England The Cotswolds

WEEKEND BREAKS IN

The Cotswolds

Honey-yellow limestone villages, waves of hills, sheep grazing lazily. Welcome to The Cotswolds, friends - where the weekends come extra slow.

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 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.

PAINSWICK

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!

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CIRENCESTER

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!

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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!

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GLOUCESTER

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.

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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...

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COSY COTTAGES

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...

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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.

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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.

INSPIRATION

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.

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INSPIRATION

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!

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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.

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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.

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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...

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Don't Miss

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...

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TRIED & TESTED

Gin's up at The Cotswolds' Gin Pantry, Kelmscott

Step into the Plough Hotel, Kelmscott, offering unique gin experiences to get spirits flowing

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DAY TRIP

Full day tour of the Cotswolds from London

Escape the big smoke for charming scenery, historic towns and cute villages!

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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