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Most travellers arriving in the United Kingdom head directly to London to enjoy the many incredible sights it has to offer. And with so many things to see and do in London, many visitors often forget to include time to head out and explore the beautiful English countryside…
During a housesitting assignment that brought me to Oxfordshire, I got to discover this amazing region, filled with Olde-English style and abundant charm,  it’s definitely a place you’ll want to explore. In particular, having access to a vehicle one can enjoy a Cotswolds day trip. with the added benefit of doing a Highclere Castle tour- aka Downton Abbey and afternoon teaBut, don’t worry, if driving around is not your cup of tea, with the many day tours from London or this one directly from Oxford, you too can experience all the beauty this region has to offer on a Cotswolds tour from Oxford.

Need a car?

Enjoy the wonderful Cotswolds villages including High Tea at Downton Abbey

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Marquestra Cotswolds Tour from Oxford London Uk
marquestra Cotswolds Tour from Oxford London Uk

Oxford University Town 

Where are the Cotswolds?

 The Cotswolds are made up of the following 5 counties: Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and Wiltshire. Accessible within a 1 hour and 40-minute train ride outside of London, the Cotswolds region is as Olde-England as you can get, a place that will make you feel like you stepped back in time.

 
With many quaint villages lined with limestone homes and cute bridges, picturesque scenery and rolling hills, the Cotswolds are definitely worth a day tour from London. As mentioned, I was already in the Oxford region and had the chance to visit the university town with all of its heritage sites on a prior visit. I can vouch that a Cotswolds discovery tour makes for a perfect Oxford day trip. 
A great Cotswolds tour including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village. #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
A great Cotswolds tour including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village. #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
A great Cotswolds tour including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village. #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
A great Cotswolds tour including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village. #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford

What to See and Where to Go in the Cotswolds

A great way to experience the many Cotswolds villages is to rent a car or hire a driver to get around the countryside. Otherwise, you might be surprised to know that the Cotswolds is well connected with train links and bus routes.

The most popular villages on a Cotswold tour would include Bourton-on-the-water, Burford, Stanton, Kingham and Bibury. While visiting these villages, you’ll also make a fantastic discovery along the way, The Slaughters. I suggest to start out your day trip from Oxford in the medieval town of Burford, also known as the gateway to the Cotswolds.

First Burford…

You’ll arrive in Burford in about 35 minutes, driving through the winding country roads surrounded by sheep grazing hills. The village has many little boutiques, where you can buy Oxford shirts, Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbits and Hogwarts souvenirs.

After strolling the town, this Cotswolds tour’s next destination is the Slaughters, recommended by a local resident. With so many towns to choose from, I’m happy we took her advice and visited this one. The Slaughters is absolutely epic of them all. Again, always take advice from people who’ve actually been there.

#CotswoldsDaytrip #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford

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Visiting the Slaughters

Just 30 miles out of the university town of Oxford, the Slaughters is perfectly located for a Cotswolds day trip. I could never have imagined that such a place even existed. Oozing with Olde English charm the upper-and-lower Slaughters takes the prize for the most picturesque place I’ve ever visited. It was just like stepping into a fairy tale where you would expect to see Alice in Wonderland characters come out of the hedges. It’s seemingly hard to conceive that people actually live here.  

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A Cotswolds day trip including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village.#CotswoldsDaytrip #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
A Cotswolds day trip including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village.#CotswoldsDaytrip #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
A Cotswolds day trip including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village.#CotswoldsDaytrip #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
A Cotswolds day trip including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village.#CotswoldsDaytrip #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford

Visit the Old Mill and its little shop, indulge in a tasty homemade ice cream, sit outside and take it all in. In essence, we can’t imagine visiting the Cotswolds without seeing the Slaughters. Plan an hour to have time to explore the village and make sure your camera’s battery is well charged to snap all of the many photo opportunities that await you.

A Cotswolds day trip including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village.#CotswoldsDaytrip #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
A Cotswolds day trip including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village.#CotswoldsDaytrip #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
A Cotswolds day trip including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village.#CotswoldsDaytrip #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
A Cotswolds day trip including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village.#CotswoldsDaytrip #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
A Cotswolds day trip including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village.#CotswoldsDaytrip #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
If you have the time to indulge in an overnight stay, The Slaughters Country Inn, right in the middle of town looks like a fantastic place to stay, with a lovely patio terrace right by the river.

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Want to enjoy a Costwolds tour from Oxford or London without driving around?

