Just a short drive from Cirencester, Bibury has long been called ‘The most beautiful village in England’ – and for good reason. An incredibly beautiful village, Bibury is easily one of the world’s most picturesque villages, with thousands of visitors flocking to Bibury every year.
Below, we’ll be covering everything about the beautiful Bibury village, including its history, must-visits and everything inbetween.
Bibury Cotswolds History
Bibury’s fascinating heritage takes us back to the Iron Age, and according to records first appears in the 8th century as ‘Beagan-byring’ after the estates in the village were given to Earl Leppas and his daughter, Beaga. By 1096, it had become ‘Becheberie’, before evolving into the much-loved Bibury we know today.
The surrounding countryside was owned by nearby abbeys, before ownership was passed to Osney Abbey in Oxford in 1130. The beautiful historic cottages on Arlington Row were built in 1380, with their original use being to store wool by monks from the abbey.
Today, Bibury Cotswolds and Arlington Row see thousands of visitors each year, with Japanese visitors particularly fond of this beautiful village after Emperor Hirohito stayed in Bibury on his European tour.
By 1939, tourism in Bibury had increased significantly already, with two team rooms and a boarding house at the time.
What are the best things to do in Bibury?
There are many great sights in Bibury Cotswolds, it can be difficult knowing where to begin. Here are some of the best things to do in Bibury to get you started:
There’s no denying that Arlington Row cottages are beautiful. Often referred to as the most photographed cottages in the UK, Arlington Row in Bibury was originally built to store wool, before being converted into a row of weavers’ cottages in the 17th century.
The cottages themselves are let to private tenants, however, one of the cottages is available as a holiday cottage if you’re looking for a place to stay during your visit.
This iconic destination was one of the locations used in the 2007 film ‘Stardust’, featuring Michelle Pfiefer, Robert de Niro, Claire Danes, Sienna Miller and Ricky Gervais. There are other claims to fame also, with some websites claiming that 2001 Bridget Jones’s Diary was filed at Arlington Row.
How to get to Arlington row in Bibury:
Discover the storybook-like Cotswolds region in England, home to romantic villages and rolling hills! Bibury is located on the B4425 between Burford Oxfordshire (10 miles away) and Cirencester Gloucestershire (7.5 miles). Along your journey from Burford to Cirencester you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking countryside dotted with quaint villages and settlements – an idyllic destination for a picturesque drive.
Since much of the Cotswolds is best reached by car, you can find out where to park here.
Awkward Hill is rarely mentioned due to the popularity of Arlington Row – however, it is actually the little bed at the top of Arlington Row. There is where you’ll find the cutest number 9 cottage (the one that can be booked for your Cotswolds holiday!).
Bibury Trout Farm
England’s oldest working trout farm – founded in 1902 – is a must-visit for many Bibury explorers. Having welcomed visitors since 1965, visitors can see first-hand how the trout farm operates at a farm that breeds and rears high-quality Rainbow and Brown Trout for restocking angling waters. In its beautiful surroundings, you can also expect to see an abundance of ducks, swans, Kingfishers, geese and other wildlife too.
There is also a gift shop on-site, stocking a range of gifts and souvenirs, as well as a fish counter and a range of frozen seafoods. As well as fish, you can also stock up on locally baked bread, free-range eggs and plenty of milk and cheese, as well as quality wines, Westons cider and Hook Norton beers.
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For drivers, there are a few parking options available, including a small public parking area opposite Bibury Trout Farm, however, this can get incredibly busy during peak times. If there’s no space available, there is a chargeable car park adjacent to the Trout Farm, run by Ardpark. If you’re visiting the trout farm, you can get free parking when you enter your registration at the counter as you enter the farm.
Address: Bibury Trout Farm, Bibury, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 5NL
Church of St Mary
As well as being home to the famous Arlington Row, Bibury is also where you’ll find St Mary’s Church. This Grade I listed Anglo-Saxon church still stands today, having been built in the middle to late 11th century.
Situated away from the busy Arlington Row, St Mary’s Church is quite simply an oasis of calm, with Saxon chancel columns, capitals and gravestones, as well as Normal doorway arches, 17th century table tombs, 15th century roof and 18th century wall monuments.
As well as some incredible architecture, St Mary’s Church also houses a fine collection of stained glass windows – the oldest being from the 13th century, while some of the latest work was completed by Thomas Willement, William Wailes and Karl Parsons.
Within walking distance of Arlington Row, St Mary’s Church is located on Church Road, Bibury, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 5NR. There is road parking nearby, but if you do choose to park in the village, the church is within walking distance of Arlington Row.
Cotswolds Elbow Public Footpath
If you’re feeling fit, this 6.5 mile circular walk allows you to soak up some incredible sights. Easily joined just beyond Awkward Hill, the loop will take you along Bibury’s River Coln, through to another pretty village – Coln Saint Aldwyns.
Visit The Catherine Wheel pub
The Catherine Wheel pub is the only pub in Bibury Cotswolds that also serves as a B&B. Although known for its in, it may have originally served as a location for wool traders.
This family-run venue offers a delicious menu, accommodation and of course, a wonderful setting, on the main road through Bibury.
