THINGS TO DO
No matter the weather, the Cotswolds has always something to offer. Popular activities include exploring the beautiful market towns or driving through the villages and stopping over for a spot of sightseeing, lunch or a Cotswolds cream tea! We have a wonderful array of interesting places and attractions nearby - all within easy reach by car - which will fill you with wonderful memories and which we are happy to recommend.
If you are keen walker, what could be better than exploring beautiful unspoiled countryside stopping occasionally at a quaint village pub? The Cotswolds has many picturesque walks for all levels.
MARKET TOWNS & VILLAGES
Stow-on-the-Wold is a delightful market town with population around 2000 residents and along with Moreton-in-Marsh, perhaps the best known of the small Cotswolds towns.
At the height of the Cotswold wool industry the town was famous for its huge annual fairs where as many as 20,000 sheep were sold at one time!
The Market Square reminds to the visitors about the town’s former importance. At one end stands the ancient cross, and at the other - the town stocks beneath old elm trees. Around the square the visitor is faced with an elegant array of Cotswold town houses and shops. The town bursts with a wonderful choice of restaurants, bistros and tea shops to choose from including wide selection of pubs.
A Farmers Market is held in The Square on 2nd Thursday of each month, 9am to 1pm. Visit St Edward's church - built between 11th and 15th century, steeped in history, with amazing stained glass windows.
Tip: parking in Stow could be a bit difficult due to its popularity with visitors. If there’s lack of parking on Market Square or on Sheep Street/Park Street, we recommend free public long stay parking near TESCO – it’s only 5-7mins walk to the Market Square.
Chipping Campden is one of the loveliest small towns in the Cotswolds and a gilded masterpiece of limestone and craftsmanship. The main street curves in a shallow arc lined with a succession of ancient houses each grafted to the next but each with its own distinctive embellishments.
As the name suggests ("Chipping" means market or market place from the old English "Ceping"), Chipping Campden was one of the most important of the medieval wool towns and famous throughout Europe. This legacy of fame and prosperity is everything that gave the town its character.
Chipping Campden has become known for its unusual and attractive High Street, said by G.M. Trevelyan (English Historian) to be "the most beautiful village street now left on the island".
The High Street is long and broad, and is flanked on either side by an almost unbroken single terrace, made up of many different architectural styles.
The ancient Market Hall was built in 1627 by Sir Baptist Hicks for a cost of £90.00. It was for the purpose of giving shelter to the local market selling cheese, butter and poultry - not wool as is sometimes thought.
Classified as a village, Broadway is well worth a whole day visit.
It is often referred to as the 'Jewel of the Cotswolds' and the 'Show Village of England' because of its sheer beauty and magnificence. The 'broad way' leads from the foot of the western Cotswolds escarpment with a wide grass-fringed street lined with ancient honey coloured limestone buildings dating back to the 16th century and earlier (the oldest house is Abbots Grange built in 1320 as the summer retreat for the Abbots of Pershore).
Many well known characters have spent time in Broadway drawing inspiration from its beauty and location including Oscar Wilde, Claude Monet, Edwin Abbey, John Singer-Sargent, William Morris and Edward Elgar.
The full extent of Broadway's majesty is its wide street lined with a delightful mix of Tudor, Stuart and Georgian buildings. Abbots Grange house dating to the 14th century, is the oldest domestic building in the village and one of the oldest in the country. There are Tudor Houses dating from 1660's and along with parts of the Lygon Arms Hotel and St. Eadburgha's (granddaughter of King Alfred the Great) Church which has been a place of worship for almost 1000 years. The old church is one mile out on Snowshill Road.
The village's "broad way" (actually called High Street - one of the longest High Streets in England) lined with red chestnut trees, reflects the varied architectural history from grand Georgian buildings to ones of humbler though quaint beginnings that even reaches back, in places, to the Romans.
Snowshill village sits on the top of the escarpment above the villages of Broadway, Buckland, and Laverton. It is a secluded village where ancient pretty cottages and a 19th century church cluster around a small green. As its name implies - if there is any snow about then you will find it here first.
Snowshill is renowned for its manor house, now administered by the National Trust. It is interesting architecturally as a typical 15th to 16th century manor house, with a good dovecote. The beautiful gardens are terraced and were designed by Charles Wade. On the site is a teashop and restaurant.
