Location - Getting Around the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds is a rural area with motorways on the outskirts (M roads), a few main highways (A roads - most are one lane in each direction), many secondary roads (B roads) and many narrow country lanes. This page lists the motorways on the outskirts of the Cotswolds and the main east-west and north-south roads. Get out your maps or look at Pauline's detailed Google Map of the Cotwolds to make sense of it all.
We use our Garmin NUVI GPS (with Europe maps) in the Cotswolds and it works very well, but it is still good to have an idea of the main roads when driving in this area.
Getting to the Cotswolds
If driving from London or the London airports, take the M4 or the M40 motorways.
- M4 motorway: The M4 runs from east-west from London to Wales (Swansea) and cuts across the southern part of the Cotswolds. Exit at Swindon onto the A419 if going to Cirencester or Cheltenham. The A419 is four lanes, like a motorway from the M4 to Cirencester, then turns into the A417 to the area south of Cheltenham. Exit at the A46 to go south to Bath or north to Tetbury, Nailsworth or Stroud.
- M40 motorway: The M40 runs northwest from London to Oxford and goes along the eastern edge of the Cotswolds. Exit at Oxford for the A40 to Burford, Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham. Exit at the A40 and take the A44 to Chipping Norton.
- M5 motorway: The M5 runs north from the coast at Exeter (Devon), past Bristol and along the western edge of the Cotswolds. Exit on the A419 for Stroud, Nailsworth, Cirencester. Exit further north at the A40 for Cheltenham or Winchcombe.
Main East - West Roads in the Cotswolds
The main east-west roads from north to south.
- A44: The A44 goes northwest from Oxford to Worcester. This connects Chipping Norton, Moreton-in-Marsh, Chipping Campden (north of the A44), Broadway, and Evesham in the northern Cotswolds.
- A40: The A40 runs east-west from Oxford to Cheltenham and divides the Cotswolds into north and south.
- A417/A419: The A417 goes east-west from Faringdon, to Lechlade, to Cirencester in the southern Cotswolds. The A419 continues east-west from Cirencester to Stroud.
Main North - South Roads in the Cotswolds
The main north-south roads listed from east to west.
- A361: The A361 runs north-south from Banbury to Swindon, passing through Chipping Norton, Burford and Lechlade.
- A429 (Fosse Way): The A429 runs north-south from Moreton-in-Marsh to Cirencester, through the center of the Cotswolds. This road is also called the Fosse Way as it follows the route of an ancient Roman road.
- A417 (north from Cirencester): The A417, the biggest highway in the area (dual carriage way - two lanes in each direction), connects with the A419 from Swindon and goes from Cirencester, north-west to Cheltenham. I am always shocked when we end up on this road because it seems like such a large, busy highway compared to the other easy-going Cotswolds roads. It only runs for 13 miles and ends at a roundabout south of Cheltenham (which is frequently backed up). Then you have to make your way on other roads into Cheltenham (it is well signed).
- B4425: If you are going from Cirencester to Burford, take the B4425 that goes through Bibury. The road slows down for Bibury, but is a good main road in all other sections.
- A46: The A46 goes north-south from Evesham to Bath, passing through Cheltenham, Painswick, Stroud, and Nailsworth. This road was closed at Painswick after the July 2007 floods, but reopened in early 2008.
The Cotswolds is small area packed with wonderful things. You can drive from Tetbury in the south to Chipping Campden in the north in 1 hour (41 miles) or from Burford in the east to Cheltenham in the west in 32 minutes (22 miles).
Some driving distances:
- Bath to Stratford-upon-Avon: 89 miles (1hr 47min)
- Tetbury (south) to Chipping Campden (north): 41 miles (1hr)
- Oxford (east) to Cheltenham (west): 44 miles (1hr)
- Burford (east) to Cheltenham (west): 22 miles (32min)
- Moreton-in-Marsh (north) to Cirencester (south): 23 miles (32 min)
- Center of London to Burford: 77 miles (1hr 39min)
- Heathrow Airport to Burford: 63 miles (1hr 16min)
Frixo: Current traffic reports for UK motorways. Also available on your cell phone (mobile phone).