Arlington Row in Bibury: the most beautiful Cotswold village

by Jan

Bibury is a beautiful Cotswold village, near Cirencester in Gloucestershire.  Furthermore, the famous street, Arlington Row in Bibury is one of the prettiest streets in England.  With its traditional Cotswold cottages overlooking a wildlife reserve, Bibury has a quintessential English charm.  It’s easy to see why it attracts visitors from all over the world.

William Morris once described the Cotswold village of Bibury as “the most beautiful village in England”.  Consequently, Arlington Row in Bibury is also one of the most photographed places in England.  If you haven’t been, you may recognise it from the picture on the inside cover of all UK passports.

I was keen to visit Bibury and see if Arlington Row lived up to the hype!  So, we did a detour on the way home from our 5-day itinerary in the Cotswolds.

In our guide, we share all our top tips for visiting Bibury and the best things to do in this quaint Cotswold village.

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Arlington Row in Bibury

Arlington Row, Bibury, Cotswolds, UK

The main attraction in Bibury is Arlington Row Cottages, a row of picturesque weavers’ homes.

The Arlington Row cottages were originally built in the 14th Century as a wool store for the local monastery .  It wasn’t until later in the 17th Century that they converted into homes.  Today, the National Trust owns the Arlington Row cottages and rents them to private tenants.

For the ultimate experience in Bibury, you can stay overnight in one these iconic cottages.  Yes, amazingly,  Number 9 Arlington Row is available as holiday accommodation.  You can book here through the National Trust.

To get to the Arlington Row Cottages, cross the little wooden bridge that spans the River Coln.  It is a pretty, shallow stretch of water and if you look carefully, you’ll spot trout.  In byegone days, the River Coln divided the village into two hamlets,  Bibury and Arlington.  However, nowadays the whole area is just Bibury.

At the lower end of Arlington Row is a stone inscription informing visitors that the Royal Society of Arts bought and restored Arlington Row in 1929.

Surprisingly, Arlington Row rises on the rather inappropriately named “Awkward Hill”.  It strikes me as a rather unfortunate name for such a pretty tourist destination!

Rack Isle, Bibury

Rack Isle, Bibury, Cotswold, UK

After a visit to Arlington Row cottages, the next place to visit in Bibury is a wildfowl reserve called Rack Isle.

This boggy, low-lying meadow is a picturesque area directly in front of the cottages.  Many years ago the weavers dried their wool on racks here, hence the name.

Rack Isle is important habitat for several protected species, including the water vole.  We didn’t spot any water voles, but did see a pheasant and could hear plenty of other birds.  If you go at the end of the summer, you may also see cattle grazing here.

You can follow the nature trail along the perimeter of Rack Isle to reach Bibury Trout Farm.

Bibury Trout Farm

Trout Farm, Bibury, Cotswolds, UK

Bibury Trout Farm is the oldest working trout farm in England. Established in 1902, the trout farm is now open to the public and a popular tourist destination.

One of the best things to do at Bibury Trout Farm is have a go at fishing, even if you’re a beginner. If you are lucky enough to catch some trout, they have BBQs to cook your fish. If you don’t fancy fishing, you can still feed them and watch them jumping out of the water.

If you don’t have luck catching any, you can buy trout from the smoke house. You’ll also find a gift shop, selling William Morris designs and a café.

Bibury Trout Farm is set in pretty gardens and is one of the best things to do in Bibury.

Know before you go

Eating in Bibury

There are several places to eat in Bibury.  Firstly, you have the Swan Hotel, a traditional country pub and hotel, in the centre of the village.  You could stop here for a traditional afternoon tea.

Alternatively, try the Catherine Wheel, a family-run pub just walking distance from Rack Isle.  This 15th Century inn has served the community for centuries.  It has a beer garden, so you can enjoy the summer sun.

How do you pronounce Bibury?

I always want to say Bib-bury, but the correct pronunciation rhymes with bribery.  It’s easy to remember, once you know!

When is the best time to visit Bibury?

As you’d imagine for such a picturesque beauty spot, Arlington Row in Bibury is a honeypot for tourists.  In the peak travel season, thousands of visitors flock to take a snap of this bucolic village, including coach trips from London.

If you want to go at a quieter time, avoid the summer months and go early in the morning or late afternoon.

Click here to book a small-group Cotswolds Tour from London (including Bibury).

Getting to Bibury

Bibury is in the Cotswolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in Gloucestershire, South England.  It is 6 ½ miles west of Cirencester and about 30 miles east of Oxford.  It takes around 2 hours if you want to take a day trip from London.

The easiest way to get to Bibury is by car.   You can take the M4 if you’re coming from London or the M5 from the north.

If you are using public transport, the nearest train station to Bibury is Kemble.  This is about 14 miles away, so you then need to take a bus.

If you don’t have a car, you could join a coach tour, which visits lots of other Cotswold villages on the same day.  Click here to book a coach tour.

Parking in Bibury

There is limited free roadside parking in the layby by the River Coln on “The Street”.   Alternatively, you can park by the Trout Farm or church.

Accommodation in Bibury

Historic hotel with wooden door and plants on the walls at front of building. An image of a swan is above the door.

Although Bibury is only small, you’ll find several places to stay.

The Swan Hotel in Bibury is a traditional hotel in the heart of Bibury village.  This former coaching inn has a classic English style with log fires and four-poster beds.  Furthermore, it has the ultimate location on the banks of the River Coln,  opposite Arlington Row.  Click here to book The Swan Hotel.

As well as 9 Arlington Row, you’ll find several options for self-catering accommodation in Bibury.  Sycamore is a cosy 1-bedroom cottage in the village centre.  Alternatively, if you need somewhere bigger, Cotswolds Riverside Cottage has 2 bedrooms.

If you’re looking for unique accommodation in Bibury, you should book the Arlington Mill.  It’s a stunning historic mill with traditional stone.  It has 5 bedrooms, so big enough for all the family.

Have you been to Bibury?  We’d love to hear your comments below.

Pin for later:  Bibury:  A beautiful Cotswold village

Bibury: A beautiful Cotswold Village

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1 comment

Avatar for Jan
Bea Adventurous 3rd June 2022 - 12:15 pm

Bibury is definitely one of those places which makes you feel like your on a movie set!
Its gorgeous buildings and shops, surrounded by amazing nature!

Thank you for this, I also love the inclusion of the map, and lovely photos!


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