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8 Best Things To Do In Bourton On The Water

Located in the beautiful Cotswolds region of southwest England, Bourton On The Water is a charming old village full of thatched cottages, quaint tearooms and traditional English pubs.

This popular tourist destination offers a quintessential English experience and, although quite small, has lots to see and do. Including a model village, a car museum, a model railway and a really good hedge maze!

The pretty River Windrush, with its small stone bridges, winds through the village and offers an idyllic riverside setting. The perfect place to stop, relax and enjoy your ‘picture postcard’ surroundings.

Here are the top things to do in Bourton On The Water.

1. Cotswold Motoring Museum

By far the most popular of the things to do in Bourton On The Water!

The Cotswold Motoring Museum, full title ‘the Motoring & Toys museum’, is home to some great motor vehicles, an interesting collection of bicycles and even some horse-drawn vehicles. However, some may argue that the toys are the real gems.

For anyone growing up in the 90’s, like us, it’s an absolute must visit just to see Brum!

The little yellow car from the British children’s TV series is about the adventures of a self-driven motor. Although, of course there is much more to see.

There are cute little labels on some of the vehicles that tell you about the past owners memories and experiences, which really help bring the whole thing to life.

Take your time and stroll around taking photos before exiting through the shop, which is home to one of the largest toy car collections we’ve seen!

Brum Cotswold Motoring Museum Bourton On The Water

2. The Model Village

The Model Village Bourton On The Water is a fascinating, 1/9th scale of the Cotswold village.  

Built in traditional Cotswold stone it is the only grade II listed model village in the country.

Whereas the real Bourton will take you a couple of hours to walk around, this miniature version will only take around 20 minutes.

From the post office, to the famous river windrush running through the town, everything you can find out in the ‘real world’ you can find here in a cuter, scaled down version.

A great activity for any age and one of the most popular things to do in Bourton! 

The Model Village Bourton On The Water - Things to do in bourton on the water

3. Dragonfly Maze

The Dragonfly Maze Bourton On The Water is by far one of the best activities in the village.

Fun for any age, it’s an adult size, traditional hedge maze. With not only a goal of reaching the end, but also a task to complete along the way.

The Dragonfly Maze is only a small maze, so to prevent overcrowding they have a set number of time slots available per hour and also a maximum capacity at any given time.

We won’t spoil it but the whole thing is very clever and you really feel a sense of achievement when you solve it!

We’ve been to a few mazes previously, however, this is by far the most entertaining as well as reasonably priced.

A great activity to kill an hour, and one of our favourite things to do in Bourton On The Water.

Dragonfly Maze Bourton On The Water

4. Model Railway

A toy store specialising in model railways.

The model railway exhibits are located at the back of the toy shop, which is well stocked with just about anything you need from a kite to your own train set.

The fully functioning toy railways are the true gem though. At £3 per adult, there are three rooms available to explore.

The first operates by itself in daylight mode and then changes into night mode which is pretty impressive.

The second and third rooms allow you to press buttons and start lots of trains running, a great hit with all children that visit!

This is an inexpensive and fun way to spend a bit of time, even if you are not a train enthusiast.

Model Railway Bourton On The Water Things To Do In Bourton On The Water

5. Birdland

Birdland Park and Gardens, often known as just Birdland, is a wildlife park in Bourton On The Water that first opened its door back in 1957.

Set in 9 acres of gardens and woodland, it’s home to over 500 birds. Including Flamingos, Pelicans, Cranes and Storks along with the only group of breeding King Penguins in England, Wales and Ireland.

There’s also a large array of owls including snowy owls, burrowing owls, great grey owls, spectacled owls and Indian scops owls as well as Mackinder’s eagle owls, Chaco owls and white-faced owls!

Not forgetting the colourful and cheeky pandemonium of parrots including macaws and lorikeets. 

In addition, lurking in the woodland are life-sized dinosaurs hidden between the trees in the Jurassic Journey area.

We didn’t get chance to visit due to time constraints, but it’s highly recommended as one of the top things to do in Bourton On The Water.

Birdland Bourton On The Water Things To Do In Bourton On The Water

6. Visit The Pubs

If you’re looking for traditional English pubs, then where better to find them than in a traditional English village.

