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Stow-On-The-Wold is a picturesque little market town, centered in the heart of the Cotswolds countryside. It’s home to an outgoing market square, honey-coloured stone buildings, cosy pubs, and a variety of antique shops.
This historic English town is just a short trip from London and is the perfect place for a day trip or weekend getaway in the beautiful English countryside.
Plush the town has charming accommodations of its own making it completely irresistible.
From where to eat, stay, and what to do in Stow-on-the-Wold, this guide covers everything to help you get the most out of your visit.
Stow-on-the-Wold is located in Gloucestershire County, in Southwest England, and is surrounded by The Cotswold Hills.
Stow-on-the-Wold is the highest-located town in The Cotswolds and is situated on top of the 800 feet (244m) high Stow Hill. Stow was once an ancient wool town and is located at a junction of seven major roads including The Fosse Way.
The Fosse Way was a road built by the Romans, which linked Stow with other towns such as Exeter and Lincoln making it an important trade stop.
Stow-On-the-Wold in The Cotswolds has a variety of activities to do that range from arts & culture, history, gastronomy, and a few events that take place throughout the year.
Here are few things you might want to add to your bucket list:
The Market Square in Stow was once the town’s prominent wool trading post that could hold up to 20 000 sheep. The square also held various fairs where locals could trade livestock and homemade goods.
Today the Market Square is filled with some of England’s best antique shops, gift shops, art galleries, and restaurants.
Take a stroll through the square and get to know the area that became crucial to Stow’s success as a key trading post in ancient times.
Britain is synonymous with “Afternoon Tea” and Stow is a great place to grab a light bite just before dinner. Stow has an abundance of local tea rooms with some popular ones including Lucy’s Tearoom, Huffkins, and The Cotswold Garden Tea Room.
Opt for a traditional afternoon tea with scones, cakes, and sandwiches, cream, and jams, or opt for a hearty English breakfast or light lunch.
If English tea isn’t really your thing, but you’d still like to enjoy a warm beverage, be sure to check out Stow Town Coffee.
Stow Town Coffee is a small commercial coffee roastery in Stow that has been serving up delicious coffee since 2010. They have an espresso bar where you can enjoy a quick cup of coffee in their cosy coffee lounge or on the go.
They also offer a coffee training workshop where you can learn to make the perfect espresso and perfect your latte art designs.
The Fosse Gallery is considered to be one of the most important art galleries in the UK. Located in the Manor House on the Square in Stow-On-the-Wold, the gallery was founded in 1980 by owner Sharon Wheaton
It has featured some of the most important pieces of British Art and also hosts the artwork of artists from all over the world.
The Fosse Gallery regularly updates its exhibitions, so there’s always something exciting to see.
Located just 14 minutes from Stow-On-the-Wold, lies the iconic Broadway Tower. Sitting 1024 feet(312m) above sea level, this tower is the second-highest point in The Cotswolds Ridge and offers stunning views across 16 counties.
You can explore the history of this lookout point over its 3 floors. A tour not to be missed is the Nuclear Bunker Tour.
Step back in time and discover how the nuclear activity was recorded during the Cold War.
You can also rent an e-bike, and tour this picturesque landscape. End the day off by grabbing a bite at the Morris & Brown Cafe or Tower Barn Espresso Bar and Shop.
St. Edwards Church was built on the foundation of the earlier Saxon church and was built between the 11th and 15th centuries, with additions being added in the later 17th century.
The church is a stunning architectural gem with wonderful stained-glass designs. It’s also well known for its mystical tree-framed doorway.
This is a great place for history lovers, and anyone interested in architecture and stained glass art.
If you love the game of cricket, you’ll definitely want to check on the Cotswold Cricket Museum located on Sheep Street in Stow.
The museum is owned by ultra-cricket fan, Andy Collier and is situated above he and his wife’s coffee shop.
The museum holds Andy’s private collection of cricket memorabilia from around the world and tells the stories of crickets’ most successful players.
What better way to escape from the hustle and bustle of busy London, than by treating yourself to a luxurious spa day in the rolling hills of The Wolds?
Enjoy a pampering massage, facial, or relax at the poolside with a glass of bubbly as you de-stress in the peaceful surroundings of The Cotswolds.
You may want to check out the following spas that are located just a few minutes outside of Stow-On-the-Wold:
- Wyck Hill House Hotel & Spa – 2.5 miles (4km, 6 minutes away)
- Bramford Wellness Spa – 4 miles (6km, 9 minutes away)
- The Spa at Barnsley House – 16 miles (25km, 28 minutes away)
If you’re an art and culture lover, be sure not to miss the Longborough Festival Opera. The Longborough Festival Opera is held each year in one of the villages near Stow, Longborough.