Here in Snowshill you will find ancient charm and peaceful ambling with refreshments to be had at the Snowshill Arms pub.
The romantic comedy ‘Bridget Jones's Diary’ (2000), starring Renee Zellweger as a 30-something singleton living in London on a quest to find Mr Right, included scenes shot in the picturesque Snowshill.
In the film, which also starred Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, the village known locally as "Snozzle" provided the location for Bridget Jones's parent's home where she first meets Mark Darcy (Firth) at Christmas.
Moreton-in-Marsh is one of the principal market towns in the Northern Cotswolds situated on the Fosse Way and now served by the main line railway from London Paddington. It grew up in the 13th century as a market town with a wide main street, narrow burgage plots and back lanes.
Many of the old buildings along the High Street date from the 17th and 18th centuries.
There are several pubs, inns, hotels, tea shops, restaurants and accommodation in the form of B&Bs and holiday cottages in the immediate vicinity.
The White Hart (Royal) Hotel was used by King Charles I as shelter during the English Civil War following the Battle of Marston Moor on July 2, 1644. A copy of the King’s unpaid bill is commemorated on a plaque within the entrance lobby.
Close to the town is the Four Shires Stone marking the historic meeting point of Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire.
Moreton-in-Marsh was granted its market charter in 1227 and the well known Market is still held every Tuesday throughout the year.
The Batsford Arboretum which is about 2 miles away from the town is one of the largest private collections of rare trees in England.
The ancient Anglo Saxon town of Winchcombe is situated in a beautiful Cotswold valley mid-way between Broadway and Cheltenham.
The name Winchcombe means 'valley with a bend', and today the town still retains street which curve gracefully along the 'combe'.
The inns, restaurants, tea rooms, and shops set among Winchcombe's three main streets are full of the character of times past.
In the early 1600's the Winchcombe area was known for tobacco growing and was banned in 1619 due to the vested interest of the industry in America and other colonies.
St. Peters church – built in 1465 - is guarded by forty of the country's finest grotesque gargoyles. The church has an unusually fine weather cock measuring nearly 6 feet from beak to tail. Originally at the Church of St. Mary, Redcliffe in Bristol, it came to Winchcombe in 1872.
Cheltenham is the most complete Regency town in Britain and one of the few English towns in which traditional and contemporary architecture complement each other.
From humble beginnings as a modest market town, Cheltenham became one of the most fashionable health resorts in the country. In 1716, in a meadow outside the town, pigeons were found to be pecking at what turned out to be salt crystals at a spring which led to the establishment of the town as a Spa. The importance of the pigeons leading to the discovery of the 'Spa Waters' is reflected in three pigeons being included in the Cheltenham Coat of Arms.
The principal street of Cheltenham is the Promenade with its fine regency terraces and Neptune Fountain. Montpellier is where Cheltenham's elite reside. Here, small boutiques jostle for space with wine bars and restaurants such as Brasserie Blanc, Raymond Blanc's informal spin-off of Le Manoir at Oxford.
The centrepiece is the Montpellier Gardens, blooming with flowers and containing a fountain surmounted by a bespectacled Gustav Holst, who was born in Cheltenham and now stands with his baton raised aloft above the water jets.
Cheltenham is world famous for its horse racing course at Prestbury Park and the main hurdles event being the Gold Cup National Hunt Festival week in March.
The Cheltenham music festival in July is your chance to chill out in the British summer heat (rain).
Bourton-on-the-Water has been described as the 'Little Venice' of the Cotswolds and is one of the most popular tourist spots in the region being serviced by the many shops, cafe's, and attractions.
The village straddles the river Windrush with its series of elegant low bridges beside neat tree-shaded greens and tidy stone banks. Standing back from the river are traditional Cotswolds buildings, many of which are now tourist shops for the day-trippers and visitors.
All touristic attractions in Bourton would generate an interest not only adults but children too.
Birdland is an authentic zoo for birds, with a remarkable collection of penguins, some of which have come from the owner's islands in the South Atlantic. Established by the late Len Hill and is also home to a huge variety of exotic birds.
Model Village - Excellent miniature of Bourton using authentic building materials depicting Bourton-on-the-Water as it was in 1937 at 1/9th scale.
