A picnic requires more than just good weather. It requires great scenery too, and surely there can be no...
The Cotswolds is one of the UK’s official ‘Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and visitors and tourists come from all over the World to visit the picturesque villages, the stunning countryside and to see the beautiful views that we surround ourselves with all over this wonderful region.
Now, the Cotswolds is beautiful, of that there can be no doubt, but it is also one of the most exciting and interesting areas in the UK when it comes to attractions, museums, history, culinary delights, festivals and entertainment.
This is our list of 77 Super Things To Do When You Visit The Cotswolds.
Explore the beautiful views of Blenheim Palace and gardens. A world heritage site in beautiful Woodstock, and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. One not to miss when you’re visiting the Cotswolds.
Fuel your soul as you bend and twist your body, and enlighten your mind at Soul Circus. An annual summer yoga festival held over three days that is hosted by the town Elmore, Gloucester. Yoga classes, energizing music, and food and drink to satisfy any “yogi” from beginner to expert.
Make yourself at home at The Bell in Alderminster. This award-winning country pub and restaurant is wonderfully charming with its traditional yet stylish and contemporary décor. Food and drink is of the best quality, you’ll love it at The Bell.
It’s one of these shops that take your breath away as soon as you walk through the doors… you’ll want nothing other than to shop your little heart out when you enter Cotswold Grey. Historically an ironmongers shop, Cotswold Grey in Moreton-in-Marsh is a contemporary furniture boutique shop that suits every individual personality, it also boasts homewares and gifts. Working with the world’s finest suppliers, the collection of furniture, lighting, glassware, home décor, and candles is sure to inspire the decoration of your home.
Indulge and visit The Tea Set in Chipping Norton, a tea room that believes in more than just tea. Although their speciality is beautifully presented and deliciously tempting afternoon teas, the tea room offers mouth-watering lunch and dinner entrees as well. Yes, there is tea, but spoil yourself with a flute of bubbly.
Step into the Cotswold countryside in and around Bourton-on-the-Water. Walk along the river and take in this pretty village, known far and wide for it’s rich architecture and tranquil village scenes, and is often referred to as ‘The Venice of the Cotswolds’.
Have a pint of beer after taking a tour of the Hook Norton Brewery – over 150 years of brewing history. This family owned business still distributes beer to neighbouring pubs in the village by traditional horse-drawn carriage. Tours run Monday-Friday but reservations are highly recommended.
Stow-on-the-Wold is Cotswold’s highest town and while you may not be able to stand on it ‘hill top’-style, you are able to have a deserving break in one of the abundant cafes in the market square and immerse yourself in the town and it’s history. It was here that the last fight of the English Civil War happened in 1646 and there are many references to this throughout the square in the centre.
Want romance? Sudeley Castle & Gardens is one of the most romantic castles in the Cotswolds and, indeed, the whole of the country. This beautiful castle and surrounding gardens has played an important role in England’s history for over 1,000 years. The centrepiece of the gardens is the Queens Garden, so named because four of England’s queens – Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I – once walked upon the original Tudor Parterre. Sudeley Castle & Gardens is also the only private castle in England to have a queen buried within its grounds – Katherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s six wives.
If Shakespeare is your fancy, or his wife for that matter, visit Stratford-on-Avon and tour Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. Take a seat by the riverside at The Dirty Duck, have a sip of wine or ale, and take in the nearby Swan Theatre where many of Shakespeare’s plays are showcased. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage was originally a farmhouse, built in 1463 and comprising of just two rooms. The first Hathaway to live in the house was Anne’s grandfather, John Hathaway, who was a tenant farmer. Anne, later Shakespeare’s wife, was born in the house in 1556.
Walk in your wellies through the charming villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter, both unbelievably pretty and everywhere you look is a snapshot for the perfect Cotswold postcard.
Whether it’s sitting next to a roaring log fire in winter or lazing on the sunny terrace in summer, The Victoria Inn is one of the most welcoming and charming pubs, right in the heart of the Cotswolds. A favourite with locals and visitors alike, this is one not to miss.
Wake up early to catch the sunrise over The Cotswold Way. A 102 mile walk starting in Chipping Campden and travelling through picturesque fields all the way down to Bath in the south of the region, is well worth the morning wake up call.
Head to the water… hey, you didn’t think you could do that in the Cotswolds, did you? Well, you can. Head to the Cotswold Water Park, located near Cirencester, and try your hand at outdoors adventure and an abundance of fun activities based around the 40+ square miles of 150 lakes, one of the UK’s largest Nature Reserves in fact.
Laurie Lee, author of classic and bestseller ‘Cider with Rosie’ from 1959, incorporated the village of Painswick, the valleys surrounding it and the village of Slad are widely mentioned in the book. Fans of the book can live like Laurie Lee when staying in the holiday cottage of Bridge Barn in Slad, roaming the countryside where he used to walk and enjoying a pint at The Woolpack Pub in Slad, the pub famed for being a place regularly frequented by Laurie Lee years back.
Get back to nature at the annual Wilderness Festival hosted in Oxfordshire every summer. Aside from enjoying the great outdoors, festival attendees take part in a variety of musical entertainment, food and drink including a Chef’s Table, talks, debates and workshops, and theatrical performances.
Step back into medieval times at The Angel at Burford, a 16th century inn located in the town of Burford… it’s not really medival, in fact it’s beautifully restored and decorated, it’s just that the building been there all that time. Featuring award-winning fresh dishes in the restaurant, and holds a strong alliance with local brewery Hook Norton, this 3-room inn is sure to provide a sweet escape to any local or visitor.
Do you love curling up in soft cashmere while accessorising yourself in jewellery and other garments and fabrics? Visit Power Cashmere, a beautiful little shop in the heart of the Cotswolds that is sure to suit any style of any fashionista.
If you’re in the Cotswolds staying in self-catering accommodation, you don’t want to miss the culinary delights of The Cotswold Traiteur. A far cry from TV-dinners of old, these are award-winning frozen dinners, only available in the Cotswolds.
Family fun, live music and top chefs make up The Big Feastival! An annual summer event at Alex James’ Farm in Cotswolds, created and dreamt up by Alex James and Jamie Oliver. So, grab some good grub, dance to a variety of musical genres and participate in fun filled activities and glamping Cotswolds Style.
Bringing a love of art and community together, Compton Verney is a not for profit national art gallery that is located in a beautiful park just outside the Cotswolds. A place for all ages, their gallery aims to entertain and inspire all visitors with its highly-acclaimed art exhibitions and wide range of cultural activities. A great place for kids too.
Take a break from the hustle and bustle and retreat to Calcot Spa near Tetbury. Offering a variety of spa services including massage and facials, Calcot Spa allows guests to relax and even take a dip in the lovely lavender-lined outdoor hot tub right next to the open fire that gives a natural glow. Staff are exceptional and provide 100% customer satisfaction.
It’s all about amazing pub grub and thirst quenching bevvies at The Village Pub. This quaint pub and eatery serves crafts ales, crisp ciders and a wine stash that even a Sommelier could get lost in… and fine country cuisine is on the menu just also, of course, in case you crave substance.
There is a little pinch of stardom at Eckington Manor, and it’s in the fine dining restaurant where Mark Stinchcombe, the 2015 winner of MasterChef: The Professionals, roams alongside his wife. The two combine British and European cuisine to create a diverse and delicious menu… and it is as good as all of his dishes looked on TV.
You can’t beat a traditional fish and chips experience! Highly recommended by locals, Russells Fish and Chips is THE place for the best battered fish and chips in the Cotswolds.
Bringing people together every Spring, The Olimpick Games pays homage to Britain’s rural history. There are a variety of events from the Five Mile Run to Shin Kicking. Don’t worry it’s all in good fun.
Get wild and take a trip to the Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens. Be eye-to-eye with a giraffe, witness rhinos grazing on the front lawn, and experience other amazing animal encounters. Save your money and book tickets online.
