things to do in cotswolds

Last Updated on: 1st February 2024, 04:37 am

Hello, my name is Chris, and I’m excited to introduce you to the wonderful region of Cotswolds, England. Cotswolds is a place that offers an abundance of activities, attractions, and experiences for everyone. If you’re planning a trip to the UK soon, Cotswolds should definitely be on your list!

From exploring charming villages to experiencing the natural beauty of the English countryside, there are plenty of things to do in Cotswolds. As a popular destination for tourism, there are many opportunities for travellers to indulge in all types of activities and attractions. Whether you are travelling with your family, friends, or solo, Cotswolds has everything you need to make your stay memorable.

Our guide to Cotswolds will take you through the top things to do and see in this beautiful location, including the best activities, landmarks, cultural events, natural beauty spots, spas, and accommodations to choose from. Be prepared to fall in love with the picturesque countryside and quintessentially English life in Cotswolds.

So, what are you waiting for? Keep on reading to discover the best activities to do while you’re in Cotswolds!

Explore the Charming Villages of Cotswolds

When I visited Cotswolds, I fell in love with its charming villages. There’s no better way to experience traditional English life than visiting the picturesque villages in this region. From the bustling market towns of Stow-on-the-Wold and Burford to the tranquil beauty of Bourton-on-the-Water and Bibury, these lovely villages offer something for everyone.

Wander down cobblestone streets and admire the honey-colored cottages that line them. Visit local shops and tea rooms for an authentic Cotswolds experience. These villages offer a glimpse into what life was like in the past, and I found it fascinating to learn about the historical significance of each village.

I recommend taking a guided tour to explore these villages in more depth. You’ll gain a better understanding of how the locals live and discover hidden gems that you might have missed otherwise.

Don’t forget to bring your camera! The villages in Cotswolds are incredibly photogenic, with idyllic corners that are just waiting to be captured.

Honey-Colored Cottages in Cotswolds’ Villages

Village Location Points of Interest
Bibury Gloucestershire Arlington Row, River Coln, St Mary’s Church
Bourton-on-the-Water Gloucestershire Museum, Model Village, Birdland Park and Gardens
Broadway Worcestershire High Street, Broadway Tower, The Gordon Russell Design Museum
Chipping Campden Gloucestershire St James’ Church, Market Hall, Old Silk Mill, Court Barn Museum
Stow-on-the-Wold Gloucestershire St Edward’s Church, Market Square, Fosse Gallery Fine Art

“The villages in Cotswolds are so charming and well-preserved. It’s like stepping back in time and experiencing life as it was in the past.” – John Smith, Travel Writer.

Local Tips for Visiting Cotswolds’ Villages

  • Wear comfortable footwear as the streets can be uneven and hilly.
  • Visit early in the day to avoid the crowds and to take advantage of photo opportunities with fewer people in the background.
  • Bring cash as some of the smaller shops may not accept card payments.
  • Try the local ice cream which is a specialty in Cotswolds.

Experience the Natural Beauty of Cotswolds

Cotswolds is a picturesque region blessed with natural beauty that leaves a lasting impression on visitors. Whether you’re a nature lover or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. From rolling hills to beautiful gardens, Cotswolds offers a range of sightseeing options.

  • Take a leisurely walk or hike: One of the best ways to explore Cotswolds’ natural beauty is by walking or hiking along the Cotswold Way National Trail. The trail spans over 102 miles and offers breathtaking views of the countryside. Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy this idyllic setting.
  • Visit Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens: Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens is home to an array of animals and plant species, with over 260 different animal species and 120 acres of gardens and parkland to explore. From penguins and meerkats to rhinos and zebras, the park is a haven for animal lovers. Plus, the gardens feature a stunning Victorian walled garden and exotic plants from around the world.
  • Explore stunning gardens and parks: Cotswolds is famous for its beautiful gardens and parks, such as Hidcote Manor Garden and Westonbirt Arboretum. Hidcote Manor Garden is a beautiful National Trust garden featuring a series of garden rooms with different themes and styles. Westonbirt Arboretum is an impressive tree collection boasting around 15,000 specimens, including 2,500 different species from all over the world.
Activity Description
Take a leisurely walk or hike Experience breathtaking views of the countryside along the Cotswold Way National Trail.
Visit Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens See over 260 animal species and 120 acres of beautifully manicured gardens and parkland.
Explore stunning gardens and parks Discover the beauty of Hidcote Manor Garden and Westonbirt Arboretum.

