Things to do in The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds, a range of rolling hills in South West England, is renowned for its picturesque landscapes and historic charm. Stretching across several counties including Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, and Worcestershire, this area is characterized by its distinctive honey-colored limestone villages, bustling market towns, and vast estates. The region’s beauty has not only inspired artists and writers for centuries but also attracts visitors from around the globe seeking tranquility and natural beauty.

Designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), The Cotswolds offers a wealth of exploration opportunities. From walking along the Cotswold Way National Trail that spans over 100 miles through scenic countryside to discovering ancient woodlands and wildlife habitats, the area encapsulates rural England at its finest. Historic manor houses, castles, and churches dot the landscape, each telling a story of England’s rich past while inviting modern-day adventurers to explore their timeless allure.

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  • Blenheim Palace: A UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. This monumental country house is not only known for its baroque architecture but also as the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The palace is surrounded by over 2,000 acres of parkland and formal gardens designed by Capability Brown.
  • Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens: Situated near Burford, this family-friendly attraction offers a chance to see exotic animals from around the world set against the backdrop of a stunning Victorian manor house. The beautifully landscaped gardens are home to a diverse collection of species.
  • Sudeley Castle & Gardens: Nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds near Winchcombe, Sudeley Castle boasts over 1,000 years of history. Today it serves as both a family residence and a tourist attraction with award-winning gardens that bloom throughout spring and summer.
  • Broadway Tower: This iconic landmark on Broadway Hill offers panoramic views across up to 16 counties on a clear day. The tower has served various purposes throughout history including as a retreat for artists William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones.
  • Gloucester Services: A unique stop on the M5 motorway that breaks the mold of traditional service stations. Offering locally sourced produce and homemade meals in an eco-friendly building surrounded by ponds and woodlands.
  • Cotswold Farm Park: Founded by Joe Henson in 1971 to help protect some of our rare breeds of farm animal. Visitors can interact with animals through feeding and handling sessions making it an ideal visit for families.
  • Slimbridge Wetland Centre: An internationally important wetland reserve managed by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust. It provides habitat for thousands of waterbirds especially during winter migrations.
  • Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon: Although slightly outside The Cotswolds boundary it’s closely associated due to its proximity. Visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace to walk in the footsteps of England’s most famous playwright.
  • Hidcote Manor Garden: One of England’s great Arts and Crafts gardens located near Chipping Campden. Created by Lawrence Johnston it’s famed for its colorful outdoor rooms divided by hedges and walls.
  • The Old Mill Museum: Located in Lower Slaughter this museum housed in one of The Cotswolds’ most picturesque villages offers insight into rural life with its original watermill machinery still intact.
  • Cotswold Motoring Museum & Toy Collection: Situated in Bourton-on-the-Water this delightful museum is packed with motoring memorabilia from throughout the twentieth century alongside an impressive toy collection making it fun for all ages.