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Is the Cotswolds next in your travel list? We have the ultimate list of things to do and places to visit in the Cotswolds.
It is easy to love the Cotswolds. Its picturesque English countryside villages prove to be travel destinations of their own, offering tourists several activities to choose from and plenty of spots to discover. Truly, the Cotswolds is more than just its countryside facade.
Living in the midlands for more than a decade now makes me feel so lucky to live so close by to this Area of Natural Beauty (AONB). I have been to these places once or twice now and still absolutely in awe to the beauty of the Cotswold villages. Here are the best places to visit and top things to do in Cotswolds UK:
- 1. Spend a Day at Bourton on the Water
- 2. Tour the Blenheim Palace
- 3. Visit the Chipping Campden
- 4. Go on an adventure at Cotswold Water Park
- 5. Tour the Stow on the Wold
- 6. See the Cirencester Park
- 7. Admire the beauty of Arlington Row in Bibury
1. Spend a Day at Bourton on the Water
Lovingly regarded as the Venice of the Cotswolds, Bourton on the Water is an enchanting Cotswold village filled with visually pleasing attractions, delightful food and relaxing atmosphere. One day may not seem enough to explore everything that Bourton on the Water has in store. To make the most out of your trip here, below are some of the most noteworthy attractions which you can find here:
Cotswold Motor Museum
If you are a fan of vintage and one-of-a-kind cars, this is definitely one of the things to do in Cotswolds which you should not miss. The Motor Museum inside Bourton on the Water is a haven of anything and everything fascinating about the world of motors. It is open daily, with admission prices for adults at £6 and children at £4.25. Discounted rates are given to group visits.
Imagine being transported to a miniature village of the village you are in… sounds trippy, doesn’t it? This is exactly what The Model Village is all about – a one-ninth replica of Cotswald’s Bourton on the Water. It is so accurate that it even has the running waters that flow from the actual place. A model village of the Model Village can also be seen in this work of art. Some of the most notable craftsmen of England have gathered to make the Model Village come alive. You can explore this attraction every day of the year except on Christmas Day. Admission fees apply.
Birdland Park and Gardens
More than 130 species of birds call Birdland Park and Gardens their home. With nine acres of habitat and the River Windrush flowing nearby, this lush environment not only houses birds. It is also the breeding ground for King Penguins in the UK. Have a quick coffee break at the Flamingo Point Cafe and marvel at the flamingos that inhabit the river nearby. To enter Birdland, the fee for adults is £10.95. Children only have to pay £7.95 while kids ages three and below are free of charge.
Cotswold Farm Park
For fun things to do in Cotswold that suit any age, come to Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park. The Gloucestershire Old Spot Pigs are waiting for you to visit along with 50 other herds of farm animals. An adventure playground can be accessed inside, and when your kids refuse to leave the park, there is an option to pitch a tent and spend the night on a campsite two miles away from Cotswold Farm Park. Adults pay a fee of £9 while children and seniors enjoy a discounted rate of £8.50. Rates and timings change depending on the season.
Bakery on the Water
When it’s time for something to eat and drink, the Venice of Cotswold will not disappoint with its array of places to eat right in the village. Bakery on the Water is a family-run bakeshop which serves artisan breads and pastries right by the RIver Windrush. Get a table by the outdoor garden and enjoy a cup of tea with their famous scones. Better yet, order one of their picnic baskets and head to the riverside for a nice afternoon snack.
2. Tour the Blenheim Palace
Visit the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and be in awe of the magnificent architecture that make up the Blenheim Palace. Awarded as a World Heritage Site, this palace is home to the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. Special tours are conducted for visitors who would want to know about the stories that make up the palace, 300 years and counting. Pay a visit to the various formal gardens that add to the grandiosity of the whole location. A trip to Cotswolds is not complete without a visit to the Blenheim Palace.
3. Visit the Chipping Campden
One of the numerous stunning Cotswold villages is Chipping Campden. It may be small but it is lavished with great forms of architecture. Its name “Chipping” means market in old english, an indication of its importance in the trade of wool back in the days. Great places to visit at Chipping Campden are as follows:
Sudeley Castle and Gardens
One of the ultimate things to do in Cotswold is to visit the Sudeley Castle and Gardens. These are where you can find stories and treasures that date back from the Roman era. A total of ten gardens surround the castle, all of which are highly regarded as some of the best in the UK.
Cotswold House Spa
This spa is located at Cotswold House, an award-winning luxury hotel located in Chipping Campden. It boasts of many facilities that foster holistic therapy set in a secluded location within the hotel.
Chipping Campden Festivals
Two celebrations are happening annually in May at Chipping Campden. One is the Chipping Campden Music Festival, a world-famous celebration attended by many musicians and festival goers every year. The other is the Chipping Campden Literary Festival, a celebration filled with literary art appreciation and meaningful debates.
4. Go on an adventure at Cotswold Water Park
The Cotswold Water Park in South Cerney is perfect for a family getaway. From fishing, birdwatching, cycling to swimming, there is plenty of things to do in this place. Cotswold Water Park offers day passes to those who wish to make use of its numerous outdoor facilities. For guests who opt to stay within the location, the water park has accommodations ranging from camping tents to luxury lodges. Ticket to enter the park is free of charge. Specific rates apply to every activity.
5. Tour the Stow on the Wold
Visit the beautiful market town called Stow on the Wold, the highest in all of Cotswold villages. This place is most celebrated for its wide array of great antique shops. You can find a lot of things to do in Stow in the Wold, so allot a day or two to explore the town. Here are some of the notable places you can visit at Stow:
See inns, cafes, town houses and shops fill the Market Square. Before, regular trades happen in this location. Nowadays, the Farmer’s Market is exclusively held at Market Square every first Thursday of the month.
St. Edward’s Church
When you ask about St. Edward’s Church from a resident, he will definitely first describe to you how exotic its facade is. Two ancient yew trees frame a wooden entrance, as if transporting you to a mystical world rather than a church. You can visit this church any time of the year for no admission fee.
The Old Bakery Tearoom
A true popular place to eat in Stow, the Old Bakery has been serving homemade meals and cakes since 2005. They delight in giving their guests intentional service, one that is evident in the local high quality ingredients that they use and the brand of customer service that they uphold. Don’t forget to order the cheese scone everyone seems to be raving about!
Cotswold Cricket Museum
Get to know the game of cricket through different artifacts collected from around the world. Learn about the lives of famous cricketers here at the Cotswold Cricket Museum.
6. See the Cirencester Park
A forest garden may sound new to you, but this best describes Cirencester Park. A magnificent building built in the 1890s serves as the gateway to the park and is open to the public. The mansion inside, on the other hand, is closed to visitors. With the park occupying about 3000 acres of space, dogs and horses are free to be brought inside for a leisurely stroll. Admission is free at the Cirencester Park.
Every second and fourth Sunday of each month, there is a Charter Market being held at the Cirencester Park’s market square. It has been part of the community for 20 years now. Some of the things not to miss are the locally brewed beer and the vegetables in season that are sold at the market. This, among many other activities, is one of the things to do in Cirencester.
7. Admire the beauty of Arlington Row in Bibury
Arguably one of the widely photographed locations in Cotswolds is the line of beautiful cottages at Arlington Row. It was even dubbed by 19th century artist William Morris as “the beautiful village in England.” Emperor Hirohito of Japan was also a fan and insisted on staying at Bibury during his days in Europe. These stone houses used to be wool stores in the 1400s. If this picturesque location seems familiar to you, you may have seen it from the popular Hollywood film Bridget Jones’s Diary.