The Cotswolds are a lovely region of England that are characterised by undulating hills and valleys containing outstanding natural beauty.
The area is a haven for wildlife and is famous for it’s picturesque stone towns, pretty villages, stately homes, country pubs and beautiful gardens.
The Cotswolds offer extensive hiking trails and biking routes that take visitors through some of the most breath-taking landscapes in the country.
Those with a passion for history will delight in the opportunity to investigate the mediaeval castles, manor houses, churches, and other historical sites that are scattered across the countryside.
And those who enjoy fresh air and natural beauty, will be mesmerised by the dramatic hillsides covered in wildflowers, and the tranquil streams winding their way through verdant valleys.
Things To Do In The Cotswolds
1. Cotswold Way
The rolling pastures, beech woodlands, and historic villages of the Cotswolds region in England are some of the highlights of this 102-mile long trail known as the Cotswold Way.
This National Trail is an excellent destination for hikers and walkers of all skill levels because it offers a wide variety of scenic landscapes and historical sites to explore along its route.
The natural scenery along the Cotswold Way is undoubtedly one of the trail’s most alluring features.
The route travels through beautiful open meadows as well as forests, and it provides stunning vistas of the mountains and valleys in the surrounding area.
As you travel along this route, you will come across a number of Neolithic burial barrows, historic battle sites, country retreats and stately homes, all of which provide a window into the extensive history of this area.
There are different sections to the route which can be walked individually such as Chipping Campden to Broadway, Broadway to Wood Stanway and Cleeve Hill to Dowdeswell.
Address: Market town of Chipping Campden to the Roman city of Bath
2. Gloucester Cathedral
Dating all the way back to the 11th century, Gloucester Cathedral is not only one of the most beautiful and historically significant structures in the country but also one of the oldest.
Its grand interior spaces are filled with stunning works of art and awe-inspiring religious carvings, with an interesting range of architectural styles.
The Cathedral has magnificent cloisters and a towering Great East Window, with the Lady Chapel home to some of the most exquisite examples of stained glass windows.
Entry to the Cathedral is free for visitors however a voluntary donation is appreciated.
The opening times are Monday to Friday from 10.00am to 5.00pm.
Address: Gloucester Cathedral, 12 College Grn, Gloucester GL1 2LX
3. Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace sits at the edge of the idyllic town of Woodstock, just 20 minutes from Oxford.
Every traveller should make it a point to visit this world heritage site at least once in their lifetime.
This incredible place is an experience that will remain for a long time, due to its magnificent architecture, stunning art and tapestry collections, and beautifully landscaped gardens.
Visitors can explore the various state rooms within the Palace, which were used by successive generations of the Marlborough family as living quarters and venues for hosting guests.
These rooms are beautifully furnished with priceless antiques, paintings by well-known artists, and exquisite tapestries.
In addition to these historical gems, Blenheim Palace is home to one of the most impressive modern art collections featuring work of international contemporary artists.
Visitors are also welcome to stroll through the stunning landscaped gardens and take a ride on the miniature train that runs between the Palace and the Walled Garden.
The Orangery at Blenheim Palace offers a special treat with an Afternoon Tea in regal surrounds.
With lots for visitors to see and do, both indoors and outdoors all year round, Blenheim Palace makes a great day out for the whole family.
Address: Blenheim Palace, Woodstock OX20 1PP
4. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum
Located a few miles from Tetbury in the Cotswolds, the Westonbirt Arboretum is a stunning natural space that is home to thousands of different trees and shrubs that originate from all over the world.
The arboretum houses more than 3,000 different species, with over 15,000 individual specimens and extends across hundreds of acres of land.
It provides visitors with a wealth of opportunities to explore and appreciate the natural world around them.
The Old Arboretum section of the grounds is home to a wide variety of rare and exotic trees that date all the way back to the 1850s, as well as stately avenues that are lined with towering trees.
This part of the park is especially well-liked by tourists, many of whom come to take leisurely strolls along the tranquil pathways and marvel at the incredible diversity of flora that can be found here.
Westonbirt is open every day, with this beautiful parkland a great way to spend a few hours while visiting the Cotswolds.
Address: Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Westonbirt, Tetbury GL8 8QS
5. Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is a heritage railroad that runs through the picturesque countryside of Gloucestershire and Warwickshire.
It runs steam and heritage diesel trains along a scenic route that travels through picturesque small towns and villages as well as peaceful countryside landscapes.
The 29 mile round trip from Broadway to Cheltenham Racecourse takes in a great deal of the historic buildings and structures, and has glorious views along the route.
Trains run throughout the year, and tickets can be bought online or from the station booking offices, with children under 5 travelling free.
Address: Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, The Railway Station, Cheltenham GL54 5DT
6. Cotswold Motoring Museum
The Cotswold Motoring Museum is a favourite destination for people who are passionate about vehicles, as well as for families who are looking for an activity that is both entertaining and educational.
The museum’s collection features automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles, and caravans from the 20th century produced by a wide variety of manufacturers.
The museum is also home to an extensive toy collection and includes pedal cars, bicycles, toy cars, buses, aeroplanes, model kits, meccano vehicles and penny tin toys.
The majority of these toys are either extremely rare or vintage models that have been restored by skilled artisans.
The Cotswold Motoring Museum is known for its dedication to providing outstanding visitor experiences with interactive exhibits and a vast collection of rare vehicles.
The museum gift shop is well worth a browse before you leave – why not pick up a motoring memento to take home with you.
Address: The Old Mill, Sherborne St, Cheltenham GL54 2BY
7. Batsford Arboretum
In the heart of the English countryside lies Batsford Arboretum, a place that is both stunning and serene in equal measure.
This 56-acre arboretum offers visitors the opportunity to learn about more than 2,900 distinct species of trees.
