The Cotswolds need no introduction. Bucolic landscapes, picture-pretty villages, and thatched-roof cottages make this designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty one of the best places to visit in the UK. There’s a lot to do on a visit, including going to the many National Trust Cotswolds properties and gardens. If you’re interested, today I bring you A Lady in London’s guide to my top picks.

National Trust Cotswolds

National Trust

If you don’t know about the National Trust, it’s a charity that takes care of hundreds of British heritage properties and open spaces. These include historic country mansions, ancient parks, stately homes, and gardens.

Membership grants free entry to all properties in Britain for a year, and you can get it here.

Bibury, Cotswolds

National Trust Cotswolds

There are a lot of National Trust properties in the Cotswolds to explore, from Roman villas to weavers’ cottages and Arts and Crafts gardens.

If you’re planning to spend time in the area, it’s worth getting a pass and taking advantage of all there is to discover.

Given how many National Trust Cotswolds properties there are, I’ve narrowed the list down to some of my top picks. I hope you enjoy visiting them if you go.

National Trust Cotswolds Inn

1. Bibury

Perhaps the most famous village in the Cotswolds, Bibury epitomizes the charm the area is known for.

The iconic row of 17th-century weavers’ cottages on Arlington Row is one of the most photographed places in England, and the water meadow known as Rack Isle is an important wildlife habitat.

National Trust Cotswolds Cottages in Bibury

2. Snowshill Manor and Garden

Up near Broadway, Snowshill Manor and Garden is packed with unique treasures collected by Charles Wade over the course of his lifetime.

Wade bought and restored the house in 1919 to create a home for his eclectic finds. Today visitors can discover a treasure trove full of toys, Samurai armor, musical instruments, clocks, and other objects from his collection.

The garden at Snowshill Manor is a great place to take in nature and duck into Charles Wade’s simple home, the Priest’s House. There’s also a model village on display in the garden in the warmer months.

3. Chedworth Roman Villa

On the older end of the spectrum, the Chedworth Roman Villa is one of the best ancient National Trust Cotswolds properties. This place is home to the remains of one of the grandest Roman villas in Britain.

Visiting reveals everything from in-situ ancient mosaics to bath house rooms. Visitors can travel along suspended walkways to look down on it all. There’s even a Nymphaeum.

Chedworth Roman Villa also has a museum with Roman jewelry, figurines, coins, and glass.

4. The Fleece Inn

If it’s pubs you like, The Fleece Inn is just the National Trust property in the Cotswolds for you. This half-timbered medieval farmhouse was originally built to shelter a farmer and his stock. It was converted into a pub in 1848.

The Fleece Inn has been restored to its former glory, complete with witches’ circles and a pewter collection.

I ate lunch by the fireplace in one of its rooms once, and while the food wasn’t as amazing as I’d hoped, it was still fun to explore the warren of rooms.

Fleece Inn, a National Trust Cotswolds Property

5. Chastleton House

Up near Moreton-in-Marsh, Chastleton House and Garden is an ancient country house that serves as a fascinating time capsule of 400 years of one family’s life.

A rare example of a Jacobean country house, Chastleton House was built in the early 17th century by a wealthy wool merchant.

Owned by the same family until 1991, the interior remained essentially unchanged for nearly four centuries. This is a great place to visit if you want to step back in time.

6. Market Hall in Chipping Campden

Right in the heart of Chipping Campden, the Market Hall dominates the high street with its historic arches and distinctive roof.

Built in 1627 by Sir Baptist Hicks, the town’s benefactor, this landmark originally provided shelter for traders of cheese, butter, poultry, and other goods.

Today visitors can walk along the ancient stone floor and see how it was gradually worn away by centuries of trading. It’s worth seeing the rest of Chipping Campden, too, as it has some of the prettiest Cotswold stone buildings in the area.

Chipping Campden

7. Crickley Hill

If you want to get into nature, Crickley Hill is one of the best National Trust Cotswolds sites. This place is abundant in wildlife (especially butterflies), and has panoramic views over the countryside.

Crickley Hill overlooks the Severn Vale, with sweeping views towards Robinswood Hill and May Hill. The Brecon Beacons and Black Mountain lie beyond.

There’s evidence of human activity here dating back to 4,000 BC, too. Archaeological excavations have revealed traces of brutal battles and an Iron Age fort on the hill.

8. Newark Park

Down near Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, Newark Park is a Tudor hunting lodge turned fascinating historic home. Nestled in a grand estate, it has intriguing history and lots of walking trails.

Overlooking the Ozleworth Valley, Newark House was built in 1550 by Nicholas Poyntz, who had been a courtier to Henry VIII. The house and estate developed over 350 years before they entered into decline.

Restored by an American architect in the late 20th century, Newark Park is now home to a quirky furniture collection. The gardens and grounds are ripe for exploration in all seasons, too.

9. Hidcote

At the northern end of the Cotswolds, Hidcote features a manor house with an Arts and Crafts Movement garden featuring outdoor “rooms”.

Created by American horticulturist Lawrence Johnston, its colorful spaces are full of flowers, hedges, and garden features.

Johnston collected flowering plants and curling climbers on his travels to places like South Africa and China, so there’s a great mix of flora to take in.

Hidcote Manor Garden in the Cotswolds

10. Dyrham Park

Dyrham Park is another of the best National Trust Cotswolds houses. This 17th-century house and garden has an ancient deer park on its estate, and a historic herd of fallow deer roams the parkland.

Visitors can explore the garden, which has idyllic ponds and a wild flower orchard, and step into the house to see the inside of what was once an impressive Baroque mansion.

More recently, Dyrham Park was used as a filming location for the eight-part screen adaptation of Jane Austen’s final and unfinished novel, Sanditon.

The manor’s exterior stands in for Sanditon House, and other scenes were shot around the grounds.

11. Hailes Abbey

If you like ruins, Hailes Abbey is the place for you. This 13th-century Cistercian abbey was originally founded in 1246 by Richard of Cornwall and dissolved on Christmas Eve in 1539.

In its heyday, the abbey’s extensive and elaborate buildings housed monks. The place was also home to a renowned relic called ‘the Holy Blood of Hailes’ that attracted religious pilgrims from all over.

Today visitors can see the remains of the abbey and imagine what life was like here in the medieval period.

National Trust Properties in the Cotswolds

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to my top picks for National Trust Cotswolds properties. I’ve also written about National Trust properties in London, so if you’re in the UK capital you can discover more here, too.

National Trust Cotswolds Cottages on Arlignton Row

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National Trust Cotswolds

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