The Cotswolds

Things to do in The Cotswolds

You could never run out of 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.

Tours

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.

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  • 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.

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  • S1: Oxford to Witney and Carterton

    The S1 service connects Oxford-Botley-Eynsham-Witney-Curbridge and Carterton. Buses depart up to every 15 minutes.

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  • S2: Oxford to Witney and Carterton

    The S2 connects Oxford and Carterton, via Summertown, Eynsham and Witney. Buses depart every 30 minutes.

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  • 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.

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Things to do in The Cotswolds

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September 2019

September 18 @ 10:00 am - December 15 @ 5:00 pm
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An event every week that begins at 10:00 am on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, repeating until November 3, 2019

An event every week that begins at 11:00 am on Saturday, repeating until November 3, 2019

An event every week that begins at 2:00 pm on Sunday, repeating until November 3, 2019

Normandy 75: Oxfordshire to the Orne

Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, Park Street
Woodstock, Oxfordshire 0X20 1SN United Kingdom
See website for admission prices

Exhibition charting the Second World War invasion of Normandy by allied forces. Combining information panels from the National Army Museum with the regimental history and artefacts from SOFO's own archives to give an Oxfordshire perspective on D Day and the events surrounding it. SOFO Museum Open Tuesday - Fridays, 10am to 5pm. Saturdays 11am to 5pm, and Sundays 2pm - 5pm. Last admission at 4.15pm.

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October 2019

October 10, 2019 @ 10:00 am - March 16, 2020 @ 5:00 pm

From Istanbul to Oxford: The Origins of Coffee-Drinking in England

Ashmolean Museum, Beaumont Street
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 2PH United Kingdom
Free

The first coffee house in England opened in Oxford in 1651, but the story of coffee began many years earlier in the Ottoman Empire. Discover how coffee made its way to England through an exploration of both Ottoman coffee-related objects and English adaptations, which illustrate the fascinating and complex relationship between the two powers at the time. Gallery 29

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October 10, 2019 @ 10:00 am - March 22, 2020 @ 5:00 pm

A Nice Cup of Tea?

Ashmolean Museum, Beaumont Street
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 2PH United Kingdom
Free

Learn about the untold stories and hidden narratives of empire, trade and transatlantic slavery through this contemporary art installation inspired by the Ashmolean’s European Ceramics collection. A cup of tea represents comfort for many of us, but every sip connects us to the legacy of the British Empire, global trade and transatlantic slavery. The fashion for drinking sweetened tea from China inspired the luxury tea sets in the Ashmolean European Ceramics Gallery. Behind this wealth was the brutal exploitation of enslaved…

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