Bourton-on-the-Water is arguably one of the most popular villages of the Cotswolds, especially amongst overseas visitors. Having been nicknamed the "Venice of the Cotswolds", its scenery is the main draw for travellers. The River Windrush meanders through beautiful English countryside before passing over rapids next to the Old Mill and arriving at Bourton.
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The river is fed from many springs, with the source approximately ten miles from the village and, after flowing under the bridges of Bourton, it passes other villages before eventually joining the Thames.
There are various attractions in the village, including the famous Birdland, which is home to a variety of birds from around the world. Here visitors can see parrots, pelicans, flamingos and penguins to name just a few, with experienced keepers feeding the birds and leading demonstrations.
The Model Village is well worth a visit, as Bourton is the only village in the Cotswolds to have a one-ninth scale replica of itself. It is carefully maintained and has all of the characterful buildings including the Old Water Mill and the Old New Inn. Those lucky enough to witness snow in the winter months will notice photographers at the model village trying to get the perfect picture of the snowy scene.
Another family favourite is the Dragonfly Maze. This yew maze leads visitors through the labyrinth, gathering clues in order to find the pavilion in the centre which enables them to unlock the final secret! The maze was constructed by Kit Williams, author of the golden hare treasure hunt book, "Masquerade".
Food & Drink
Bourton has a variety of places to eat and drink, including cafes, tea rooms, pubs and restaurants, with a range of prices to suit all budgets. The list below is a small sample of the options available:
The Chester House Hotel and The Croft Restaurant (www.chesterhousehotel.com): Breakfast, morning coffee, lunches and evening meals in a riverside restaurant. You can enjoy freshly prepared, local produce throughout the day and night, with seasonal specials added to the menu daily.
The Duke of Wellington (www.dukeofwellingtonbourton.co.uk): A local village inn aiming to provide fresh home cooked food with a friendly service. There is a light snacking menu, a full menu and a wonderful range of desserts and hot beverages. As well as daily home cooked specials, on Sundays you can enjoy a traditional carvery with all the trimmings from 12-6pm.
The Mousetrap Inn (www.mousetrap-inn.com): A traditionally run Cotswold stone Inn, with a history dating back to the building of the railways in the 18th Century. Serving home-made food, along with fantastic, locally brewed real ales.
- The Village Restaurant & Tearooms (www.thevillagerestaurant.co.uk): Traditional, home cooked food in a friendly atmosphere, overlooking the river Windrush, in the heart of Bourton-on-the-Water.