48 hours in the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds is the perfect place for a weekend break. It’s easily accessible from a lot of places in the UK (just 90 minutes from London by train) and has plenty to see, do, taste and try! Choosing what to do during your weekend mini break can be overwhelming, and it’s always good to have a plan to help you make the most of your time in this glorious part of England. In the spirit of The New Yorker’s famous ‘36 hours in’ guides, we’ve put together our very own guide of how to spend 48 hours in the Cotswolds!
Unpack your bags and then head into Cirencester for dinner. There’s a great selection of eateries in this beautiful market town, see some of our top recommendations below:
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Rise and shine! It’s time to head to Sudeley Castle and Gardens for a morning of delving into the illustrious past of the Grade I listed castle that dates back to the 10th Century. Located just outside of Winchcombe, the pretty, historic market town is home to plenty of lovely eateries and makes for an ideal lunch spot.
Jump back in the car, and head to the infamous Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water, just a 20-minute drive away. Bourton is a quintessential Cotswold town, partitioned by the River Windrush and its iconic low stone bridges. There’s plenty of shops and curiosities to explore here, and several lovely cafes and tearooms for a slice of cake or cream tea. Favourites include, Bakery on the Water and The Rose Tree Restaurant.
If you’re looking for dinner somewhere a little bit special on Saturday evening, why not head to The Slaughters Manor House just on the outskirts of Bourton-on-the-Water. This contemporary country manor house is home to a renowned restaurant that uses the very best Cotswold produce to craft exciting new menus. Alternatively, The Wild Rabbit, just a short drive away at Kingham, is another fantastic restaurant. Part of Daylesford Organic Farm, The Wild Rabbit has a constantly changing seasonal menu that uses local produce, primarily from Daylesford, as well as the surrounding area.
On Sunday morning, head to the lovely Cotswold town of Burford. From its rich coaching history to the beautiful architecture, Burford is a popular Cotswold destination for tourists from all over the world, no matter what time of year. The sloping high street provides perhaps one of the most iconic streetscapes of the Cotswolds, greeted at the bottom by the charming River Windrush and medieval bridge. If you’re feeling active, there’s a lovely 5-mile circular route called The Windrush Circular that takes you along the River Windrush, through the parishes of Swinbrook and Asthall, eventually bringing you back to Burford. Download a helpful PDF map and instructions here.
After all that walking, you’ll probably be in the mood for a hearty lunch before you head home. The Maytime Inn at Asthall is actually on the walking route if you fancy stopping along the way, or you could head back in the car after you’ve finished your walk. The popular pub serves traditional roast dinners every Sunday, and also has a fantastic gin collection. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something different to a traditional Sunday roast, head to the nearby Upton Firehouse and enjoy one of their year-round indoor BBQ buffets, choosing from a huge variety of meats, fish and accompanying salads!
If you’ve got a little time to spare before heading home, be sure to check out the Burford Garden Company, offering a fabulous array of plants, garden accessories, furniture, fashion, homeware, art and much more.
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If you’re considering more of an activity-based day, head over to The Cotswold Distillery and join one of their fun and informative distillery tours. Tours cost £15 per person and must be pre-booked, taking place at 11am, 1pm and 3pm every day of the week. The distillery has recently opened a new visitor centre, with a shop, tasting room and café.
The eponymous gin brand of the Cotswolds was founded in 2014 by Daniel Szor, a native New Yorker with a passion for all things gin and whisky and would have to be in our 6 best Cotswold gins. Crafted entirely at the Cotswold Distillery in Shipston-on-Stour, the Cotswolds Dry Gin is a firm favourite in the craft gin world, distilled with nine carefully selected botanicals: juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, Cotswold lavender, bay leaf, hand-peeled fresh lime, pink grapefruit zest, cardamom and black peppercorn. The resulting flavour is rich, delicious and abundant with essential oils.