Cotswold Circular Walks | 14 Best Trails & Guided Routes

Cotswolds walkCotswolds circular walks are home to some of the most incredible trails in the UK. It mostly features long-distance trails and provides enthusiasts with a wealth of choices

Honey-hued villages, wildflowers scattered over grasslands and rolling green hills. The Cotswolds is the epitome of the stunning English landscape.

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It’s an incredible place just waiting to be explored, with spectacular hiking and walking trails, from gentle strolls to hilly hikes. You can also read my things to do in Cotswolds.

Embark on an adventure to experience breath-taking panoramic views, tranquil woodlands, and the picturesque villages of the Cotswolds whilst doing one of the many Cotswolds walks.

Traditional Cotswold cottages in England
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So, pop on a pair of comfortable walking boots, grab your best travel camera, and get ready to explore the best of the Cotswolds.

Psst… If you’re keen on exploring this beautiful region within a day, take a look at the 1-day Cotswolds Itinerary, for an unforgettable time in England’s beloved countryside. 

Best Cotswold Circular Walks – Getting There


The Cotswolds is an area of extraordinary beauty, located in the southwest of England. The region stretches from Stratford-Upon-Avon in the north of Bath and covers over 700 square miles.

Rustic gate in drystone wall

It extends through various countries namely, Worcestershire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, and Gloucestershire.

Public transportation options to the Cotswolds can be limited, and many opt to rent a car to explore the beautiful region on their own.

There are several ways to get to the Cotswolds, especially if you’re travelling from London.

If you’re not keen on walking the Cotswolds, you can book a day trip from London and spend the day travelling in comfort.

Day trippers coming from the London area can expect a drive to take around 2 hours.

Rural Setting in the Cotwolds England

Best Circular Walks Cotswolds AONB | Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty

There are hundreds of different public footpaths around the area. To make your choice simpler, you can find the best Cotswolds walks below.

These showcase both guided and self-guided walks, from leisurely strolls with the whole family, to more challenging hikes boasting impressive views.


Alternatively, you can book a guided cycle tour to explore the beautiful hamlets and surroundings.

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1. The Cotswold Way Circular Walk

Arguably one of the most popular, and longest routes, the Cotswold Way stretches over 102 miles (164 km). The long-distance walking trail starts at Chipping Campden in the north and leads to the picturesque city of Bath in the south.

Hiking the full route can take around seven to ten days to complete. This can depend on your level of fitness and how easily you’re distracted by the inviting pubs and charming shops along the way.

Winchcombe countryside

The walk takes you through glorious countryside landscapes, ancient landmarks, and picture-perfect villages.

There are much shorter walks in the Cotswolds, for those wanting to experience the delights of the English countryside.

For example; Winchcombe market town, the beautiful wildflowers around Cleeve Common, and the Broadway Tower. But it would be a pity to miss one of the best Cotswolds circular walks. 

2. The Cleeve Hill Ring Walk

The Cleeve Hill Ring is a six-mile (9.7 km) walk that will take you to Cotwolds’ highest common. It’s a moderate walk with some steep sections along the way but is still considered one of Cotswold’s outstanding circular walks. 

Cleeve Hill

Depending on your fitness level, it should take you around 3½ – 4½ hours to complete. It’s one of the many Cotswolds circular walks, where you’ll start and finish at the quarry car park across from the Cleeve Hill Golf Clubhouse, in the town of Cheltenham.

On your walk, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the Malverns and – if you’re lucky – on a clear day across Wales. The area is famed for its limestone grasslands, abundant wildflowers, and panoramic views; it’s home to a large number of birds and rare plants.


Note: Take care when there is bad weather. Heavy mist can cut visibility to almost zero, making it difficult for descends.

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3. The Winchcombe Way

The delightful Winchcombe trail centred on the town of Winchcombe. The waymarked trail is designed to take hikers to the hidden gems of northern Cotswold and is considered one of the ultimate circular walks in the Cotswolds.

There are two ways to explore this trail. If you head east, you’ll follow the Farmcote Valley to Guiting Wood. Make your way through the peaceful villages of Cutsdean, Snowshill, and Taddington, before returning to Winchcombe.

