The Cotswolds is a beautiful rural region in England which is often considered an idyllic escape. With rolling hills, quaint villages, and stunning views, the Cotswolds has something to offer everyone. Whether you’re looking for some outdoor adventure or a relaxing day out, there are plenty of amazing things to do in the Cotswolds. Here are just 10 of the best experiences that you can enjoy here.
Explore the Beauty of The Cotswolds
Located in the heart of England, the Cotswolds is a region known for its charming villages, rolling hills, and rich history. With so much natural beauty to explore, it can be tough to know where to start. Here are ten amazing things to do in the Cotswolds that will help you make the most of your visit.
- Visit Bibury
This charming village is home to Arlington Row, a collection of cottages built in the 14th century that once served as monastic wool storage houses. Today, they are some of the prettiest cottages in the Cotswolds and a must-see for any visitor.
- Explore Snowshill Manor
Built in the 16th century, Snowshill Manor is a treasure trove of artefacts from around the world. From samurai armour to musical instruments, there’s something for everyone here.
- Stay at Abbots Grange Hotel
If you need a place to rest your head, this historical hotel is the perfect choice. Dating back to the 14th century, it offers comfortable rooms and stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
- Wander around Bourton-on-the-Water
This picturesque village is often called the “Venice of the Cotswolds” because of its many small bridges that cross the River Windrush. It’s a great place to stroll and take in the scenery.
- Visit Sudeley Castle
This 15th-century castle was once home to Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII. Today, it’s open to the public and offers tours, exhibitions, and stunning gardens to explore.
- Take a walk on the Cotswold Way
This long-distance walking trail runs for 102 miles through the Cotswolds, offering breathtaking views and plenty of fresh air. You can tackle the whole thing, or just do a section that interests you.
- Explore the Cotswold Wildlife Park
Located in Burford, this park is home to over 260 different species of animals, including rhinos, giraffes, and lemurs. It’s a great place to visit with kids or animal lovers.
- Discover the town of Chipping Campden
This ancient market town is known for its stunning architecture, including the iconic St James’ Church. It’s also home to plenty of shops, cafes, and restaurants to explore.
- Visit the Rollright Stones
These prehistoric monuments are shrouded in mystery and legend. Some say they were once a king and his knights, turned to stone by a witch. Whatever their true origins , they make for an eerie and fascinating visit. Don’t miss the King Stone, the largest of the three monuments.
Visit The Cotswolds’ Manors and Gardens
The Cotswolds is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, charming villages, and historic landmarks. But did you know that it’s also home to some of the most stunning gardens in the UK? From manicured lawns and blooming flowers to grand manors and medieval barns, there’s no shortage of natural beauty to explore in this part of England. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best hidden gem gardens in Cotswolds.
Bourton House Garden
Located in the quaint village of Bourton-on-the-Hill, Bourton House Garden is a horticultural masterpiece. This 3-acre garden is set around a beautiful 18th-century manor house and features an array of unique features, including a knot garden, topiary, and a water garden. Visitors can also enjoy a light lunch or afternoon tea at the cafe housed in a renovated glasshouse.
Prince Charles’ private residence, Highgrove House, is surrounded by some of the most enchanting gardens in the Cotswolds. These gardens are open to the public on selected dates between April and October, and visitors can expect to see everything from wildflower meadows to a walled kitchen garden. The gardens are also home to rare and exotic plants, including the Queen’s orchid and the Chilean lantern tree.
Kiftsgate Court Gardens
Kiftsgate Court Gardens is a true hidden gem nestled in the hills above Chipping Campden. This 20th-century garden is known for its stunning views and unique features, including a water garden, rose garden, and a bluebell wood. The garden also features a yew tunnel that leads to a secret garden filled with colorful flowers and fragrant herbs.
Sezincote House & Garden
Sezincote House & Garden is a 200-year-old Indian-style mansion surrounded by a 4-acre garden. The gardens are home to a unique blend of Eastern and Western design, featuring temple-like structures, waterfalls, and streams. Visitors can also take a stroll through the bamboo grove or enjoy a picnic by the lake.
Hidcote Manor Garden
Hidcote Manor Garden is one of the most iconic gardens in the Cotswolds. This Arts and Crafts garden features a series of outdoor “rooms” each with its own unique theme and design. Visitors can explore the maze-like paths, discover hidden fountains and ponds, and relax in the tranquil surroundings.