Cotswold Motoring Museum & Toy Collection - Overflowing with vintage car collections, classic cars and motorcycles, caravans, original enamel signs and an intriguing collection of motoring curiosities also home to Brum, the adventurous four-wheeled hero of children's TV.
The most iconic, visited and photographed Cotswold’s landmark. Broadway Tower stands on the top of Fish Hill (also known as Beacon Hill where beacons were lit up on special occasions prior to the late 18th century). The Tower stands 1024 metres above sea level and is therefore frequently referred to as the “Highest Little Castle of the Cotswolds”.
The Tower was commissioned by Sir George William, the 6th Earl of Coventry for his wife. Designed by James Wyatt as an ancient Saxon castle, the Tower was actually completed in 1798, built as a folly and meant to please the eye.
Read more about the Tower, get some tips and hacks on how to get the most of your visit HERE
Cotswold Lavender is a third generation family farm set on Cotswolds Hills overlooking Broadway and the Vale of Evesham. The farm grows 40 different varieties of lavender with a total number of 500,000 plants.
Every summer the farm opens its doors to the public when the lavender looks at its best (normally from mid-June till first week of August). Harvest usually starts during the last week of July and continues until early August. Then freshly cut flowers are delivered to the on-site distillery where they can be immediately processed into Pure Essential Oil.
Do not miss the opportunity to see over 50 acres of lavender in full bloom! Visit the distillery (closed in 2020) and browse a wide variety of bath, skincare, well-being, home range products alongside with gift sets and dried florets sold in the farm shop. Visit the web site: https://www.cotswoldlavender.co.uk/
Set in the beautiful Cotswolds countryside, The Cotswolds Distillery produces Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky and Cotswolds Dry Gin every day, a number of other small-batch spirits and liqueurs, with a passion for quality and flavour above all else.
It was established by Dan Szor, a native New Yorker who had been working in finance in London for many years. Seeking to leave behind that world and spend more time in the Cotswolds with his family, it eventually dawned on him that he could combine his love of whisky with his desire to start a new business. Having found a derelict site near his house, he set about building a distillery and a team to run it, and the doors of the Cotswolds Distillery opened in July 2014.
Set against the backdrop of the Cotswolds hills in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sudeley Castle & Gardens has played an important role in England’s history, boasting royal connections that stretch back over 1,000 years.
Sudeley Castle’s magnificent gardens are world-renowned, providing variety and colour from spring through to autumn. The centrepiece is the Queens Garden, so named because four of England’s queens – Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I – once admired the hundreds of varieties of roses found in the garden.
THE PITTVILLE PUMP ROOM SPA
Cheltenham, on the edge of the Cotswolds, is an inland spa resort of handsome Regency architecture, broad avenues and fine parks. King George III arrived to treat his infirmities in 1788, rows of Regency houses then appeared – and the town then known as "Cheltenham Spa" was born.
The medicinal waters can be taken at several sites in the town but mainly at the Pittville Pump Room whose blue dome rises above the lakes of Pittville Park. You can still drink from its original pump, and it is England's only source of natural alkaline water.
COTSWOLDS FARM PARK
Home of famous Adam Henson, perhaps the best-known farmer in the UK, presenting his own section on BBC's Countryfile to millions of viewers each Saturday morning the Cotswold Farm Park was found by his father in 1971 to protect some rare farm breeds.
The Farm offers a wide variety of activities for little explorers:
The Experience Barn offers a chance for children and adults alike to make friends with the Farm’s smaller residents.
Get hands on with seasonal activities at the Animal Barn and experience them first hand, with bottle feeding taking place twice daily.
The Adventure Barn has 3 fantastic themed play areas; Barefoot Beach, Forest Floor and Construction Corner. There’s a seating area to keep an eye on the children and The Shed serves a range of hot and cold drinks and snacks. The Farm features few play areas where kids can practice their driving skills in Tractor School, fly down the zip wire, jump on the bouncing pillows or dig in the sand pits.
COTSWOLD WILDLIFE PARK AND GARDENS
Undoubtedly one of the Cotswolds' most famous attractions for families with children, true animal lovers, or keen gardeners indeed!
Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens is located 2 miles south from Burford and occupies extensive grounds of Bradwell Grove Estate which now belongs to Reggie Heyworth. His father John started a wildlife park in 1970 and opened gardens to the public.
Today the Park hosts over 250 species of animals, including mammals, primates, reptiles and birds.