Cotswolds’ natural beauty is truly remarkable and will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore this idyllic setting and discover all that it has to offer.

cotswolds sightseeing

Discover Cotswolds’ Historic Landmarks

If you’re a history buff, you’ll love exploring the fascinating landmarks that Cotswolds has to offer. From grand palaces to medieval castles, there’s something for everyone to discover.

Blenheim Palace

One of Cotswolds’ most iconic landmarks is Blenheim Palace. The birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, this grand palace boasts stunning architecture, lavish interiors, and beautiful grounds. Take a guided tour to learn about its storied history or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll through the gardens.

Warwick Castle

Another must-visit historic site is the medieval Warwick Castle. Explore its towers and ramparts, enjoy the daily shows and displays, and step back in time with interactive exhibits and activities.

Roman Baths

For a truly immersive historical experience, visit the Roman Baths in Bath. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers insight into what life was like in ancient Roman times. Explore the ruins of the bathhouse, see original artifacts, and learn about the daily rituals of the Romans.

Sudeley Castle

cotswolds landmarks

Located in the charming village of Winchcombe, Sudeley Castle is a fascinating historic landmark with over a thousand years of history. Marvel at its stunning architecture, explore the award-winning gardens, and learn about its connection to royalty and key historical figures.

Chedworth Roman Villa

Another notable landmark is the Chedworth Roman Villa, a beautifully preserved ancient villa with mosaics, hypocausts, and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Join a guided tour to learn about its fascinating history and see the restored bathhouse.

Immerse Yourself in Cotswolds’ Cultural Events

Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts and music scene of the Cotswolds region by attending cultural events and festivals that take place throughout the year. From literary festivals to traditional sports events, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Here are some of the top cultural events to attend:

Cotswold Olimpick Games

Experience the quirky annual Cotswold Olimpick Games, featuring traditional sports and activities such as shin-kicking, tug-of-war, and sword fighting. Held in the charming market town of Chipping Campden, this event attracts visitors from all over the world.

Cheltenham Literature Festival

Listen to renowned authors and speakers at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, one of the UK’s largest literary events. Held in the elegant spa town of Cheltenham, this festival attracts top literary talent from around the globe.

Local Galleries, Theatres, and Music Venues

Explore local galleries, theatres, and music venues to experience the lively arts scene of Cotswolds. Some top venues to visit include the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham and the Barn Theatre in Cirencester. Don’t miss out on the Cotswolds’ diverse range of music festivals, including the Cheltenham Jazz Festival and the Wilderness Festival.

Indulge in Cotswolds’ Food and Drink

If you’re a food lover, Cotswolds is the perfect destination for you. With a wide variety of local produce and traditional cuisine, it’s a paradise for your taste buds. Below are some of the must-try food and drink options:

Cotswold Cream Tea

No visit to Cotswolds is complete without indulging in the famous Cotswold cream tea. It’s a delightful combination of warm scones, creamy clotted cream, and sweet jam. You can enjoy it at local tea rooms or cafes.

Local Farmers’ Markets

Cotswolds boasts a great selection of farmers’ markets where you can find fresh produce, baked goods, and artisanal cheeses. Some of the most popular markets include Stroud Farmers’ Market, Tetbury Market House, and Cirencester Farmers’ Market.

Regional Beers and Gin

Get a taste of Cotswolds’ local breweries and distilleries by trying their regional beers and gin. Visit the Cotswold Brewing Company for a variety of craft beers or taste the award-winning Cotswold Gin at the distillery.