If you’re planning a trip to the Cotswolds, make sure to add these hidden gem gardens to your itinerary. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an inspiring horticultural experience, these gardens are sure to delight your senses and leave you with unforgettable memories. And if you’re a nature lover, you’ll appreciate the rich diversity of flora and fauna that call these gardens home. From vibrant spring blooms to colorful autumn foliage, there’s always something new to discover in the Cotswolds’ manors and gardens. So why not take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in the beauty of the English countryside? Your mind and body will thank you for it.
Take a Stroll Along the Cotswold Way
The Cotswold Way, a 102-mile long distance walking trail, is one of the most magnificent walks in England. It runs from Chipping Campden to Bath, encompassing the western edge of the Cotswold Hills. The route takes you through rolling pastures, beech woodland, and honey-colored villages built from Cotswold stone. As an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you will explore ancient commons, pass Neolithic burial barrows, stately homes, and historic battle sites. One of the most striking features of the walk is the stunning path along the Cotswold escarpment that offers ever-changing views to the west towards the River Severn and the Malvern Hills.
Unlike some long-distance walking trails, there is no preferred direction to walk the Cotswold Way. It is a magnificent walk whether you walk from North to South, starting from Chipping Campden to Bath or South to North, the other way. Many people choose to do it both ways for different experiences. Anyone who is reasonably fit can walk the Cotswold Way, although many walkers are surprised at the frequency of steep climbs. The National Trail is very well way-marked so following the route is easy. But it is always a good idea to take a guidebook or map.
The Cotswold Way can be walked in all seasons. However, if you want to enjoy clear views from the Cotswold escarpment, then crisp winter days, autumn and spring may be the best time to visit. Late spring and early summer are great times to see the grasslands in all their glory and the beech woodlands are at their best in spring and autumn.
To get the most from your time in the Cotswolds, we would recommend taking eight or nine walking days to complete the trail. You can choose to walk the full 102 miles of the Cotswold Way in anything from six to ten days. We are also happy to tailor-make any of our itineraries to individual requirements, so just ask!
What is special about the trail?
Renowned for its sheer diversity, the Cotswold Way incorporates some of England’s prettiest villages and passes historic sites such as the City of Bath World Heritage Site, the Neolithic burial chamber at Belas Knap, Sudeley Castle, Hailes Abbey, and many churches and historic houses. One minute you will be in wildflower meadows, the next shaded woodlands. You could breakfast in a sleepy village, lunch in a thriving market town, and eat dinner under the stars – no two days will be the same!
Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Cotswold Way as you take in the breathtaking views of the rolling hills and picturesque villages. This is an ideal holiday for anyone who loves the great outdoors, history, and culture. You will have plenty of opportunities to explore the area’s rich heritage, sample delicious food and drink, and take part in a range of activities such as cycling, horse riding and hot air balloon rides.
Enjoy the Picturesque Countryside Views
The Cotswolds is one of the most picturesque regions in England. With its rolling hills, quaint villages, and historical properties that date back hundreds of years, it’s hard not to fall in love with the area. One village that stands out among the rest is Bibury, known for its collection of cottages called Arlington Row. These cottages were built in 1380 as monastic wool storage houses and later converted into weavers’ cottages in the 17th century. Today, they look much as they did back then, making Bibury unquestionably one of the prettiest Cotswold villages.
But there’s more to see in the Cotswolds than just Bibury. Here are ten amazing things to do in the area:
- Visit Bibury Trout Farm: Located just a short walk from Arlington Row, the Bibury Trout Farm is a great place to learn about trout farming and catch your own fish for dinner.
- Take a walk around Cirencester: Known as the “Capital of the Cotswolds,” Cirencester is a charming market town with plenty of shops, restaurants, and historical sites to explore.
- See the gardens at Hidcote Manor: This National Trust property features some of the most beautiful gardens in the country, including a series of outdoor “rooms” designed to showcase different types of plants.
- Explore Sudeley Castle: Located near Winchcombe, Sudeley Castle is a historic home that has been home to queens, lords, and ladies over the centuries.
- Walk the Cotswold Way: This long-distance walking trail stretches over 100 miles through the heart of the Cotswolds, offering stunning views of the countryside along the way.
