Ultimate guide to visiting Lower Slaughter in the Cotswolds

Lower Slaughter Cotswolds

Lower Slaughter is one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds and I urge you to use it as a base to explore, but definitely make sure it’s on your Cotswolds itinerary. Easy to overlook because of its harsh sounding name, this quaint and meandering village is actually so dubbed due to an Old English term. Nestled alongside the River Eye, a tributary of the River Windrush, Lower Slaughter is connected by the river not only to its sister village of Upper Slaughter, but also to Bourton-on-the-Water.

Lower Slaughter is classic Cotswolds, drawing visitors from across the UK and abroad. From its golden yellow stone cottages to the two stone bridges calmly striding the babbling shallow waters of the River Eye, you’ll find this a beautiful village to spend time in. 

Lower Slaughter’s history is both impressive and understated. Its presence is recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book due to the Old Mill. The Old Mill is now an intriguing museum, worth a little of your time. What you really come to Lower Slaughter for is the atmosphere, which is relaxed and tranquil, whatever the time of year. It even once earned the title of Britain’s Most Attractive Street. The Lower Slaughter pubs, restaurants and hotels make it easy to wile away the time here.

It’s no surprise that I’ve listed a visit to Lower Slaughter as one of the best things to do in the Cotswolds. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting this pretty Cotswolds village.

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Lower Slaughter – what you need to know

A village that looks to have stood still in time doesn’t get this way by mere accident! Larger vehicles are banned from the village. A story from the Parish Council in 2013 sums up the desire to keep things as they are. Apparently an icebox tricycle, which was selling ice creams daily for six months of the year, was deemed ‘excessive’ with concerns for damage to the riverside grass! 

It’s no surprise that the village retains the character of the 16th and 17th century cottages that exude the personality of the village. This character and charm is behind making Lower Slaughter a film-maker’s dream set, with Emma (2000) being filmed here.

At one end of the village, there is also a 19th century red brick water mill with its timeless waterwheel and steam chimney. The ford for crossing the river is a popular gathering spot for cooling off in the summer and the stone footbridges make it easy to meander from one side of the village to the other.

Lower Slaughter Cotswolds

Where is Lower Slaughter?

Centrally located in the Cotswolds, Lower Slaughter is a wonderful base for exploring this magical area of the UK. It sits in the county of Gloucestershire, around four miles south west of the equally wonderful Stow-on-the-Wold

Parking in Lower Slaughter

It’s a big question: where to park when visiting Lower Slaughter? The reality is that keeping a village as quaint and peaceful as this means that parking in Lower Slaughter is pretty much non-existent. So, what can you do, especially if you’re visiting in the busy summer months?

Firstly, there are no actual car parks and roadside parking is not generally possible throughout the village. There are occasionally some available spots on Copsehill Road but it is very busy. If you are a patron of one of the hotels, then you may be able to park. 

Most people park in a nearby village and walk into Lower Slaughter. There are various public footpaths across the fields coming into Lower Slaughter making it an enjoyable way to reach the village. A popular route is to park in Bourton-on-the-Water and walk around 1-2 miles to Lower Slaughter. You can also walk from the free car park in Stow-on-the-Wold into the village which is around three picturesque miles.

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Lower Slaughter accommodation

Lower Slaughter hotels

Given that Lower Slaughter isn’t a large village, places to stay are limited. There are two hotels nearby as well as a few B&Bs. For more choice, there are lots of nearby villages and towns with some gorgeous Cotswolds luxury hotels. But just because you’ve only got two options in the village itself, don’t feel short changed as they are both exceptional places to stay. 

The Slaughters Manor House

The Slaughters Manor House is a striking contemporary stately country house turned into a stunning boutique hotel. 19 bedrooms are available, each with unique decadent décor. 

Some rooms are within the coach house and some in the main building. The overall ambience here is relaxing and welcoming.

You can also expect luxurious touches everywhere you look, from complimentary sloe gin to Bramley bath products. There is a wonderful balance of modern and antique furnishings and the whole hotel exudes comfort and style.

The restaurant at The Slaughters Manor House is definitely one of the best restaurants in Lower Slaughter. 

The Slaughters Hotel – The Snug

The Slaughters Country Inn

The Slaughters Country Inn brings a similar authentic charm to guests with its 25 unique boutique bedrooms. This wonderful inn retains its old world character as a country inn and this is reflected across the premises from luxury roll top baths to roaring log fires. The terrace is particularly wonderful for catching some late afternoon sunshine. 

Don’t forget to pack your wellies. Days tramping across fields then finishing back in the bar and flopping onto a sofa with a board game is a core part of the inn’s appeal!

As well as the bedrooms, there are six picturesque cottages available to stay in.

Slaughters Country Inn Lower Slaughter

Lords of the Manor

Lords of the Manor is actually in Upper Slaughter, the nearby village just 20 minutes’ walk to Lower Slaughter. If you’re looking for hotels in Lower Slaughter then do consider here as this is certainly one of the Cotswolds’ best and most luxurious hotels. 

Once again, it’s the country house charm that first strikes you at Lords of the Manor, which dates from the 17th century. Each room is luxurious with understated opulence and its own distinctive style. The grounds are lovely, with views over rolling green hills.

The Dining Room affords views of the walled garden and there is also the Atrium for fine dining in a stunning setting. 

Lords of the Manor Bedroom

Cottages and B&Bs in Lower Slaughter

There are a few holiday cottages within Lower Slaughter. However, for greater choice, look for B&Bs and luxury cottages in Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold.

