In a Nutshell
Bourton is probably the best known and most visited of the Cotswold villages, often referred to as the 'Venice of the Cotswolds' due to the broad canal-like River Windrush, crossed by a series of small bridges running through the village centre. Bourton is the tourist hot spot of the area and offers a wide range of attractions, shops and cafe's in a unique setting. Thronging with overseas and local tourists alike during the summer, you can nonetheless find a very different and peaceful Bourton if you find a golden day off-season.
Parking and Pooping
Bourton is just off the A429, deep in the centre of the Cotswold region and is fairly equidistant from both the M5 and the M40. There are two principle car parks, both of a good size and with public toilet facilities. If arriving from the north, you'll come to the Station Road car park first. This tends to be the main car park and gets heavy use from tour buses. It is connected to the village centre via a footpath running between residential gardens. Personally, we prefer to carry on and follow the road round to the left and use the second car park on the Rissington Road, adjacent to Birdland Park and Gardens. Usually a little quieter, parking here offers more grass for pup and a much more pleasant stroll into the village along the riverside.
If you're arriving from the south, you'll most likely drive through the High St, where there is some short term on-street parking (but rare to find a space). Keep going to the end of the High St, bear right at the junction and the Rissington Road car park is straight ahead of you 200 yards up on the right.
Bourton invites you to stroll at a leisurely pace around its sights and in general the pathways are wide enough for pup to walk comfortably away from the traffic. With the exception of the main High St, the few roads are quiet and there are pathways along the riverside and a large grass area between the river and the main road, which is a popular sun-bathing spot during the Summer.
There are numerous benches along the riverside and this makes a great spot to take a break and soak up the sights and sun. The river is generally very shallow (the ducks stand up in it) and clear so you'll often see a dog or two cooling off in the water.
If you want to stretch your legs a little more, we found a good circular walk that takes in some of the riverside properties outside of the centre. From the High St, cross over the bridge in front of the Motor Museum and carry on along Sherborne St. Look for a public pathway sign to the right. Follow this path along the river and you'll find a quieter Bourton and some impressive properties too. You'll eventually emerge back onto the High St, turning right to bring you back to the centre.
For a longer walk you can follow the path through the parish Church grounds to Lower Slaughter and back, roughly a 3 mile round trip.
Keeping the Humans Amused
In addition to the usual shops and cafe's, Bourton has a number of visitor attractions. Our favourite is Birdland Park and Gardens which is dog friendly. The park houses a large collection of birds of all types, including a great penguin enclosure. Next door is the Dragonfly Maze and across the road the Model Village and Miniature World (no dogs). Around the centre of the village you'll find the the Motor Museum, The Cotswold Perfumery and a selection of curio and clothes shops.
There is a good selection of cafe's and pubs in the centre of Bourton, many with outdoor seating areas overlooking the river. Our favourite is the Windrush Garden Cafe close to the Motor Museum, which has a spacious garden area to the front so plenty of room for pup. The Green and Pleasant Cafe has a riverside location and has a few chairs and tables on the pavement. Not so spacious, but if you like to sit and people watch, it makes a great spot. Bella loves to sit here and get fuss from the passers-by.
The Cotswold Antiques and Tea Room opened in 2014 and has seating inside and out for dogs (and well behaved children).
Lower Slaughter, 1.7 miles
Stow on the Wold, 4 miles
Burford, 10 miles
Cotswold Wildlife Park, 12 miles
Check out the following links for more info: