The Cotswolds is another part of the UK that really comes alive in the spring and summer, particularly with a huge range of festivals that capture the essence of this rich and diverse region. There are food festivals that celebrate homegrown produce and farming; art festivals where local schools and establishments showcase their crafts; music and beer festivals for the connoisseur and much more. And with the Cotswolds providing a stunning backdrop, there really is no better way to indulge your particular passion.
There are a number of well-known festivals which happen through the year (Cheltenham Jump Festival, Feastival with Jamie Oliver and Alex James, Cropedy Folk Music Festival to name a few) so what we’ve done this week is put together a selection of slightly lesser known events, ones which we think are well worth a visit.
So whether you are a budding artist, a fan of live music, like the odd tipple or just love being part of the Cotswold community, here’s our pick of where you should be heading off to this year.
BITE 2014 Saturday 1st - Sunday 9th February
Foodies will love the fact that BITE is back for another year. If you’ve got a passion for farmers markets and food fairs, want to check out the new pop up restaurants, love sampling wines and cocktails, or fancy taking part in a master class or talk, you’ll be spoiled for choice. There are daily breakfasts, brunches, lunches, teas & dinners and chances to meet the chefs involved. This happens all over the Cotswolds, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Stroud Spring Walking Festival (TBC April 2014)
With stunning scenery, the Cotswolds lends itself to spectacular walks and hikes. The Stroud Spring Walking Festival is hugely popular with ramblers and serious walkers alike. There are a total of eight walks over nine days, and they range from canal walks, visiting local pubs, over the hills and nature inspired. The walks range between 1 and 19 miles so you can pick whether you fancy a stroll or are up for a longer hike.
Set in absolutely beautiful countryside, this is a must for keen walkers or those who love to see great views.
Wotton-under-Edge Festival 25 April- 4 May 2014
Wotton-under-Edge is celebrating its 44th year hosting this art festival. The festival includes a variety of events in which local artists display their works. For history lovers interested in Wotton there is much to enjoy, from talks on medieval paintings in Gloucestershire, or films on the art history of St Mary’s church. There will also be a performance from The Lea Singers choir and chances to spot your local celebrities, who will in no doubt be attending the festival.
Nailsworth Festival 17-24 May 2014
This is a fabulous festival to bring the whole family to, with an exciting mix of music, art, comedy and films for all generations. Classical music fans will love the addition of violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen to the event, whilst jazz connoisseurs can check out Jacqui Dankworth, with the Honeymead Ensemble. Lovers of comedy should make a date with Le Navet Bete and amateur dramatic fans will want to see the performance of Sauce for the Goose from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. There’s even a treasure hunt for the kids.
Stroud Valleys Artspace Contemporary Arts Festival 1-31 May 2014
The Cotswolds’ isn’t just about rolling countryside and sheep you know!! This contemporary art festival provides the ideal platform to showcase your artwork, with an estimated 460 artists from 78 locations across the Stroud Valleys, presenting their pieces throughout May. The festival allows artists to not only display their new works, but gives them the chance to collaborate with other artists and work on new projects. And every kind of art media is encouraged. There are film screenings, visual art exhibitions, music, a chance to visit open studios, and of course, talks and performances.
Art Couture Painswick 15 July 2014
This festival brings the local people of Painswick out onto the streets, displaying their various artworks. And with the ancient churchyard of Painswick setting the scene, this provides a wonderfully contrasting backdrop to showcase both contemporary and traditional creations. Watch live body painting, listen to live music, check out the street entertainment and satisfy your inner creative side with the many craft and produce stalls.
International Gypsy Guitar Festival Gossington 25-27 July 2014
Not heard of Gypsy Jazz? Then you’re in for a real treat! Bringing the romance of Romany lifestyles to this quaint village, this is a great opportunity to sample a music genre you wouldn’t normally get the chance to. Listen and enjoy the legends of gypsy jazz with performances from the masters, and get involved yourself with impromptu jam sessions. The family friendly atmosphere means this is a great festival to bring your kids to.
Frocester Beer Festival 22-23 August 2014
Beer aficionados have had this date marked firmly on their calendars all year. Run in conjunction with the Frocester Cricket Club, and hosted in the cricket club's ground, this is one great weekend for real ale fans. With the atmosphere of a chilled music festival, you can camp in the grounds to get the full on party experience. The live music that takes place all throughout the weekend doesn’t distract from the beer however, with 100 different cask-conditioned real ales and a selection of wines, cider and Perry.
Naturally there are literally dozens of beer festivals up and down the Cotswolds every year, so while we’ve mentioned this one, there is sure to be another one near to where you’re staying – when you come to the Cotswolds
Happy Festival Hunting!
Self-Catering Cotswold Cottages
Manor Cottages are a locally based, family business who specialise in Holiday Cottages and Self Catering Accommodation across the Cotswolds. With over 270 holiday properties, they are the largest supplier across the region and generated over 30,000 visitors to the Cotswolds in 2013.
For more information, contact us by calling 01993 824 252. You can view our full range of properties in the Cotswolds by browsing our website.