Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotwolds – Things to see and do

Often referred to as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’, Bourton-on-the-Water’s beauty is epitomised by the serene River Windrush, gently flowing right through its centre.

The river’s clear sparkling water and the five ornamental low bridges crossing it make for an attractive scene – especially at the quieter times of the day and the year – and provide the setting for many a keepsake photo.

Bourton has become a major tourist ‘honeypot’ in recent decades, with its various popular visitor attractions. Among these, the famous Model Village stands out, a small-scale Cotswold stone replica of Bourton-on-the-Water, complete with its own model village, that opened its doors in 1937.

Other must-see attractions are Cotswold Birdland, a bird sanctuary whose inhabitants include a colony of penguins; the Cotswold Motoring Museum; and the Dragonfly Maze, which has over a quarter of a mile of pathways and an attractive pavilion at its centre.

Each year on August Bank Holiday Monday, the popular football in the river match takes place in Bourton-on-the-Water. Goalposts are set up in the River Windrush, and two teams from Bourton Rovers FC battle it out in front of hundreds of spectators.

Bourton’s parish church of St Lawrence is notable for its domed tower, unique in the Cotswolds.

Greystones Farm, home to Salmonsbury Meadows Site of Special Scientific Interest, is on the outskirts of Bourton, open to the public. The River Eye runs through the nature reserve, providing many wildlife to discover, including heron, butterflies, otter and water vole.

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