Food and Drink Location
Cotswold Cream Tea Local tea rooms and cafes
Local Farmers’ Markets Stroud Farmers’ Market, Tetbury Market House, Cirencester Farmers’ Market
Regional Beers and Gin Cotswold Brewing Company, Cotswold Gin distillery

So, if you’re a foodie, be sure to add Cotswolds to your bucket list and experience the unforgettable tastes and flavors of the region.

things to do and see in the Cotswolds

Explore Cotswolds’ Shopping Scene

Cotswolds, in addition to its natural beauty and historic landmarks, is also known for its unique and independent shops. Take a leisurely stroll down the charming streets of Burford and Chipping Campden to discover boutiques, antique shops and art galleries. Here, you’ll find one-of-a-kind pieces you won’t be able to resist. For those interested in textiles and craftsmanship, visit the Cotswold Woollen Weavers, which has been producing traditional blankets and clothing for over 240 years.

If you’re looking to purchase local produce and crafts, Cotswolds’ weekly farmers’ markets can’t be missed. Here, you’ll find a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, and handmade souvenirs to take home as a reminder of your trip.

The Best Places to Shop in Cotswolds

Name Location Description
Trinity House Broadway A charming antiques and interiors shop.
The Forge Bourton-on-the-Water A workshop and gallery selling handmade ironwork and crafts.
The Cotswold Cheese Company Moreton-in-Marsh A specialty cheese shop offering a variety of local and international cheeses.
Keith Harding’s World of Mechanical Music Northleach A museum and shop featuring antique music boxes and player pianos.

Whether you’re looking for a souvenir or just window-shopping, Cotswolds’ shopping scene offers a mix of classic and contemporary options that will leave you inspired.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities in Cotswolds

If you’re an adventure seeker, Cotswolds has plenty of cotswolds activities to offer.

  • Go horseback riding or cycling through scenic trails.
  • Try your hand at fishing in the Cotswold Water Park or take a boat trip along the River Thames.
  • Enjoy a round of golf at one of the many picturesque courses in the area.

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or a refreshing outdoors experience, Cotswolds is the perfect destination for you. Take advantage of the stunning countryside and engage in a range of exciting cotswolds activities.

Visit Cotswolds’ Museums and Galleries

As a hub of artistic and cultural heritage, Cotswolds hosts diverse museums and galleries. Ideal for history and culture lovers, these attractions offer a glimpse into the past events and artistic movements.

  • Corinium Museum, Cirencester exhibits various Roman artifacts, including mosaics, sculptures, and jewelry that depict how Cotswolds residents used to live centuries ago. Visitors can also see a reconstruction of a Roman villa’s living quarters and experience a hands-on exhibition of archaeological finds.
  • Located in the Cheltenham house of the composer’s father, the Holst Birthplace Museum will immerse visitors in the life and works of Gustav Holst. The exhibition showcases his unique approach to music, his life story, and the history of music-making in the region.

New Brewery Arts, Cirencester, is a contemporary arts center with a gallery, a craft shop, and a workshop space. The exhibitions cover a wide range of disciplines, including ceramics, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and painting.

The Museum in the Park in Stroud boasts an impressive collection of works of art and artefacts from Rome country and local history to contemporary pieces, like Grayson Perry’s artwork. With a wide variety of events and workshops, it is a cultural hotspot for all ages.

Relax and Unwind in Cotswolds’ Spas and Wellness Centers

After a day of exploring the beautiful Cotswolds region, it’s time to indulge in some pampering and relaxation. Cotswolds offers a range of luxurious spas and wellness centers, where you can unwind surrounded by the tranquility of nature.

Pamper yourself with a relaxing massage or rejuvenating facial at The Greenway Hotel and Spa in Cheltenham. This award-winning spa offers a range of treatments, from aromatherapy massages to hot stone therapy, all performed with organic, natural skincare products.

cotswolds activities

If you prefer yoga and meditation, Ox House Farm in Bampton is the perfect destination. This serene retreat offers regular yoga classes, workshops, and retreats, as well as massage therapy and holistic treatments.

For a unique wellness experience, head to Bamford Haybarn Spa in Daylesford. This charming spa is located on a farm in the heart of Cotswolds and offers a range of natural and holistic treatments, including facials, body massages, and acupuncture.

