A Day in Bourton-on-the-Water

Bourton-on-the-Water Canal

Whilst we were in the Cotswolds, at the top of our list of places to spend a day exploring was the beautiful village of Bourton-on-the-water. With the River Windrush running through its centre and quaint low bridges as crossing points, it is well known as ‘The Venice of the Cotswolds.’ It’s one of the most popular destinations in the Cotswolds and it isn’t hard to see why. There’s plenty to see and do in this pretty village for people of all ages.

Dragonfly Maze

We started our day in Bourton-on-the-water at The Dragonfly Maze. From outside it looks like your normal maze but it has a fun twist to it. You have to find your way through the maze and discover the clues as you go along. Only once you’ve found all the clues can you discover the secrets the centre holds. Definitely not just for children, this was my favourite attraction of the whole day!


Round the corner from the dragonfly maze is Birdland.  It’s great whether you’ve got kids with you or you just want a lovely place to walk around. There’s 900 acres of park and woodland and over 500 species of birds making it the perfect area to spend time walking around and watching the wildlife.

Bourton-on-the-Water Dragonfly Maze

Stroll along the river

One of the main attractions to Bourton-on-the-water is the River Windrush running through its centre and the little bridges that cross over it. As the weather was nice when we visited, we grabbed a coffee from one of the local tearooms and found ourselves a bench to sit on. It’s definitely worth spending some time admiring the picture perfect view of the river and the Cotswolds stone houses along it.

Browse the Local Shops

Bourton-on-the-water is full of boutique shops to explore. Make sure you explore the lovely streets and check out the Cotswolds Perfumery, Cotswolds Antiques and Cotswolds Pottery shops. There’s also plenty of places to grab food. You can either sit at one of the riverside restaurants or like us, grab a sandwich from one of the bakeries and sit on the grass area or find a bench if the weather is good.

Bourton-on-the-Water shops
Canal path

Motoring Museum

The Motoring Museum and Toy Collection houses an assortment of vintage and classic cars, motorbikes, caravans and toys. It will take you through the 20th century with a large variety of motor vehicles dating back to the early 1900’s.

Model Village

If you haven’t spent too long in the motoring museum, then head back down the river towards the Dragonfly Maze and you’ll find the Model Village. After exploring the real village, see a miniature replica of Bourton-on-the-water. It contains all the main buildings and they are made from Costwolds stone just like the real ones.

Motor Museum
Model Village

When to Go?

As the Cotswolds is in England you never know what weather you’re going to get! Bourton-on-the-Water is very popular and during the summer months you can get lots of tourists visiting, making the whole village very busy. If you’re looking for a quieter time to explore then the Spring or Autumn months are your best bet. This will save you from having to stand in queues to get across the bridges!

If you don’t mind early mornings, we aimed to get there for around 8 in the morning and apart from a few locals it was empty which gave us a lovely quiet time walking around. By 12 it was starting to get pretty busy!


There are various car parks dotted around Bourton-on-the-Water. The main car parks are Rissington Road (£3.30/hour) and Station Road (£2.50/2 hours). If you’re lucky you might be able to find a space on the high street where there is free parking.

Bourton-on-the-Water Bridge

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