Quaint would be the word that comes to mind when describing The Cotswolds. Located around 2 hours west of London, this region is known for its old world charm. Laced with ivy covered stone cottages, picket fences and cobbled lanes, its villages exude an old world charm that has drawn visitors under its spell for years.
It's not hard to see why. Just two hours west of London, it's an easy weekend getaway and one of the best places to see quaint English villages. There are so many Cotswolds villages to choose from, all with their own unique charm, however one of the best Cotswolds villages to visit is the iconic The Slaughters.
Now to call it a village is a misstatement as The Slaughters are twin villages - Lower Slaughter and Upper Slaughter. They're joined and you can easily walk between the two. In modern English the world Slaughter may conjure an untoward image, however in the Old English, in which they were named, the word 'slough' means 'wet land'. It was for this name the modern name is derived.
The River Eye runs through the village and and a series of foot bridges join the opposing sides. Lining the riverside are the typical Cotswold cottages that this region is so famous for. Hand cut stone, shingled and thatched roofs topped off with a chimney stack. You can expect to be delighted with white picket fences and perfectly manicured cottage gardens. Cars are restricted from the centre of the village, so you'll be able to take a slow pace and wander by foot.
The history of The Slaughters
The twin villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter sit only a mile from each other and can be reached by car or a pleasant 25 minute stroll. Settled for more than 1000 years, and with Lower Slaughter being mentioned in the Domesday book, they are the best Cotswold Villages to visit if you enjoy stepping back in time.
There is evidence to suggest that Lower Slaughter has been inhabited since 1000AD with records naming it as 'Sclostre'. Whilst the villages aren't uniquely significant for their history, these quaint England villages have been well preserved and do give you the sense you've stepped back into a simpler way of life.
As you stroll along the riverside you'll inexplicably be drawn towards the mill. Built in the 1900's its perfect set amongst the Cotswold cottages and gives off a fairytale vibe. In operation until the 1950's, the mill has now been converted into a shop and cafe. It is the perfect spot to stop and interact with the ducks whilst you enjoy some refreshments.
The Domesday book records there being a mill on the same site in 1086. The modern day mill is constructed of red brick which is in contrast to the sandstone cottages. A village like this can't help but draw you in and make you wonder what it looked like in times gone by.
What to see
This beautiful Cotswold village is renown for its traditional stone cottages and English cottage gardens. It has been voted one of the most Romantic areas in Britain and is not visited by large bus groups of people, making it quiet and enjoyable even in the middle of summer.
St Mary's church's architecture is reminiscent of the 1900s, featuring a beautiful spire and well kept grave yard. The church is lovely to wander through or you can explore the grounds.
Where to stay
There are several options within the township of The Slaughters itself, most notably the Slaughter Manor House and the Slaughters Country Inn. Due to its fame as being one of the best Cotswold villages to visit, Accommodation within the town centre does come at a premium. We chose to stay 4 miles down the road at an Air BnB cottage located in Stowe on Wold. We had the most expensive pub meal we've ever had in our lives (it cost about the same price as our overnight accommodation!) but altogether it was a fraction of the price of staying any closer.
The Cotswolds are not a cheap area to visit, so if you are on a budget, The Slaughters are easily explore within a day trip from London and are around a 30 minute drive from Oxford.
The round up
You simply can't visit The Cotswolds without visiting The Slaughters. With their history, beautiful stream and mill they are one of the best Cotswolds villages to visit. You'll need 1-2 hours to properly explore and you will want to take a camera as there are plenty of photo opportunities. We visited on a rainy mid Autumn day and it was as pretty as mid summer. I can imagine some of its charm would be lost in winter, but it is a great place to visit during the other seasons.
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