Where to eat in Lower Slaughter

Pubs & restaurants in Lower Slaughter

There is no dedicated pub in Lower Slaughter, so if you’re looking for a definite pub for dining then head to Bourton-on-the-Water for wonderful places, such as The Mousetrap. However, the hotels in and around Lower Slaughter offer some of the best dining experiences.

The Slaughters Manor House

Guests of the hotel and visitors alike must make time to dine in the Manor’s fine contemporary orangery. The setting is incredible and the menus are exquisite, tantalising your taste buds and bringing you regionally sourced and freshly foraged ingredients. The wine pairings are excellent too. 

At the Manor House, you can also enjoy lighter bites in the bar or one of the delightful lounges complete with leather furnishings. You may even enjoy a cocktail here.

Finally, you must book afternoon tea at the Manor as it is undoubtedly one of the best places for afternoon tea in the Cotswolds. The menu fits the British tradition with finger sandwiches, scones and sweet treats. Enjoy a glass of Champagne with it if you wish. You can enjoy afternoon tea in the Manor or have it packed up in a picnic basket to take out into the grounds, or as a picnic for your day out.

Slaughters Manor House Restaurant

The Slaughters Country Inn

The Slaughters Country Inn offers dining in the restaurant and bar. The food here is delicious, focusing on simple preparation of outstanding Cotswolds produce accompanied by regional ales. A real treat with friends is the sharing platter of local cheeses, meats and breads.

You can also indulge in afternoon tea in Lower Slaughter at the Country Inn. They too offer picnic baskets so that you can enjoy your feast wherever you choose.

Slaughters Inn Cheese Board

Lords of the Manor

Nearby in Upper Slaughter, you can dine at Lords of the Manor. Choose to enjoy fine dining in the Atrium where there are just 14 covers and decadent, beautifully presented food.

Alternatively, the Dining Room has been credited as one of The Times Most Romantic Restaurants in the UK. The relaxed and elegant experience offers luxury dining. It’s a wonderful place for a classic Sunday lunch. Afternoon tea is available too and can be enjoyed on the lawn in the warmer months. 

Lords of the Manor Restaurant

Coach & Horse and Alibaba Restaurant

Just a 10 minute walk from Lower Slaughter, and on the edge of Bourton-on-the-Water, is this wonderful Indian restaurant. They have a complete range of curry house dishes, as well as some chef’s specials.

Cafés in Lower Slaughter

The Old Mill Museum Ice Cream Parlour

Choose some delicious scoops of ice cream to enjoy while meandering along the banks of the river. The Old Mill Museum Ice Cream Parlour even offers free tastings, so you can try before you buy!

Best things to do in Lower Slaughter

Lower Slaughter isn’t a place for doing much. Instead it is a retreat for relaxing, stepping back in time and enjoying life at a slower pace. However, there are a handful of things to do in Lower Slaughter to help you fill your day. 

1. The Old Mill Museum

Recorded in the Domesday Book, the Old Mill is now a museum. There’s enough here to keep you interested for an hour or two. Learn about the intricate process of bread making and how the mill works.

You will also want to spend some time exploring the award-winning gift and craft shop. It’s like a treasure trove! Make sure you leave some time to grab an ice cream from their ice cream parlour too.

2. Copsehill Road

I really recommend taking an amble along Copsehill Road. The view is seductive, no wonder it was once voted the most romantic street in Britain! Gather a collection of stunning photographs taking in the pretty little cottages and the stone bridges. Capture the water dazzling in the sunshine. Depending on the time of year, there may even be irises dancing along the edge.

On Copsehill Road is Lower Slaughter’s Victorian village hall. There are often events here, especially in the summer, as well as exhibitions by local artists.

Lower Slaughter Cotswolds

3. St Mary’s Church

Do take your time to explore the building and grounds of St Mary’s Church in Lower Slaughter. It really is a beautiful and intriguing place. As it’s a working church, you’ll need to visit outside of service times. 

The church was largely rebuilt in 1867 and is ‘classic Cotswold’ in looks. However, inside you’ll find an early-13th century arcade and piscina. Inside are also some monuments dating from the late 17th century and there are six bells. 

4. The Slaughters Manor House

There has been a manor house here since 1004AD, at one point becoming a convent, before later being the home of Sir George Witmore, High Sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1611. The family lived in the manor until the 1960s before it was converted into the luxury hotel you see today.

I highly recommend staying here, but day visitors are welcome too. Make a trip to the Manor in Lower Slaughter for one of the best afternoon tea experiences you’ll ever have. Be sure to explore the grounds while you’re here.

Slaughters Manor House Afternoon Tea

5. Go for a walk

There are so many delightful walks that include Lower Slaughter and the nearby areas. You can walk to Upper Slaughter in just a mile, peacefully wandering along the river. The walk starts near the Old Mill and you return the same way. Treat yourself to an ice cream on return from the parlour at the Old Mill. 

Lower Slaughter sits on the Warden’s Way which is a 13.5 mile route connecting Winchcombe and Bourton-on-the-Water. Enjoy it all if you’re feeling energetic, or the stretch from Lower Slaughter to Bourton takes around half an hour each way.

Other villages

Lower Slaughter is perfectly positioned for visiting other Cotswold villages. Make a trip to Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold while you’re in the area.

You may also like:

Guide to visiting Castle Combe

15 prettiest villages in the Cotswolds

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