the quintessentially British, chocolate-box cottages dotted along the River Windrush, it would be difficult not to be drawn in by its promises of a peaceful, cosy life in rural England.
Thankfully, it is perfectly possible to make that dream a reality. The Cotswolds spans a large area, and boasts countless slices of heaven for anyone willing to look for them.
Our best advice? Get to know the area – but don’t underestimate the years’ worth of expertise offered by established solicitors in Gloucestershire, who can help you navigate the local market and estate agents throughout the conveyancing process.
With that in mind, however, it’s always best to get started with a rough understanding of the local geography, so here are the ten best places to live in the Cotswolds…
No homage to the Cotswolds would be complete without paying heed to Cirencester, affectionately nicknamed the ‘capital’ of the Cotswolds.
Technically still a ‘village’ despite its size, Cirencester boasts a rich history, a bustling marketplace selling locally produced goods – all in the shadow of the medieval Parish Church of St. John the Baptist – as well as that striking pastiche of architectural styles that make traditional British villages such fascinating places to be.
The Spa town of Cheltenham is defined by its striking examples of Regency architecture, which loom elegantly over the town centre – and far into its outer reaches. This town is world-famous for its cultural festivals, from science to literature, jazz and poetry.
It has a wide range of great schools, colleges and, of course, the beautiful Park and Francis Close campuses of the University of Gloucestershire. What’s more, easy transport links to the major cities.
Earlier in 2021, the charming town of Stroud was voted the best place to live in the UK – and for good reason. Eclectic, well-placed and, of course, boasting the unbeatable Stroud Farmer’s Market every Saturday, it’s hard to imagine this town being pushed off its top spot anytime soon.
Positioned just above Stroud, and with a population more than six times smaller, Painswick represents a perfect pocket on the road connecting Stroud with Cheltenham. It offers a perfect example of the natural beauty of Cotswold stone – and yew trees, although you’ll probably only believe that one when you see it for yourself.
Of all the items on this list, Bourton-on-the-Water is possibly the number one area to look into if you want somewhere as-of-yet untouched by modern influences. Sitting on top of the River Windrush, this village is, understandably, a hard one to buy into – but more than worthwhile if the opportunity arises.
Nestled just above Stroud, the charming village of Bisley manages to pack a great deal of history into a relatively small space. From the freshwater wells, which are decorated each year, to the legend of the ‘Bisley Boy’ – who may or may not have held some pretty significant ties to King Henry VIII – this village is the perfect place to put down roots.
Chances are you would recognise Snowshill if you saw it – though, potentially, by another name. This hill is characterised by acres of lavender each summer – not to mention its views over the Severn Vale. Anyone looking to ‘get away from it all’ will be sure to feel the pull of Snowshill.
Despite the fact that Naunton boasts all of the most coveted features found in Bourton-on-the-Water and Painswick, this village sees a lot less traffic from tourists each Spring and Summer, making it a great choice if you’re looking for the quiet life. Think Cotswold stone, rickety walls and peaceful church bells ringing on a Sunday morning…
Famous for the fact that this village didn’t lose a single soldier during WWI, Upper Slaughter brings together everything we love about the cosy British village. Anyone who manages to snag one of the coveted properties in this area can look forward to muddy walks, roaring fireplaces and the peace of a sleepy pocket in the Cotswolds.
Sitting in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Tetbury’s significance stems back to Anglo-Saxon times, and boasts a rich history in the wool trade. Its gothic church of St Mary the Virgin and St Mary Magdalene represents a major draw for tourists, as does its yearly flower show.