Cotswold Towns and Tea Rooms
Updated: Apr 12, 2021
Known to tourists as the Venice of the Cotswolds, Bourton’s charming stone buildings sit astride the River Windrush, which meanders gently through the village, topped by a series of pretty low bridges. A perfect spot for a picnic and paddle, there are plenty of places to get great ice cream and cakes.
We love Bakery on the Water– a family run bakery that makes its delicious breads and pastries on the premises from traditional recipes. And The Den– great for a bagged coffee and cake when you’re out for a stroll.
If you’re looking for laid-on entertainment, Bourton has plenty of choice: The Cotswold Motoring Museum, with its vintage cars and toy collection; Birdland, home to parrots, owls, king penguins and a tribe of supers-scary dinosaurs little ones will love; the Model Village, a quirky 1930s scale replica of Bourton; or pop into the Model Railway toy shop to browse its incredible collection of railway memorabilia and toys which kids of all ages will enjoy.
Stow on the Wold
A quintessential Cotswold market town, jam packed with tea-rooms, antiques and art galleries, Stow is an obvious magnet for visitors and vacationers. Check out independent shops like Mash Lifestyleand its inspiring presents for him, her and home; or Sam Wilson- a Cotswold-based designer who has brought her country-inspired prints to home ware.
For coffee and cake, Coach House Coffeeis a lovely coffee shop with an ethos to match - local bakers, coffee ground down the road in Cirencester and tea from social enterprise The Tea People. They’ve thrown their heart into the café experience and you can taste it!
For a camp fire feast to remember, pop into D’Ambrosi Fine Foodsand pick up some ‘gourmet food to go’; followed by a visit to The Cotswold Cheese Companyand The Cotswold Chocolate Companyfor your afters. Divine!
‘Chippy’, as it is known around here, boasts a tempting array of quirky indy stores and is a great place to potter, meet friends or relax at a coffee shop.
For afternoon tea lovers, The Tea Setis a must. A celebration of everything vintage, it provides the perfect stage to perform the theatre of afternoon tea. Wonderfully worn and well-stuffed armchairs gather invitingly around antique tables and chests. Lighting is by tasselled shades. Show-stopping cakes of every style shout to be chosen from their display on the dresser. Various blends of tea are brewed and poured, precisely, in quirkily mismatching china. A place of butter knives, cake forks and jam spoons, the art of afternoon tea is alive and thriving here.
The town is also home to a Mash – and alongside the gift shop, Chippy has the extra treat of Mash Home and Pantry– a great coffee shop where you get to ‘use’ all the Mash kitchenware! Jaffe and Nealebookshop is a cool café hang out – like Daunts, only smaller (and better!). Just along the row, Tickitty Shakeis a must when you want a treat (and they do a more healthy smoothie range if Oreo with Maltesers makes you shudder).
Of all the Cotswold towns and villages we visit, Broadway is far-and-away my favourite. Its super cute high street, with perfect blend of food-home-fashion, and destination-park, make Broadway a must-stop for any family.
Head to The Market Pantryfor a doorstep breakfast butty of dry cured bacon or sausage with homemade onion marmalade. If you’re only after liquid refreshments, coffee connoisseurs could do worse than try Leaf and Bean’sperfectly roasted blend. And for tea-lovers, they have 50 different varieties to tempt. Our children love the milkshakes, so everyone leaves here happy.
For fine food you can wrap in paper, there’s nowhere to beat the Broadway Deli. With pasties, pies and pastries; and breads, meats and cheeses, you’ll find everything you need for a perfect picnic.
Since you’re in the area, it’s SO worth the short drive to Morris and Brown at Broadway Tower. Set in 50-acres of deer-stocked parkland, the view is spectacular … nowhere nicer to enjoy an ice cream!
Burford is a must see on your stay in the Cotswolds. It’s beautiful hill of a high street offers stunning views of the Windrush valley below, and has a brilliant batch of shops to browse. For anyone keen on the hunting-shooting-fishing look, the Oxford Shirt Companyis a labyrinth of concessions selling every kind of country clothing, while neighbour Orvishas all the practical gear and equipment you’ll need to enjoy a trip worthy of a pro. Food is in focus here, with another branch of the Cotswold Cheese Company and Mrs Bumblesdeli just two of the shops I’d recommend. For cafes, you can visit Bakery on the Hill (sister to Bourton’s ‘on the Water’) or another we love, Lynwood & Co. While you’re in town, don’t miss out on the Burford Garden Company– imagine garden centre meets Harrods Food Hall, with art gallery and kids cinema to boot … you can spend hours here and not get bored!
Chipping Campden is a charming, historic town with a delightful, bustling high street. Wealthy wool merchants’ houses (the oldest dating back to c.1380) and the 17thcentury market hall tell of the town’s prosperity and importance to the Cotswold woollen trade. Local arts and crafts still colour Campden’s commercial scene, with the Guild of Workshops in Sheep Street showcasing artisan producers of jewellery, pottery and stoneware. The Bantam Tea Roomsis a great fave with us – delicious homemade cakes and scones, baked daily on the premises, with speciality teas. One not to miss if you’re in town!