Wondering about the famous St Edward’s Church door in the Cotswolds? Or, the Lord of the Rings door in the Cotswolds? It is also often referred to as the “Hobbit door” or the “Tolkien door”. Whichever one you are looking for, you are in the right place.

In this post, I will give you all the information about the famous church door, hobbit door or Lord of the Rings door which has become the most photographed door in the Cotswolds, and may I suggest in England!

I will also tell you where exactly it is situated, so you can find it when you visit this corner of Cotswolds in the English countryside, just as I did on my visit.

Did this door really inspire Tolkien’s “Doors of Durin” in the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring?

Read along…

St Edward's Church Door Stow on the Wold
the mystical yew tree door at St Edward’s Church, Stow on the Wold


An overview:

  • Where is the famous church door or the hobbit door in the Cotswolds?
  • St Edward’s Church, Stow on the Wold;
  • St Edward’s Church Door, Stow on the Wold;
  • The origin of the Yew Tree Door;
  • Tolkien Door;
  • How to find The Door at St Edward’s Church;
  • The Story of Yew Trees;
  • How to visit St Edward’s Church, Stow on the Wold;
  • Visitor to the UK?
  • About Stow on the Wold;
  • Finally;
  • Stay Connected;
  • What’s New;
  • Share…
  • Disclaimer.


The famous church door in the Cotswolds is situated in the ancient market town of Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire. This quintessential English town sits on the highest hill in the Cotswolds at 244 metres (800 ft), easily reached by main roads and the A429 (Fosse Way) which is of Roman origin.

A centre of trade since the Norman times, Stow was awarded with a charter in 1330 and a market has been held in this town ever since. 

At the heart of this beautiful town on the Cotswold hill is St Edward’s Church that has been a place of worship for the local community since medieval times. It is  in this beautiful church grounds that you will find the famous door in the Cotswolds, also famously known as the ‘hobbit’ door or the ‘Tolkien’ door. 


Evidence suggests that a temple has existed on this site since 708 AD. The present St Edward’s Church dates from the medieval times, around the 11th century and is a Grade I listed property.

St Edward encompasses several architectural styles spanning from the 11th century to the 15th century with elements from the Victorian era also.

St Edward’s stands out for its authentic features such as the 11th century Norman stonework, 13th century columns and arches, a large painting of the Crucifixion by Gasper de Craeyer, a memorial to a fallen soldier of the Battle of Stow and other elements.

A significant 15th century addition to St Edward’s is its tower. Towering over the market town, this remarkable tower was built from money donated by the wealthy wool merchants who directly benefited from the market town’s wool trade. Stow’s Church tower houses eight bells, renowned for the heaviest ringing of all of Gloucestershire.

Make time to see the interior of this lovely church, though it may not take too long. St Edward’s Church has a rich history and both the church and the town have developed alongside together, which makes it worth visiting.

St Edward's Church Stow
view of the tower, exterior and interior of St Edward’s Church, Stow on the Wold
St Edward's Church Stow
pictured left: stained glass windows; right: painting of the Crucifixion by Gasper de Craeyer; St Edward’s Church Stow on the Wold

While all of St Edward’s features are incredible and merit an exploration in its own right, it is just the one particular ancient wooden door bound by two yew trees that draws the most attention, visitors and photographers.


Tucked away in the north porch of this historic church is this enchanting door which looks like a portal to another realm instead of a church entrance. This particular St Edward’s Church door is one of UK’s most famous doors in the Cotswolds. Locally known as “The Yew Tree Door” or “The Hobbit Door”.

Flanked by two ancient yew trees, the door’s enchanting appearance of an arched wooden studded opening, crowned by colourful stained glass with an old oil lamp hanging above beckons one to imagine it as a magical portal to another world.

