The Old Mill, Lower Slaughter

Lower Slaughter, Cotswolds: what to see and where to stay

Planning a trip to the Cotswolds, and considering visiting Lower Slaughter but not sure what’s there? Having been born and bred in the area, I’ve pulled together a comprehensive guide to visiting Lower Slaughter, one of my favourite villages in the Cotswolds.

Nestled in the picturesque Cotswolds, Lower Slaughter (pronounced loh-er slaw-ter) is a quintessentially English village, captivating visitors with its timeless charm and idyllic beauty. Renowned for its tranquil setting along the River Eye, this enchanting village beckons travellers seeking a serene escape into the English countryside. From its honey-hued limestone cottages adorned with climbing roses to the gentle babbling of the river that meanders through the village, Lower Slaughter is a chocolate box destination steeped in history and surrounded by breathtaking countryside. Many of the cottages here look like they’ve been picked from The Holiday. In this guide, I share all the best things to see and do when visiting the charming village of Lower Slaughter.

A house in Lower Slaughter, Cotswolds

Quick tips for visiting Lower Slaughter

Get this: affordable car hire from Cheltenham. Cheltenham is the gateway to the Cotswolds, and having a car is a huge help for enabling you to travel between the villages as public transport here isn’t great.

Don’t miss: a small group tour of the Cotswolds from Oxford. A local tour guide can show you all the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds so you get the most from your trip.

Bucket list experience: a guided walking tour of the Cotswolds so you can see the best of the beautiful Cotswold countryside before tucking into a Sunday roast.

Stay: Find the most affordable hotels in the Cotswolds on

Where is Lower Slaughter?

Lower Slaughter is a picturesque village nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds in south-central England. It’s situated in Gloucestershire, a county known for its quintessential English villages, rolling hills, and stunning landscapes. Lower Slaughter is one of the villages that form part of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), renowned for its charming stone cottages, tranquil rivers, and idyllic countryside settings. Lower Slaughter is near the town of Bourton-on-the-Water and is celebrated for its timeless beauty and rich cultural heritage.

How do you get to Lower Slaughter?

There are a few ways to get to Lower Slaughter, although car is definitely my recommended method, and by far the easiest:

  • By car – driving is a convenient option. From London, take the M40 westbound, then connect to the A40 towards Oxford. From Oxford, take the A40/A44 towards Chipping Norton and then head south on the A429. Lower Slaughter is well-signed from nearby towns, such as Bourton-on-the-Water.
  • By train – the nearest train stations to Lower Slaughter are Moreton-in-Marsh and Kingham. From these stations, you can take a taxi or bus to reach Lower Slaughter. Moreton-in-Marsh has direct train connections from London Paddington, and Kingham is on the mainline from London Paddington to Hereford.
  • By bus – bus services operate in the Cotswolds, connecting larger towns. You can take a bus to a nearby town like Bourton-on-the-Water and then travel to Lower Slaughter by taxi or on foot. It’s actually a nice walk from Bourton-on-the-Water to Lower Slaughter.

When is the best time to visit Lower Slaughter?

Honestly, there is no bad time to visit Lower Slaughter – it’s beautiful all year round. When you visit very much depends on your personal preferences and the type of experience you’re after. My favourite times to visit are around Christmas (I love visiting during snowfall), and also in the summer. Here’s what to expect:

  • Spring (March – May): you’ll find blooming flowers, lush greenery, and mild temperatures. It’s a great time for nature walks, exploring the countryside, and witnessing the neighbouring Cotswold villages adorned with colourful blossoms.
  • Summer (June – August): summer brings more visitors due to the warmer weather and longer daylight hours. Lower Slaughter and its surroundings are vibrant, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities, picnics by the river, and enjoying the charming atmosphere.
  • Autumn (September – November): the autumn foliage paints the Cotswolds in hues of gold and red, creating a stunning backdrop. It’s a quieter time with fewer tourists, perfect for enjoying peaceful walks and enjoying the seasonal beauty.
  • Winter (December – February): while there are colder temperatures and shorter days, the village’s cosy atmosphere and potential for snowfall can be magical. It’s a quieter time to explore and appreciate the village’s tranquility.

Where are the best hotels in Lower Slaughter?