Winchcombe Way

If you head westwards, you’ll be spoiled with views from Langley Hill before moving down into Gretton and then to Alderton. The trail leads you around Dumbleton Hill and then to Alstone.

From there you’ll climb Nottingham Hill to Cleeve Common. After that, descend towards Winchcombe, where you can savour the lovely scenery of Sudeley Castle.

In total, it’s a 42-mile (68 km), figure-of-eight trail, featuring a combination of history and beautiful landscapes.  A great place to stay and rejuvenate after your adventure, and close to the main attractions, is the Lion Inn.

Note: Dog-friendly tours are available on this route. Keep a lookout for the paw print icon when choosing your itinerary.

4. The Rollright Stones


This picturesque route follows Shakespeare’s Way and is an excellent introduction to the Oxfordshire Cotswolds and one of the greatest circular walks in Cotswolds.

It’s just over a 5-miles (8.5 km) loop, starting at Salford village, near Chipping Norton. This circular walk will take you along the valley towards the group of stones steeped in mystery.

The Rollright Stones

It’s a collection of three Bronze Age stones that are split into three groups – the King’s Men, the Whispering Knights, and the Kings Stone.


These masses have a fascinating history; legend has it the stones are the remnants of a King and his men who were turned to stone by a witch.

Once you’ve explored the stones, take a stroll through the charming hamlet of Little Rollright, and back towards Salford. This is often considered one of the best circular walks in the Cotswolds.

5. The Wychavon Way

This delightful trail is centred on the Cotswold town of Winchcombe. It was created in 1977 to commemorate the Royal Silver Jubilee and to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It’s a pleasant walk through woodlands, orchards, meadows, and riverside pastures.

The Wychavon Way

It’s a 40-mile (64 km) walk from the Spa town of Droitwich to the charming village of Broadway, also known as the ‘Jewel of Cotswolds’. Along the way, you can expect to find towering hilltops, stunning viewpoints, and hidden hollows.

As you approach Broadway, take note of the warm-toned stone walls, a sure sign you’re in Cotswolds.

If you’re looking for a circular walk, Cotswolds has plenty to offer, and this is just one of the many great options.

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6. The Blossom Trail

The Blossom Trail, in Worcestershire, is a 40-mile (64.3 km) hike through the Vale of Evesham.

The best time to go on this trail is during spring. This is when the cherry and apple trees line the trail with pretty pink and white blossoms – doesn’t this sound heavenly?

Having said this, the Blossom Trail is still breathtaking throughout the year. The Vale of Evesham forms part of the River of Avon’s flood plains, rich in orchards and farmlands.

You’ll pass by plenty of local farm stalls and markets as you walk along this trail. The Wood Norton is a stunning place to stay right in the centre of the beautiful Evesham town.

7. The Diamond Way

The Diamond Way is a 60-mile (96 km) delightful trail, through northern Cotswolds’ most exquisite landscapes. It was created in commemoration of the Ramblers’ Association’s 60th Jubilee in 1995.

The trail is connected by the towns of Northleach, Ebrington, Oddington, and Guiting Power. Along the way, you’ll come across some of the prettiest villages Cotswolds has to offer.

The circular (or, to be more precise diamond) shaped path crosses through idyllic woodlands, sleepy hamlets, and along meandering streams.

It will take roughly a week to complete, stopping over at traditional inns or bed and breakfasts along the way is highly recommended.

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8. The Leckhampton Loop

The Leckhampton Loop is a 4½ mile (7.2 km) archetypal walk along various stretches of the Cotswold Way. It’s a circular route that can take around 2½ hours to complete. It starts and finishes in the lay-by opposite the Seven Springs pub in the town of Cheltenham.

The scenic walk takes you through green grasslands, ancient woodlands, and the Iron Age fort and Victorian quarry, making it one of the best circular walks in Cotswolds.

About a mile into the walk, you will reach the Iron Age hillfort, built between 500 – 100 BC. If you’re up for an adventure, you can also take a quick detour to the Devil’s Chimney.

