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One of the most well-known settlements in the Cotswold Hills, known as the Venice of the Cotswolds

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River Windrush & Bridges
Shops & Restaurants
Model Village
Motor Museum
Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the most well-known settlements in the Cotswold Hills. The water in question is the River Windrush, which flows gently through the middle of the village. It's overhung with trees, and crossed by several small arched bridges. These views are the pride of Bourton, and thanks to them, the village has become known as the Venice of the Cotswolds.

Buildings adjacent to the river.
The nickname conjures up images of calm afternoons spent idly wandering the riverside, sipping cold drinks and watching the water gently flowing by. In truth, this isn't really an appropriate description for Bourton. There are often children splashing loudly in the river, and plenty of people wandering around enjoying the views. The best atmosphere is in the summer, when the residents play their annual game of medieval football. It's an unusual match though, as the goals are set up in the river itself! The Windrush's depth is only 10 inches, so the teams charge into the water, and attempt to score as many times as they can. The riverbanks are lined with cheering crowds, and by the end, everyone is soaked to their bones!

Cafe in Bourton on the Water
Bourton-on-the-Water is considered to be a village despite being home to 4,000 people. This is the same population as several nearby market towns. This relatively large size means that there are plenty of good shops and restaurants. However, if you wish that Bourton was a bit smaller, then you'll probably enjoy the model village. It's exactly the same as the real settlement, except one-tenth the size. There's even a tiny version of the model village, a hundred times smaller than the real thing. If you look closely, you'll see that this model of a model contains another minuscule representation of Bourton-on-the-Water. The model village was opened in the 30s, and has been a popular attraction for all of its years.

Bourton on the Water Model Village.
Photo jodastephen
People with an interest in transport should visit the excellent Motoring Museum. It holds a huge collection of 20th century vehicles and is the home of the TV car Brum. Bourton also has a model railway that was created in the 1980s. It can be found inside a farmhouse on the banks of the Windrush. The building contains a shop, selling an extremely wide range of model trains and other toys.

The Motor Museum in Bourton on the Water.
Photo cyrildoussin
Bourton-on-the-Water is filled with quirky little attractions like this. Another is Birdland, a collection of aviaries housing over 500 birds. There are flamingos, owls, toucans and the only king penguins in England. These latter birds appeared in the Hollywood film Batman Returns, in the early 90s.

Penguins at Birdland.
Photo pdam2
Another of the village's curiosities is the Dragonfly Maze, which was built in the 90s. You have to navigate the labyrinth, while collecting clues along the way. If you think hard, these clues will give you access to the golden dragonfly in the centre of the maze.
Despite its array of interesting museums, shops and exhibits, Bourton-on-the-Water's biggest attraction has always been the village itself, with its river, its trees, and its pretty cottages. It's in the centre of the Cotwolds, an area that has long been considered as one of the most beautiful parts of England.

Pretty Cottages, made of Cotswold stone
Visitor Information
Bourton Tourist Information Victoria Street, Bourton-on-the-Water, GL54 2BU. Tel: 01451 820 211
Bourton Model Village is open daily, 9am to 6pm. Entry costs around £4. The Old New Inn, High Street, Bourton on the Water, GL54 2AF. Tel: 01451 820467
Motoring Museum is open daily, mid-February to November, 10am to 6pm. Entry costs around £4. The Old Mill, Bourton on the Water, GL54 2BY. Tel: 01451 821255
Birdland is open daily, 10am to 6pm (4pm in winter). Entry costs around £9. Rissington Road, Bourton-on-the-Water, GL54 2BN. Tel: 01451 820480

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