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.
Believe me when I say that 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, I know you’ll love this beautiful village.
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.
But in my opinion, 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 – and I can see why! 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, based on my own countless visits to this charming spot over the years.
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.
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! I love that 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.
Where is Lower Slaughter?
Centrally located in the Cotswolds, I think 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.
Personally, I managed to find a little spot in a muddy lay-by just down the road from the village, which suited me perfectly.
For those who don’t mind a walk, I’d recommend parking in Bourton-on-the-Water and walking 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.
Best things to do in Lower Slaughter
To be honest, Lower Slaughter isn’t a place for doing much. Instead I consider it to be 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 and these are my favourites:
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!
I’d advise making 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 gorgeous – 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.
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.
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. I’d recommend treating 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.
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
I can wholeheartedly recommend a stay at The Slaughters Manor House, a striking 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.
I think there is a wonderful balance of modern and antique furnishings and the whole hotel exudes comfort and style.
Another highlight for me is the restaurant at The Slaughters Manor House, which is definitely one of the best restaurants in Lower Slaughter.
The Slaughters Country Inn
The Slaughters Country Inn brings a similar authentic charm to guests with its 25 unique boutique bedrooms.
I love that 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.
Lords of the Manor
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, which I’d highly recommend.
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 I’d suggest heading 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 (and I recommend that you do!).
Finally, I’d advise booking 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.
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.
I’d really recommend the sharing platter of local cheeses, meats and breads for a real treat with friends.
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.
Lords of the Manor
Nearby in Upper Slaughter, I’d suggest dining 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.
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 that I know you’ll love.
Looking for more inspiration? Start with my guide to visiting the Cotswolds or discover my Cotswolds articles:
- 15 luxury hotels in the Cotswolds
- 15 best brunch spots in the Cotswolds
- 23 fun things to do in the Cotswolds
- 15 lovely spots for afternoon tea in the Cotswolds
- 21 amazing restaurants in the Cotswolds
- 14 dreamy spa breaks in the Cotswolds
Or check out more of my Cotswolds villages guides:
Want up to 25% off hotels?
Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.