With quaint cottages and the pretty River Coln, Bibury is an utterly charming village in the heart of the Cotswolds. It is famed for being home to the iconic Arlington Row, a row of postcard-perfect cottages from the 14th century. As one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds, Bibury is a must-visit for anyone looking to discover that classic cottage core aesthetic.
This Bibury travel guide explains everything you need to know about visiting this beautiful village. Find out how to get to Bibury and where to park, as well as the best restaurants, pubs, cafés, attractions and things to do.
Whether you prefer to embark on a scenic walk, visit an ancient church and Roman villa, or try a spot of trout fishing, Bibury offers plenty of things to do for visitors. So if you’re planning a visit to Bibury village in the Cotswolds, why not let this guide whet your appetite?
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Bibury – what you need to know
Where is Bibury?
Bibury can be found in the county of Gloucestershire, around six-and-a-half miles from the town of Cirencester. It forms part of the Cotswolds area, which comprises around 800 square miles of beautiful English countryside and picturesque villages.
The River Coln – a Thames tributary – runs through Bibury. Features typical of the Cotswolds are abound in this pretty village, including charming cottages built from honey-toned local stone set among a lush green landscape.
Parking in Bibury
Bibury parking can be a concern during peak periods, when you may need to wait for a space. The good news is that there is some free parking available in Bibury, both on the main street and in a car park.
The latter can be found across the road from Bibury Trout Farm and has a couple of coach bays as well as car parking spaces. If you arrive early or visit outside the busy summer months, then parking in Bibury shouldn’t pose a problem at all. If you plan to visit during peak times then I’d strongly recommend arriving early, or you could be waiting a while for a parking spot.
Hotels in Bibury
Barnsley House is a magnificent country house hotel providing luxurious Bibury accommodation for discerning guests. Set among acres of flower-filled, landscaped gardens, the historic honey stone building dates back to the 1600s.
This Cotswolds hotel offers a superb range of amenities, including a spa, sauna and heated outdoor swimming pool. There is also an on site cinema, a tennis court and a good restaurant. A range of rooms and suites, meanwhile, come with facilities like flat screen TVs and coffee machines. Some also boast lounge areas, four poster beds, whirlpool baths or private gardens.
The Swan Hotel
The Swan hotel occupies an ivy-covered former coaching inn, and is a four star property in Bibury, England. It is located on the banks of the River Coln, close to the village centre. Inside there are original features like wood panelling and stone fireplaces, and the building is set in its own landscaped grounds.
Many rooms offer views over the water and each is individually styled, with swan references evident on the walls. There are four super cute cottages in addition to the 22 rooms. A bistro-style eatery and the bar both serve food and drinks, and it’s a great venue in Bibury for afternoon tea.
If you prefer a more intimate atmosphere, Cotteswold House is another great option for a place to stay in Bibury. There are just three bedrooms within this handsome stone-built house with vast bay windows. The Courtyard and Gable cottages also supply self-catering accommodation.
All accommodation is stylishly decorated and there is also a sunny dining room and a guest lounge at Cotteswold House. There is on-site parking subject to availability and a range of board games and books are provided for guest use.
The New Inn
The New Inn is located in Coln St Aldwyns, just down the road from Bibury. This 17th century coaching inn is just two miles from Bibury, so it makes a great base for exploring the area. Bedrooms are decorated in a smart country-house style, and some have free-standing bathtubs. Character features make each one stand out from the next.
The ivy-clad pub restaurant on site serves a range of contemporary dishes to guests and visitors. There is also a pleasant outdoor terrace for summer dining. If you’re interested in Bibury walks, the route between the two villages makes a lovely stroll. Both locations are incredibly picturesque.
The Keepers Arms
The Keeper’s Arms is just a smidgeon further from Bibury in the village of Quenington. With just three guest bedrooms, the focus at this place is on providing an authentic pub atmosphere. The menu includes satisfying Sunday roasts and pub classics with a modern twist, while rooms offer sweeping views over the surrounding countryside.
Grey painted walls and panelling, light woods, splashes of tartan and a log burner create a contemporary yet cosy, welcoming ambience within. Guests can also dine outside during the warmer months. The real ale list means the pub has earned the CAMRA seal of approval.
Bibury Court Hotel
A grand, Grade I listed Jacobean manor set among glorious gardens is home to the Bibury Court Hotel. It’s located in the centre of the village, close to the historic church of St Mary. Arlington Row can also be reached via a short five minute walk.
There are two restaurants at the property, plus a convivial snug bar and an impressive wood panelled drawing room. The six acre gardens border the river, which makes the ideal spot for trout fishing or a relaxed stroll. Most of the 18 comfortable guest bedrooms offer stunning views over these grounds.
Where to eat in Bibury
Pubs & restaurants in Bibury
The Catherine Wheel
The Catherine Wheel is situated slap-bang in the heart of Bibury, and is a welcoming, family-run inn built from honey-coloured stone. The beer garden is a fabulous place to kick back and relax during sunny weather, and the menu features a range of dishes made from the freshest local produce, such as Bibury trout.
This prime pick among Bibury pubs is actually situated on Arlington Row, one of the village’s main attractions, so the location is impossible to beat. You can find out more about Arlington Row below.
