If you’ve got only a few hours to spare but you want to see a gorgeous Cotswold village during your stay at Nightingale House, you can’t do better than a trip to Bibury. Only 6 miles (North East) from Cirencester on the B425 (see OS map ‘The Cotswolds’ OL45 on the black bookcase in the second bedroom), it’s less than half an hour’s drive from Lower Mill Estate.
Set on the banks of the River Coln, Bibury and its sister village of Arlington prospered as a weaving centre in the 17th century. Some of the most picturesque cottages in the Cotswolds must be on Arlington Row set back from the river beyond ‘Rack Isle’, now a nature reserve, but formerly used for drying the wool. The cottages were built in the 14th century as a wool store and turned into weavers’ homes in the 17th century
If you have time visit Alington Mill, a 17th century mill with its museum of local rural life and the church at the end of Bibury village which is of Saxon origin.
Next to the mill is the famous trout farm set in beautiful gardens. The entrance fee is quite pricey (£3.80 for adults) but you can fish (and buy) your own trout then barbecue them if you wish. You can also feed the trout (if you spend a further 50p on the special food) and watch them leap over the competition for it! There is a gift shop at the entrance to the farm and a cafe selling homemade ice-cream (£1.80 for two scoops but excellent).
The ‘Swan Hotel’ on the banks of the river, with its own private gardens and license for trout fishing looked interesting and serves afternoon teas as well as other meals.
If you fancy a longer walk along the river from these picturesque villages there are two different 6 mile walks starting in Bibury in our various Cotswold walk books: Walk 14 on page 43 of ‘Cotswold River Walks’ and Walk 35 on page 112 of ‘50 Walks in the Cotswolds’.