Lower Slaughter has a small selection of charming accommodation. It’s a beautiful place to stay if you’re looking for a slow weekend in the Cotswolds. Here are the best hotels in Lower Slaughter:

The Slaughters Manor House – 4*

Staying at The Slaughters Manor House offers a luxurious and indulgent retreat in a countryside estate, amid the timeless beauty of the Cotswolds. Here’s why I’d recommend booking a stay:

  • Historic manor house – it’s set in a historic property that exudes elegance and charm.
  • Idyllic setting – the hotel is set in breathtaking countryside, with picturesque views and a serene ambience that captures the essence of the Cotswolds.
  • Luxurious accommodation – the hotel features luxurious rooms and suites, each uniqurely designed with chic furnishings and amenities.
  • Fine dining – the hotel’s onsite restaurant provides exceptional dining with a focus on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.
  • Relaxation and recreation – you can unwind and rejuvenate with the hotel’s spa facilities including treatments, swimming pool, and gardens for leisurely walks.

Looking for somewhere to stay in the Cotswolds? Check out my guide to the best hotels in the Cotswolds.

The Slaughters Country Inn – 3*

Staying at The Slaughters Country Inn offers a charming and relaxed experience within the Cotswolds for several reasons:

  • Beautiful location – set near the River Eye, the inn has a scenic setting with tranquil views and a cosy atmosphere.
  • Cosy rooms – the inn has comfortable and inviting rooms that ooze Cotswold charm, with all the modern amenities you’d need for a pleasant stay.
  • Good dining – the on-site restaurant offers delicious meals, including traditional British cuisine in a countryside setting.
  • Quaint atmosphere – the inn has a charming feel, with historic features and cosy interiors that make it a great Cotswold retreat.

Things to do in Lower Slaughter

Lower Slaughter is a beautiful Cotswold village, perfect for exploring and a gentle countryside stroll. Here are the best things to do in Lower Slaughter:

  • Explore the village. Wander through the quaint streets lined with honey-coloured limestone cottages, many of which date back centuries. I love picking out my favourite to buy (one year…!) Don’t miss the Old Mill, a historic water mill by the river. Lower Slaughter’s Copse Hill Road has previously been voted the most romantic street in Britain.
  • Walk along the River Eye. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the riverbanks of the River Eye, which flows through the village. The tranquil waters and charming bridges create a picturesque setting.
  • Enjoy a tasty meal. Indulge in a delicious meal at one of the village’s charming tearooms or pubs, savouring traditional English cuisine in a cozy, countryside setting. I often visit The Slaughters Country Inn for a pub lunch – the beer garden is perfect for an icy G&T during the summer months.
  • Take a countryside walk. Discover the scenic walking trails around Lower Slaughter and its neighbouring villages, immersing yourself in the Cotswold countryside’s beauty.
  • Soak in the sites. Explore nearby historic sites like Stow-on-the-Wold or Chedworth Roman Villa to delve into the region’s rich history.

Lower Slaughter’s serene ambiance, scenic beauty, and proximity to other Cotswold attractions make it the perfect base for exploring the Cotswolds’ timeless charm.

The Old Mill, Lower Slaughter

What to take to Lower Slaughter

There are a few key items I’d suggest taking with you when visiting Lower Slaughter. Hopefully these will help you too:

  • Weather-appropriate clothing – pack layers and weather-appropriate attire. In spring and summer, light clothing, suncream, and a hat are essential. For fall and winter, bring warm layers, a coat, hat, and gloves, as temperatures can be cooler.
  • A backpack – I’ve used this Trespass backpack for as long as I can remember. It’s lightweight, holds up to 30 litres, is really comfy, and comes in a range of colours. You’ll need this if you’re planning on walking around the Cotswolds.
  • Reusable travel water bottle – I don’t go anywhere without one of these any more. It’s super cheap and is easy to just refill and shove into a backpack when you’re out exploring. I always like to have water on me, and don’t like buying single use plastics, so this is perfect.
  • A good camera – you can’t visit such beautiful places like Lower Slaughter without taking a good quality camera to get some amazing shots. I love the Canon EOS 90D and always take it on my travels.
  • Comfortable footwear – walking shoes or sturdy sneakers are ideal for exploring the village streets, countryside paths, and riverside trails.
  • Rain gear – as English weather can be very temperamental, consider packing a waterproof jacket to stay dry during potential showers. I’d also recommend bringing an umbrella – this one is sturdy, perfect for packing away into a backpack, and I bring it everywhere with me.

Remember to check the weather forecast closer to your travel dates to pack accordingly, and consider any specific activities you’re planning for your visit to Lower Slaughter.

Lower Slaughter – FAQs

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about visiting Lower Slaughter:

Is Lower Slaughter worth visiting?

