Bourton-on-the-Water: UK travel destination of the week

India News Bulletin Desk

Bourton-on-the-Water is a picturesque village in the region of Cotswolds and is described as “Little Venice of the Cotswolds”. During peak tourist season, it is said to have more tourists than residents! But what makes it not just a Londoner's getaway but also a tourist's spot to taste the English countryside? 

Bourton-on-the-Water is called the “Venice of the Cotswolds”
Bourton-on-the-Water is called the “Venice of the Cotswolds”
Wikimedia commons (Saffron Blaze)
While the whole of Cotswolds is a region of outstanding natural beauty (awarded by Natural England, a public body in charge of UK’s environment) with its parks, historic buildings, archaeological sites and museums, Bourton-on-the-Water has a distinctive character and elegance of its own.

Where: Bourton-on-the-Water is a village in Gloucestershire, England. It is located slightly north-west of Oxford and is to the south of Stratford-upon-Avon.

The village shares its boundaries with Fosse Way in the northwest – Fosse Way is a Roman road that connects Exeter in southwest England to Lincoln in Lincolnshire; water-bodies such as River Dikler, and the River Windrush in the east; and a stream in the south.

How to get there: The village is accessible by rail and bus, but the best, most convenient and scenic route to get there is by road.

Bourton-on-the-Water is located on the A429 between Cirencester and Stow-on-the-Wold.

It is about a 2-hour-drive away from London. The postcode for satellite navigation is GL54 2AQ.

If travelling by train, the nearest station is Moreton-in-Marsh. There is a direct First Great Western service to the station from London Paddington and takes about 1.5 hours. From the station, visitors can take a bus to Bourton-on-the-Water, but the bus services are not very frequent.

What to do: Like a typical area of Cotswolds, Bourton-on-the-Water is very picturesque with several cafes, restaurants, boutiques and souvenir shops on the high street.

One of the highlights of Bourton-on-the-Water is its high-street saddled alongside stream Windrush. The river runs parallel to the shops and cafes and the road. There are several tiny stone bridges that connect the two sides.

The small areas along with river Windrush have been designated an UK Conservation Area -- considered worthy of preservation.

The whole stretch of the high street can be covered by foot.

Another highlight of the village is the characteristic picture-postcard houses and shops which are made of the yellow limestone and feature projecting gables and string courses.

The architecture of all the cottage-like houses and shops is very quaint and attractive. The tiny gardens in front of the houses are full of pebbles, rose plants, ponds, stone benches and sculptures while the houses themselves have stone hood moulds over the doors and embellished drip moulds. The windows too are delightfully designed with stone mullions, stained glass murals.

Some of the famous attractions of the place are the Cotswolds Motoring Museum, the model village and Birdland.

The motoring museum takes you through the motoring history of the 20th century. Apt for vintage motor lovers and children curious of motor vehicles, its collection of vintage cars, classic cars, motorcycles, caravans, and original enamel signs is captivating. The museum also has a special toy collection for kids. It has a huge selection of pedal cars, bicycles and aeroplanes for children but it can easily fascinates the grownups too! It costs £13.99 for a family of four to visit the museum.

The model village is a 1:9 replica of the village
The model village is a 1:9 replica of the village

The famous model village is a one-ninth scale replica of Bourton-on-the-Water. It is strikingly detailed and features all the buildings including the motor museum, the river, the tiny bridges as well as the shops, cafes and the houses.

The entry fee is currently £3.60 adult, £2.80 children over 3 years of age.

The model village also houses the “Miniature World” – an exhibition of detailed miniature scenes and room sets. The Miniature World can be accessed for an additional entry fee of additional £1.

Bourton-On-the-Water has something for bird and plant lovers too – the Birdland. It houses more than 500 birds including flamingos, pelicans, penguins, and stork among others. One of its highlights is the 13 species of pigeon from habitats ranging from desert to tropical forests.

Travel tips:
Best way to get to Bourton-on-the-Water is to drive.
Bring the kids and pets along
While the place has off street parking, it is a tourist hot spot in the peak season and the safest and most convenient way is to park on the Rissington Road car park. It is a Pay and Display car park with dedicated space for 230 cars.

Parking charges:
Monday to Saturday between 8am and 6pm: £1.30/hr; £2.30/2hrs; £3.00/3hrs; £3.90/5hrs.
Sunday: £6.50 for an all-day stay (8am to 6pm)

Bourton-on-the-Water in a nutshell: A typically scenic Cotswolds region with picturesque architecture, greenery and water body. You are spoilt for choice for food, drinks and pastries.

Laze around in the grass by the river Windrush, have a pub lunch in one of the cafes and stroll around the entire stretch of the high street to appreciate the beauty. Don’t miss the model village and motor museum, especially if you are with children.

An ideal retreat on a Sunday for the whole family. While it has wonderful B&Bs and hotels, a day-trip is perhaps the best bet.

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