Do as the Romans do Chedworth Roman Villa transport visitors back to one of the grandest Roman villas in Britain. Rediscovered over 150 yeas ago, this now museum holds rare artifacts and findings that will leave you in awe. From mosaic floors to bathhouse rooms, exploring the villa and its beautiful vista views will take you to a different era.
Four stages, phenomenal music, gourmet chefs, and camping, The Cornbury Festival is an open air party – on overload! Pitch your tent and enjoy a summer weekend enjoying all the flavours of life in a big fun-filled fairground.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Giffords Circus, the best circus EVER… yes, we said it, EVER! Acrobats, horses, magical performances and more, this is a family-friendly event that tours throughout the Cotswolds and beyond all summer long. Get your ticket to see the most glamorous troupe of performers.
Whether in winter or summer, The Fleece Inn’s pub is a favourite among Real Ale lovers! The pub also serves an authentic taste of Worcestershire and the local area with fresh seasonal ingredients. Every dish and sip of ale or cider is a new true British experience.
Standing 1024 feet above sea level, Broadway Tower is an iconic little castle, the highest in the Cotswolds, in fact. It’s the perfect place to start your walking excursion, take in some history, or even enjoy a delicious breakfast in the restaurant next door.
Say CHEESE! The Cotswold Cheese Company is a cheese lovers dream come true. More than 80 different artisan and farmhouse cheeses stock the walls of each of the shops, located in Stow-on-the-Wold, Moreton-in-Marsh and Burford. Cheese is great, but it isn’t everything (some say!) so a wide range of the very best cheese accompaniments like breads, biscuits, chutneys and local meats are also sold.
Sail off to sea aboard the Countess of Evesham, a well-established 70ft restaurant cruiser. Open all year round, the cruiser offers a lovely dining atmosphere, under the boat lights guests enjoy a delicious meal and take in the panoramic views.
At the Cotswold Plough Hotel, there is always time for tea party! Serving afternoon tea from 3pm to 5pm with a selection of Cream Teas and decadent sweet treats and savoury sandwiches. If you are feeling extra fancy, add a glass of bubbly to toast the special occasion.
Dormy House has many options for food and drink. Want a classy environment? The Garden Room is your answer. More of a casual affair? The Potting Shed is a relaxed atmosphere serving traditional pub food. If you are a large group, private dining is available at The Top Table. They even have wonderful picnic hampers to take out on your adventures… you’re well and truly catered for a the Dormy.
Since 1971, Cotswold Farm Park has been helping protect rare breeds of farm animals and today over 50 breeds call the park home. Family activities include farm demonstrations, farm safaris, and feeding time!
From birdwatchers to families, there is plenty to discover all year round at the truly wonderful Slimbridge Wetland Centre just south of Gloucester in the Cotswolds. Enjoy amazing wildlife up-close. With experiences to suit all ages offering access to a huge variety of wildlife, it is no surprise we are an award-winning day out!
Discover the rare gem of a Jacobean country home, the 17th century Chastleton House is a museum in itself. Preserved for years and untouched by modern day, visitors are captivated by the unspoiled home and surrounding beautiful gardens. And, there is always room for a round of croquet.
Over nine acres of gardens and forest, Birdland in the Cotswolds is a must-see. From bird watching and feeding to having a Jurassic Journey (yes, DINOSAURS) and discovering a variety of flora, Birdland is a jam-packed day of fun and exploration.
The Royal Oak in Tetbury is known for it’s award-winning pub that boasts fresh and organic food, a selection of ales, ciders and wines, and a friendly atmosphere that welcomes locals and visitors with open arms and warm hearts.
Lost on how to fit in both the wonderful town of Stratford-upon-Avon with all the Shakespearean action it has to offer and all the outstanding natural beauty of the Cotswolds into one day of sightseeing? Go Cotswolds offers day tours of both, so without the worry of directions or driving the narrow alleys and roads, this affordable and convenient bus tour is the way to go.
An ancient relic, The Rollright Stones consist of three major elements: The King’s Men stone circle, the Whispering Knights, and the King Stone. Take a step into the mystery and the wonder that is The Rollright Stones.
