The town is located on a hill (highest point in the Cotswolds at 244m) and back to Iron Ages times, the site was used as a fort. Initially settlers were attracted to the nearby village of Maugersbury. However, once a market place was built at Stow nearer the crossroads roads gradually the commercial successes saw it 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 5km). 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-ppHereford]].
- Pulham Coaches Service 801 runs Moreton-in-Marsh – Stow-on-the-Wold – Bourton-on-the-Water – Northleach – Andoversford – Cheltenham Royal Well
- Pulham Coaches Service 802 runs Bourton-on-the-Water – Great Rissington/Little Rissington – Upper Rissington – Stow-on-the-Wold – Kingham Railway Station
- The Villages Community Bus 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's fine.
The town centre whilst small is extremely beautiful, focused around the large market square and the pretty little streets leading off it.
- 1 St Edward's Church. medieval-built Church with interesting doorway
- 2 Fosse Art Gallery, The Manor House, The Square, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1AF, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 1 Foxholes (Woodland Reserve (23 hectare)) (6 miles SE of Stow-on-the-Wold. OS Grid ref: SP 251 204). Spectacular spring bluebells & bird life
- 1 Cotswold Sweet Company, Crossway House, The Square, Stow on the Wold GL541AB, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 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 09:30-17:00.
- 3 The Baobab Tree (Gift Shop), Talbot House, The Square, Stow-in-the-Wold GL54 1AB, ☎ (mobile), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 4 The Cotswold Chocolate Company (Artisan Chocolate Makers), France House, Digbeth St, Stow on the Wold GL54 1BN, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- 5 Tesco (Spermarket), Fosse Way, Stow-On-The-Wold GL54 1BX, ☎ . M-Sa 06:00-23:00, Su 10:00-16:00.
- 1 Cotswold Baguettes (Sandwich Shop), Church St, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1BB, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2 The Kings Arms (Pub, Restaurant & Hotel), Market Square, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1AF, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- 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, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 18:00-23:00, F Sa 17:30-23:30, Su 18:00-23:00.
- 5 Old Butchers (Restaurant), Park St, Stow on the Wold GL54 1AQ, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 12:00-14:30 & 18:30-21:20, Sa 12:00-14:30 & 18:30-22:00, Su 12:00-14:30 & 19:00-21:00.
- 6 The Fox Inn (Pub, Food & Rooms), High St, Lower Oddington GL56 0UR (3 miles E of Stow-on-the-Wold), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 1 The Talbot (Pub & Food), The Square, Stow on the Wold GL54 1BQ, ☎ . Bar: M-Tu 11:00-21:00, W-Sa 11:00-23:00, Su 12:00-18:00; Food: M-Tu 12:00-15:00, W-Th 12:00-15:00 & 18:00-20:30, F-Sa 12:00-15:00 & 18:00 - 21:00, Su 12:00-16:00.
- 2 Coach House (Coffee Shop), 1 Talbot Court, Market Square, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1BQ, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 09:00-17:00, Su 09:30-16:00.
- 3 New England Coffee House, 1 Digbeth St, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1BN, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 08:30-17:00, Sa Su 09:00-17:00.
- 4 Treebus Tea Rooms, Digbeth St, Stow-On-The-Wold GL54 1BN, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 08:30-17:00, Su 09:00-17:00.
- 5 The Queen's Head (Pub, Food & Rooms), The Square, Stow on the Wold GL54 1AB, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. No breakfast with rooms
- 6 Lucy's Tea Rooms, The Square, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1AB, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 10:00-16:30.
- 1 The Porch House (Hotel, Bar & Restaurant; formerly The Royalist Hotel), Digbeth Street, Stow on the Wold, GL54 1BN, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: 10:00-17:00; Oct-May: 10:00-16:00.
- 3 Sheep on Sheep Street (Hotel, Restaurant & Bar), Sheep St, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1AG, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Bar: M-Sa 08:00-23:00 Su 08:00-22:00; Food: daily 08:00-11:00 & 12:00-21:30 (Sa to 22:00). AA 4*
- 4 The White Heart (Hotel, Restaurant & Bar), The Square, Stow-on-the-Wold GL54 1AF, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 5 Stuart House (Boutique Bedrooms), Digbeth St, Stow on the Wold GL54 1BN, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- 6 Victoria House (Boutique Rooms), Sheep St, Stow on the Wold GL54 1AA, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 16:00-21:00, check-out: by 10:00. No children under 12, no pets
- 1 Post Office, The Square, Stow on The Wold GL54 1AB, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 05:00-17:30, Su 05:00-16:30.