Can you recommend a day-trip itinerary from London to the Cotswolds using public transport?

As a day trip from London, the Cotswolds offers a myriad of experiences set amidst dreamy landscapes, quaint traditional villages, and historic monuments. The region is easily accessible from London by public transport, making it an ideal destination for a convenient and memorable day out. This guide will provide you with a recommended itinerary to visit the Cotswolds using bus, train, and car services.

How to Travel from London to the Cotswolds

The journey from London to the Cotswolds can be accomplished in a few ways. Choosing a particular mode of transport depends on your preference, time constraints, and budget.

Train to the Cotswolds

A train ride offers a comfortable and speedy journey, taking you from the heart of London to the Cotswolds in about 90 to 120 minutes. The main railway stations in London, which include Paddington and Marylebone, provide direct train services to the Cotswolds. Key stations in Cotswolds include Moreton in Marsh, Kingham, and Evesham.

Trains are frequent, with departures every half hour during peak times. It is advisable to book in advance to secure a seat, especially during weekends or holidays when the demand is high.

Bus to the Cotswolds

Buses offer a more economical but slower alternative to the train. The National Express provides regular bus services from London's Victoria Coach Station to various destinations in the Cotswolds. The journey typically takes about 2 to 3 hours, depending on traffic conditions.

Car Rental

Renting a car can give you more flexibility and control over your itinerary. Various car hire companies operate in London, offering a range of vehicles to choose from. The drive to the Cotswolds takes about 2 hours via the M40 and A40. Ensure that you are comfortable with driving on the left side of the road, as is the custom in the UK.

Keep in mind that parking in some of the Cotswold's popular spots can be challenging, especially during peak tourist season. Always check the parking arrangements at your destinations beforehand.

Exploring the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds boasts a collection of charming villages, each with its distinctive character and allure.

Bourton on the Water

Start your tour in Bourton on the Water, often dubbed as the 'Venice of the Cotswolds'. It is a picturesque village with stone bridges crossing the River Windrush. You can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the river, explore the quaint shops, or visit attractions such as the Cotswold Motoring Museum or the Birdland Park and Gardens.

From Bourton on the Water, you can take a local bus to your next stop, Stow-on-the-Wold, a journey of around 20 minutes.


Stow-on-the-Wold is a small market town that stands atop an 800 ft hill at a junction of seven major roads, including the Roman Fosse Way. This makes it a natural hub of the Cotswolds. The town square hosts a biannual fair where you can find local products, antiques, and collectibles.

From Stow-on-the-Wold, it's a short bus ride to the village of Broadway.


Broadway is often referred to as the 'Jewel of the Cotswolds'. It is renowned for its wide main street lined with horse chestnut trees and a mix of period houses and cottages, many of which are listed buildings. Here, you'll find a range of boutique shops, art galleries, and eateries. Don't miss the Broadway Tower, the second highest point in the Cotswolds, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

Your final stop is Moreton-in-Marsh, a 30-minute bus ride from Broadway.


Moreton-in-Marsh is an ancient market town located on the Fosse Way. It is home to the Cotswold's largest outdoor market held every Tuesday. The town consists of elegant 17th and 18th-century buildings along the high street. Do visit the Curfew Tower, one of Moreton's oldest features, dating back to the 16th century.

To return to London, you can take a direct train from Moreton-in-Marsh, which will get you to London in about 90 minutes.

Remember, while following this itinerary, you're not bound by any rigid schedules or routes. Feel free to tailor your trip according to your interests and time availability.

Optional Stop: Oxford

If time allows, you might consider including a visit to Oxford in your itinerary. This historic city is on the route from London to the Cotswolds and offers attractions such as the prestigious University of Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, and Bodleian Library.

From London, you can take a bus or train to Oxford, explore the city for a few hours, and then continue your journey to the Cotswolds. Similarly, on your return trip, you can stopover in Oxford before heading back to London.

Key Tips for a Memorable Cotswolds Visit

To make your day trip to the Cotswolds smooth and enjoyable, consider these key tips:

  • Plan your journey in advance: Check bus and train schedules and book your tickets ahead of time.

  • Be aware of the weather: The Cotswolds can be enjoyed in any weather, but it's always wise to check the forecast before your visit.

  • Dress comfortably: Wear comfortable shoes as you'll be doing a lot of walking.

  • Take a map: Although the Cotswolds is well-signposted, having a map will help you navigate the area more efficiently.

  • Try local cuisine: Don't miss out on tasting the traditional Cotswolds fare at the local pubs and tea rooms.

  • Respect the environment: The Cotswolds is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Please respect the environment and follow the countryside code.

In conclusion, a day trip to the Cotswolds from London is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the quintessential English countryside. Whether by train, bus, or car, the journey is part of the adventure, offering you a glimpse into the scenic landscapes that make this region so beloved.

Visiting Chipping Campden and Lower Slaughter

Once you've explored Moreton-in-Marsh, you might want to consider visiting Chipping Campden and Lower Slaughter. These are two other gems in the Cotswolds that are worth visiting if time permits. From Moreton-in-Marsh, you can easily take a public bus to these charming towns.

Chipping Campden

Chipping Campden is an enchanting small town featuring a high street lined with honey-coloured limestone houses, dating back to the 14th century. Its market hall, built in 1627, still stands as a symbol of the town's rich trading history in wool and is a must-visit. Moreover, Chipping Campden is also known for its annual Cotswold Olimpick Games, a quirky sporting event that dates back to the early 17th century.

Local bus services operate regularly from Moreton-in-Marsh to Chipping Campden. The journey takes about 20 minutes.

Lower Slaughter

Lower Slaughter is one of the most romantic villages in the Cotswolds. Nestled alongside the River Eye, this quaint village is perfect for those who enjoy peaceful strolls amidst beautiful landscapes. Its Old Mill, now a museum and a shop, dates back to the Domesday Book and is worth a visit.

Buses from Moreton-in-Marsh to Lower Slaughter are not as frequent, so it's worth checking the timetables in advance. The trip usually takes around 40 minutes.

Day Trips to Stratford-Upon-Avon and Castle Combe

Another way to enjoy your day trip from London to the Cotswolds is by including visits to Stratford-Upon-Avon and Castle Combe. These are a bit further afield but are absolutely worth the extra travel.


Famed as the birthplace of William Shakespeare, Stratford-Upon-Avon is a delightful market town rich in history and culture. Here, you can visit Shakespeare's birthplace, Anne Hathaway's Cottage, and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

The journey from Moreton-in-Marsh to Stratford-Upon-Avon is about 40 minutes by bus.

Castle Combe

Often referred to as the 'prettiest village in England', Castle Combe is like a scene straight out of a storybook. Its charming streets, beautiful Cotswolds houses and manicured gardens are truly captivating. The village was also the filming location for movies like "War Horse" and "Stardust".

As there's no direct public transport from Moreton-in-Marsh to Castle Combe, you might need to change buses in Cirencester or Cheltenham, making the journey around two hours.


In essence, a day trip from London to the Cotswolds provides an excellent opportunity to experience the English countryside's beauty and charm. The region's picturesque towns and villages, from the likes of Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold, to Moreton-in-Marsh, Chipping Campden, and Lower Slaughter, offer visitors a delightful mix of history, culture, and stunning landscapes. The option to explore further afield to places like Stratford-Upon-Avon and Castle Combe only enhances the experience. So whether you opt for a bus, train, or car, the journey from London to the Cotswolds promises to be a memorable experience filled with beautiful sights, rich history, and charming encounters.