One of the most attractive of all the Cotswold villages, remaining virtually untouched for centuries in its idyllic setting by the River Coln. The 19th century poet and textile designer William Morris rated Bibury as the 'most beautiful village in England'. It truly is a peaceful place midweek but very busy at weekends, especially during the summer season when tour buses crowd its narrow streets.

The core of the village is the old Arlington Mill (circa 1650), the Swan Hotel and the Bibury Trout Farm with its lovely riverside gardens. The creeper covered Swan Hotel was once a former Coaching Inn. The 17th-c Arlington Mill was built as a cloth and corn mill. In recent times it was a museum but unfortunately this closed to the public several years ago and it is now a private residence.

Arlington Row, Bibury Village
Arlington Row and the Rack Isle © Travel About Britain

Arlington Row, an enchanting terrace of stone built low gable cottages, is one of the most photographed features of the village. These early 17th-c cottages were once occupied by workers weaving wool for Arlington Mill, when the village prospered as a weaving center. They are now in the preserve of the National Trust (not open to the public).

Arlington Mill

Arlington Mill © TAB

Between the cottages and the old mill lies the Rack Isle, a large stretch of low lying meadow, bounded on three sides by the river. Originally used for stretching and drying the woven cloth on long wooden racks. The area is now a designated nature reserve, home to ducks, Kingfishers newts and water vole. Early Marsh Orchids also thrive here.

The clear waters of the River Coln run parallel to the main street in front of the Rack Isle. Brown Trout can often be observed swimming in its clear waters. The river is crossed at one end by a road bridge and several small stone footbridges further upstream.

A small post office and number of gift shops and tea rooms can be found along the High Street. To the south of the village' set back from the main road' is the lovely Saxon church of St Mary, which overlooks a square of stone built houses of outstanding beauty. Bibury Court, a Jacobean Manor House (now closed to the public), stands in lavish grounds near to the church. The 15th-c Catherine Wheel Inn, to the west of the mill, serves good food and beer straight from the barrel.

If you are visiting by car there is limited parking is available opposite the trout farm and also roadside parking on the B4425, alongside the river. There shouldn't be any problems parking when visiting out-of-season but at the height of the tourist season you may have to wait for a vacant space.

Places of Interest to Visit Around Bibury

Bibury Trout Farm

Noted for its pleasant water gardens and clear flowing streams where you can catch your own fish or purchase recent catches from the shop.

Founded in 1902 by Arthur Severn, to stock the local rivers and streams. It covers around 15 acres of the beautiful Coln Valley. The hatchery spawns around 6 million trout ova every year.

Opening times: daily from 8am (exc. Xmas) - Admission Charge
Location: Bibury, Cirencester GL7 5NL
Tel: 01285 740215

Map of Bibury


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