We’re in the midst of a rare phenomenon in England right now… it’s summer – and it’s sunny.
I know, I know, it’s July – it’s meant to be hot. But trust me, having lived through 30 summers on this little island, I can confirm that a British heatwave is the equivalent of a solar eclipse or a Jumanji reboot – miss it and you might be waiting another 20 years for it to come around again.
So while the sun still has his hat on, there’s no better time to get out and explore. And there’s nowhere prettier, or more quintessentially English, than Bibury.
This photogenic little village, in the heart of the Cotswolds is rumoured to be the fairest of them all, so I just had to take a trip with my trusty Nikon to see what all the fuss is about.
Nestled within the world-famous Cotswolds region in South-West England, Bibury is your typical idyllic village, with rows of honey-coloured cottages, old-fashioned post offices, and even a meandering river (as if this place wasn’t quite cute enough).
This is the sort of place where people leave fresh eggs on their doorstep with a handwritten note asking you to “please help yourselves”. Yes, seriously. It’s a rural paradise and the perfect place to pass a few hours, if you find yourself in Southern England.
The nearest train station is 14 miles away in Kemble, near Cirencester, so the best way to access Bibury is by car. The country roads around this area make for an idyllic road-trip and the benefit of a car is that you can explore other parts of the Cotswolds region too. Castle Combe, Bourton-on-the-Water and Lower Slaughter can all be reached within an hour’s drive and are well worth a visit.
What to see and do
The village of Bibury is tiny, so there’s not a whole lot to see and do here. But the joy of the Cotswolds is simply to wander through the fairy-tale streets, occasionally stopping for a brew or a good old English pint.
One street you’ll definitely want to stop at is the famous Arlington Row, also known as “the prettiest street in England”. These adorable little cottages date back to the 1300s and are still lived in by some very lucky (and probably slightly peeved off by all the photo-snapping tourists) residents today.
You can even stay at No. 9 Arlington Row if you want a taste of village life for a few days. Bookings can be made via The National Trust – you’ll need to book up way in advance to guarantee your stay, as this little dream cottage is highly sought after.
Another famous attraction is the Bibury Trout Farm. Only in the Cotswolds, would a trout farm be ranked the #2 rated attraction on TripAdvisor… But, as random as it sounds, this is a historical landmark and a great place to explore, especially if you’re travelling with kids. It’s also home to a lovely little cafe and shop, with delicious wines and deli goods (plus a whole load of trout, believe it or not).
The farm also has BBQ pitches to hire, so you can cook up your own feast in these picturesque surroundings.
Be sure to wander beyond the Farm and Arlington Row and down into the side-streets of the village, where you’ll find more fairy-tale cottages and perfectly sculpted gardens to ogle.
Food and drink
There are only a handful of pubs and restaurants within the village of Bibury itself. The Swan Brasserie (also a luxury hotel) serves up traditional English pub food and afternoon teas, right on the banks of the river. In comparison, The Catherine Wheel is more your typical old man’s pub but with a gorgeous outdoor seating area and a friendly and relaxed vibe. The Trout Farm Cafe is a good alternative, if you just want a coffee or a light bite.
You don’t need to travel far to Cirencester, or one of the many Cotswolds villages dotted around this region, to find a much broader range of dining choices. Alternatively, why not save your pennies and bring a picnic?
You only need a couple of hours to explore Bibury but this is one picture-perfect English village worth travelling for. Interested in exploring more of South-West England? Check out my UK travel guides here for inspiration and travel advice.