It’s one of the most iconic landmarks in the area and is made from a limestone formation standing above a discussed quarry.

9. Chipping Campden Walk

The Chipping Campden Trail is a 4½ mile (7 km) walk and will take you around 2½ – 3½ hours to complete (depending on how many photo stops you make). It’s a moderate trek with some steep sections along the way.

Chipping Campden Walk

It’s one of the Cotswold Way circular walks, with a couple of slight inclines en route. The trail starts and finishes in the charming town of Chipping Campden. Along the circular Cotswolds walk, you’ll get to see some impressive scenery of the Vale of Evesham.

Early into your walk, you’ll pass over Dover’s Hill, an area protected by the National Trust.

The Hill is scattered with Sweet Chestnut and Larch trees. The Cotswold Olimpick Games are held annually here, too.


Once you’ve arrived back at Chipping Campden, you can enjoy a lunch at one of the many local restaurants or pubs. The Cotswolds Hotel & Spa has a lovely restaurant and provides relaxation at its best.

10. The Gloucestershire Way Walk

The Gloucestershire Way is an adventurous long-distance walk, almost 100 miles (160 km) in total. Here you’ll pass through a variety of landscapes, conquering some panoramic beauty this country has to offer.

Gloucestershire Way Walk

There are plenty of other shorter walking paths along the Gloucestershire way if you’re not keen on doing the full route. The walk starts at Chepstow Castle and finishes at Tewkesbury. You can stay at the Bell Hotel by Greene King Inns before you head out on your adventure.

The walk is set along the stunning Welsh-English border, providing a magical trail through the ancient Forest of Dean. And then crossing through the River of Severn before heading over the hills of Crickley and Salperton.

You’ll pass by plenty of amazing Cotswold pubs and tea rooms along the way – great for refuelling.

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11. Wotton-Under-Edge

Wotton-Under-Edge Walk is a moderate, 5-mile (8km) walk that can take you around 3 – 4 hours to complete. The hike begins and ends underneath the Jubilee Clock, on the corner of Market and High Street, in Wotton-Under-Edge. It’s a charming medieval-style town, huddled in the southern Cotswold hills.

Wotton Under Edge

Upon your walk, you’ll pass through rich farmlands, peaceful woodlands tracks, and rolling parklands. Enjoy sweeping views overlooking the Newark Park Estate. If you have an hour or two to spare, take a detour to explore this splendid hunting lodge, dating back to 1550.

The estate boasts plenty of wildlife such as badgers, hares, and deer, as well as beautiful views of the Ozleworth Valley.

After exploring, resume your trail down the Cotswolds Way, where you’ll come to pass a 13th Century Church. You can follow the signs back into the High Street. Complete your day with a replenishing meal in one of the delightful restaurants in town.

12. Broadway and The Tower

The Broadway and the Tower walk will take you roughly around 2½ – 3 hours (without stops), covering 4-miles (6.4 km) of terrain. It’s a moderate hike, with some steep sections along the way. This enchanting walk takes you from the arresting village of Broadway, up to Broadway Tower, boasting some stunning views of Wales.

cotswolds Broadway Tower

The hike starts at the War Memorial on Broadway. There you’ll walk to the church of St. Eadburgha’s, dating back to the 12th Century, and is still being used during the summer months.

Upon leaving the church, you’ll pass through Coneygree Lane. From there, you’ll continue onward until you reach Rookery Farm.

Stopover at Morris and Brown Cafe, en route to the Tower, to replenish yourself and enjoy a light lunch. After that, continue until you reach the Tower, the second-highest point of the Cotswolds.

The Tower was built for George William, the 6th Earl of Coventry, and is steeped in history.

The location was originally used as an outlook on a pre-medieval trading route. Today visitors can view exhibitions within the towner and learn more about its colourful history.

13. Journey’s End

The Journey’s End provides a stunning walk into Bath. It’s a 6-mile (9.6 km), moderate walk, that can take up to 3½ – 4 hours to complete. This beautiful linear walk will take you from the southern end of the Cotswold Way, to the historic city centre of Bath.

