How to Spend a Weekend in the Cotswolds

Sadly we can’t all take two weeks to leisurely take ourselves on a full tour of the Cotswolds, but we can make the most of the time we do have. I am here to help you decide how to spend a weekend in the Cotswolds, possibly England’s cosiest and prettiest regions if you love the countryside.

Characterised by rolling green hills (also known as ‘wolds’), the Cotswolds encompasses a large area of central and southwestern England. Villages filled with chocolate box cottages, quintessential tea rooms, and beautiful country house hotels make way for a truly relaxing and authentic break away.

Getting there

There are so many places to visit in the Cotswolds and best way of getting around is by car. The rural location of many of the villages can make public transport quite the task, and taxis get expensive.

By car

The southern half of the Cotswolds is served by the M4 motorway that runs between London and Bristol. The northern half of the Cotswolds is served by the A40 and A44. The western section runs close to the M5 motorway.

Be aware that when driving between towns and villages, roads can get narrow and are windy, please don’t speed.

By train

There are a few towns and villages in the Cotswolds with a train station. These are Bradford on Avon, Moreton in Marsh, and Kingham.

Just outside the Cotswolds you have Stroud, Cheltenham, Oxford and Banbury which all have regular services to London and are within easy reach of the Cotswold villages.

The village of Lower Slaughter in Gloucestershire

What to do in the northern Cotswolds

The Cotswolds covers a large area, if you just have the weekend then I would recommend sticking to certain areas. The northern portion of the is a little better connected and easy to get around with lots to do, it is also home to some of the best villages in the Cotswolds so this will be the focus of today’s piece.

Visit a garden

Kifsgate Court Garden – A breathtaking family run garden with its own unique rose, Kifsgate Court Garden is the creation of three generations of female gardeners. Located on an escarpment with beautiful views over towards the Malvern Hills, Kifsgate remains a family home with gardens open to visitors.

Opening times and visitor information can be found here.

Hidcote Manor Garden – A world-famous Arts and Crafts-inspired garden, Hidcote is set amongst the rolling hills that make the Cotswolds so beautiful. Intimate, formal areas of garden lead into spaces filled with wildflowers that blend seamlessly into the surrounding countryside, all set around a historic Cotswold stone house.

Opening times and visitor information can be found here.

Bourton House Garden – Bourton House is home to one of the finest public gardens in the Cotswolds and is also one o the newest. Created throughout the 80s and 90s, the garden is absolutely glorious in the summer and autumn months when the herbaceous borders are awash with colour.

Opening times and visitor information can be found here.

Sezincote House & Garden – Home to stunning gardens that were totally restored in the 1960’s, Sezincote House boasts extensive  “Hindu” style gardens, open from May through to September.

Opening times and visitor information can be found here.

Spring at Blenheim Palace

Stately Homes

Snowshill Manor – An unconventional home of the eccentric Charles Wade, Snowshill Manor is situated in an idyllic Cotswold village, completed by a beautifully landscaped garden with far reaching views.

Sudeley Castle – Walk the same footsteps as historic icons such as Katherine Parr (who is buried at the castle) when visiting this castle with a history that spans over a thousand years. 

Chastleton House – An ancient country house that is now kept by the National Trust, Chastleton has become a time capsule of 400 years of family life. Built by prosperous wool merchant, Walter Jones, the house was a public display of wealth and opulence which later fell into a state of romantic neglect

Blenheim Palace – Owned by the Churchill family, Blenheim Palace is one of the finest stately homes in Britain. A beautiful example of palatial, Baroque architecture, the palace today is now home to one of the most important and extensive collections in Europe, including portraits, furniture, sculpture and tapestries.

Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea in the Cotswolds is a delightful way to enjoy a few hours and an absolute must when visiting the English countryside. A somewhat refined past-time that has roared back to popularity in recent decades, afternoon tea is available in many British hotels and specialised tea rooms all over the country.

Blenheim Palace –  Indulge in a sumptuous Afternoon Tea of fresh sandwiches, warm scones, and an array of delicious sweet treats at Clementine’s on the Lawn, a newly opened glass dining venue at Blenheim Palace.

Lucy’s Tea Room, Stow on the Wold – This family run traditional tea room is located in the heart of Stow on the Wold. Delicious scones with clotted cream are served alongside finger sandwiches and freshly baked cakes.

Barnsley House – A particularly romantic affair in summer, afternoon tea at Barnsley House is best enjoyed outside in the delightfully floral gardens that attract many to the venue in the first place.

Country walks

Rollright Stones Walk: The Rollright Stones Walk is a popular walking trail in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. The trail leads walkers through picturesque countryside and into the ancient site of the Rollright Stones.

Cleeve Hill Circular Walk: A scenic trail around Cleeve Hill, the highest point in the Cotswolds. Visitors can enjoy panoramic countryside views.

Bibury to Coln St. Andrews Circular Walk: Explore the scenic villages of Bibury and Coln St Andrews on an enjoyable circular walk that will give you a small insight into traditional country life.

