Lady’s Cotswolds Itinerary for 3 Days Without a Car

Today I want to bring you my Cotswolds itinerary for 3 days in the English countryside. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a popular place to visit for its pretty villages and bucolic scenery. From country pubs to beautiful walks, there are plenty of exciting things to do and see. I’m here now and I can’t wait to show you how to spend 3 days in the Cotswolds without a car. I’ve included a map, too.

Cotswolds Itinerary for 3 Days

Cotswolds Itinerary for 3 Days

My 3-day Cotswolds itinerary will show you the sightseeing highlights of the area and give you the freedom to explore without wheels. From thatched-roof cottages to local landmarks, it covers all the things I love about this part of the UK.

3 days is a good amount of time to visit the Cotswolds. It will allow you to see the main sights and experience a range of things to do in the area.

Whether you want to focus on exploring villages, visiting National Trust properties, walking, or something else, you’re sure to be entertained.

Kingham house in the Cotswolds

That’s because there’s no right or wrong way to spend your time in the Cotswolds. My itinerary has a mix of the main attractions and the places locals love (not least because I’m meeting up with a local while I’m here).

You can adjust my Cotswolds itinerary to fit your interests and travel style, but I hope it gives you a solid overview of how much you can do in the area if you have a few days.

I spent a LOT of time planning this itinerary, and I hope all the work I put into it helps you plan a perfect trip of your own. You can also do a guided tour with Rabbie’s. You can book their Cotswolds tour here.

Chipping Norton houses

Where to Stay in the Cotswolds

There are plenty of options for accommodation in the Cotswolds. Whether you want to stay in a hotel, self-catering cottage, B&B, or pub with rooms, the area has a wide variety of places to choose from.

On this trip I’ve booked a room at The Kingham Plough. This beautiful property is in a pretty village with direct rail access from London. It’s my second time staying in town, and I’m excited to be back.

I love the The Kingham Plough’s stylish decor, buzzing pub, and beautiful guest rooms. It’s everything I’d hoped for, and it makes a great base for exploring the Cotswolds.

If you want more ideas, you can also find deals and book accommodation in the area here. With so many choices, you’re bound to find the perfect fit for your trip.

Hotel in Kingham, Cotswolds

Day 1

I start my Cotswolds itinerary for 3 days at Paddington station in London. From here it’s less than 1 hour and 15 minutes by rail to the first stop on my trip: Charlbury.

Charlbury

This town in the Evenlode Valley in Oxfordshire was known for being a glove-making hub in 18th and 19th centuries. Today it’s a peaceful place popular with visitors who come to admire its beauty and walk in the surrounding area.

I alight at Charlbury station and walk the short distance into the center of town. The Cotswold stone houses here are the stuff of English countryside dreams, and I can’t wait to explore.

Charlbury houses in the Cotswolds

That’s not least because a local friend who lives in Moreton-in-Marsh has taken the train to meet me here. He and I spend an hour wandering around and photographing everything in sight.

From quintessential cottages to cozy pubs and a church, there’s a lot to love about this place.

Lunch

We’ve booked lunch at a local pub called The Bull on Sheep Street. It’s been around since the early 1500s, and the interior highlights its historic roots while bringing the decor into the modern age. Add to that a gorgeous garden, and I’m smitten.

Charlbury pub interior

My friend and I tuck into heaping plates of roasted vegetables, local lamb, trout with green tomatoes, and potatoes. It all goes down a treat next to the open fireplace.

Charlbury Circular Walk

I’m glad I’ve eaten well, because the next activity on my Cotswolds itinerary for 3 days is a walk in the countryside.

I say good-bye to my friend, then set off through fields and over streams to burn off the calories and take in the countryside around the ancient Wychwood Forest.

Walking path in Charlbury, Oxfordshire

The walk is officially called “Circular Walk: Charlbury No.2 (Oxon Way)“, but it’s much more exciting than the rather clinical name suggests. In fact, it quickly becomes one of my favorite Cotswolds walks.

