The town is on a hill (highest point in the Cotswolds at 244 m) and back to Iron Ages times, the site was used as a fort. The first settlers were attracted to the nearby village of Maugersbury. However, once a market place was built at Stow nearer the crossroads roads, its commercial successes gradually established as the major town. Stow is at the meeting place of 6 roads helping the development of the market and thus the town; one of those roads being the famous Roman road – the Fosse Way.
During the English Civil War, in 1646 the Royalist Army was marching through the Cotswolds trying to reach Oxford to join the King's forces. However, they were met by the Parliamentary forces just outside Stow and The Battle of Stow-on-the-Wold took place 1 mile N of the town. The retreating Royalist forces moved back to the town and fought on through the streets of Stow before surrendering in the Market Place. The church was then turned into an emergency prison to hold the 1000 Royalist troops.
Weekly markets were granted in 1107 and the right to hold an annual (7 day) fair granted in 1330 (though that was changed to two 5 day fairs in 1476). The wool trade and sheep livestock used to play a major role in the fairs, but as the wool trade declined, so horse trading became more important and today the fairs have been moved from the Market Place to a field outside the village near Maugersbury. The fairs are very popular attracting large numbers of visitors, blocking roads in the area. The large number of visitors has not always been welcomed by locals and many shops and pubs in the area close during the fairs to avoid the risk of theft and vandalism.
Driving from Cirencester, follow the A429 (the Fosseway) North, pass through Bourton-on-the-Water and you'll reach it (after another 3 mi (5 km)). There will be obvious signs saying you've entered the town. From the North, follow the A429 South towards Cirencester.
The town's railway station was closed in 1948. The two nearest stations are:
- 1 Moreton-in-Marsh Railway Station, Station Rd, Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 0AA (4½ miles N of Stow-on-the-Wold). Station managed and services operated by Great Western Railway. On the Cotswold Line running between Oxford-Hereford.
- Pulham Coaches Service 801 [dead link] runs Moreton-in-Marsh – Stow-on-the-Wold – Bourton-on-the-Water – Northleach – Andoversford – Cheltenham Royal Well
- Pulham Coaches Service 802 [dead link] runs Bourton-on-the-Water – Great Rissington/Little Rissington – Upper Rissington – Stow-on-the-Wold – Kingham Railway Station
- The Villages Community Bus [formerly dead link] runs occasional services through the town.
- National Cycle Route 48. Lincoln to Exeter will run through the town; the route is still under construction, Cirencester-Northleach and Moreton-in-Marsh-Southam completed (10-mile section through Bourton-on-the-Water still under construction as of 2017)
- National Cycle Route 442. Passes 3 miles E of the town.
Walkers would do well to avoid the busy A429 road.
On foot'/ is fine.
The town centre, whilst small, is extremely beautiful, focused around the large market square and the pretty little streets leading off it.
- 1 Cotswold Sweet Company, Crossway House, The Square, Stow on the Wold GL541AB, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Oldy-Worldy sweet shop with massive choice of sweets and chocolates. Also really good if you want a bit of banter with one of the friendly staff.
- 2 The Borzoi Bookshop, Church St, Stow on the Wold GL54 1BB, ☏ . M-Sa 9:30AM-5PM.
- 3 The Baobab Tree (Gift Shop), Talbot House, The Square, Stow-in-the-Wold GL54 1AB, ☏ (mobile), ✉ email@example.com.
- 4 The Cotswold Chocolate Company (Artisan Chocolate Makers), France House, Digbeth St, Stow on the Wold GL54 1BN, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 5 Tesco (Spermarket), Fosse Way, Stow-On-The-Wold GL54 1BX, ☏ . M-Sa 6AM-11PM, Su 10AM-4PM.
- 1 Cotswold Baguettes (Sandwich Shop), Church St, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1BB, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- 2 The Kings Arms (Pub, Restaurant & Hotel), Market Square, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1AF, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 3 The Hive (Restaurant), Fox House, Digbeth St, Stow on the Wold GL54 1BN, ☏ .
