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In the 19th century artist and craftsman, William Morris, described Bibury as ’the most beautiful village in England’. Nestled in the beech covered Cotswold hills beside the pretty River Coln are the twin hamlets of Arlington and Bibury. An ancient stone bridge links the two.
Bibury is famous for the beautiful group of honey-coloured stone cottages known as ‘Arlington Row’. Built in the 1380s when wool was the main source of England’s wealth, these cottages were a timber-framed ecclesiastical wool hall used for storing the Bishop of Worcester’s precious fleeces.
In the 17th century the wool hall was converted into weavers’ cottages. The weavers supplied cloth to Arlington Mill just across the bridge where it was sent for fulling (de-greasing). Unfortunately, the interesting mill museum and tearooms have recently closed.
Opposite the weavers’ cottages, across the river, is a small water meadow known as Rack Isle. It got its strange name in the 17th century when the land was used for drying the newly washed cloth. The area is now protected by the National Trust as a wildfowl breeding ground.
The Catherine Wheel Pub
On the same side of the river as Arlington Row is The Catherine Wheel pub. The pub serves meals and has recently opened some rooms for accommodation.
Accommodation - Search & Book through Expedia here: External Link
The Swan Hotel
Overlooking the River Coln is The Swan Hotel, a former 17th century coaching inn close by the 18th century stone bridge, The Swan is a member of the Cotswold-inns-hotels Group and offers a meal with a view and accommodation.
Tel: +44 (0) 1285 740 695
Web: Swan Hotel Bibury External Link
Bibury Court Hotel
The church overlooks Bibury Court Hotel set in 6 acres of grounds. This large country house mainly dates from 1633. The Hotel offers accommodation, fine dining and scrumptious afternoon teas. Booking is advisable.
Church of St Mary
After admiring the photogenic Arlington Row cottages it is time to cross the bridge to visit the ancient Church of St Mary, Bibury perhaps catching a glimpse on the way of a plump brown trout swimming in the crystal clear waters.
Bibury Trout Farm
Apart from the history and beauty of the village the main visitor attraction is Bibury Trout Farm. The Hatchery is situated in the centre of the village beside Arlington Mill and is open every day.
This village is everyone’s idea of a typical Cotswold village – picturesque stone cottages standing in cottage gardens clustered around an ancient church, a rippling stream running through the village, a local pub and a coaching inn. Because it meets all these criteria, it is thronged with tourists in the season. Try and pick a quiet time to visit (before 10:00 hours would be good).
Bibury is only 7 miles (11 km) from the Roman town of Cirencester. For enquiries contact the Cirencester Visitor Information Centre.
Cirencester Visitor Information Centre External Link
Bibury is on the B4425; some 7 miles (11 km) north east of the Cotswold town of Cirencester. Cirencester can be reached from London or the west by the M4 (London/ Bristol) and exit at Junction 15 taking the A419 north-west for some 20 miles (32 km).
Google Map - Bibury Village