- Visit the model village at Bourton-on-the-Water: This charming village features a replica of itself in miniature, complete with tiny houses, shops, and even a model river.
- Take a tour of the Cotswold Distillery: Learn about the process of making gin and whisky at this award-winning distillery near Stow-on-the-Wold.
- Have tea at Tisanes Tea Room: Located in Broadway, Tisanes Tea Room is a quaint spot to enjoy a cup of tea and some homemade cakes.
- Walk around Chipping Campden: This beautiful market town is home to a number of historic buildings, including St James’ Church and the Old Market Hall.
- Enjoy the countryside views: Perhaps the best thing to do in the Cotswolds is simply to take a walk and enjoy the stunning views of the rolling hills and picturesque villages that make up the area.
Sample the Local Cuisine
The Cotswolds is a beautiful region in England known for its picturesque villages, rolling hills, and charming towns. It is also renowned for its food scene, where visitors can enjoy local produce, pub experiences, and Michelin-starred restaurants. In this blog section, we will explore the best foodie experiences in the Cotswolds, including sampling the local cuisine, trying out different dining experiences, and visiting farmers’ markets.
The Cotswolds is home to a range of high-quality produce that is often found on menus in pubs, restaurants, and cafes. Some of the local favorites include Tewkesbury mustard, Bibury trout, Stinking Bishop cheese, and Hobbs House bread. One of the must-try local experiences is the Cotswolds Dry Gin, which has become very popular among locals and visitors alike.
If you are a fan of Asian food, you should visit Yoku at the No 131 hotel in Cheltenham. This restaurant offers a glamorous experience with a dress code and a menu featuring modern Japanese recipes made from the finest-quality fish from the UK. You won’t want to miss their signature roll made with tempura soft-shell crab, salad, avocado, and Korean sweet-chili sauce.
For haute cuisine in the Cotswolds, Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham is a great option. It has been thriving for three decades and is known for its excellent desserts, particularly the chocolate-and-pistachio delice. If you’re on a budget, a two-course set menu starts at £35 (US$43).
The Boxing Hare in Chipping Norton is another fantastic option for foodies. This pub serves delicious British classics, such as roast beef with all the trimmings, and features an extensive wine list.
Taste Rock Star Cheese and Assemble a Picnic
If you’re a cheese lover, don’t miss The Big Feastival in Kingham, Oxfordshire, held every August. It is a music and food festival that features rock star cheese from Alex James, the bassist of Blur.
Every Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm, Stroud Farmers Market boasts over 50 stalls selling local produce. You can pick up farm-fresh fixings for a picnic and enjoy a “truly Cotswolds” afternoon with a view, maybe even after a hike.
Taste the Authentic Pub Fare
When you think of the Cotswolds, images of picturesque villages and rolling hills might come to mind. But did you know that this region in south-central England is also home to some of the most delicious pub food in the country? From traditional Sunday roasts to hearty pies and locally brewed ales, the Cotswolds is a foodie’s paradise. Here are some amazing things to do in the Cotswolds when it comes to tasting the authentic pub fare.
- Visit The Feathered Nest Country Inn in Nether Westcote for a fine dining experience with a view. This award-winning pub has an extensive wine list and uses locally sourced ingredients to create modern British dishes.
- For a classic Cotswold pub experience, head to The Ebrington Arms in Chipping Campden. This 17th-century inn serves up comfort food like fish and chips and bangers and mash in a cozy atmosphere.
- The Wild Rabbit in Kingham offers a farm-to-fork dining experience with a focus on sustainability. Enjoy dishes like lamb shoulder with wild garlic and rhubarb tart with crème fraîche ice cream in their stylish dining room.
- The Bell Inn in Langford is known for its exceptional Sunday roasts, with a rotating selection of meats and all the trimmings. Be sure to book ahead as this popular spot fills up quickly.
- The Fox Inn in Great Barrington is a pub that prides itself on its locally sourced ingredients and cozy atmosphere. Try their famous homemade pork pies or indulge in a classic sticky toffee pudding.
- The Kingham Plough in Kingham is a gastropub with a Michelin star. Chef Emily Watkins creates innovative dishes using seasonal ingredients, such as cured salmon with beetroot and smoked eel or venison with celeriac and blackcurrant.