The Arden in Stratford-upon-Avon is an award-winning boutique hotel with an impressive terrace overlooking both the wonderful River Avon and the impressive Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre. Enjoy the fine comforts of fresh seasonal dishes and slowly sip a pint of ale or a flute of champagne on the terrace as the warm sun beams on you.
Discover 15,000 varieties of trees from all over the world at Westonbirt Arboretum. High above the trees, experience the STIHL Treetop Walkway for a perfect bird’s eye view of the forest below.
Italia Italia! Chester House Hotel presents L’Anatra Italian Kitchen in Bourton-on-the-Water. A purely Italian menu with fresh, local ingredients that make the best pizza dough, spaghetti, risotto, and pan-cooked pasta dishes. Don’t forget dessert – the home made Tiramisu is a definite must!
When visiting the village of Bourton-on-the-Water, go to The Model Village where you experience the whole village in just one ninth of it’s actual size. The Model Village is comprised of buildings, gardens, miniature trees, and even a smaller version of the River Windrush!
The Tavern in Cheltenham prides itself in offering seasonal and local food, not to mention a dedication to be healthy and flavoursome. Menus include: Breakfast, Spring and Summer Feasts and Sunday Lunch. In addition to delicious food, The Tavern stocks more than 20 bottled beers – some of the best in the Cotswolds.
Visit Snowshill Manor, a Cotswold manor house that is home to the many treasures collected by Charles Wade. Full of tiny toys, Samurai armour, musical instruments and more! And in the garden, unwind and discover secret vistas, quiet corners, and the Priest’s House – Charles Wade’s home.
All aboard the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, a 25-mile roundtrip journey through the beautiful scenery of the Cotswolds. Starting at Laverton, this epic train ride takes passengers pass towns like Toddington, Didbrook, Gotherington, and others. You will see Hayles Abbey, train workshops, the Vale of Evesham and so many other delights along the way.
Russells of Broadway is a modern British restaurant famous for it’s award-winning food and outstanding service. Fresh, local ingredients, like cheese, dairy, fruits and vegetables, are always showcased throughout daily-changing menus, and the open dining room and friendly staff deliver an amazing dining experience.
The award-winning spa at Cowley Manor features two spectacular pools, one 17m indoor and a 15m outdoor, both heated all year round. The spa offers a variety of treatments and also includes a gym, steam room, and sauna.
Birds of prey take centre stage at Cotswold Falconry Centre. Take part in flying demonstrations, educational sessions and see up close these fierce birds including eagles, falcons and owls.
Focused on seasonal and local ingredients, The Wheatsheaf has a daily changing menu that keeps dishes fresh and flavourful. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
All lavender, all the time. Home to the finest English lavender, Cotswold Lavender is rows on rows of beautiful purple lavender. Visitors are able to purchase a variety of lavender products including bath and shower, skincare, oils, and other well-being items.
Delicious home-cooked meals, locally-sourced meat and produce, and a diverse selection of beer, wine and spirits, make The Lion Inn a relaxing environment to enjoy the Cotswolds. Step out into the sun-drenched garden for a mid-afternoon stroll.
Step into nature’s party at the Rococo Garden in Painswick. Once a garden to entertain Benjamin Hyett’s guests, the garden is now home to beautifully-framed views, a variety of flora, and a woodland perfect for an afternoon stroll. Be sure to check out their monthly events.
What better place to spend a day with family and friends? The Cotswold Show and Food Festival is an annual summer event full of activities including family attractions, top chefs, music, animals, and much much more!
Both national and international collections are preserved in the Corinium Museum, a service that manages archaeological and social historical objects in the Council’s collection. Learn about the importance of these objects through the museum’s educational programmes.
At The King’s in Chipping Campden, you will find what is arguably the cosiest restaurant in the Cotswolds. With golden stone, beamed ceilings and lit candles, the scene is set for a wonderful dining experience… and that’s even before you see the menu. Dining at the King’s offers you a culinary experience that is second to none, all created for you by super star chef Ian Percival.
