WEEKEND BREAKS IN
Why weekend in the Cotswolds?
It's preposterously pretty
A honey-colour county, the Cotswolds sits in the southwest of England and covers almost 800 square miles: from Bath to Stratford-Upon-Avon, from Oxford to Cheltenham.
Largely bypassed by the Industrial Revolution, the Cotswolds is a rural place with a rustic soul that was built, mostly, by wealthy cloth merchants between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Most of its historical houses, manor houses, and churches have been beautifully preserved, which means many of the villages in the Cotswolds come with a sleepy rural vibe that’s not of the modern world.
A weekend in the Cotswolds promises a slow-pace, plenty of fresh air, beauty at every turn, and dreamy countryside views. It’s also incredibly dog-friendly and is perfect for walkers and hikers thanks to The Cotswolds Way (a national trail of 102 miles). In short: you’re going to love it.
INSPIRED PLACES TO STAY IN THE COTSWOLDS
Handpicked by us
Achingly sweet self-catering cottages and apartments, traditional and modern hotels, warm and friendly B&Bs and guest houses, gorgeous pubs and restaurants with rooms, and unusual places to stay – yes, the Cotswolds has the lot. Here are some of our favourites to kick-start your planning.
Eccentrically brilliant: St. Michaels Bistro, Painswick
This 17th-century bistro-come-boutique B&B has 5 guests rooms that'll charm the sock off any visitor!
Finnish log house, anyone? Log House Holidays, Cirencester
We check into Moondara, at log House Holidays, and discover a lakeside log house you'll never want to leave!
COTSWOLDS WATER PARK
Lakeside, modern luxury awaits at Endless Sky
Oh hello, lakeside views and full-length roof terrace, we've been waiting for you!
Unique & unusual: SULA Lightship will really float your boat
Beautifully restored and transformed, SULA Lightship is a self-catering floating home in Gloucester’s historic docklands.
Tried & Tested
Wonderful winter nights at The Falcon, Painswick
Even in stormy weather this historic inn doesn't lose its composure. We checked in - and didn't want...Read more
Oh my: romantic cottages and barns for all year long weekends
Cute as a button, these romantic cottages and barns come from out partner, VRBO. With our seal of ap...Read more
Pubs With Rooms
Hip, hot, happening: The Old Stocks, Stow-on-the-Wold
A traditional Cotswold hotel with dreamy rooms, fabulous food and a devilish personality.Read more
EPIC THINGS TO DO IN THE COTSWOLDS
Imaginative and unmissable
Experiences and events, festivals and feasts, sights and sounds – the Cotswolds has so much going on all year round, whatever type of short break you’re after. Here are just some Cotswold things to do that we think will make your Cotswold weekend break rock.
Walk on the wild side with the Cotswold forager
Armed with over 20 years’ of foraging experience, the Cotswold Forager is ready to treat you to nature’s bountiful larder.
Glitter and yoga balls: We check out the Soul Circus Festival
A 3-day extravaganza of yoga, meditation, wellness, food and music. We're in!
Eat & Drink
Would you like a sunset with that? Blissful outdoor restaurant
Forget snobbish surroundings and overly stiff waiters, The Scenic Supper serves up fine dining in fabulous outdoor glass houses.
Eat & Drink
Bake cakes and treats in a traditional Cotswolds cottage
Cook up a feast with a wonderful cooking class – run by passionate home cook, Annabel. From her beautiful Cotswold home.
Why not try?
Arty weekend? Try glass-blowing, painting or pottery
Head to the New Brewery Arts in Cirencester for workshops and classes that'll flex your creative mus...Read more
The Number ONE Brownie Destination in the Cotswolds
Head to the historic market town of Fairford and find 7a Coffee Shop where world-famous brownies are...Read more
TRIED & TESTED
Gin's up at The Cotswolds' Gin Pantry, Kelmscott
Step into the Plough Hotel, Kelmscott, offering unique gin experiences to get spirits flowingRead more
Full day tour of the Cotswolds from London
Escape the big smoke for charming scenery, historic towns and cute villages!Read more
TOP PLACES TO VISIT IN THE COTSWOLDS
Weekend Guides & Itineraries
Where to go, what to do – here are our top guides and itineraries for you to use, all tried and tested by us. If your chosen village or town guide isn’t featured yet, don’t fret – we’re updating content all the time, so be sure to sign up for The Weekend Edit to get updates on new content added to the site.
Easy Peasy Weekends
A Fabulously Festive Weekend in Cheltenham
For a pre-Xmas break to jingle your baubles, Cheltenham is filled with festive spirit. We checked it out!
Easy Peasy Weekends
Fall in love with: Burford in the Cotswolds
Where to go, where to stay, and what to do whilst you're weekending in Burford, the southern gateway to the Cotswolds.
Oh my: The best villages for a Cotswolds' weekend
Lovely villages just ripe for a short break in the 'Wolds.
Easy Peasy Weekends
Go local: 17 things to do in Cheltenham
World-class festivals, incredible local restaurants, independent shops and a buzzing cultural scene - here's our sweep of the best of it.
The best restaurants in the Cotswolds - by locals
We asked Cotswolds' locals where to go for fine dining. This is what they said.
WORTH THE DETOUR
Cotswold towns and villages you’d be bonkers to miss
The Cotswolds is an unfussy landscape, dotted with a necklace of picture-book villages and elegant towns. Some get jam-packed come the summer; others stay quiet all year long.
We recommend an off-season weekend break so you can check out the delights of popular spots like Bourton-on-the-Water (known as the Venice of the Cotswolds), Chipping Camden, Broadway, and Stow-on-the-Wold without losing your sanity.
Of all the places to see in the Cotswolds (that tend to stay slightly quieter peak season), our favourites have to be Cirencester – the self-styled affluent “Capital of the Cotswolds”. Tetbury – favourite hangout of Prince Charles and Camilla, and Painswick, set in the rather charming Slad Valley.
GOOD TO KNOW
The best time to visit the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds holds its charms all year long – but some seasons are better than others if you prefer relaxing weekends over active ones.
In spring, the region pops into colour flooding your irises with lavender fields, bluebells and snowdrops, and neatly blossomed parklands. The weather is milder, so you can get plenty of walking under your belt. Plus, visit before or after Easter, when the schools are in session, and the crowds are smaller.
In summer, prepare to do battle with people – lots of people. Especially in the region’s honeypot towns and villages. Having said that, the weather is (usually) better and the days longer, so you can sink into the pea-green countryside or splash by the Cotswolds Water Park to your heart’s content.
In autumn, the crowds disperse and the countryside lights up with rust-coloured leaves, golden harvested fields, and the scent of log fires – perfect for a romantic weekend sight-seeing. In winter, the Cotswold magic deepens – it’s quieter still; pubs twinkle with locals and fairylights sparkle around towns and villages. There’s a unique atmosphere and plenty of festive activities to join in with.
NEED TO KNOW
Getting to the Cotswolds
Distance from London: The Cotswolds is 80 miles from London, and easy to visit just for the day if’d you’d prefer a short, sharp 24hr trip.
Nearest airport: Bristol
By Rail: There are main line trains to the Cotswolds from London, the Midlands and the North and the South West of England. Stopping at Cam and Dursley, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Kemble (for Cirencester), Moreton-in-Marsh, Stonehouse, Stroud and Ashchurch (for Tewkesbury).
By Bus: The National Express runs to Gloucestershire and The Cotswolds regularly from London, starting at Victoria Coach Station. Stopping at Cheltenham, Gloucester and Stroud.
By Road: Reach the Cotswolds easily via the M4, M5 and M40, to and from London, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol.