The Cotswolds by rail from London (suggested itinerary)

The beautiful Cotswolds region is surprisingly accessible by rail so, even if a self-drive isn’t for you, you can still visit this incredible area. While the tiny villages can generally only be reached by bus or car, there are many towns accessible by train to visit and where you can base yourself for guided day trips out to the smaller areas.

We’ve put together a suggested itinerary for you which can be adjusted as you wish. We don’t provide prices as this would depend on how long you wish to stay, how you’d like to travel, what type of accommodation you prefer, and what you’d like to see and do. For a quote, please get in touch with us at or 021 975 2047.

5 – 8 Nights in the Cotswolds by Rail

This itinerary visits Oxford, Kemble, Cirencester, Gloucester, Cheltenham Spa, and Moreton-in-Marsh.

Train from London to Oxford: Start your journey in the morning at London Paddington and sit back for the 1-hour ride to the magnificent university town of Oxford. Watch the scenery unfold as the countryside rushes by.

We recommend a hop-on hop-off bus to get the lay of the land and a friendly guided walking tour of Oxford. A bustling and attractive city, the university town is packed with things to do and surrounded by gorgeous countryside. It’s less than an hour-and-a-half from London by train and well-connected with the rest of England. We highly recommend a walking tour as well as a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus to show you around. You’ll definitely want to visit the magnificent Christ Church Cathedral, and university precincts, particularly if you’re a Harry Potter film fan – the Bodleian Library, New College Cloisters and Christ Church Cathedral itself all have their place in the films.  And don’t forget to pop in at Alice’s Shop – the real shop Alice Liddell visited as a child.  

1 night in Oxford

Train from Oxford to Kemble then taxi Cirencester: Just over 1 hour with a change at Didcot Parkway and you’ll be in the pretty little village of Kemble at the head of the River Thames, just 8km from Cirencester.

Kemble station was built in 1882 and is an attractive listed building, so be sure to spend some time appreciating its beauty! The spire of All Saints’ Church Kemble can be seen for miles around and, if you have time, visit the town, have a cuppa, or even spend the night.

Alternatively, take a taxi to nearby Cirencester, the capital of the Cotswolds to explore and overnight.

Known as the ‘capital of the Cotswolds’, the gorgeous market town of Cirencester is really worth a visit. In Roman times, it was the second largest town in England. Visit the soaring St. John the Baptist church, see the Roman mosaics at the Corinium Museum, and do some shopping at the historic Corn Hall and Arcade. You can make a day trip or two from Cirencester (depending on how many nights you’re staying) as it’s a great base from which to explore the surroundings.

1 – 2 nights in Cirencester

Train from Kemble to Gloucester: Taxi back to Kemble, for a half-hour train ride to Gloucester.

Gloucester is a port town on the River Serven – the UK’s most inland port and a cathedral city. A visit to Gloucester isn’t complete without the magnificent Gloucester Cathedral, whose arched cloisters were a filming location for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There’s a host of things to do in this town, from an urban art trail and plenty of green spaces, to interesting museums like the National Waterways Museum and Beatrix Potter’s House of the Tailor of Gloucester. We also recommend a visit to the restored Victorian Historic Docks to see the 15 late-Victorian warehouses and find great shopping and restaurants. On sunny days, you could even take a cruise on the River Severn.

1 night in Gloucester

Train from Gloucester to Cheltenham Spa: Just 10-minutes train ride from Gloucester is the beautiful Regency-era town of Cheltenham Spa.

After the 1716 discovery of mineral springs, this became a popular spa town for people in need of time out, leading to the building of gorgeous villas, pump rooms, and more – not unlike the town of Bath Spa. Sadly, the springs are no longer there (although there are plenty of spa hotels around) and it is better known for its racecourse and the annual Cheltenham Festival of horse racing, but Cheltenham is still well worth a visit. Steam train enthusiasts will enjoy the volunteer-operated Gloucestershire-Warwickshire Steam Railway which runs on selected days in peak season. We would definitely suggest taking a blue-badge guided walking tour to take in all the beauty the town has to offer.

1 night in Cheltenham Spa

Train from Cheltenham to Moreton-in-Marsh: The train to Moreton-in-Marsh takes less than an hour with a change at Worcester Parkway and goes through scenic landscapes.

Spend the day relaxing in this pretty market town where we suggest staying a few nights. Make this your base from which to take some day tours out to nearby Bourton-on-Water, Stow-on-Wold, and Chipping Camden. This is the easiest way to visit these small villages that aren’t accessible by train while relaxing in the peaceful surroundings of a Cotswolds town. Don’t forget to explore the town itself!

2 – 3 nights in Moreton-in-Marsh

Train from Moreton to London: Head back to London Paddington on the 1-and-a-half-hour rail journey.

Sadly, all good things come to an end but you’ll leave with fantastic memories of some of the most beautiful places in England. And, hopefully, you’ll be able to visit again soon.

TIP! The Cotswolds is phenomenally popular in Summer, with both locals and foreigners alike. If you’re planning on visiting during the peak times of May to August, we strongly suggest booking your accommodation several months in advance.

This blog post is written to inspire and all information is correct at time of writing. However, things can change so, before visiting, it is always important to check.

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