Stay at The Swan Hotel
The Swan Hotel sits on the corner of where two main roads meet in the heart of Bibury. It is simply postcard-perfect, with presence over the nearby River Coln. Pop into the bar or garden for views of this 17th century inn, with some incredible statement prints.
The Rack Isle
A visit to Bibury’s Rack Isle is a must for any wildlife enthusiast, as it’s teeming with vibrant local flora and fauna.
Not only did this nature reserve once serve monks from Arlington Row by providing them with a place to store and wash their wool – today visitors can spot everything from colourful flowers and Kingfishers, to dragonflies or even water snakes.
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The Rack Isle sits between the River Coln and the village’s main thoroughfare.
Arlington Mill plays an important part in Bibury’s long and interesting history, and has been here since the Domesday Books. Originally used as a corn mill, Arlington Mill played an important role in the wool trade by degreasing the cloth produced at the weavers cottages.
A while later, Arlington Mill ceased as a working mill, becoming a popular Bibury museum that houses a large collection of period clothing, with a cosy tea stop on-site up until fairly recently.
While it is no longer open for visitors to go inside, it’s a great stop for photos while visiting Bibury. Many claim to have spotted ghosts around Arlington Mill, too, so beware!
Discover Roman History
Take a journey back in time with us to 1880, when George Witts discovered an incredible Roman villa near the banks of River Coln. Amongst its impressive unearthed treasures were paving slabs from centuries past and shards of pottery that brought forth memories of Rome’s ancient glory days.
The Bibury Roman Villa is enclosed on private farmland, but if you’re eager to know more about Romans in the Cotswolds, take a trip to the Chedworth Roman Villa nearby.
Bibury Court is a grand Jacobean mansion that dates back to the late 16th century. Long before its transformation, it was home to Benedictine monks who lived in this secluded spot of Gloucestershire – now one of England’s most beloved historical sites.
Go on one of the many Bibury walks
Bibury is the perfect place to escape and explore nature -as the gateway to the Coln Valley and the Cotswolds – it provides a journey into an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty! Take in stunning views as you stroll through rolling hills, winding rivers, valleys and breathtaking landscapes. An idyllic spot for enjoying some fresh air.
How to get to the wonderful Bibury
Bibury is located on the B4425 between Aldsworth and Barnsley, around 7.5 miles/15 minutes’ drive northeast of Cirencester. There is some parking available, however, it is limited. As we touched upon earlier, there is a chargeable car park opposite the Trout Farm, (GL7 5NF), which is free for Trout Farm visitors.
The Stagecoach 855 bus connects Bibury to Cirencester, Northleach and Bourton-on-the-Water (except on Sundays). The nearest train station is in Kemble.
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Much of the Cotswolds is best explored by car, however, if you are visiting via public transport, you can take the 882 service from Kemble to Cirencester and change for the 855. By taxi, it’s around 25 minutes’ drive from Kemble to Bibury, but booking in advance is needed.
Things to do near the beautiful Bibury Cotswolds Village
While there is plenty to do and see in Bibury, whether the Bibury Trout Farm, capturing Arlington Row or popping into the Swan Hotel, if Bibury isn’t quite enough, there is plenty to do at nearby Cotswold villages.
The town of Burford is a must-visit during your trip to Bibury or the Cotswolds in general! If you’re travelling from London to the Cotswolds, you’ll drive straight through this pretty town when entering via the A40. Often referred to as ‘the gateway to the Cotswolds’, Burford isn’t far from Bibury, with plenty on offer for visitors.
Here are just a few things to get up to in Burford:
- Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens
- Visit St John the Baptist church
- Burford Library
- Tolsey Museum
Just 20 minutes from Bibury via the A429, Bourton-on-the-Water offers some great sights and activities, including the Dragonfly Maze and St Lawrence’s Church.
You’ll also find:
- Cotswold Motoring Museum
- Hawkstone Brewery
- The Model Village
- Greystones Farm
- Cotswold Antiques and Tea Room
Ready to visit Bibury?
There’s no doubt about it, this beautiful Bibury Cotswolds village has so much to see and do, and can be the perfect addition to your itinerary during your trip.
For help planning where to go, we can help you to plan your Cotswolds trip, providing tips, advice and even tailored tours.
For the latest events in the Cotswolds, be sure to take a look at our ‘what’s on‘ page! While the most beautiful village in England has plenty to do, there is also a lot more to explore in the Cotswolds in general – find other great things to do here. From Cotswolds Alpacas to visiting the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, get ready to soak up the sights and enjoy everything the Cotswolds has to offer – no matter how long you’re visiting!
Thinking about moving to Bibury?
Excellent choice! Bibury is a beautiful place to live. If you’re considering relocating, and can’t get enough of the Cotswolds, take a look at our ‘live in the Cotswolds‘ page for helpful advice and Buying Agents in the area to help you find your dream home.
Take a piece of the Cotswolds home with you
While you’re here… Whether you’re visiting Bibury and soaking up the sights of Arlington Row, the Arlington Mill, or even the River Coln… Why not take a piece of the Cotswolds home with you? Take a look at our online shop for unique designs you won’t find anywhere else, including our Arlington Row design apron and repeat pattern Landmark socks!