St Edward's Church yew tree door Stow on the Wold |
the yew trees, forming part of the architraves for the door
coloured stained glass window and light Stow's church
stained glass above the door and the vintage oil lamp for the porch


St Edward’s Church Door is believed to have been placed here in the 13th century when this section of the church was built. Saplings of yew tree were planted on each side of the door to enhance its entry point. Today, the trees form an arch around the door. However, the stained glass above it and the old oil lamp seems like a later addition. These could possibly originate when the church was revamped by JL Pearson in the Gothic style during the latter part of the 17th century. 

Whatever the case may be or whenever it was that it was built, the atmospheric yews along with the ancient door does exude a mystical or an otherworldly aura, that entices you to open, and walk-through to the other world. The sight is so uniquely enchanting.

It is no wonder that this door is regarded as having  a striking resemblance to the “Doors of Durin”, the western gate of Mines of Moria which appears as one of the scenes in “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”

*Just so you know, you can’t open the door on an ordinary day. You can access the church from its main entrance on the south side. 

St Edward's Church Stow
pictured left: 13th century columns and arches; right: the interior view of the famous “door”


It is rumoured that this door with the yew trees was the inspiration for the “Doors of Durin” by  JRR Tolkien, the author of The Lord Of the Rings trilogy.

Tolkien was a Professor of Old English at Merton College of Oxford for 14 years and he frequently visited Stow on the Wold. Apparently he was so taken by the charm of this door that he simply had to include it in his book. Nevertheless, this is still only a rumour, and no one has so far confirmed it to be true but it is something you can see for yourself and decide. 


The famous yew tree door at St Edward’s Church in Stow on the Wold is located at the north porch of the church.

Access the church grounds via the side iron gates. Walk through the cemetery leading to the church but look out for a little footpath that bears right. Take this footpath, that leads round to the back, but before that, you’ll see the porch, yew trees, and the pretty door.

It is the only door at St Edward’s with the coloured stained glass with the vintage porch light. You can’t miss it.

St Edward's Church Door Stow on the Wold |
St Edward’s Church door framed by two yew trees

TIP: Remember that it is the footpath on the right that you need. It has been known where visitors have missed it, possibly because they went left to the south entrance, which is the main entrance to St Edward’s Church.


Yew trees are often shrouded in mysteriousness. They are generally found in churchyards, and is described as having a sacred status as they regenerate. Some have described it to symbolise death and doom also as the entire tree is considered to be poisonous..   

Yew Trees are incredibly long lived, of at least 3000 to 9000 years. They are considered ancient when they are at least 900 years old. These trees are native to northern Europe and provide food and shelter for the woodland animals. 

Yew trees have the ability to regenerate. When old drooping branches fall, they can uproot and form new trunks where they touch the ground. It is this process that gives it the sacred status, life, death and resurrection in the Celtic culture as well as the Christian faith. Yew branches were traditionally carried during Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter) as a symbol of immortality.


You can visit St Edward’s Church, Stow on the Wold as part of a tour group or independently.


One of the best ways to experience the Cotswolds is to join a tour group. Joining a tour is especially rewarding if you want to save time and money while experiencing the best of the Cotswolds. It takes the stress out of driving, navigating the motorways and hopping from one public transport to another.

Additionally, tours to the Cotswolds visit more than one town, in a day, typically up to four. This means you can tick-off some of these wonderful villages in the Cotswolds in one day for one price.

Cotswolds is a popular destination in the UK, therefore there are several tours departing from London or nearby Oxford. I have been on several of these tours and I would recommend these day trips to the Cotswolds without hesitation. These tours I suggest have also received plenty of positive reviews from other travellers.

I would highly recommend this one, where you visit four beautiful villages, including Stow-on-the-Wold with lunch included. If you prefer not to have lunch, there’s no problem. You can join this tour that includes plenty of sightseeing time, and ensures you do not miss any of the highlights. Below are several tours which I’d suggest you peruse and Book early.

east side of St Edward's Church Stow on the Wold |
the east side of St Edward’s Church Stow on the Wold

Getting to St Edward’s Church, Stow on the Wold by yourself

Stow on the Wold is located in the Cotswolds, in the county of Gloucestershire, England. You can travel there by car, bus, or train.

