20 Things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water (Ultimate list for 2021)

February 15, 2021

Are you looking for the best things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water this year? Keep reading to find out!


The Cotswolds are a beautiful place to visit, and Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the best and most popular places! Here I’m going to discuss all the things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water, and though you might think the area is all about those nature walks, there’s much more to visiting this area than meets the eye.

Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the most popular Cotswolds spots, and it’s easy to see why. This beautiful little village is so picturesque, and it’s perfectly located as a base spot for anyone visiting the Cotswolds. So keep reading to find more things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water.

If you’re looking to pay the area a visit, you might be wondering what the best things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water are. Well, you’re in luck, as we’ve created a great compilation of 15 things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water to fill your itinerary! From museums to penguin-spotting, there’s so much to do in this area that will make your trip one for the books.

Read more: The 15 most beautiful places in the Cotswolds

So, let’s dive right in and check out the best things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water! 

photos of bourton-on-the-water

Cotswold Motoring Museum

One of the most popular things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water is to visit the Cotswold Motoring Museum. At this museum, visitors can wander through seven showrooms that contain a great number of vintage car collections.

If you aren’t a fan of cars, why not check out the motorbikes or pedal cars that are dotted throughout the museum? Whether or not you’re a motoring fanatic, this is a great museum for both kids and adults to visit as it’s just unlikely to be like anything you’ve ever seen before!

It’s open daily from 10am – 6pm and it’s such a fantastic open for things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water.


Feed Penguins at Birdland Park and Gardens

Next up on my list of things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water, it’s the Birdland Park! Penguins are adorable and getting the opportunity to feed them and see them up close is not something that you get to do every day. Though the penguin feed is a major draw of Birdland, you’ll also be able to check out the other 60 species of birds who call this place home!

From pelicans to ostriches, this awesome park is one of the top things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water for families. Admission is reasonable too, so you won’t need to break the bank to have a great day out and things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water for families! It’s open daily from 10am – 5pm. Last admission 4pm.


Visit the Model Village

If you’ve ever fancied feeling like a giant for a day, then be sure to head to the Model Village when looking for things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water. This adorable little attraction in the Cotswolds is a model of how the village of Bourton-on-the-Water would have looked in the 1930s.

Featuring tiny landmarks, buildings, and bridges, this model is really a sight to behold. What we love about this attraction is the attention to detail – seriously, it must be seen to be believed.


The Dragonfly Maze

If you’re a family looking for things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water, then the Dragonfly Maze is a must-do. Want to get lost for the day? Well, there’s no better place to do so than at The Dragonfly Maze! This garden maze includes 14 clues to help you get to the center of the maze where you’ll discover the elusive Golden Dragonfly.

If you really get stuck, there are staff members there to help you move things along – so don’t get too panicked if you’re with the kids! It’s a great choice for things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water.


Model Railway Exhibition

If you just love model railways, then you’ll want to check out Bourton-on-the-Water’s Model Railway Exhibition. This is a great option for things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water, especially for train lovers! We aren’t kidding when we say this is one of the best things to do in the area, and it really lets you unleash that inner child.

Simply watch as various model trains zoom around ornate tracks and be sure to keep your eye out for famous trains that might zip past unnoticed! 


Greystone’s Farm Nature Reserve

If you’re looking for outdoorsy things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water, then this is the one for you. If you’re looking to get lost in nature and let off some steam, then be sure to add Greystone’s Farm Nature Reserve to your list of things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water.

Not only is this place packed with awesome walking trails, but it even has a lovely café where you can round off your trip with a cup of tea. 


Visit the Cotswold Perfumery 

If you fancy treating yourself… then this option for things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water is a great choice. Though this business was only founded in 1966, the historic building that it’s housed in has been around for over 300 years! If you’re looking to treat your senses, we highly recommend heading into the perfumery to whiff their signature scents, soaps, and oils.

If you really want to push the boat out, you should consider signing up for one of their perfumery courses! Come on, you know you want to. 


Check out the Rose Tree Restaurant 

I couldn’t write a list of things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water without mentioning some great places to eat. If you’re feeling peckish, be sure to head to the Rose Tree Restaurant for a bite to eat. Though there’s plenty on the menu that you’ll love, the famous cod and chips is a must-have. I mean, it doesn’t get much more traditionally British than a classic fish and chips, does it?

What’s more, this lovely restaurant is located along the beautiful River Windrush, so it’s a win-win really. 


Go charity-shop treasure hunting

This is one of my favourite things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water, because it doesn’t cost much, but it’s lots of fun! If you didn’t know, Bourton-on-the-Water is full of charity shops, and a really fun activity for kids (and adults) is to go charity shop treasure hunting.

Set yourselves a budget each (£5 is enough!) and see who can find the best treasure in the many charity shops! It’s so much fun, and a lovely option for things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water.