There’s plenty of excellent pubs to choose from in Bourton On The Water, many of which date back hundreds of years. In fact they have voted some of the prettiest in the country.

Serving a great selection of drinks and tasty pub grub, in some really quaint and cosy settings, they are the perfect place to relax and catch your breath. They also offer some really pretty beer gardens and outside seating to enjoy.

So whether you’re looking to try some local ales, watch some English football or simply want enjoy the views over the River Windrush, having a beer in a typical English pub has to be on your things to do in Bourton On The Water list.

The Kingsbridge Inn Pub Bourton On The Water Things To Do In Bourton On The Water

7. Enjoy A High Tea

Another of the traditional ‘things to do in Bourton On The Water for tourists’ is to enjoy a high tea.

A high tea, for those that don’t know, was traditionally for the upper class, and consists of delicate sandwiches along with some sweet treats like scones and jam and a pot of tea.

Of course, nowadays, High Tea is accessible to those of all classes and one of the main places to get one in Bourton is at De la Haye’s Café Tea Room.

The main reason as to why this type of meal was called High Tea, is the fact that it was eaten at a table. In comparison, Afternoon Tea was taken whilst seating in low, comfortable chairs or sofas.

So, if you need a little refreshment, a High Tea will definitely hit the spot!

De La Hayes Bourton On The Water Things To Do In Bourton On The Water

8. Picnic Along The River Windrush

The pretty River Windrush, with its picturesque stone bridges, runs all the way through the cute village of Bourton On The Water.

A highlight of the village, and the landmark most commonly used on postcards of the area, it is also famous for having a decorated Christmas tree placed in it during the seasonal holidays!

Many tourists choose to take a picnic and lay a blanket down on the grass next to the small river. This pretty area is ideal to rest your legs after a full-day of exploring.

Alternatively, we highly recommend grabbing a packet of chips from Cor Blimey Fish & Chips shop and perching yourself along the bank to enjoy them.

If you are based in London there are day trips you can book to visit Bourton on the Water, like From London: Full-Day Cotswolds Small-Group Tour. This tour visits the four most popular Cotswold villages including Bourton on the Water.

River Windrush Bourton On The Water Things To Do In Bourton On The Water

Where To Stay In Bourton On The Water


The Lansdowne Guest House

The Landsdowne Guest House is one of the most highly rated accommodations in the area. 

Each room has a flat-screen TV, tea/coffee making facilities and light refreshments.

Rooms come with a private bathroom equipped with a bath or shower, hairdryer and complimentary toiletries.

Free WiFi and private parking is available on site.


The Mousetrap Inn

Located perfectly on the high street, The Mousetrap Inn has a beautiful garden and terrace.

The property has a bar and on site restaurant. All units come with a TV and free WiFi.

Buffet breakfast is available each morning at the property.


Old Manse Hotel by Greene King Inns

With original features and traditional charm, Old Manse Hotel overlooks the River Windrush.

The hotel has free parking, a riverside terrace and free Wi-Fi. 

The elegant rooms at The Old Manse each have a private bathroom. All rooms have tea and coffee facilities, a work desk and hairdryer.

Some rooms even have wonderfulperiod features and river views.

For more places to stay in Bourton On The Water, you can check the latest prices on

Planning Your Trip

Book Your Flight

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. 

They search websites and airlines around the globe to find you the best possible routes and prices.

Book Your Accommodation

Use to find the best accommodation deals.

They consistently return the cheapest rates on everything from guesthouses to hotels for all of your budget needs.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Use SafetyWing to find the best travel insurance for you.

They provide travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads.

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

Book Your Tours & Activities

Use GetYourGuide to book your activities in advance.

They sell the best tours, excursions and activities to attractions around the world.

Conveniently book, download and access your tickets on the move all from your mobile. 

Book Your Rental Car

Use to find the best deals on rental cars in the area.

They compare all major car rental companies and allow you to easily book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Buy Those Last Minute Bits

Use Amazon to buy everything you need for your adventure.

They offer next day delivery and you can use my travel packing checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

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