Bibury in The Cotswolds: ultimate travel guide & best things to do

Rainy Bibury in the Cotswolds

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 – and a personal favourite of mine – Bibury is a must-visit for anyone looking to discover that classic ‘cottagecore’ aesthetic.

Having visited the village a few times, my 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 – and I highly recommend that you do – let my guide whet your appetite!

Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

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.

Arlington Row in Spring

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. 

Believe me when I say that it’s a photographer’s dream!

Parking in Bibury

From personal experience, Bibury parking can be a bit of a nightmare 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.

Bibury Ivy Barn

If you arrive early or visit outside the busy summer months, then parking in Bibury shouldn’t pose a problem at all.

But 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.

For those travelling from London and looking to explore the area, you can book a full-day Cotswolds tour to take all the planning hassle out.

Best things to do in Bibury

1. Stroll along Arlington Row

Arguably one of the most photographed spots in The Cotswolds, Arlington Row is a string of ancient cottages that date back to the 14th century.

Run by the National Trust and with an interesting history, it was used by monks to store wool during the 1300s, before being converted into cottages during the 1800s.

Rainy Bibury in the Cotswolds

These honey-coloured limestone buildings perfectly capture the essence of old-world England – and it’s one of my favourite photo spots in the Cotswolds.

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?

One of the oldest of its kind in the country, the Bibury Trout Farm offers both an educational and recreational experience.

Spread across 15 acres, the farm provides a unique opportunity to learn about the trout breeding process.

But it’s not all observation; if you’re up for it, I’d recommend trying your hand at catching your own trout! 

If that’s not for you, there’s an appealing café on site where you can pause for a bite to eat and a coffee.

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. 

Bibury in Autumn

My favourite 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

A short walk from Arlington Row, The Rack Isle is a water meadow that plays a crucial role in Bibury’s ecosystem. 

It’s so called due to its former purpose as a drying area for the wool that monks stored and washed in Arlington Row.

Rack Isle Bibury

Today, The Rack Isle is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which 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.

Keep a keen eye out, as you may spot colourful flowers, kingfishers, dragonflies and even water snakes during your visit.

Bibury accommodation

Hotels in Bibury

1. Barnsley House

Address: Barnsley House, Barnsley, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 5EE

Best for: A delightful spa

Barnsley House

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.

Barnsley House Spa

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. I’d highly recommend a stay at this unforgettable hotel – you’ll be in for a dreamy stay.

Discover more of my favourite Cotswolds spa hotels.

2. The Swan Hotel

Address: The Swan, Bibury, Nr Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 5NW

Best for: A quaint, cosy stay

The Swan Bibury

The Swan hotel occupies an ivy-covered former coaching inn, and I’d recommend it for those looking for a four-star option in Bibury.

It’s 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.  

3. Cotteswold House

Address: Cotteswold House, Bibury, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 5ND

Best for: An intimate atmosphere

If you prefer a more intimate atmosphere, I’d recommend booking into Cotteswold House for another great 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. 

4. The New Inn

Address: Coln St Aldwyns, Gloucestershire, GL7 5AN

Best for: Character features

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 – and we all know I love a good bathtub! 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. 

5. The Keepers Arms

Address: Church Road, Quenington, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 5BL

Best for: Authentic pub atmosphere

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. 

Where to eat in Bibury

Pubs & restaurants in Bibury

1. The Catherine Wheel

Address: Catherine Wheel, Arlington, Bibury, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 5ND

Best for: A sunny beer garden

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 not far from Arlington Row, one of the village’s main attractions, so the location is difficult to beat.

2. The Swan Brasserie

Address: The Swan, Bibury, Nr Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 5NW

Best for: A delicious meal

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 pineapples.

3. The Keepers Arms 

Address: Church Road, Quenington, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 5BL

Best for: Pub classics

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.

4. The Village Pub

Address: Barnsley, Gloucestershire, GL7 5EF

Best for: A setting full of character

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. My mouth is watering already!

Cafés in Bibury

1. The Twig

Address: Arlington, Cirencester GL7 5NL

The Twig is a recently opened deli and coffee shop in the village. A relatively new addition to the list of Bibury cafés, it has quickly and firmly established itself on the local food scene. 

I’d recommend popping in for a filling focaccia or sourdough toastie, or some food from the deli to enjoy as a picnic.

2. Bibury Trout Farm

Address: Bibury Trout Farm, Bibury, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 5NL, UK

There is surely no better place in Bibury to sample the local trout than at Bibury 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. 

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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.

If you have any questions on visiting Bibury or found this guide useful, let me know in the comments or get in touch on social media!

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Jessie Moore
Jessie Moore

Jessie is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

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