A charming and picturesque Cotswold village, Bibury, England features one of the most photographed places in England – Arlington Row. It’s a group of beautiful cottages dating back to 1380. And the village has a plethora of pretty stone buildings and scenic views to take in. Despite being a small village, there are plenty of things to do in Bibury, England to fill a day of exploring. With few changes since the 18th century, visiting Bibury feels like stepping back in time.
About Bibury, England
Sitting on the River Coln, Bibury is located 10 miles from both Cirencester, which is called “The Capital of the Cotswolds,” and Burford, a town considered the southern gateway to the Cotswolds. What’s now just called Bibury used to be two separate villages, Arlington and Bibruy, separated by the river. It’s unknown why the lone name withstood time, while the other didn’t.
Highlights of Bibury, England
Built around 1380, Arlington Row started as a tythe barn where a monastery stored wool. During the 17th century, it was converted into cottages for weavers. Then, in 1939, the Royal Society of Arts renovated the cottages and gave them to the National Trust. Now, eight of the cottages have tenants, and you can book one for holiday accommodation. As one of the top things to do in Bibury, these nine cottages are incredibly pleasing to the eye, causing tourists from all over the world to flock to this spot. Back in the day when Henry Ford visited this Cotswold village, he even wanted to buy Arlington Row and ship the cottages to Michigan.
This site was where wool was hung to dry on racks, hence the name Rack Isle. Now a National Trust site, it’s been turned into a nature reserve. Rack Isle features a boggy meadow in the heart of Bibury and boasts wildlife, unusual plants, and a picture-perfect view of Arlington Row.
Another scenic place to see in Bibury, Row Bridge is a footbridge that used to be the main way to cross the River Coln within the village. The stone bridge is beautifully framed between Rack Isle and the main street through Bibury. I recommend sitting along the river with a view of Row Bridge, Arlington Row, and Rack Isle. It was certainly my favorite spot in this Cotswold village.
Bibury Trout Farm
Originally this spot was a water cress farm, but in 1902, the beds were turned into ponds for trout rearing. The Bibury Trout Farm produces rainbow trout and sells them to the public, restaurants, and hotels. Additionally, fish are sold to restock lakes and rivers. On top of that, the farm is tranquil with beautiful flowers and scenic spots to sit and take in the surroundings. Admission for an adult is £4.50. You can also purchase a cup of food to feed the fish for 60 pence.
The Catherine Wheel
As the only pub in Bibury, this family-owned venue is a great spot for a meal or pint of beer in between exploring this Cotswold village. The Catherine Wheel offers dishes made from locally-sourced ingredients and features a garden to enjoy a sunny day. Hit the pause button on sightseeing and enjoy the ambiance of a traditional village pub.
St Mary’s Church
A pretty church set in Bibury, St. Mary’s boasts a churchyard with beautifully landscaped plants and flowers. Peek inside the church to see the lovely stained-glass windows. St Mary’s Church also sells brochures perfect for those visiting the village, including “A Short Walk Around Bibury” and “A Short Walk Around Arlington” for 50 pents each. Each brochure includes a map, interesting historical information, and buildings and places of interest to visit. I found the two brochures a great guide to exploring the area.
Seeing the village’s picturesque views are many of the top things to do in Bibury, England. It’s truly a lovely destination to include in an itinerary for the Cotswolds. William Morris, who was an English textile designer, novelist, poet, and was associated with the British Arts and Crafts Movement described Bibury as “the most beautiful village in England.” Have I convinced you to visit this scenic village in the Cotswolds?