Bourton-on-the-Water & the Cotswolds

Things to see and do in Bourton on the water

Bourton on the Water is one of the show places of the Cotswolds, attracting visitors again and again with its special charm. The village’s delightful old-world Cotswold houses are built of locally quarried stone – some dating back to the seventeenth century – The Dial House is the oldest Cotswold Stone building in Bourton on the Water. However, Bourton can trace its history way beyond this. Archaeological evidence indicates there was a Bronze Age settlement located here circa (1500 – 700 BC). The Saxons named this village for us – Burghton – meaning the town by camp. 

The Bridges Over the River Windrush

On the Western edge of the village lies Bourton Bridge built in 1806 and widened in 1959. An inscription on the downstream side reads: “The fosse way has passed here since Roman times”.  In the village centre the earliest stone built bridge is Mill Bridge (also known as Broad Bridge) built in 1654 and crossing where one of the fords existed.

Model Village

The Model Village behind the Old New Inn is a one ninth scale model of Bourton-on-the-Water. Here you will find the River Windrush with its distinctive bridges, the beeches, willows and chestnuts all in miniature. At the churches you can hear the choirs. The buildings are all constructed and maintained in Cotswold stone from the local quarry. Built by local craftsman in the 1930's it was opened to the public in 1937 on Coronation Day. A unique experience which appeals to all ages, the Model Village remains one of the Cotswolds most popular attractions.

The Cotswold Motor Museum

The museum is familiar to children throughout the world as the home of Brum, the much loved television character. After every adventure superhero Brum would always return to his favourite museum where he lives surrounded by a superb collection of motoring history. This is a trip down memory lane at its very best. Housed in the old mill on the banks of the River Windrush and flanked by a row of pretty cottages, the collection of vehicles and memorabilia serve to remind us of a time when the pace of life was altogether gentler.


Beautiful park and gardens containing over 500 birds. Birdland was first established in 1957 and was sited in the centre of Bourton. It moved to its present site, a few hundred metres down the road in 1989. The current location was a trout farm and poplar plantation, for match stick production owned by Bryant and May. There are still over 150 trees which create a high canopy for the Windrush enclosures. BIrdland is set in woodland, river and gardens. This natural setting is inhabited by over 500 birds: flamingos, pelicans, penguins, cranes, storks, cassowary and wildfowl can be seen on various aspects of the water habitat. Over 50 aviaries of parrots, falcons, pheasants, hornbills, toucans, ibis and many more. Take time out to wander, relax and learn in the tranquil environment. There are large areas to picnic and watch the activities of the birds.

Bourton Model Railway

Finest operating indoor model railway layout covering 500 sq feet.

The Perfumery

A shop, an experience, a tour - there is lots to do and see to excite the senses at the Cotswold Perfumery.

The Living Green Centre

Traditional Cotswold Home designed to show 21st century lifestyle tips.

Dragonfly Maze

The Dragonfly Maze was inspired by a long line dating back to the year 2500 BC and was begun in 1995. The creator's ambition was realised by combining a traditional Yew Hedge Maze with a Rebus Puzzle. The central pavilion, constructed of local materials, houses the fabulous automated sculptures hand crafted by artist, sculptor and writer Kit Williams. Find your way to the centre of the maze, picking up clues on the way. Once you reach the ornate central pavilion which houses the mysterious 'Minotoad', see if you can discover the secret hiding place of the Golden Dragonfly.

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Upcoming Events

Cheltenham Racing

If you love racing then Cheltenham racecourse is the place to be.  Offering some of the greatest events in the sporting calendar, the course is just half an hour from the Dial House. 

Click here for more information.

Football in the River
Monday 29, August 2016—Monday 29, August 2016

Yes you did read it right. August bank holiday sees the ritual of football in the river. Come and watch this amazing spectacle and perhaps follow with a delicious cream tea at the Dial House Hotel in the garden at the back. All the fun kicks off with a fete in the morning with the real kick-off at 4pm