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Cycling in the Cotswolds: Our Top Three Routes

The Cotswolds is home to some of the most unspoilt historic towns and villages in the UK. It’s rolling hills and far reaching meadows, honey coloured cottages and grand stately homes, are just a few reasons why it holds an official title of Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

With so many towns and villages to explore and a vast selection of bridleways and quiet country lanes, it’s a perfect destination for cyclists!

Most of the cycle routes incorporate short stretches of road and a few inclines to negotiate along the way. However on the whole, the hills tend to be relatively gentle and are nearly always rewarded by a stunning view of the surrounding countryside, or a superb pub ready to serve a hearty meal and a thirst quenching drink!

Historical market towns such as Cirencester, Tetbury, Stroud and Tewkesbury offer excellent shopping with an abundance of independent stores and flourishing markets, stocked with tasty local produce.

With 800 square miles of stunning countryside across five counties there is so much to choose from! Here’s a round up of our three favourites routes but there are plenty more destinations that can be found via

1. Burford

Starting in Burford, the 33 mile cycle route winds through charming Cotswold hamlets, picturesque country roads and along the stunning Windrush Valley.

Burford itself is the perfect start and end point. Often referred to as the 'gateway' to the Cotswolds, it has a bustling high street which sweeps downhill towards the River Windrush and is lined with ancient houses and a fantastic range of shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs.

There are plenty of attractions to stop off and enjoy along the way; Minster Lovell Hall, Ensham Park, North Leigh Roman Villa, Blenheim Palace and Charlbury Museum.

Grab a backpack and picnic down at the Minster Lovell Hall ruins. It’s the perfect spot to sit on the grassy banks of the river, especially in summer. Don’t forget to pack your swimmers for a spot of outdoor swimming!

If you’d like more details, with maps and information of places to stop en route, then check out this handy guide: 

2. Bourton

This 26 mile route offers the perfect opportunity to visit one of the most popular villages in the Cotswolds, Bourton-on-the Water.

Meander your way along one of the glorious quiet country lanes, through the beautiful village of Upper Slaughter to the Cotswolds Farm Park, home to herds of British rare breed farm animals and a great example of local conservation.

Come rain or shine, the scenery is stunning and even on a wet day, you can always cover up your bike and shelter in one of the many pubs for a pit stop and pint. Plus there’s also the Donnington Brewery if you’re looking for a more immersive experience!

The river Windrush flows straight through the town of Bourton itself and the low bridges and pretty stone houses create a beautiful and quintessentially Cotswolds scene.

For more details, with maps and information of places to stop en route, then check out this handy guide:

3. Winchcombe

On the edge of the Cotswolds above the River Osbourne sits the market town of Winchcombe. The honey coloured stone buildings give the town a warm and welcoming feel, even on a cold winter’s day!

Park up your bike; and take a stroll along the high-street. There are plenty of shops, including boutique clothing, antique stores, cafes, restaurants and pubs, so a great start and end point to your journey.

The 28 mile cycle meanders through picturesque villages and past manor houses, ancient churches, museums and gardens…there is so much to explore!

Sudeley Castle is a ‘must see’ visit with its 1,000 years of royal history, stunning gardens and the highest gravity fountain in the world!

For more details, with maps and information of places to stop en route, then check out this handy guide:

Don’t forget the Cotswolds is super stylish, so in amongst the barber jackets and hunter wellies, make sure you’re bike is looking it’s best too! 

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