The real surprise for the visitors are beautifully designed and maintained gardens which look their best any time of the year.
Click here to read our blog article about Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens fore more inspiration and practical tips.
Home to one of the largest private tree collections in the country, Batsford Arboretum offers visitors year round interest - from lush, spring colour provided by the beautiful Japanese flowering cherries to autumn’s spectacular natural fireworks display. Wander along 56 acres of wild gardens, paths and streams, enjoy stunning views across the Evenlode Valley and discover the beautiful oriental-influenced statues hidden in glades around the grounds. The fun way to explore Arboretum with the children is to take Children’s trail which helps keeping little ones interested and entertained! Plus, on completion of each trail, every child gets a prize! Let the children burn off some energy in the play area, adjacent to the café terrace, while you enjoy a cuppa or a bite to eat. Be sure to visit the parrots in the aviary while you’re there! The play area is free of charge to use and is suitable for children under the age of 8. Batsford Arboretum hosts a number of family friendly events throughout the year, from the Easter chicken hunt to open-air theatre.
Established in 1957 in Bourton-on-the-Water, Birdland is set in 9 acres of gardens and woodland, creating a picturesque canopy for the winding River Windrush.
There are over 130 species of birds on display, from some of the rarest, to the most unique species that have developed to live in a specific habitat. Birdland Park & Gardens is home to the only breeding group in England for King Penguins.
Discover exotic and rare birds as you explore the Park and Gardens. Flamingos, pelicans, cranes, storks, cassowary and waterfowl live in our riverside habitat with parrots, owls, pheasants, hornbills, touracos and many more inhabiting over 50 aviaries. Temperate and Desert Houses are home to birds who enjoy hotter and drier conditions.
Sit back and relax at the Flamingo Point Café for morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea with wonderful views over River Windrush and its resident group of flamingos.
Take a fascinating journey through time as we explore the history of 20th-century motoring. Our collection of rare vehicles and classic memorabilia will give you a nostalgic glimpse into life on the road the way it used to be...
Cotswold Motoring Museum’s collections are full of vehicles, toys and memorabilia from a bygone age.
Maybe you’ll find a classic car just like the one you learned to drive in, or a vintage motorbike that reminds you of the one you used to ride. Does that 1970s caravan bring back memories of long, lazy family holidays?
Have a browse through all our collections on the right of this page for details of all the motoring delights you’ll discover when you visit us.
The Model Village is a one-ninth scale replica of the heart of the beautiful Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water, containing all the buildings from the Old Water Mill (now the Car Museum) down to the Old New Inn and the ford, all built in Cotswold stone.
In the Model Village you become a giant as you tower above the miniature stone houses.
Walk alongside the River Windrush and cross its miniature bridges. Enjoy the miniature gardens complete with flowers and miniature trees. Listen to the choirs singing in the churches, investigate the local shops, and find the model of the Model Village!
The Dragonfly Maze, unlike the majority of other English hedge mazes, incorporates a series of clues and puzzles throughout the maze that must be deciphered in order to fully complete the game. The concept for the game-within-a-maze was inspired by a 1979 children’s book by author Kit Williams called, Masquerade. William’s book provided readers with obtuse clues and riddles that would lead one lucky winner to the location of a golden hare treasure.
Taking this model of riddles and rewards, the builders of the Dragonfly Maze placed their titular golden insect in the middle of the maze. However the dragonfly is contained inside of an elaborate frog automaton which was designed by Kit Williams himself. To liberate the bauble, visitors must not only find their way to the middle of the maze, but also solve all of the clues to get the clockwork frog to give up its dinner.
MODEL RAILWAY EXHIBITION
Enter the world of your childhood dreams with some of the finest operating indoor model railway layouts in the country, covering over 500 square feet.
Over 40 British and Continental trains run automatically on three main displays of OO/HO and N gauge, with the unique attraction of visitor control.
Follow the trains' journey through the imaginatively designed scenery of open countryside, mountains, steams, industrial sites and suburbia. Watch day change to night, experience the fun of the fair and generally enjoy the attractive illusion of colour and movement enhanced by many working model accessories.
Railway memorabilia and a collection of HO/OO locomotives complete the overall scene, which is equally appealing to the very young or the very old. And if you're a model enthusiast or just a curious browser why not visit the model and toy shop.