Relax in a beer garden

Next on my list of things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water, it’s relaxing and enjoying a drink in one of the village’s many beer gardens! There are some lovely pubs in Bourton-on-the-Water, and on a sunny day, there’s nothing nicer than enjoying a beer outside in the sunshine!

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Have a cream tea!

How could I write a list of things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water, without mentioning some cream tea! An English classic!

There are plenty of lovely spots in Bourton-on-the-Water where you’ll be able to indulge in a classic cream tea. For a wonderfully traditional experience, we highly recommend trying out Smiths of Bourton. Providing classic British fare at reasonable prices, these guys really know their stuff. 


Visit Bakery-on-the-Water

If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, then next on my list of things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water if to sample some of the delights at Bakery-on-the-Water. It’s the local bakery, and their cakes and pies are amazing! You’ll love it!

bakery in best things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water

Have a picnic

Now, next on my list of things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water, it’s have yourselves a delicious picnic. OK, so this might not be a great option for things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water during winter (too cold!) it’s a perfect choice for spring or summer!

You couldn’t pick a nicer and more scenic picnic spot! If you’re looking for things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water that are romantic… then this ticks the boxes!

best things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water

Paddle in the river

The beautiful river which runs through Bourton-on-the-Water, is perfect for paddling, especially in the spring or summer… and it’s next on my list of things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water.

You’ll notice in the spring and summer that tourists and visitors flock to the river to enjoy a cup of coffee and dip their toes in the cooling lake! It’s such a lovely choice of things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water and it’s free too!

best things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water

Do the Bloody Bourton Walking Tour

If you’re into all things spooky, then you should absolutely add the Bloody Bourton Walking Tour to your list of things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water. Though this might not be one to do with the kids in tow, it is a fun way to see the village while learning all about its grisly history.

Running on Friday and Saturday evenings, it’s an amusing thing to do that will certainly have you remembering your trip for years to come. 

things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water

Take a stroll or a bike ride along the river

The River Windrush is a major draw of Bourton-on-the-Water (the place is quite literally ON the water!) and we highly recommend dedicating a lazy afternoon to a stroll (or a bike ride if that’s more your thing!).

Whether you want to pack a little picnic to enjoy on the green or you’d rather spend your time admiring the buildings on the river, the River Windrush is sure to entrance you from end to end. This is a beautiful choice for things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water.

things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water

Go shopping!

Next on my list of things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water, it’s shopping! There are loads of beautiful independent stores to explore and browse in Bourton-on-the-Water, some of my favourites include:

  • The Nook
  • Cotswolds Candlemakers
  • Cotswold China & Cookware
  • The Cotswold Shop
  • Cotswold Perfumery
  • The Cotswold Pottery
the little Nook things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water

Walk the dog

If you’re only visiting for the day, be sure to bring your furry friend with you – as Bourton-on-the-Water is a relatively dog-friendly place to visit in the UK. It’s a lovely opportunity to walk your dog around town, make sure they take a dip in the river too, to cool off if it’s warm!

If you’re looking for things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water that involve pleasing your dog too – then this is it!

things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water

Hit the Farmers’ Market!

There’s nothing better than a great Farmers’ Market, so if you’re in the village at the right time, you might just be able to catch Bourton-on-the-Water’s Farmers’ and Producers’ Market!

Held on the fourth Sunday of every month at the Royal British Legion Car Park, it’s THE place in the area to pick up the best local produce as well as some awesome arts and crafts. 


Try a local beer at the Cotswold Brewing Co.

Looking for things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water that involve a beer or two? Then be sure to check out the Cotswold Brewing Co.! These guys really know their beer, and they brew their beer completely from scratch less than an hour away.

Not only can you visit the brewery and have a great beer, but you can even book onto their tours and tasting events! Talk about awesome. 


St Lawrence’s Church

If you’re looking for picturesque things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water, then be sure to head to St Lawrence’s Church. Located just behind the High Street, this beautiful church should certainly be seen if you’ve got the time in your schedule.

Though the church has been rebuilt over time, there are signs that there has been a church of some kind on site since 709AD! Be sure to take your time exploring, as the experience is incredibly peaceful and shouldn’t be rushed. 


Bourton-on-the-Water Eye Spy Trail

And finally, if you’re travelling with little ones and looking for things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water – then you’ll absolutely want to include the Bourton-on-the-Water Eye Spy Trail on your list of things to do in the area.

This 1.5-mile experience takes you around the village and offers your tykes various clues to help them make their way around. Simply buy your treasure trail online for £6.99 and get exploring! 


I hope this list of 20+ things to do in Bourton-on-the-water has been helpful!

Bourton-on-the-Water is a fantastic day out, or weekend away in the UK, so you’ll absolutely love visiting and exploring some of these fantastic things to do in Bourton-on-the-water. Just make sure you plan enough time to see all the things you want!

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