Much of the route follows the famous Oxfordshire Way, a long-distance walk from Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire to the Thames in Henley. Along the way it crosses over the River Evenlode and passes by wooded groves and copses.

The 4-mile (6.4-kilometer) walk takes me 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete. At the end I make my way to the train station for the next leg of my Cotswolds itinerary: Kingham.

Charlbury walking path in the Cotswolds

Kingham

The train journey from Charlbury to Kingham is less than 10 minutes, and soon I’m walking into the village.

Like Charlbury, this place is in the Evenlode Valley in Oxfordshire. It’s known for its 17th and 18th-century Cotswold stone cottages, elegant hotels, and country pubs. It’s one of my favorite villages in the Cotswolds.

When I reach the heart of town, I check into my room at The Kingham Plough. Full of classic country charm, it has a beautiful view of the cottages across the street. It’s the perfect base for my stay.

Kingham, Cotswolds hotel room

After getting settled in, I take a walk around the village. The cottages, thatched roofs, and pub gardens are the stuff of my inner photographer’s dreams, and I keep snapping pictures until the sun goes down.

When it does, I’m off to dinner at a place down the road called The Wild Rabbit. I had a great meal at the restaurant here on my last visit, and as soon as I walk in I know this time is going to be just as good.

A charming pub gives way to a spacious dining room, and I sit down for a dinner of seasonal squash salad and miso cauliflower. It’s the perfect way to end my the first of my 3 days in the Cotswolds.

Tables in a Kingham hotel garden

Day 2

The next morning my itinerary continues with breakfast in the dining room at The Kingham Plough. With dark walls and wooden tables, it’s as atmospheric as country pubs get. My dish of eggs Florentine goes down a treat and sets me up well for the day.

Daylesford Farm

Said day starts with a 40-minute walk down a broad path to Daylesford Farm. This famous complex in the Cotswolds is known for its upscale shops, which sell everything from garden supplies to home goods, clothing, wine, and food.

Add to that a luxurious spa, cafe, restaurant, and bar, and one could move right in.

Cotswolds farm shop

I spend 30 minutes exploring the grounds, browsing the too-beautiful-for-words boutiques, and taking in the scene at the restaurant before walking back to Kingham to get ready for the day’s main event: a big Cotswolds walk.

Circular Walk to Chipping Norton

I make a quick stop at The Kingham Plough before heading off on a circular walk to Chipping Norton and back.

The walk is my own combination of two separate routes. On the way out I follow the Cotswolds Conservation Board’s “Walk Eight: Kingham and Churchill“.

House in Churchill, Cotswolds

After a 35-minute walk through fields full of sheep, I reach the village of Churchill. This hilltop number is known for its pretty houses and the stunning form of All Saints Church.

I’ve booked myself lunch at The Chequers, a beloved traditional pub with a menu offering modern British cuisine. It’s gorgeous inside, with high ceilings and old-meets-modern decor.

A heaping plate of risotto satisfies my appetite, and soon I’m off to Chipping Norton.

Churchill pub in the Cotswolds

The route takes me up gentle hills, over culverts, through stiles, and past ha-has as I wave hello to sheep and walk towards the high church steeple that guides me to my destination.

When I reach Chipping Norton, I spend an hour exploring. This market town had its heyday in the peak of the wool trade centuries ago, but it’s still worth visiting today.

From local shops and pubs to a row of stunning 17th-century almshouses and a historic church, there’s plenty to see.

Chipping Norton almshouses

On my way back to Kingham, I follow the Cotswolds Conservation Board’s “Walk Eleven: Mills and Meadows” route backwards. It takes me past the eye-catching Bliss Tweed Mill, a historic building that looks like a cross between a stately home and a factory.

I remember it grabbing my attention once out the window of a bus while I was on a Cotswolds day tour, and I’m happy to be able to see it up close this time.