- 4 Prince of India (Indan Restaurant), 5 Park St, Stow On The Wold GL54 1AQ, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Su-Th 6-11PM, F Sa 5:30-11:30PM.
- 5 Old Butchers (Restaurant), Park St, Stow on the Wold GL54 1AQ, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F noon-2:30PM & 6:30-9:20PM, Sa noon-2:30PM & 6:30-10PM, Su noon-14:30PM & 7-9PM.
- 6 The Fox at Oddington (Pub, Food & Rooms), High St, Lower Oddington GL56 0UR (3 miles E of Stow-on-the-Wold), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- 1 The Talbot (Pub & Food), The Square, Stow on the Wold GL54 1BQ, ☏ . Bar: M-Tu 11AM-9PM, W-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 12:00-6PM; food: M-Tu noon-3PM, W-Th noon-3PM & 6-8:30PM, F Sa noon-3PM & 6-9PM, Su noon-4PM.
- 2 Coach House (Coffee Shop), 1 Talbot Court, Market Square, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1BQ, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 9:30AM-4PM.
- 3 [dead link] New England Coffee House, 1 Digbeth St, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1BN, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-F 8:30AM-5PM, Sa Su 9AM-5PM.
- 4 [dead link] Treebus Tea Rooms, Digbeth St, Stow-On-The-Wold GL54 1BN, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 8:30AM-5PM, Su 9AM-5PM.
- 5 The Queen's Head (Pub, Food & Rooms), The Square, Stow on the Wold GL54 1AB, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. No breakfast with rooms.
- 6 Lucy's Tea Rooms, The Square, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1AB, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10AM-4:30PM.
- 1 The Porch House (Hotel, Bar & Restaurant; formerly The Royalist Hotel), Digbeth Street, Stow on the Wold, GL54 1BN, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Also a historical landmark. Free Wi-Fi Double from £99.
- 2 Cotswold Gardens (Tea Rooms & B&B), Wells Cottage, Digbeth St, Stow-On-The-Wold GL54 1BN, ☏ . Tea rooms: May-Oct: 10AM-5PM; Oct-May: 10AM-4PM.
- 3 Sheep on Sheep Street (Hotel, Restaurant & Bar), Sheep St, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1AG, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Bar: M-Sa 8AM-11PM, Su 8AM-10PM; Food: daily 8-11AM & noon-9:30PM (Sa to 10PM). AA 4*
- 4 The White Heart (Hotel, Restaurant & Bar), The Square, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1AF, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- 5 Stuart House (Boutique Bedrooms), Digbeth St, Stow on the Wold GL54 1BN, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Old Stocks Inn, The Square, Stow-On-The-Wold GL54 1AF, ☏ . 17th century pub with modern rooms and good dining. B&B double £130.
- 6 Victoria House (Boutique Rooms), Sheep St, Stow on the Wold GL54 1AA, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 4-9PM, check-out: by 10AM. No children under 12, no pets
- 7 Lords of The Manor, Upper Slaughter GL54 2JD, ☏ . Splendid upscale hotel in a former rectory, dog-friendly. B&B double £170.
- 8 The Feathered Nest, Nether Westcote OX7 6SD, ☏ . Only four rooms at this country inn, but it's the cuisine that is outstanding. B&B double £300.
- 9 King's Head, The Green, Bledington OX7 6XQ, ☏ . Charming 16th C village pub with rooms, very cosy and welcoming, good dining. B&B double £120.
- Bourton-on-the-Water 4 miles to SW
- Moreton-in-Marsh 4½ miles N
- Chipping Norton 9 miles to E
- Cheltenham 18 miles to W
- Cheltenham 19 miles to SW
- Burford to miles to S
- Witney 18½ miles to SE
- Oxford 30 miles to SE
|Routes through Stow-on-the-Wold|
|Evesham ← Broadway ←||W E||→ Chipping Norton → Oxford|
|Warwick and Leamington Spa ← Moreton-in-Marsh ←||N S||→ Bourton-on-the-Water → Cirencester|