Best places to visit in the Cotswolds in winter
As the seasons change and we turn back the clocks, the natural message from mother nature is that now is a time to hunker down, relax and ease into a less hurried pace of life. A visit to the Cotswolds during the winter months is the perfect way to explore a very beautiful part of England without the crowds.
We’ve compiled a list of our favourite things to do when the weather turns cold here in the Cotswolds.
Afternoon tea at the Lygon Arms in Broadway
Indulge in a delicious afternoon tea sitting by a roaring fire in the history-laden, 600-year surrounds of the Lygon Arms. Afterwards, take a stroll along the tree-lined high street of Broadway, one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds.
Gin and whisky tasting at the Cotswold Distillery
Nestled in beautiful countryside, the Cotswold Distillery crafts a range of single malt whiskies, gins, and liqueurs. Spend a delightful few hours warming the cockles as you sample their tipples, or book one of their masterclasses and blend your own.
Winter sunsets at Broadway Tower
Perched high on the Cotswold escarpment above the village, Broadway Tower is renowned for its magnificent views. In our humble opinion, these are even better during the winter months when the clear skies glow with colour and the scene could be straight from the pages of a fairy tale with lights twinkling and wood smoke gently rising from the cottages in the valley below.
Regarded as one of the prettiest courses in the country, the Cheltenham Racecourse offers a heady dose of exhilaration and excitement. The winter races can be chilly, especially the New Year’s Day event, so wrap up warm, don your finest tweed and faux-fur, and get ready to mingle with the racing greats.
Although a more general suggestion rather than a place, a Cotswold winter walk with crisp blue skies overhead and a crunchy frost-covered path underfoot is one of the best things you can do. The whole region is crisscrossed with footpaths and walking trails including the Cotswold Way National Trail. Two of our favourites are the Chipping Campden to Broadway walk, which can also be followed as a circular trail and the Painswick to Slad Circular walk. Take a look at our walking guides for more inspiration.
Painswick Rococo Gardens
Designed more than 300 years ago, Painswick is the last surviving rococo garden in the UK. During January and February, the gardens are famed for the glorious carpet of snowdrops blanketing the woodland glades and steep banks in swathes of pure white and vivid green. After a dusting of snow, the gardens are even more beautiful.
Batsford and Westonbirt Arboretums
Blow the cobwebs away with a winter wander through the magnificent arboretums at Batsford, close to Broadway and Moreton-in-Marsh, and Westonbirt, within touching distance of Tetbury. The glades of trees are transformed into magical winter wonderlands, and, after a brisk stroll, you can warm up with steaming hot chocolate and a fat slice of cake from the café.
A Cotswold pub
It wouldn’t be fair to pick a favourite pub, that would be a bit like picking a favourite child. The following however are some of the cosiest around with open fires, wooden beams, bucket-loads of character and offer a very warm welcome from the chill outside. The Five Alls in Filkins is a fabulous 18th century coaching inn with leather chesterfields and log fires , whilst the traditional village settings of both the Kings Head at Bledington and the Fleece Inn in Bretforton are hard to beat. The Wild Rabbit in Kingham and Churchill Arms in Paxford add superb food into the mix.
Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens
Keep the family entertained on a cold day with a visit to the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens. Home to one of the UK’s largest zoological collections, the park provides a home for more than 260 different species of animals, many of which are endangered in the wild. It sits in 160 acres of landscaped parklands and gardens. Enjoy the opportunity to explore this wonderful space with far fewer people around.
Spend some time with your loved ones in the great outdoors courtesy of the utterly fabulous Fat Squirrel Outdoor Co. Master the art of bushcraft, axe throwing and archery, and then once you’ve conquered the campfire it’s time to gather around it and toast marshmallows.