100% – it’s one of my absolute favourite Cotswold villages, and I’ve visited most of them. Lower Slaughter is definitely worth a visit for its idyllic charm and serene ambiance. By visiting, you can experience the village’s picturesque beauty, honey-coloured stone cottages, and the gentle flow of the River Eye that meanders through the heart of the village. It’s a great destination for relaxing and immersing yourself in the English countryside. Whether you explore the charming streets, enjoy walks along the river, or simply soak in the atmosphere, Lower Slaughter is an escape into the heart of rural England, making it a must-visit destination.

Which is nicer, Upper or Lower Slaughter?

Both Upper and Lower Slaughter are charming villages in the Cotswolds, each with their own unique appeal:

  • Lower Slaughter – known for its tranquil setting along the River Eye, Lower Slaughter boasts picturesque stone cottages, a historic water mill, and a serene ambiance.
  • Upper Slaughter – slightly smaller and less visited than its counterpart, Upper Slaughter exudes a similar charm with its historic buildings, meandering stream, and delightful countryside views. It offers a quieter, more secluded atmosphere and traditional Cotswold character.

Choosing between Upper and Lower Slaughter comes down to your preference. Lower Slaughter is more famous and offers a slightly wider range of amenities, while Upper Slaughter provides a more secluded and tranquil setting. Given the small distance between the two, I recommend visiting both and deciding which of the two you prefer.

Why is Lower Slaughter called Lower Slaughter?

You’re likely thinking that calling a chocolate box Cotswold village ‘Lower Slaughter’ is a little odd. The name ‘Lower Slaughter’ is actually derived from Old English. The word ‘Slaughter’ is believed to have originated from the Old English term ‘Slohtre’, which means ‘muddy place’. The ‘Lower’ part of the name distinguishes it from the nearby village of Upper Slaughter, which is situated upstream along the same river. Despite the connotations, the term ‘Slaughter’ in both Lower and Upper Slaughter doesn’t have a macabre connotation. Instead, it refers to the Old English term describing a wet or marshy place.

Can you walk from Upper to Lower Slaughter?

Yes, and I highly recommend you take thewalk from Upper Slaughter to Lower Slaughter as it’s so picturesque and means you can see both villages in one. It’s quite an easy walk, and the two villages are situated close to each other along the same river, with a distance of approximately 1 mile (1.6 kilometres) separating them. There’s a nice walking path that connects the villages, following the scenic route alongside the River Eye. The path offers scenic views of the countryside and is a nice way to explore both villages and the beautiful nature of the Cotswolds.

Where to park in Lower Slaughter?

I’ll be honest, car parking is limited and can get very busy when visiting Lower Slaughter. For this reason, I’d visit as off-peak as you can – get there early in the morning or later in the evening, and weekdays over weekends. Parking options are limited due to the village’s small size. You might find parking in designated areas like:

  • Village Hall car park: Lower Slaughter has a small car park near the village hall, providing limited parking spaces for visitors. This car park is often the primary parking area for those exploring the village.
  • Roadside parking: some limited roadside parking is usually available along certain sections of the village streets. Do note that parking in these areas may be restricted or subject to time limits, so it’s essential to check the signs before leaving your car to wander.

If you can’t find parking in these spots, I’d recommend parking in Upper Slaughter so you can explore that village too, then walking down to Lower Slaughter. Upper Slaughter is usually much quieter and so you’re much more likely to find a parking space.

Walking through Lower Slaughters

Tips for visiting Lower Slaughter

Here are my top tips for visiting Lower Slaughter:

  • Explore on foot – Lower Slaughter is best explored by walking. Wander along the riverbanks, stroll through the charming streets, and take in the village’s idyllic beauty at a leisurely pace.
  • Parking considerations – parking can be limited in the village. Arrive early to secure parking or consider alternative transport options like walking from nearby villages or using public transport.
  • Respect the environment – Lower Slaughter is a preserved village. Respect the local surroundings, keep noise levels down, and dispose of waste responsibly to maintain the area’s pristine beauty.
  • Visit nearby attractions – explore neighbouring villages like Upper Slaughter or Bourton-on-the-Water, which are within walking distance, to extend your Cotswold experience.
  • Check opening hours – some attractions or shops might have specific opening hours. Plan your visit accordingly to ensure you can explore and enjoy the village’s offerings.

By following these tips, you’ll make the most of your visit to Lower Slaughter, immersing yourself in its timeless charm and enjoying the beauty of this idyllic Cotswold village.

St Mary's Church, Lower Slaughter

That’s my guide to Lower Slaughter! I hope you found it helpful. If you have any questions about visiting Lower Slaughter, let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to come back to you.

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