Afterwards I go through fields and down a long track in the countryside to get back to Kingham. It starts to drizzle by the end, and I narrowly escape a downpour that erupts right as I reach The Kingham Plough.

Bliss Tweed Mill, Chipping Norton

The 10.5-mile (17-kilometer) walk has taken me just over 5.5 hours, including all my stops. It’s been an amazing way to see the countryside, visit the local area, and work up an appetite for dinner.

Dinner

Conveniently, dinner is right downstairs. I have a drink and some olives in the lively pub at The Kingham Plough, then head through to the dining room for my meal.

I tuck into a warming squash pithivier with flaky puff pastry and delicious filling as I recount my day and all the amazing scenery I’ve enjoyed.

Kingham restaurant

Day 3

The next morning my Cotswolds itinerary for 3 days sees me waving good-bye to Kingham.

After spending the early morning taking more photos in the village, I hop on a train to Hanborough. Just over 15 minutes later, I alight at the station, walk up to the road, and board a bus to Woodstock.

Blenheim Palace

After a little more than 20 minutes, the bus drops me off at the gates of Blenheim Palace. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an English Baroque country house on the edge of the Cotswolds. It’s known for its connections to Winston Churchill.

Blenheim Palace

The seat of the Dukes of Marlborough, Blenheim Palace was built in the 18th century on royal land given to the 1st Duke of Marlborough by Queen Anne after his victory in the Battle of Blenheim in 1704.

It’s the only non-royal, non-episcopal stately home in England to hold the title of palace, and it’s an impressive sight to behold.

Winston Churchill was born here (and got engaged to his wife in the gardens), and visitors come from all over the world to tour the State Rooms, explore the extensive grounds, and admire the views.

Blenheim Palace room

I show my pre-booked ticket at the entrance and spend four hours discovering everything from the carriages to the finely decorated interiors and variety of gardens.

It’s an impressive place, complete with a hedge maze, world-class art, a little train, and water features.

I could spend all day here (this place is huge), but my Cotswolds itinerary has more in store for me.

Blenheim Palace dining table

Woodstock

I walk from the palace grounds into the market town of Woodstock, which is right next door. On the eastern edge of the Cotswolds, this place got its start as a coach stop near the Royal Hunting Lodge (now the site of Blenheim Palace).

I spend 45 minutes walking through the pretty streets, admiring the historic church, and meandering down little lanes. With elegant Georgian architecture, independent shops, and local pubs, there’s plenty to see here.

House in Woodstock, Oxfordshire

When I’m done exploring, I head to the final stop on my Cotswolds itinerary for 3 days: Oxford. I hop on a bus in Woodstock and ride it through the countryside before alighting in the heart of the city around 30 minutes later.

Oxford

One of the most famous university cities in the UK, Oxford is full of stunning architecture, buzzing markets, and fun shops.

I grab a late lunch in town, then spend the next three hours following the route of my free self-guided walking tour of Oxford.

Radcliffe Camera, Oxford

From Christ Church college to the Covered Market, the Radcliffe Camera to the colorful houses in Jericho, I explore the city until the sun goes down.

Along the way I take in the stunning Bridge of Sighs, walk down quiet lanes by Oriel College, and admire the facades that make this city so beautiful.

As the setting sun starts to paint the sky orange, I walk to the train station for my journey back to London.

Oxford, England street

Cotswolds Itinerary for 3 Days

Just under an hour later, I arrive at Paddington station full of memories of all the towns, walks, pubs, and places I’ve visited during my 3 days in the Cotswolds.

It was an amazing trip, and well worth all the effort it took to plan the itinerary. If you want to follow in my footsteps, I hope this blog post will help you enjoy visiting the Cotswolds as much as I have.

Cotswolds Itinerary Map

As promised, I created an interactive map of all the places I listed in my Cotswolds itinerary. You can find it here. I hope it helps you plan the perfect 3-day trip!

If you want more ideas, my broader Cotswolds map can help.

House in Kingham, Cotswolds

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Cotswolds Itinerary for 3 Days

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