Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds is very popular and so naturally this is one of the best places for attractions and activities to keep everyone entertained, whoever you’re travelling with. We’ve put together a selection of our favourite things to do, all of which are either in the village or easily walkable from the village centre, many in just a few minutes.

Take a trip down memory lane at the Motoring Museum

Petrol-heads will love the Cotswold Motoring Museum which takes visitors on a journey through automobile history. Originally founded in 1978 by keen collector, Mike Cavanagh, and expanded on ever since, there are now seven galleries to explore.

You can easily spend a few hours here as you reminisce and admire everything from classic cars and vintage motorbikes, to memorabilia including retro road signs, petrol pumps and car-themed toys. 

Highlights include BBC Children’s TV’s Brum in the Mill Gallery, while the Blacksmith’s Workshop gives an insight into the developments in the car industry over the years.

Amongst the collection, there are many special, some rare, exhibits from Jaguar, Austin, Sunbeam, Morgan, Ferguson and more, with the oldest car being a 1911 Alldays & Onions Victoria.

Vintage Car - Technology Background
Stepping Stones In River

Take a walk at Greystones Farm Nature Reserve

Head to Greystones Farm Nature Reserve for a scenic walk through the Cotswolds’ countryside. It’s just a short walk from the village (300 metres from the main car park in fact) and is run by the Wildlife Trust.

Follow the Wildlife Walk route to explore the meadows, which in the spring and summer are filled with wildflowers including the Common Spotted Orchid. Do also look for birds of prey soaring overhead and otters playing in the River Eye.

The nature reserve also incorporates Salmonsbury Camp, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, which was an important meeting place during the Neolithic and Iron Age periods. Follow the Time Travel Trail to find out more.

The reserve is open year-round, but the best time to visit is from May to September.

Make feathered friends at Birdland Park and Gardens

An ornithologist’s paradise, Birdland Park and Gardens is only a few minutes’ walk from the centre of Bourton-on-the-Water and is home to one of the UK’s biggest collections of exotic birds.

Set within attractive gardens, it’s a relaxing place to wander around as you meet over 500 feathered residents.

Split into different zones including Out of Africa, the Pandemonium of Parrots and the Parliament of Owls, the park is home to birds of prey, macaws, flamingos, pelicans, penguins and more.

Meanwhile, in the Jurassic Journey area, watch out for life-sized dinosaurs that reside in the woods. Don’t miss feeding time and the daily talks that will really bring your visit to life.


Flamingos In Frankfurt Zoo
People Walking On Green Bushes Labyrinth, Hedge Maze

Find your way out of Dragonfly Maze

Like puzzles and being outdoors? Then head to the Dragonfly Maze, next to Birdland Park and Gardens. Here, you will embark on the challenge of finding your way around this labyrinth of yew tree hedge-lined pathways.

The hedge is tall enough to conceal adults and children alike, so there’s no chance of cheating, but every chance of getting lost… not for long though hopefully.  

The maze covers about half a mile, along which are 14 clues each with a picture puzzle to solve to help you to find the golden dragonfly.

If you want the upper hand, here’s a tip: it’s hidden in the round house at the centre of the maze. Give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve cracked it and made your way back out within 20 to 50 minutes.

Visit the Cotswolds Distillery shop

If you’re a connoisseur of fine spirits, especially gin and whisky, treat yourself to a bottle from The Cotswolds Distillery shop on the High Street.

The distillery itself is based just outside Shipston-on-Stour and specialises in creating natural spirits using top quality ingredients and traditional production methods. Amongst them are the award-winning Cotswolds Dry Gin and the Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky.

Along with these, the Bourton-on-the-Water shop also stocks a range of spirits and liqueurs that are exclusive to the distillery.

Better still, you can try free samples to help you make sure you make the right purchase. Beautiful glassware and accessories are also available to buy.

Gin Glasses
Bourton On The Water Model Village Cotswolds Gloucestershire Eng

Walk tall like a giant at the Model Village

At Bourton-on-the-Water’s Model Village you can walk along streets that are just one-ninth the scale of the actual village.

As you explore you’ll spot many familiar landmarks including the River Windrush and its bridges, as well as the church, where if you listen carefully you will hear the sound of hymns. 

The more you look the more you see, from the carefully crafted plants in the cottage gardens to the real Cotswold stone used to create the buildings.

It’s a pure delight and you must leave with at least one photo of yourself standing beside a tiny house that makes you look enormous. Posing like a giant is hard to resist!

Indulge in a cream tea

Part of the joy of a visit to this Cotswolds village is the freedom to take it easy, and for us, part of the art of doing so is indulging in a cream tea.

There are plenty of quaint tea rooms and quirky cafes where you can uphold the tradition, some steeped in history, others with gorgeous views of the river… it’s hard to recommend just one.

We say, follow your nose until you find one that appeals to you. Whether it’s the classic scone, clotted cream and jam combo that you’ll opt for or you’ll be tempted by other cakes, or even a full-blown Afternoon Tea once you’re inside, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Bourton On The Water Christmas Tree In The River Windrush Before

See the village at Christmas

Bourton-on-the-Water is a very popular place and can get exceptionally busy in the height of summer. However, if you choose to visit in the winter you can steer clear of the large crowds and enjoy a quieter atmosphere.

It’s a wonderful destination for a cosy cottage stay, especially if you choose one with a log burner or real fire to snuggle up beside.

From the moment the Christmas lights are switched on, usually on the first Friday of December, there’s a certain magic about the place. A Christmas tree stands enchantingly in the shallows of the River Windrush, while rows of twinkling lights adorn the streets.

Bourton-on-the-Water makes a lovely pre-Christmas break with the opportunity to shop for special gifts such as handmade jewellery or fragrance from the Cotswold Perfumery.

Stay in one of our cosy cottages

Bay Tree Cottage, with its boutique hotel-styled interior, is perfectly located in the heart of Burton-on-the-Water. With shops, restaurants and countryside walks only a few minutes walk away, Bay Tree Cottage offers you the best of both worlds for your Cotswolds holiday. The cottage is conveniently located near the centre of Bourton-on-the-Water, with shops and cafes only minutes away on foot. Still, it’s set on a quiet road just far enough away from the crowds to enjoy a quiet sanctuary.

Bay Tree Cottage



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