Stay in Charming Accommodations in Cotswolds

When planning a visit to Cotswolds, it is important to choose the right accommodation that will suit your preferences and provide comfort during your stay. Luckily, Cotswolds tourism offers a range of options to choose from.

If you’re looking for a truly authentic experience, consider staying in a cozy bed and breakfast in one of the charming villages. Meet friendly locals and immerse yourself in the local culture. Alternatively, enjoy breathtaking views and luxury amenities by choosing a high-end hotel that overlooks the rolling hills.

For a unique experience, consider staying in a converted barn or a cottage. These accommodations offer the charm and warmth of a traditional English home, with all modern conveniences.

No matter what type of accommodation you choose, expect warm hospitality and an unforgettable experience that allows you to experience the true essence of Cotswolds. Book your stay today and create lasting memories.

Conclusion

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the top things to do in Cotswolds, England. This idyllic region has something for everyone, from exploring charming villages and experiencing natural beauty to discovering historic landmarks and immersing oneself in cultural events.

Personally, I find Cotswolds to be one of the most beautiful regions in the United Kingdom. Every time I visit, I feel like I’ve stepped back in time and can truly relax and unwind.

If you’re planning a trip to the United Kingdom, I highly recommend adding Cotswolds to your itinerary. With its picturesque landscapes, quaint villages, and warm hospitality, it’s sure to be a memorable experience.

Until next time, happy travels!

FAQ

What are the top things to do in Cotswolds, England?

Some of the top things to do in Cotswolds, England include exploring the charming villages, experiencing the natural beauty of the region, discovering its historic landmarks, immersing yourself in cultural events, indulging in the local food and drink, exploring the shopping scene, enjoying outdoor activities, visiting museums and galleries, relaxing in spas and wellness centers, and staying in charming accommodations.

What are the must-visit villages in Cotswolds?

Some must-visit villages in Cotswolds include Bourton-on-the-Water, Bibury, Stow-on-the-Wold, and Burford.

What is the best way to experience the natural beauty of Cotswolds?

The best way to experience the natural beauty of Cotswolds is by taking a walk or hike along the Cotswold Way National Trail, visiting the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens, and exploring the beautiful gardens and parks scattered throughout the region, such as Hidcote Manor Garden and Westonbirt Arboretum.

What are some historic landmarks to visit in Cotswolds?

Some historic landmarks to visit in Cotswolds include Blenheim Palace, Warwick Castle, the Roman Baths in Bath, Sudeley Castle, and Chedworth Roman Villa.

Are there any cultural events in Cotswolds?

Yes, Cotswolds hosts a variety of cultural events and festivals throughout the year, including the Cotswold Olimpick Games and the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

What is the food and drink scene like in Cotswolds?

Cotswolds offers a diverse food and drink scene, with an abundance of local produce, traditional cuisine, farmers’ markets, breweries, distilleries, and the famous Cotswold cream tea.

What is the shopping scene like in Cotswolds?

Cotswolds is known for its unique and independent shops, offering a range of products from antiques to handicrafts. Burford and Chipping Campden are popular destinations for boutiques and art galleries, and the Cotswold Woollen Weavers is a historical textile mill worth visiting.

What outdoor activities are available in Cotswolds?

Cotswolds offers a range of outdoor activities, such as horseback riding, cycling, fishing in the Cotswold Water Park, and boat trips along the River Thames. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy picturesque courses in the area.

Are there any museums and galleries in Cotswolds?

Yes, Cotswolds is home to a range of museums and galleries, including the Corinium Museum in Cirencester, the Holst Birthplace Museum, the New Brewery Arts in Cirencester, and the Museum in the Park in Stroud.

Are there any spas and wellness centers in Cotswolds?

Yes, Cotswolds is a great destination for relaxation and wellness. There are several spas and wellness centers where you can enjoy massages, facials, yoga classes, and meditation.

What types of accommodations are available in Cotswolds?

Cotswolds offers a range of accommodations, including cozy bed and breakfasts, luxury hotels with stunning views, and unique options like converted barns or cottages.