The festival is held each year in the summer months of June and July on the grounds owned by the founders of the event, Martin and Lizzie Graham. The event was created in 1991 specifically for the best up-and-coming artists, designers, directors, and conductors.
This event highlights some of the best-hidden talents in the UK in an intimate 500 seat theatre that overlooks the picturesque hills of The Cotswolds.
One of the best things to do in the Cotswolds is to enjoy a leisurely day out in one of the many gardens around Stow-On-the-Wold.
The beautiful gardens around Stow, are perfect for enjoying an afternoon picnic and stroll with your family, your significant other, or your dog.
If you’re looking for some downtime by yourself, these gardens are perfect too, and they’re all less than 30 minutes away from Stow:
- Hidcote Manor
- Bourton House
- Snowshill Manor
- Barnsley House and Garden
- Batsford Arboretum near Moreton on Marsh
- Cerney House Garden
If you’re wondering where to eat in Stow-On-the-Wold, check out these restaurants for a quick bite:
The Porch House Restaurant is the in-house restaurant of the award-winning boutique inn of the same name located in the center of Stow-On-the-Wold.
This cosy restaurant has developed a tasty menu made from locally sourced ingredients and local culinary expertise. The Porch House offers hearty British breakfasts, light lunches, scrumptious main courses, and Sunday roasts.
The restaurant caters to everyone and has vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan alternatives available.
In 2005 owners, Pete and Louise Robinson bought a former butcher’s shop and converted it into a casual dining space with a warm atmosphere and a menu that caters to even the pickiest of eaters.
This restaurant located in Stow-On-the-Wold is one of the most popular restaurants in The Cotswolds area. Their food is so great that they are the exclusive caterers for the Longborough Festival.
Huffkins is a small chain of award-winning British bakeries and cafes, unique to The Cotswolds area, with one located in Stow.
This town favourite serves up delicious breakfasts, brunch, lunch, and afternoon tea, with the bakery baking up fresh cakes, scones, and bread for visitors to enjoy at home.
Head over to Huffkins and enjoy a meal or snack made with love as you overlook the bustling Market Square.
The Sheep-on-Sheep Street is the neighbour of The Porch House and sits just opposite it. This 17th-century inn was fully refurbished in 2016 and has a younger vibe that offers informal dining, cocktails, and beers.
This stylish open-air restaurant offers a range of tasty dishes from its seasonal menu including mouth-watering pizzas from their wood-fired oven.
Fancy a quick drink and bite? Head over to one of these local pubs in Stow:
The Talbot is a family-friendly pub that serves a selection of ales, ranging from refreshing golden light ales to darker ales, most of which are sourced from the Wadworth Brewery.
The Talbot also serves up a range of tasty meals including their famous Talbot Burger and Brixham Fish and Chunky Chips.
Upon entering the Bell at Stow, you’ll be greeted by beautiful, beamed ceilings, cosy log fires, and flagstone floors.
The Bell is open every day and serves pints of ale, coffee, bar snacks, and even three-course meals in its dining room. Be sure to keep an eye out for its specials board outside the pub that announces various dishes made from the seasonal produce of the area.
If you find yourself at the Bell on a Sunday, you’ll be treated to live music while you enjoy your meal or drink.
The Golden Ball is located just 5 minutes away from Stow, in the quiet village of Lower Swell. This 17th-century pub is part of the Donnington Brewery and has a friendly atmosphere.
The pub serves up home-cooked meals including its famous Sunday roasts and Charolais Beef. The Golden Ball changes its menu daily, so you’re always in for a treat.
The pub also has a Dominoes Evening and is a favourite spot amongst locals to gather and watch major sports events.
The Queens Head is situated right in the heart of Stow-On-the-Wold and has served locals and visitors for over 400 years.
The Queens Head is also part of the Donnington Brewery and serves up pints of ale and homemade, reasonably priced pub food.
It’s also one of the only pubs that’s dog friendly, making it a favourite among locals to stop and have a drink after a quick walk with their dog.
The Old Stocks Inn is a 17th century Inn located in the Market Square of Stow, that was recently refurbished. It combines old charm with a modern contemporary twist and guests can dine in a warm and cosy atmosphere.
The pub serves artisan coffee, cocktails, and hand-crafted ales. Along with great drinks, traditional English meals can also be enjoyed here.
The Old Stocks Inn is a favourite amongst locals to gather for great food and company.
The Kings Arm is a charming pub with contemporary decor and quirky touches to create a warm and fun atmosphere.
You can enjoy a range of drinks that include ales, beers, wines, lagers, spirits, and hot drinks along with a selection of bar snacks and hearty food from their menu which includes venison sausages and butter mash.
At The Kings Arms, you can also look forward to weekly dinner events like their famous Fish & Fizz on Friday and Proper Pie n Pint Night on Wednesday.