BIBURY TROUT FARM
This place is one of many in the Costwolds that are on our “Family friendly” list. Having said that, many people without children would find this place delightful and well worth a visit.
Located right in the center of Bibury, the Trout Farm will become a highlight of your day.
Landscaped as a Nature Reserve with the River Coln streaming through, the farm is a very pleasant place for a stroll: honey coloured gravel paths, cute bridges, mini-lakes full of trout, lush greenery and pretty cottage garden flowers…
Read our Blog article for more inspiration and practical tips HERE.
Cotswolds-based electric quad bike experience.
Located near Notgrove village, QuadQuest offers adventure trails for adults and children (minimum age 8 years old).
Smaller children will be riding smaller quad bikes around a closed loop track in a safe environment under the supervision of an experienced instructor. From age of 15 years, children can ride adult quads and will be riding some parts of adult trails.
Adults can choose among 5 packages designed for different skills and abilities.
FOOD & DRINK
THE PLOUGH INN
Just around the corner from us, within 1 min walk, this famous Inn dates back to 16th century. It’s quirky and very popular with the horse racing community, combining olde-worlde atmosphere, a great menu (including one for children) and cozy open fireplaces.
Due to its popularity the pub is often busy so we recommend booking a table in advance.
PUB DINING TIMES:
Monday – Friday 12:00pm – 2:15pm & 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Saturday – Sunday 12:00pm – 9:00pm (all day)
Tel: 01386 584 215
TEMPLE GUITING PANTRY & TEAROOM
3 min drive from us, located in a former Post Office, Temple Guiting Pantry and Tea Room has a wonderful ambiance, high quality lunch menu, a deli and cake sectiton, as well as offering basic groceries and household essentials. Treat yourself with a famous Cotswolds cream tea or a slice of artisan baked cake and relax in a stylishly decorated tea room or in a patio garden on warmer days.
Monday to Saturday – 8:30 am – 6:00 pm
Sundays – 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Tel: 07557 100 892
Temple Guiting, GL54 5RP
THE HALFWAY HOUSE
A 17th Century Inn in the quintessential Cotswold hamlet of Kineton, halfway between Temple Guiting and Guiting Power, only 5 minutes drive from our cottage. Until 1975 it was owned by Corpus Christi College of Oxford University. Now a relaxed public house with a traditional pub menu using local ingredients. The pub is both cozy yet stylishly refurbished, serving a selection of interesting meals all day, and also hosting a number of events throughout the year.
PUB FOOD SERVICE TIMES:
Mon-Sun 12:00 – 08:45 pm all day
Tel: 01451 850 344
Kineton, Guiting Power, Cheltenham, GL54 5UG
THE FLEECE INN
Located outside the Cotswolds but well worth visiting! This 15th century Inn is now owned by National Trust which helped to retain all its historical features and preserve them for the future. Enjoy really good pub food sitting near a massive inglenook fireplace on 400-year-old antique furniture! Children’s and gluten-free menus available on request. Booking is essential.
Monday – Saturday
12 noon – 2:30 pm & 6:30 pm – 9 pm
Sundays 12 noon – 8:00 pm.
Tel: 01386 831173
The Cross, Bretforton, Evesham, WR11 7JE
LUCY'S TEA ROOM
Traditional quintessential English tea room right in the heart of Stow-on-the-Wold. Large selection of loose leaf teas, nice cakes & light lunches. But the true stars are the home-made scones with locally produced clotted cream and Lucy’s delicious home-made strawberry jam.
Unfortunately Lucy’s doesn’t take bookings but waiting for table never takes longer than 10-15 mins. Just leave your mobile number to the Tea Room staff and they’ll call you when the table is vacant.
Mon-Sun 10 am – 4:30 pm
Tel: 01451 830000
The Square, Stow-on-the-Wold, GL54 1AB
Grocery shops nearby
Abbey Garage, Main Road, Toddington, GL54 5DT; Opening times: Monday – Sunday: 6:00 am – 9:00 pm
Fosse Way, Stow-On-The-Wold, GL54 1BX; Opening times: Monday – Saturday: 6:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Stow Rd, Moreton-in-Marsh, GL56 0DS; Opening times: Monday – Saturday: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Co-op Food Market
High Street, Moreton-in-Marsh, GL56 0AF; Opening times: Monday – Saturday: 7:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm