Arlington Row, Bibury

A quick summary

Once described as “the most beautiful village in England”, Bibury attracts legions of visitors each year and the picturesque group of former weavers’ cottages known as Arlington Row is one of the most photographed Cotswold scenes.

Situated about seven miles from Cirencester, Bibury was described by the 19th Century artist and craftsman William Morris as “the most beautiful village in England” when he visited it.

The picturesque group of former weavers’ cottages on Arlington Row in Bibury is without doubt one of the most photographed Cotswold scenes.

It is probably also now the most depicted village in the world because since 2010, a picture of the former weavers’ cottages in Arlington Row has appeared on the inside cover of all newly-issued UK passports.

Each year thousands of visitors from all over the world come and admire Bibury’s beauty – and it has been seen by millions more on the big screen.

Bibury has been used as a film and television location, most notably for Stardust and Bridget Jones’s Diary.

The Arlington Row cottages were originally built in 1380 as a monastic wool store which was converted into a row of weavers’ cottages in the 17th Century. The cloth produced there was sent to Arlington Mill.

The mill stream flows past Arlington Row into the River Coln and alongside the river is the impressive Swan Hotel.

The place where the wool was hung to dry after being washed in Arlington Row was known as “Rack Isle”. Today, this water meadow and marshy area, which is seasonally flooded and surrounded by water from three sides, is an important habitat for water-loving plants and birds.

Until the 1980s, the museum of Arlington Mill held a collection of period clothing before it was shifted to Barnsley House. The Mill is now a private residence.

In recent decades, the Arlington Row cottages have helped Bibury to become a major attraction for visitors.

Japanese tourists, in particular, flock to the village, and this is largely attributed to Emperor Hirohito having stayed in the village on his European tour when he was a Prince during the first half of the 20th Century. He subsequently became a fervent advocate of the area.

Since October 2010, people issued with UK passports have been able to see a colourful picture of Arlington Row next to classic British landmarks such as Ben Nevis and the White Cliffs of Dover. However, in a rather untraditional twist, the much-photographed Cotswold stone houses are portrayed as bright blue in the passport image.


Address: Bibury, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 5NJ

Phone: 01451 844257