You can book a number of Cotswolds tours and enjoy many of the same sights from the comfort of a luxurious motor coach. We would recommend booking in advance, as these tours usually fill up fast in high season and have limited availability for obvious reasons. From the excellent reviews we’ve read, we feel confident with this particular tour which includes the Slaughters and a traditional lunch at a local pub.
A great Cotswolds tour including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village. #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
Marquestra Cotswolds Tour from Oxford London Uk

The Slaughters Country Inn Patio ~ A idyllic place wouldn’t say?

A great Cotswolds tour including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village. #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford

Visiting Highclere Castle, Downton Abbey’s filming location

Carrying on, about an hour to the South, you’ll reach Highclere Castle, home of where the Downton Abbey television program was filmed. We loved this period series and were quite saddened when it came to an end. When the chance to visit this well know location came up, it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. Even if you’re not a fan of the TV series, Highclere castle is a most memorable place to visit on a day trip from Oxford or London.

The castle is privately owned and lived in by the Carnarvon family since 1679. Hence, by doing Highclere castle tour, you’re more than just entering Downton Abbey’s set, you’re going into an actual family estate and get to peek into what castle life is and was all about. As you can imagine, the cost of running such a place is exuberant, so the tours and filming of the series help with management and upkeep costs. There is a fee to enter, it includes garden ground access and a self-guided tour of the castle. The Carnarvons open the castle’s doors to the public about 65 days a year, so make sure to check the dates of your visit and preferably book your tickets ahead of time.

A great Cotswolds tour including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village. #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
A great Cotswolds tour including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village. #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford

As most people who’ve visited the castle will tell you, the building is much smaller in stature than you would expect from the show.


It still remains a grand place to visit, one that will transport you back into an era of opulence and elegance. Settings in such places as when you enter the grand foyer with its magnificent staircase, the location where you’d expect Sir Crawley to come down. Or when looking through the second floor, you get a glimpse of Sybil’s and Mary’s rooms where you can see modern magazines amongst the decor, reminding you of its present modern-day residents.

Unfortunately, like most castle visits, no pictures are allowed inside (total bummer). But when entering rooms, a large picture of a scene filmed in that room is shown on an easel. The dining room is as splendid as seen in the TV series, set with royal china and silverware. As you enter the library, you come to expect to see a cute Labrador lying on its floor. The main disappointment is to find out that the kitchen and servants’ quarters isn’t actually in the castle’s basement, but set in a different location altogether.

A great Cotswolds tour including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village. #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
A great Cotswolds tour including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village. #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
A great Cotswolds tour including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village. #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford

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Get insight into the real story of Highclere castle written by the Lady of the house, Fiona Carnarvon. A story which covers periods from 1894 to the Great War, similarly like the first two seasons of Downton Abbey: Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

The estate and Castle tearoom open at 9:30 am but we coordinated our Highclere Castle tour day trip so we could enjoy High Tea in the mid-afternoon. Who could resist having high tea in the aristocratic surroundings of Downton Abbey? So after finishing inside the Highclere Castle tour, you can direct yourselves to the Castle’s Tearoom, an outside building situated behind the property. The place is cosy and not as fancy as expected. You get a great array of tea sandwiches and sweets served with the obvious, tea. You can also treat yourself to some bubbles, a grand way to enjoy the whole event, why not do it with proper flair. 
 
Tip: Try to request a table by the window in order to get a partial view of the grounds while enjoying high tea. 
Marquestra Cotswolds Tour from Oxford London Uk
A great Cotswolds tour including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village. #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
Make sure to have time to walk the garden grounds, which we didn’t get to do. From the many pictures we saw, it looks like a marvellous place for a calm walk, a perfect way to finish off your day trip from Oxford. 

If you want to delve into Downton Abbey’s filming locations, these tours offer just that…

Have you been to the Cotswolds or Highclere Castle?
Please share your experiences, comments or questions below…

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A Cotswolds day trip including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village.#CotswoldsDaytrip #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
A Cotswolds day trip including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village.#CotswoldsDaytrip #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford
A Cotswolds day trip including a visit to Highclere Castle for afternoon tea. This day trip from Oxford can be self-guided and includes the Slaughters, Cotswolds most picturesque village.#CotswoldsDaytrip #daytripfromoxford #oxforddaytrip #highclerecastletour #highclerecastleafternoontea #theslaughterscotswolds #cotswoldstourfromoxford