The trail begins in Lansdowne, leading you past the racecourse boundary as you head onto the Cotswold Way and towards the Kelston Round Hill. You’ll see some majestic views of Bath on your left as you make your way.

A great place to stop over and have a picnic is at Victoria Park. The park was opened in 1829 and spanned over 57 acres. As your extraordinary walk comes to an end, you’ll pass a central line of shops and cross into Union street.
When you reach the Colonnade, you’ll see the Bath Abbey, marking the end of the Cotswold Way. Z Hotel Bath is a superb place to explore Bath after your stunning hike.

The Journey’s End provides a stunning walk into Bath. It’s a 6-mile (9.6 km), moderate walk, that can take up to 3½ – 4 hours to complete. This beautiful linear walk will take you from the southern end of the Cotswold Way, to the historic city centre of Bath.

The trail begins in Lansdowne, leading you past the racecourse boundary as you head onto the Cotswold Way and towards the Kelston Round Hill. You’ll see some majestic views of Bath on your left as you make your way.

A great place to stop over and have a picnic is at Victoria Park. The park was opened in 1829 and spanned over 57 acres. As your extraordinary walk comes to an end, you’ll pass a central line of shops and cross into Union street.


When you reach the Colonnade, you’ll see the Bath Abbey, marking the end of the Cotswold Way. Z Hotel Bath is a superb place to explore Bath after your stunning hike.

14. Stanton, Snowshill & Stanway

The Stanton, Snowshill, and Stanway walk leads you to some of the most charming villages in Cotswolds. It’s a slightly more challenging walk than the others on this list, with a distance covering 6-miles (9.6 km), taking around 3½ – 4 hours to finish.

Stanton

It’s part of the Gloucestershire walk and starts from the village of Stanton, south of Broadway, and passes through two villages (with fantastic pubs). The hike then rises up the Cotswold’s Way, to the top of the escarpment, en route to charming Snowshill.

The village of Snowshill is set around a church and adorable cottages. Here you’ll find amazing pubs, like the Snow Hill Arms, serving ale produced locally. From Snowhill, the trail will lead you around the escarpment back to Stanton.

The walk begins and ends at The Mount Inn in Stanton, a popular ending point with delicious refreshments once the loop is complete. This walk is ideal for anyone looking for an energetic hike plus amazing views, with a pint in hand as a reward.

What to Pack for Cotswold Walks


Walking in the Cotswolds is an overall wonderful experience. With historic castles, traditional British pubs, and beautiful gardens along the way.

Before you head off on your exciting adventure in the beautiful countryside, take a look at some unmissable things you should pack for a trek in the countryside.

Packing Essentials For Walking


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Merrell Women’s Siren Traveller Walking Shoe

A comfortable pair of walking boots or trail running shoes can make or break your scenic walk.

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Micro Towel

A lightweight towel comes in handy on any long-distance adventure.

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Anker Power Bank, PowerCore Slim 10000 Portable Charger

You’ll certainly want to have a charger to keep your electronics on at all times. Whether it’s for your phone, watch, or AirPods

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Waterproof and Breathable Hiking Jacket

UK weather can be unpredictable. Bring along a light rain-resistant, and windproof jacket.

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Backpack

A comfortable backpack can make a world of difference when carrying it on a long-distance walk.

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Hydration Bladder

Taking water with you on a long trek is essential. You can fill it up with clean water along the way.

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Cotswolds Walking Map

You’ll want to take a walking map of the Cotswold Way. You’ll also find places to stay and eat, to make your walk easier

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Walking Poles

If you’re going to be walking for a couple of days, or hours, you’ll want to take along some light trekking poles – especially if you’re hiking on rocky terrain.

Final Thoughts On The Best Cotswold Walks

Cotswolds walks are home to some of the most incredible trails in the UK. It mostly features long-distance trails and provides enthusiasts with a wealth of choices.

The Cotswolds are nestled in the heart of England and present you with picture-postcard villages, huddled in sleepy hamlets and scattered over rolling hills.

You’ll undoubtedly experience a memorable adventure as you walk through one of the many beautiful trails provided.

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