The Swan Brasserie
The Swan Brasserie is located within the Swan Hotel, a delightful place right by the river. Here you can savour afternoon tea while gazing out over the water, enjoy casual bar snacks with a drink or pop in at any time of the day for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Start, for example, with smoked almonds or truffle arancini before moving on a starter of hand-dived scallops or roasted artichoke. For main you can choose from the likes of guinea fowl with risotto, the catch of the day or mushroom tortellini. Puddings range from traditional picks like sticky toffee pudding to barbecued pineapple.s
The Keepers Arms
The Keepers Arms in nearby Quenington is another of the Bibury restaurants also offering accommodation. Food-wise the focus is on pub classics and more contemporary options. Begin with pigs in blankets, smoked duck salad or sweetcorn and coriander soup and end with yuzu cheesecake, dark chocolate brownie or prune and almond tart.
In-between, main menu options include Turkish-style aubergine, tiger prawn creole or a slow cooked lamb shoulder. All courses can be served inside the modern pub or eaten on the terrace during clement weather.
The Village Pub
The Village Pub occupies a charming honeyed stone building in central Bibury, with character features like slightly sloping walls, square windows and tall chimney pots. Diners can pick between The Potager restaurant opposite and the pub menu.
Food options at the inn consist of elevated pub classics, using produce from as nearby as the pub’s own garden or the farm down the road. From a Double Gloucester souffle to IPA battered fish followed by a chocolate fondant or a selection of cheeses, there’s just the right amount of choice.
Cafés in Bibury
The Twig is a recently opened deli and coffee shop in the village. A new addition to the list of Bibury cafés, it has quickly and firmly established itself on the local food scene.
It’s a lovely place to pop into for a filling focaccia or sourdough toastie, or some food from the deli to enjoy as a picnic.
Bibury Trout Farm
There is surely no better place in Bibury to sample the local trout than at the trout farm in the village centre.
The cafe there is open daily, serving salads, soups, sandwiches and a selection of light-as-air cakes. Artisan coffee and premium ice cream is also available.
Cotswold Creperie is run by a friendly couple from a classic Piaggio van in Bibury. The business also caters for local events.
Crepes are freshly made here right before your eyes, and the options include savoury as well as sweet, dessert-style crepes.
Best things to do in Bibury
1. Stroll along Arlington Row
Arlington Row in Bibury is run by the National Trust, and has an interesting history. It was used by monks to store wool during the 1300s, before being converted into cottages during the 1800s.
The former weavers’ cottages are still occupied, and one is let as a holiday home. In this area you can also see Rack Isle, a water meadow once used for drying wool.
2. Bibury Trout Farm
When visiting local pubs and restaurants, you’re likely to see Bibury trout on the menu. So if you want to see where it came from, why not pop into the trout farm?
There’s an appealing café on site and you can also try your hand at fishing. This is one of the UK’s oldest and prettiest working trout farms, and the grounds are a delight for nature lovers.
3. Go for a walk
If you enjoy a spot of fresh air and exercise, Bibury is the perfect place in which to enjoy an energetic stomp or a leisurely stroll. There is of course stunning scenery to take in along the way.
Popular routes include the Bibury and Coln St Aldwyns circular, the Bibury – Arlington Row – River Coln walk, or the Bibury and Bibury Court Estate circular. The former connects Bibury with the New Inn in Coln St Aldwyns, and is thus a well-trodden route between the two villages.
4. Chedworth Roman Villa
Chedworth Roman Villa is also overseen by the National Trust and is a listed monument. Nestled in a Cotswolds valley, it’s one of the finest examples in the British Isles. The villa was unearthed in 1864, and was discovered quite by accident when a local gamekeeper found fragments of mosaic while digging.
The building dates back as far as the second century, and was completed in the fifth. Elaborate mosaics can still be seen at the site. It’s near to the Fosse Way, an ancient Roman road that crosses through the Cotswolds, and was also deliberately built by a natural spring.
5. Church of St Mary
The Church of St Mary can be accessed directly from the grounds of the Jacobean Bibury Court Hotel. It’s a Grade I listed Anglican house of worship dating back to the 11th century. The church was once the property of Osney Abbey in Oxfordshire.
St Mary’s is built from the local honey-hued limestone with a slate roof, and incorporates additions from later centuries. These include a Saxon grave slab, a 13th century font, a 15th century belfry and a north doorway that was constructed during the late 12th century.
6. The Rack Isle
The Rack Isle in Bibury is so called due to its former purpose as a drying area for the wool that monks stored and washed in Arlington Row. It lies between the River Coln and the village’s main thoroughfare.
The small nature reserve comprises a water meadow rich in local flora and fauna, so it’s a must for wildlife lovers. Colourful flowers, kingfishers, dragonflies and even water snakes may be spotted during your visit.
Where to visit near Bibury
With its rolling green hills and valleys, honey-toned stone buildings and charming towns and villages, the Cotswolds is an area that invites further exploration. If you’re tempted to do just that, why not check out my complete Cotswolds travel guide?
Other lovely locations to discover locally include Stow-on-the-Wold, Castle Combe and Bourton on the Water. While you’re in the Cotswolds, sampling a traditional English afternoon tea is also practically obligatory.
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