If you’d like to make more than just a day trip out of your visit to Stow, check out these places to stay:
The Stow Lodge is a stylish historic hotel that overlooks Market Square. The hotel has been run by one family for over 50 years and has built up a reputation as a friendly family-friendly hotel.
It has a garden full of vibrant flowers that are in full bloom in the spring and summer months, making it a special place to sit back and relax. Its central location means that it’s easy to access shops, galleries, and other attractions in Stow.
Guests can enjoy a traditional English breakfast at the hotel, and the hotel has a bar, restaurant, 24-hour front desk room service, and free WiFi.
The Pound, located on Sheep Street and is known to have a homely and friendly atmosphere.
This bed & breakfast is also conveniently located close to some of Stow’s popular attractions like St Edwards Church, Fosse Gallery, and The Old Butchers restaurant.
All these attractions are within walking distance from The Pound. The rooms also have a kitchenette and free WiFi.
The Hive is a 2 bedroom-period home with a boutique hotel feel to it. The property is quite central and is located close to Sheep Street in Stow.
This light and bright home is able to accommodate 4 people comfortably and has an ultra-modern kitchen, spacious lounge, and 2 bathrooms. The Hive is also right next to an eatery with the same name that serves up some delicious meals.
Originally built in 975 AD, The Porch House is believed to be the oldest Inn in England, and has been carefully preserved throughout the centuries.
This charming 13 room hotel still has most of its original features like its stone walls and beam ceilings. The hotel has 4 types of rooms available and you’ll be able to choose from their small Cosy Rooms, Dashing Classics, Superior Rooms, and the crown jewel, The Suite.
Each of the rooms have their own classic, country charisma with a touch of modern luxury. If you have a dog, then you’ll be delighted to know that Porch House has comfortable dog-friendly rooms available.
The Porch House also has its own restaurant where you can enjoy delicious meals in a formal and comfortable setting.
If you’re travelling by car and are looking for a place to park, here are a few places to consider:
There are a few parking spaces located in Market Square. It’s free to park here, however, there is a 2-hour time restriction, and you may incur a fine if you overstay your welcome.
The best free parking in Stow-On-the-Wold is just off the roads of Fosse Way and Maugersbury. Parking bays on these roads include standard parking bays, disabled parking, and motorcycle bays.
These parking areas are also located close to Market Square and it’s easy to walk from there.
There are a few ways to get to Stow-On-the-Wold including:
Stow-On-the-Wold is 86 miles (138km) from London. It will take you around 1h 30 minutes to a little over 2h to get to Stow from London if you plan on driving up. The route takes you on the M40 through Burford and Moreton-in- Marsh.
The fastest journey to Stow takes about 1h 50 minutes from London on a direct route and departs from London Paddington Station.
Alternatively, you can take a train from London Paddington to the nearby town of Moreton-in-Marsh, and catch a taxi for the rest of the 4-mile (6km) journey.
This service runs a few times weekly and is run by the First Great Western Service.
If you’ve got time, you can take a bus journey from London to Stow. This journey takes a little longer though and can last between 3-4 hours. The journey starts off by train departing from the Victoria Station Oxford Tube.
Once in Oxford, you can then catch a bus from there directly to Stow-On-the-Wold.
While you’re in Stow, you might want to check out these places and activities as well:
Located just 49 minutes away from Stow-On-the-Wold, lies The Cotswold Water Park, a collection of 150 lakes in the Gloucestershire and Wiltshire countryside.
This stunning area has a range of leisure activities that include wakeboarding, windsurfing, fishing, and birdwatching.
The main attraction in The Cotswold Water Park is The Cotswold Country Park and Beach, the largest inland beach in the UK. Here you can enjoy kayaking, waterslides, and lakeside walks.
There are also a few cafes where you can enjoy a quick bite and a few accommodation options like self-catering lodges and campsites available.
Moreton-in-Marsh is another one of The Cotswolds popular market towns and is located just 12 minutes away from Stow-On-the-Wold on Fosse Way Road.
Moreton has been a traveller’s town for about 1700 years and has a collection of pubs, inns, tea shops, restaurants, and B&B’s. It’s also home to attractions like the Batsford House, St. David’s Church, and The Curfew Tower.
On Tuesdays, the town holds a market with about 200 stalls, and you can find anything from homemade goods to food and souvenirs.
If you fancy a round of golf in the English countryside, why not head over to the Naunton Downs Golf Club near Cheltenham? The golf club is just 10 minutes away from Stow.
The club is located in between the hills of Stow-On-the-Wold and Bourton On-The-Water and is a scenic retreat for avid golfers with its 18-hole course.
Stow-On-The-Wold is more than just a quaint, historic market town. It’s one of the best market towns in The Cotswolds and is worth a visit.
Whether you’re planning on visiting for a day or want to treat yourself to a short break in the magnificent English countryside, Stow should definitely be on your list of places to check out.