Broadway Tower Circular Walk: Start your walk in the pretty town of Broadway before ascending towards Broadway Tower, a historic folly on top of Beacon Hill. As you come back down the hill towards to village, the route is well sign-posted to navigation is simple.

Sezincote House to Bourton-on-the-Hill: Starting at the impressive Sezincote House, visitors can explore the grounds before embarking on their walk. The trail takes you through fields, charming villages and country lanes before passing by the 12th-century church in Longborough.

Bibury, the prettiest village in England

Enjoy a pub lunch

The Carpenter’s Arms, Burford: Just outside Burford, The Carpenter’s Arms is the perfect countryside bolthole. Located in a 17th-century inn, the pub boasts original stone flag floors and tables that don’t match. Miles away from its rustic interior, food is dished up beautifully and drinks are served perfectly chilled.

The Swan, Southrop: If the word ‘quintessential’ perks you up, then the Swan in Southrop is just the pub for you. With an extremely wonky entrance, diners can expect to find roaring open fires, low wooden beams and throws strewn across squishy sofas. The pub has a garden room, restaurant, courtyard, and a snug, all offering different dining experiences.

The Hare, Milton: Located between the popular Cotswolds towns of Burford, Chipping Norton and Stow-on-the-Wold, the Hare pub offers classic pub food with a luxurious twist. Dishes include Old Spot scotch egg, Aged Paddock Farm ribeye steak, and Slow cooked lamb shoulder pie.

The Swan Inn, Ascott-under-Wychwood: Expect delicious, locally sourced food in 16th century surroundings. The Swan Inn at Ascott-under-Wychwood has a delightful terrace garden and a beautiful dining area. The chef describes his menu as ‘imaginative’, and for those who want a few beers and can’t find a designated driver, there are some beautiful guest rooms too.

The Wild Rabbit, Kingham: Nestled in the romantic village of Kingham, the Wild Rabbit is owned by the same couple who run the very popular Daylesford Farm. The Wild Rabbit supports British farmers whilst offering a fine dining experience in the main restaurant, and more casual snacks and small plates in their bar area.

Places to stay in the Cotswolds

There is a wide range of accommodation options in the Cotswolds, suiting the full range of budgets and requirements. Cosy cottages are available to rent to give you the full countryside experience, whilst luxury spa stays will ensure the most relaxing of vacations. Shepherd huts sit alongside country house hotels, meanwhile traditional pubs continue to offer guest rooms for travellers.

Barnsley House

No matter what time of year you visit, the gardens of Barnsley House will surely wow. This country house hotel is a firm favourite and one of the best boutique hotels in the Cotswolds. It boasts a fully equipped spa, heated outdoor pool, restaurant, and beautiful guest rooms.

Luxurious, traditional, and very English, guests who are looking for the full Cotswolds experience will be glad of their choice to stay here.

The hotel’s gardens were designed by Rosemary Verey, showcasing colourful flower beds, manicured lawns, and a variety of plants and trees. During summer time, the garden terrace is a favourite amongst guests to enjoy a cocktail in the peaceful surroundings.

Book here.

Barnsley House, near Cirencester
The picturesque Jasmine Cottage, a Cotswold cottage in the quaint English village of Windrush. The perfect place to stay on a holiday in the Cotswolds.
Jasmine Cottage, near Burford

Jasmine Cottage

Nestled in the unspoilt village of Windrush, Jasmine Cottage offers a unique and charming holiday stay in the Cotswolds. 300 years old and built from Cotswold stone, the cottage is surrounded by National Trust land, meaning ample opportunities for long countryside walks.

With enough room to bring your dog, this pretty cottage offers a real home from home feeling, with a fully equipped kitichen, cosy fireplace with wood burning stove, and two comfortable bedrooms.

A selection of board games, jigsaws and of books are available for rainy days!

Book here.

Re-opening in 2020, the New Inn at Coln is a recently renovated centuries old coaching inn, located in a sleepy corner of the Cotswolds.

The inn offers 15 luxurious ensuite bedrooms as well as a traditional country pub specialising in delicious burgers.

Pets are welcome at the New Inn, making it a brilliant option for those wanting to embark on long country walks. The surrounding area is part of an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and many of the guest rooms benefit from Hatherop Castle or valley views.

Book here.

A double room at the New Inn, a renovated pub hotel located in a beautiful corner of the Cotswolds with 15 luxurious ensuite bedrooms.
A double room at the New Inn
Inside a shepherd hut at the Fish hotel in the Cotswolds, a beautiful country estate near Broadway.
One of the luxurious shepherd huts at The Fish Hotel

One of the best places to stay in the Cotswolds, The Fish offers a back to nature experience with a variety of different accommodation types.

Rooms and suites come with beautiful Cotswold views, whilst treehouses and shepherd huts are tucked away amongst the trees. 

If you are looking for a family friendly hotel in the Cotswolds, The Fish will tick all the boxes. Set within a 500 acre estate, activities include axe throwing, clay pigeon shooting, falconry, yoga and even a spin on a hovercraft.

Book here

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  • airporttrips says:


    • postcardsbyhannah says:

      Thank you! 🙂