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Rolling Hills of the Cotswolds with sun setting in the background

Our Ideal London to Cotswolds Daytrip

The Cotswolds is one of the most scenic areas in the United Kingdom. There's plenty to do from shopping and eating, to rambling in the beautiful countryside and soaking up those stunning views. The Cotswolds is the perfect destination for a day trip. With Great Western Railway, there are plenty of transport links that you can take from London to the heart of the Cotswolds.

With that in mind, we’ve put together an itinerary for you to follow for a great day out in the Cotswolds. Including both cities and villages, it’s a truly an adventure to be had. Book a train to the Cotswolds with us and take a look at our itinerary.

What train stations are in the Cotswolds?

There are several different stations in the Cotswolds on our network. The main stations in and around the Cotswolds are Bath, Bradford-on-Avon, Cam and Dursley, Cheltenham, Chippenham, Gloucester, Kemble (serving Cirencester), Moreton-in-Marsh, Stonehouse and Ashchurch (for Tewkesbury).

Start your day in Chippenham

Start your day early by catching an early morning train from London Paddington, which should get you into the dynamic market town of Chippenham. This is a great place to start your day with a good walk and breakfast. We recommend having a wander through the town before walking ten minutes south of the station to check out Sarah-Jayne’s Café, which opens for business at 9 am. Grab yourself a bit of breakfast and a coffee before heading back out to explore.

Perhaps take a stroll in one of the great parks in Chippenham, such as Monkton Park, which runs directly along the river Avon and enjoy the scenery. John Coles Park is described as the jewel in the crown of Chippenham with its expansive green spaces and a circular walk, through mature trees.

Another option is to visit the Chippenham Museum which opens at 10 am. Contained inside an 18th-century townhouse, this museum regales you with the history of the town itself from its prehistoric founding all the way up to the present day.

Lunch in Castle Combe

Next up, we recommend either booking yourself a taxi or grabbing the 35 bus from Town Bridge Mill Station up to Castle Combe, which takes around 25 minutes. Castle Combe is one of the most beautiful villages in the United Kingdom, with its honey-coloured stone cottages and charming scenery.

You can explore the village itself, including stops to look at The Market Cross, a historical landmark in the village or the historical St Andrews Church which is in the heart of Castle Combe. You can take some shots of the iconic view from Water Lane, and cherish those moments forever.

Another potential activity you can do is to take a leisurely stroll through Castle Combe Woods. If you’re feeling like a longer walk, you can try the Castle Combe circular. This walk through the village and the surrounding area takes you past the peaceful brook and through shady woodlands.

For Lunch, we recommend either The Manor House or the Old Stables coffee shop. The Manor House is a 12th-century pub at the heart of Castle Combe village, which opens for lunch at midday. The Old Stables coffee shop offers the chance for some classic English tea and cake.

An Afternoon in Bradford-on-Avon

After exploring Castle Combe, we recommend grabbing the 35 bus back to Chippenham, or booking another cab back to the town to grab a train to Bradford-on-Avon via Bath Spa. This offers you the chance to enjoy the quaint scenery as you get into Bradford-on-Avon.

Bradford-on-Avon lies on the southern edge of the Cotswolds, enclosed by the rolling countryside and is full of plenty of places to explore. If you’re still in the mood for more sightseeing, perhaps stop by at Tithe Barn, a piece of English Heritage standing since the 14th century. You could also look around St Laurence’s Church, one of the few remaining Anglo-Saxon churches that hasn’t been modified over time. Another option is to head up St Margaret’s Hill for some amazing panoramic views, or Town Bridge which the most iconic part of the town. Alternatively, you could take the 96 bus and a short 15-minute walk up to Ilford Manor Gardens to enjoy the beautiful foliage.

If you’re looking to do some shopping, Bradford-on-Avon has you covered. Take a wander north of the station and you’ll find your way to The Shambles, which is home to many different independent shops that you can explore. There are also plenty of great coffee shops and cafés where you can relax, like Shambles Coffee Shop or The Bolthole. If that doesn’t take your fancy, there’s also Lamb Yard or Silver Street, which also have plenty of quaint independent stores for you to look through. Maybe grab yourself a souvenir from By the Way, the charming gift shop just an 8-minute walk south of the train station.

Spend your evening in Bath

To round off your day, you can catch the evening train from Bradford-on-Avon back to Bath Spa. What better way to finish off the day and unwind than with a delicious relaxing meal?

There are plenty of places for you to dine in Bath, but we’ve gone with a couple of the best places where you can eat in the city. First up is The Scallop Shell, a fish and shellfish restaurant just a 12-minute walk from the station. Here they serve up some of the best seafood in town. Alternatively, if fish isn’t your favourite, you can try out Claytons Kitchen. Just a 13-minute walk north of the station, here you’ll find a delicious and modern European dining experience. We do recommend booking a table in advance, as tables go quickly at these fine establishments.

Feeling satisfied, you can stick around and explore the city at night for a while. If you’re ready for home after a long day of exploring, you can grab the train back to London Paddington which gets you back in an hour and a half.

Other sites in the Cotswolds

Hopefully this itinerary has sparked some ideas on planning your next day trip to the Cotswolds. But the fun doesn’t stop there, there’s so much more to explore in the Cotswolds.

There’s the majestic town of Gloucester, which boasts the historic Gloucester Cathedral and scenic rides you can take on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway. You can also pay the Corinium Museum in Cirencester a visit and see its collection of Roman history. For more culture, the historic ornamental Pittville Park in Cheltenham as another must-see in the Cotswolds.

We hope our London to Cotswolds itinerary has given you some inspiration for an action-packed day trip. There’s plenty to do to keep you busy, so get out there and soak up the beauty of the English countryside. You can book your tickets to the Cotswolds and see our travel inspiration section for other popular destinations.