This Village 2 Hours From London Was Named ‘England’s Most Beautiful’ By William Morris

England is blessed with some picture-perfect villages, but according to British artist and textile designer William Morris, one is more beautiful than the rest. Bibury (pronounced bye-burry) in Gloucestershire, is a small village in the heart of the Cotswolds that attracts visitors from all over the world.

There isn’t a huge list of things to do in Bibury, but people will often come for the photo opportunities alone – and it’s worth it. Arlington Row, a row of stonebuilt weavers’ cottages overlooking the River Coln, is easily one of the most iconic Cotswolds scenes. You’ll even find it on the inside cover of your UK passport (if you still have one of the red ones, that is). Before being converted into weavers’ houses in the 1600s, the building was a monastic wool store dating back to 1380. These days the cottages are owned by the National Trust, and one is now a gorgeous, two-bedroomed holiday rental.

A row of old weavers' cottages on a country lane.
Photo: Karen Roe, CC BY 2.0 DEED, via Flickr

Just beside Arlington Row you’ll find Rack Isle: a tiny nature reserve buzzing with wildlife, particularly birds. This boggy water meadow was given its name as it was once the place where cloth from Arlington Mill was hung out to dry on wooden racks. There’s also Bibury Trout Farm, England’s oldest working trout farm at over 100 years old. Here you can spend the day fishing on the lakes, and/or buy some fresh trout to take home with you.

A pretty countryside hotel covered in greenery, with a river in the foreground.
Photo: The Swan Hotel

The Swan Hotel is another accommodation option within the village, which is not only a stunning place to stay, but also offers a perfect spot for lunch, dinner or afternoon tea. It’s even a wedding venue, which will come as no surprise. Just imagine the photos!

Bibury sits within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and it’s not hard to see why. But Bibury is just a small slice of almost 800 square miles of glorious, protected countryside. Combine a visit with a bigger trip to the Cotswolds, and make it your mission to find some more of the UK’s prettiest villages along the way.

Also published on Medium.

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