There is truly something for everyone here. You can find a wide variety of trees to see and learn about including Japanese maples, magnolias, and pines.
The grounds of the arboretum are beautiful, and there are plenty of scenic viewpoints and walking paths for visitors to use while exploring and taking in the natural splendour.
Address: Batsford Arboretum, Batsford, Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 9AT
8. Chavenage House
Chavenage House is a stunning example of a classic English country manor house.
The house is a remarkable piece of Elizabethan-era architecture and was built in 1576.
Its sturdy stone walls are constructed of Cotswold stone and its symmetrical E-shaped layout makes it an ideal representation of the time period.
It has evolved over time, growing larger and more modern to reflect shifting fashions and preferences, but it has retained the allure that made it special in the first place.
Today, it is widely regarded as one of the most stunning historic houses in England.
Address: Chavenage House, Tetbury, Glos, GL8 8XP
9. Upton Downs Farm
Located just outside Burford in the Cotswolds countryside, the Smokery specializes in high quality smoked meats, game, fish, cured meats and seasonal vegetables.
The Smokery can make some produce to order with the Farm Shop a home to delicious products.
Visitors can also visit the restaurant connected to the farm that serves British dishes.
Address: Upton Downs Farm, Burford, Oxfordshire, OX18 4LY
10. Hidcote Manor Garden
The Hidcote Manor Garden is one of the most influential and well-known gardens in Britain.
It has a distinctive design that creates a series of “garden rooms” through the use of hedges, trees, shrubs, and herbaceous borders, around the perimeter of the garden.
The Arts and Crafts style, which was popular during the time, was created in the early 1900s, has been reflected in the meticulous planning that has gone into every aspect of the garden.
For example, there is a lovely “White Garden” that is full of flowering bushes and ornamental grasses, and another section of the garden is known as the “Fuchsia Garden” has an abundance of fuchsias.
The best time to visit is from April to September, but there is always something spectacular for visitors to see in the other months too.
Address: Hidcote Manor Garden, Hidcote Bartrim, Chipping Campden GL55 6LR
11. Broadway Tower
Broadway Tower is widely considered to be one of the most famous and instantly recognisable landmarks in the country.
This 65-foot tall folly is a true testament to the enduring craftsmanship and beauty of the British countryside.
Set within a 200-acre estate of parkland, it can be found atop a hill in the Cotswolds region of Worcestershire.
As it towers high above its surroundings, it provides expansive views not only of the towns and villages in the immediate vicinity but also of cities further away.
Visitors can purchase tickets online that cover the Tower Museum with roof platform, the Deer Park and the grounds.
Address: Broadway Tower, Middle Hill, Broadway WR12 7LB
12. Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens
If you want to get up close and personal with some of the most fascinating animals in the world, the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens is an excellent destination for you to check out.
This park, which can be found in the picturesque countryside of the Cotswolds, is home to a wide variety of animals, some of which include giraffes, lemurs, and rhinos.
You can take a ride on Bella the train as you make your way through the park, and while you’re there, you can also check out the tree house adventure playground (available April-October).
There is also a Children’s Farmyard where you can meet friendly animals such as sheep, cows, and pigs, as well as a café where you can grab a bite to eat and relax with the animals while you are there.
If you have an interest in reptiles, you should not miss the opportunity to get a close look at crocodiles, snakes, lizards, and anacondas by going to the Reptile House.
In addition, there is a Tropical House where animals such as sloths, birds, and bats are allowed to freely roam among beautiful displays and lush gardens.
Address: Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens, Bradwell Grove, Burford OX18 4JP
13. Sudeley Castle and Gardens
One of the most well-known and historically significant castles in England, Sudeley Castle can be found in the picturesque Cotswolds.
After being constructed as a fortified manor house in the 12th century, this mediaeval fortress was eventually transformed into a castle with impressive towers and battlements.
Visitors can see one of the finest collections of textiles with a beautiful collection of gloves and a vast collection of autographs.
One of the most notable aspects of Sudeley Castle is its 15-acres of gardens, which are widely regarded as being among the most beautiful in England.
These beautifully landscaped grounds are home to a diverse assortment of exotic plants, flowers, trees, and other natural features.
Address: Sudeley Castle and Gardens, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, GL54 5JD
14. Stow on the Wold
In the heart of England’s breath-taking Cotswolds, you’ll find the enchanting town of Stow on the Wold.
Because of its elevated position in the region, the town of Stow has a long and illustrious history.
In the past, it served as an important trading hub for people moving along the Roman Fosse Way.
The town’s historic Market Square, with its impressive old buildings and bustling market stalls, is an absolute must-see for tourists who come to the area.
Other things to see and do in Stow include the city’s quaint tea shops and cafes, as well as its delightful trails that wind through the countryside.
Address: Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire
Is Bourton on Water in The Cotswolds countryside worth visiting?
Located in the heart of the Cotswolds, Bourton on the Water is a beautiful town.
Definitely worth a visit, it has traditional stone buildings, quaint cottages and picturesque countryside.
Where is the Cotswold’s most romantic street?
The Cotswold’s picturesque village of Lower Slaughter has the most romantic street in Britain which was voted for in a poll.
Copse Hill Road is a very beautiful street that has lovely architecture, stunning views and a romantic ambience.
Is Cotswold Farm Park worth visiting?
Cotswold Farm Park is a fantastic place dedicated to delivering the best of British farming and rare breed conservation that gives a wonderful day out for the whole family.
A fun filled day including herds of farm animals, including Gloucestershire Old Spot Pigs and Highland cattle.
Is Castle Combe a good place to see?
Castle Combe, in the Cotswolds, has it’s own character and is often called the most beautiful village in England.
It has been called a fairy tale medieval village with cute cottages, tearooms, panoramic views and a bubbling river.