- The Swan in Swinbrook is a historic pub that dates back to the 16th century. Enjoy a pint of local ale by the fireplace or tuck into their famous steak and ale pie in the dining room.
- The Potting Shed in Crudwell is a charming pub with a garden terrace and a menu that changes daily based on what’s fresh and available. Try their homemade scotch eggs or slow-cooked beef stew for a taste of the Cotswolds.
- The Crown Inn in Blockley is a traditional pub with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Their roast beef and Yorkshire pudding is a must-try dish, and they also offer vegetarian and gluten-free options.
- The Falcon Inn in Painswick is a historic coaching inn that serves up classic pub fare like fish and chips and beef burgers with a modern twist. They also have a great selection of local beers and ciders to pair with your meal. Don’t forget to try their sticky ginger pudding for dessert!
Participate in Local Activities
The Cotswolds is an area of outstanding natural beauty that offers visitors a range of exciting activities to participate in. From water sports and archery to cycling and horse riding, there is something for everyone. In this blog section, we will explore some of the local activities that you can participate in during your visit to the Cotswolds.
There are lots of different operators in the area offering a range of water-based activities. These include kayaking, sailing, paddleboarding, water skiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, inflatable rides and boat hire. The Cotswold Water Park is an enormous area incorporating 180 lakes, many of which provide opportunities for water sports. It’s a great location to discover if you have children in your party, as there’s a popular Gruffalo trail and lots of natural adventure play areas.
Archery and Aerial Adventure
For those who prefer to keep their feet on terra firma, there are land-based activities such as archery, horse riding, aerial adventure and cycling. Walk quietly in Gloucester Cathedral, a place of worship where you can experience peace and tranquility. Make sure you climb the tower and, if you can, listen to some live choral music.
Travel through time at the Cotswold Motoring Museum, which showcases a fantastic collection of vehicles through the ages across seven different galleries. With cars and memorabilia from every ‘classic’ decade, it’s a fun opportunity to step back in time.
Cheltenham and Cirencester offer a range of shopping opportunities. Whether you’re looking for designer clothes or vintage finds, Cheltenham and Cirencester have it all. You can also enjoy a relaxing day out at the races in Cheltenham Racecourse, one of the most well-known racecourses in the UK.
The Cotswolds is a destination that offers visitors an array of activities to participate in. Whether you’re interested in water sports, archery, aerial adventure or shopping, there is something for everyone. Take the time to explore this beautiful area and enjoy all that it has to offer.
Attend a Traditional Festival
The Cotswolds is a beautiful region in England, known for its picturesque villages and stunning countryside. If you are planning a trip to the Cotswolds, attending a traditional festival should definitely be on your list of things to do. One such festival is presented by Forestry England and takes place at the Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire, near the town of Tetbury.
The Cotswolds festival is a family-friendly event with a relaxed atmosphere that attracts people of all ages. You can bring your own drinks, except for glass containers, which can help save money. The festival offers camping options, including glamping and family camping, making it a perfect weekend getaway.
Apart from the music performances, there are many other activities to enjoy at the festival. You can take part in arts and crafts workshops, yoga sessions, and even BMX action. Alternatively, you can simply sit back and relax while enjoying the stunning views of the castle and surrounding countryside.
If you are looking for more festivals to attend during your trip to the Cotswolds, there are many other options to choose from. For example, the Cheltenham Jazz Festival features not only music but also club shows, a Festival Village, and various food and beverage options. The Tewkesbury Medieval Festival offers a unique experience of traveling back in time to a festive fair, complete with music, dance, circus school, and comedy. The Common People Festival in Oxford is a great event for families, with music acts, art workshops, and circus shows.
Overall, attending a traditional festival is a fantastic way to experience the culture and atmosphere of the Cotswolds. With so many options to choose from, there is something for everyone. Don’t forget to bring your own drinks and camping gear, and get ready for a fun-filled weekend of music, arts, and relaxation.
Go Shopping in Historic Market Towns
The Cotswolds is a beautiful region that attracts visitors from all over the world. In addition to its stunning scenery and picturesque villages, the area is also known for its fantastic shopping opportunities. From historic market towns to quaint farmers’ markets, there are plenty of places to explore and pick up some unique treasures.
