Things to do in The Cotswolds
The Cotswold hills cover a vast area of natural beauty, historic sites, and family-friendly attractions, that makes it so perfect for a memorable visit or holiday. The Cotswolds is the UK’s second largest protected landscape and its ancient beech woodlands, thatched cottages, honey-coloured dry stone walls and centuries-old buildings will leave you feeling like you have travelled back in time.
Walk through the towns and explore the beautiful cottages and local arts and crafts. The wool trade, which made the Cotswolds very wealthy centuries ago, contributed to the building of many churches which are now known as ‘wool churches’. St James’ Church in Chipping Camden is a fine example of the wealth contributed towards building such beautiful churches. There are also century-old skills still being practiced that contributes to restoring and building more dry stone walls; the skill of dry-stone walling is still being practiced and taught since 5,500 years ago and also thatching. William Morris, the Victorian poet, designer, craftsman, socialist and founding father of the Arts and Crafts movement, chose Kelmscott Manor as his inspirational Cotswold retreat and the country house and gardens are open to the public to explore from April to October each year.
Not to miss are the Rollright Stones Monuments, an ancient site which legend tells a story of a failed king who was turned into a solitary stone, while his guards were turned into standing stones and arranged into a giant circle, the Stroud Farmers Market on Saturdays in the market town of Stroud, the magnificent Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, a UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting a long and diverse history and also where Sir Winton Churchill was born, and visiting the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’, Bourton-on-the-Water located next to the River Windrush.
TV & Film Locations
There are many filming locations around the Cotswolds that have been used in mega movies such as Harry Potter, Sherlock, and Bridget Jones Diaries. But the most popular show that brings many visitors to Oxfordshire villages Bampton, Cogges, Swinbrook, and Shilton is Downton Abbey. The charming village of Bampton was used to film the village of ‘Downton’ and is, therefore, one of the most popular places to visit for Downton Abbey fans along with Cogges Manor Farm, used in the TV drama as the Yew Tree Farm.
There are many things to do in the Cotswolds, with the area covering towns such as Woodstock, Witney, Burford, Bampton, Minster Lovell, and Moreton-in-Marsh. The best way to explore the area will be to book a guided tour; cycling, walking or driving! The local guides can guide you through the villages and introduce you to some of the best local hidden gems you would not have heard about. Whilst Summer is the busiest and the most popular time to visit, Autumn and Winter are known to amaze visitors with blazing Autumn colours and beautiful frosty views in Winter.
Maps & Guidebooks
Looking to venture out and explore the Cotswolds yourself? We have a range of maps and guidebooks available including the popular 40 Town and Country Walks that is sure to take you on an enticing walk.
Read on to find out more about what you can see and do to experience the Cotswolds that will leave you wanting to visit again!
Where is The Cotswolds?
How to get to The Cotswolds
66: Oxford to Swindon
The Stagecoach bus route 66 runs from Oxford to Swindon via Faringdon, Bessels Leigh, Fyfield, Southmoor and Buckland.More info
7: Oxford to Blenheim Palace and Woodstock via Oxford Parkway
The 7 service connects Oxford to Blenheim Palace and Woodstock via Summertown, Oxford Parkway and Kidlington. Buses depart every 30 minutes.More info
S1: Oxford to Witney and Carterton
The S1 service connects Oxford-Botley-Eynsham-Witney-Curbridge and Carterton. Buses depart up to every 15 minutes.More info
S2: Oxford to Witney and Carterton
The S2 connects Oxford and Carterton, via Summertown, Eynsham and Witney. Buses depart every 30 minutes.More info
S3: Oxford to Chipping Norton via Blenheim Palace
The S3 service links Oxford to Chipping Norton, via Summertown, Yarnton, Begbroke, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Old Woodstock, Over Kiddington and Enstone. Buses depart every 20 minutes.More info
Things to do in The Cotswolds
The discovery of a bequest made to the National Library of Wales in 1939 by Mary Frances Vivian Lobb has inspired this eye-opening exhibition, “Mary Lobb — From Cornwall to Kelmscott”. It is the first exhibition to focus on Miss Lobb (1878–1939), the companion of 22 years to May Morris while May lived at Kelmscott Manor (rural Oxfordshire). May, a designer and embroidery historian in her own right, was the younger daughter of famous Victorian designer, poet and social thinker…
Don't miss our Illuminated Evenings on Saturdays and Sundays from 14th October to 17th December, and every day from 20th December to 24th December. The Farm will be open all day as normal, but when daylight fades the entire Enchanted Walk will become a magical wonderland of fairy lights, which will delight children and adults. The Mermaid Garden, Giant's Camera, The Extinct Band, Giant Party Poppers, and Light Fountains will be a blaze of colour and the Hex Water Fountain…
Come and enjoy our family-friendly Museum and make something special to take home! £2 per child. Adults and children under 3 FREE. Each Open day has a different theme and activity: Wednesday 25th October 2-4pm – Halloween lanterns Wednesday 20th December 2-4pm – Sparkly Christmas decorations Wednesday 14th February 2-4pm – Precious gifts for a loved one Wednesday 4th April 2-4pm – Spring surprises! Wednesday 11h April 2-4pm – Crazy junk models