If you are traveling by car, enter the postcode GL54 1AB into your GPS or navigation system. This will take you to the town center, where you can park.

From the car park, the church is just a couple of minutes walk.

If you are traveling by bus, there are several bus routes that run through Stow on the Wold, including the Stagecoach 801 and 855. Check the bus timetable and plan your journey accordingly.

If you are traveling by train, the nearest railway station is Moreton-in-Marsh, which is approximately 6.4 km (4 miles) from Stow on the Wold. From the station, you can take a taxi or a bus to reach the town.

Once you reach Stow on the Wold, look for signs to the church or ask a local for directions. The church is located in the town center, near the market square. Walk along the pavement, you’ll see the iron gates and a sign to the church.

I hope this helps you in planning your trip to Stow on the Wold, so you could see the enchanting St Edward’s Church door.

Stow Market Square |
Stow on the Wold market square


There is no parking next to the church. It may be possible to park in the Town Square during off-peak. There is a free car park by Tesco which is a pleasant ten minutes walk away via the High Street.

You can find St Edward’s Church located at:

Address: 2 Crossways House the Square, Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham GL54 1AB

Opening times: Open throughout the year from 10:00 A.M.


As a traveller to the UK, the easiest way to visit Stow on the Wold is with a tour. The best tour is this one here that combines a visit to other Cotswold villages that are worth visiting. It is also possible to drive to Stow as it is well placed at a junction of seven roads and can be reached conveniently. Look up the wide range of cars offered by Discover Cars.

Additionally, visit my travel pages about London, England, and Scotland for travel inspiration around the UK.

Are you visiting some of the English Heritage sites such as Stonehenge, Dover Castle, 1066 Battle of Hastings and Battle Abbey or Osborne House on the Isle of Wight? If so, you may want to take advantage of the discounted Overseas Visitor Pass. This visitor pass is worth buying if you are visiting more than two of the over 100 sites covered by this scheme.

There are several informative pages about travels in Lake Como, Milan, Verona and Barcelona also, if you are extending your vacation to Europe.


Stow on the Wold is one of the prettiest towns in England and has lots to offer its visitors. Famous for its honey stone buildings, old-fashioned houses, chic cafes and the oldest inn in England, Stow has a rich history going back to the Iron Age and exploring this historic wool market town is one of the best things to do in England.

This quaint town is surrounded by a large expanse of woodland. The rolling hills of the Cotswolds are known as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Affording great opportunities to explore the natural surroundings, there are both short and extended walks which you could go on.

Go here for one of the top informational guides about the best 28 Walks in the Cotswolds, published by the Ordnance Survey. This is one of the best guides there is about Cotswold Circular Walks. If you prefer short walks, buy this one for leisure walks, suitable for all ages and levels.

English Countryside Cotswolds


The St Edward’s Church door along with the yew trees are truly fascinating and I sincerely wish that the information in this article will help you plan your visit to see St Edward’s Church door and the enchanting trees which are now the architraves for the ancient door. There is none quite like it anywhere else I’m aware of.

St Edward’s Church door is one highlight I’d recommend to top your list of places in the Cotswolds. 

Georgina at St Edward's Church Stow on the Wold
that’s I, Georgina…simply had to take that photo at the mystical door

If you are exploring the Cotswolds, you may like to read the following articles also:

Complete Guide to Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire;

Best Things to do in Castle Combe, Wiltshire;

Things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire;

Quaint Things to do in Burford, Oxfordshire;

Charming Things to do in Bibury, Gloucestershire;

Have a great time at St Edward’s Church, Stow on the Wold. Before you go, sign-up to our travel news for free. You will receive our latest articles directly to your inbox and you can read these at your leisure.

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