Broadway is one of the most well-known villages in the Cotswolds and is an excellent place to start your shopping adventure. Blandford Books offers a great selection of reading material, while Broadway Deli is the perfect spot to pick up some local produce for a picnic. Whatever the Weather is a cute shop where you can find a variety of gifts and souvenirs.
If you’re looking for a more extensive shopping experience, check out some of the historical market towns in the area. Cirencester, Tetbury, Stroud, and Tewkesbury are all worth a visit and offer a range of local shops and markets bursting with fresh produce and specialty foods.
One of the best things about shopping in the Cotswolds is the variety of markets available. Whether you’re in the mood for antique and collectable markets, arts and crafts markets, or flea markets, there’s something for everyone. These markets are a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and pick up some hidden treasures.
Some of the best markets in the Cotswolds include the Stroud Farmers’ Market, which is held every Saturday and features local meats, cheeses, and baked goods. The Tetbury Market House hosts a variety of markets throughout the year, including a monthly farmers’ market and a regular arts and crafts market. The Gloucester Quays Antiques Centre is also a must-visit for antique and vintage lovers.
Go Hiking or Cycling in the Countryside
The Cotswolds is a beautiful region in the UK that offers endless opportunities for outdoor activities. One of the best ways to explore the area is by hiking or cycling through the stunning countryside. With a range of country lanes, permitted cycleways, and bridleways, the Cotswolds is a cyclist’s dream destination. Here are ten amazing things you can do on your next trip to the Cotswolds:
- Explore the Cotswold Water Park by bike: There are many quiet country lanes and paths around the area, with reasonable connections from Cirencester, Swindon, and Kemble Station. However, to really explore and get to know the quieter parts, it’s best to go ‘off-road’, along the bridlepaths and permissive cycle paths.
- Go on the Hikes and Bikes tour: With a greater focus on walks in the southern Cotswolds and surrounding areas, Hikes and Bikes tours feature different villages and scenery to the northern Cotswolds. The lesser walked footpaths offer the perfect blend of crowd-free, peaceful walking.
- Choose your own adventure: Enjoy the excitement and variety that comes with discovering the highlights of the northern Cotswolds on two wheels and on foot. Pick and mix your favorite walking and cycling routes from our list and explore the Cotswolds at your own pace.
- Take the Cotswold Walks: There are plenty of pubs and features on the route, including the Donnington Brewery. Mostly quiet lanes but some hills make this walk an excellent choice for those seeking a challenge.
- Follow the Wildlife, Hillforts & Halls route: A long day ride for the cycling enthusiast, up and over the Evenlode Valley passing historic houses and villages and dropping into the Windrush Valley to visit Cotswold Wildlife Park. Quiet country lanes but some climbs along the way.
- Start from Winchcombe: These routes are available to download as GPS Exchange Format files or view online via Outdoor Active using the “View route” links below.
- Cycle off-road: One of the Cotswolds’ greatest secrets is how good the area is for off-road cycling. The network of good tracks designated as byways and bridleways makes off-road cycling one of the best ways to discover the area. Please note that footpaths are not open to cyclists, only bridleways and byways.
- Try the Infant Thames route: This 10-mile ride is an excellent option for beginners looking for a leisurely ride through the Cotswold countryside.
- Take the Chedworth via Withington route: One of the Cotswolds’ greatest secrets is the Roman influence in the region. This route takes you through some of the best-preserved Roman sites in the area, including the Chedworth Roman Villa and the Withington Baths. The route is mostly on quiet country lanes, with a few short off-road sections.
The Cotswolds is an excellent destination for foodies. With its range of local produce, traditional pubs, Michelin-starred restaurants, and farmers markets, visitors can experience the best of British cuisine. Whether you’re on a budget or looking for haute cuisine, the Cotsw olds has something to offer. From the local delicacies like Tewkesbury mustard and Stinking Bishop cheese to modern Japanese cuisine at Yoku and delicious British classics at The Boxing Hare, there is something for everyone. Don’t forget to visit Stroud Farmers Market for farm-fresh produce to assemble a picnic and enjoy a peaceful afternoon with a view. And if you’re a cheese lover, The Big Feastival in Kingham is a must-visit. With so many options to choose from, the Cotswolds is the perfect destination for a foodie adventure.