The Bathurst Estate and Cirencester Park is meticulously landscaped to bring out the natural beauty of plants, flowers and buildings. Every second and fourth Saturday of every month is a Farmer’s Market, and the Cricket and Beer Festival is always a good time.
A unique experience among the clouds in the sky, Cotswold Balloon Safaris take guests up in a hot air balloon and tours the below towns and villages of the Cotswolds, leaving guests awe-inspired.
Have a cup of tea in the utterly luxurious Ellenborough Park. The elegant afternoon tea, created by Ellenborough’s award-winning Head Chef David Kelman, is tempting with it’s selection of teas, scrumptious cakes and scones, and those little sandwiches that have guests licking their fingers.
Burford Garden Company is… well, the mother of all garden centres. It’s a one stop shop for those seeking an exceptional curated mixture of plants, home décor, art, furniture, clothing and goods to reflect their inner self.
Grab a glass of fine wine, a spritz of cider or a pint of your favourite ale and head to the sun-drenched terrace of the Wyck Hill House in Stow-on-the-Wold. With unparalleled views, you will be there for hours and hours, just taking it all in.
Love cars? Cotswold Motoring Museum takes visitors through the course of motor vehicles in the 20th century. From vintage car collections and classic cars to motorcycles and caravans, the museum is a family friendly afternoon activity.
Inspired design from Hindu and Muslim architecture, Sezincote Estate is a truly unique gem in Cotswolds. Take a walk through the perfectly landscaped gardens through green shrubbery and spring-fed pools, or visit the building where magical weddings are hosted.
Every year on the last bank holiday in May, the Tetbury Woolsack Races is the event to attend. More than 5,000 people attend and raise money for local charities as racers throw a sack of wool on their backs and run a course full of steep climbs and downhills… you know you want to!
A beautiful example of a Jacobean manor house, Stanway House and Fountain, the tallest gravity fountain in the world, brings together history, architecture and nature in beautiful harmony. From a 14th century Tithe Barn to an 18th century water garden–home to the magnificent Stanway Fountain, Stanway is an experience that will take your breath away.
A warm welcome, fantastic service and superb hospitality, the Horse and Groom is the kind of Cotswold dining pub you keep coming back to and one that is both traditional and modern. An ever-evolving menu, a well-stocked bar of old favourites and new twists, The Horse & Groom in Bourton-on-the-Hill should definitely be on your list.
The Cirencester Amphitheatre is one of the largest natural Roman amphitheatres in Britain. Built in the early 2nd century, it could hold up to 8,000 spectators. An incredibly impressive place… one not to miss.
Gordon Russell was a creative mind, with works in furniture design, calligraphy and architecture. His life is featured at the Gordon Russell Museum in Broadway where you can now walk through his original workshop, see his toolbox, and learn about this extraordinary entrepreneur.
What can only really be described as the poshest farm shop out there, Daylesford Organic Farm is a must when you visit the Cotswolds if you love good food and the finer things in life. As they say “straight from our farm to your fork”, Daylesford Organic Farm strives to bring fresh, local ingredients into visitors’ homes and on to their plates in their wonderful restaurant.
Experience the Cotswolds while driving your favourite classic car at Great Escape Cars. As the wind blows your hair, your eyes are drawn to the beautiful vista views, and you hug every curve of the towns’ streets, this is freedom at it’s best.
The Fish… what a fitting name for a place that serves some of the best surf’n’turf in the Cotswolds and far beyond. If juicy pork belly and seared scallops make your mouth water, get yourself down to the Fish, located on Fish Hill (see what they did there!) in Broadway.
And they’re off! Every year The Jockey Club in Cheltenham hosts The Festival, an event that sees horses with speed and agility Jump race to determine a victorious winner. While not watching the race, indulge yourself in traditional race day hospitality with fine food and drink.
Enjoy a scrummy, wonderful afternoon tea on the terrace at The Painswick and you will have a side of the most stunning countryside views next to delicious teas, fluffy scones and cakes and savoury little sandwiches… what more could one want?