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Cool guide to the Cotswolds

Posted: Tue, 31st Jan 2023
The Big Feastival

Everyone knows that the Cotswolds are stunningly beautiful, with pretty villages tripping over themselves with quaintness, gorgeous gardens and scenic views in every possible direction. Combine this with sheep peeping over drystone walls and ancient pubs filled with characterful locals and you might well ask what more you need. Well, we’d like to introduce you to the cool guide to the Cotswolds.    

Cool Cotswolds Outdoor Pursuits

Outdoor activities are found in every corner of the Cotswolds, and we’ve collated a few of our favourite ideas. Depending on your preferred activity level there is something here for all. The suggestions below include a few that are quirky, a couple that will raise the adrenalin levels a little and one or two which offer hands-on tutoring of some very traditional country pursuits.

Fat Squirrel Outdoor Co

Regardless of age, the Fat Squirrel Outdoor Co puts the fun in getting back to nature. Get back to basics and enjoy the elements. Build a den, play on the giant swing, or try your hand at axe throwing and bushcraft. This unique company offers brilliant adventure activities, in addition to campfire evenings.

Wild Carrot

Exchange four wheels for two, or one if you’re feeling confident, with bike hire and guided cycle tours at Wild Carrot. The unique Onewheel is best described as an electric skateboard and balance and dexterity are key. It’s a bit like snowboarding, without the snow. If you were a skater-kid, you’ll love these. For a longer ride try the off-road guided experience.  

Aerosuperbatics

We think this is the epitome of cool Cotswolds. Up the adrenalin levels with a bucket-list-worthy wing-walking experience. Take in the magnificent Cotswolds from the wing of a biplane, it’s not for the faint-hearted but just think of the stories you’ll be able to tell afterwards. For the real thrill-seekers, once you’ve completed your first wing walk you are then eligible for a loop-the-loop experience that is only available for second-timers…if you’re brave enough that is!

Ian Coley Shooting School

For the perfect country pursuit experience head to the Ian Coley Shooting School. Opened by six-time Olympic GB coach Ian this is one of the best clay pigeon shooting schools in the country. Perfect for every skill level, even if you have none, this is a very cool Cotswold experience.

Cotswold Driving Experience

Designed to give a taste of true off-roading to the everyday driver, a driving experience here will enable you to discover the Cotswold Water Park at a slightly different angle – perhaps vertical! After a thorough safety briefing, get behind the wheel and tackle the course yourself. It’s a little different to the usual commute.  

Cotswold Mountain Biking

Get the heart rate pumping with a Cotswold mountain biking experience. With electric bikes also available, all fitness levels can be catered for. Your local guide will tailor the trail to your needs and experience and the ride is private to your group. It’s the perfect way to get out in the fresh country air.

Cool Cotswolds for Foodies

We can guarantee that wherever you choose to stay in the Cotswolds you will not go hungry. With outstanding pubs, award-winning cafes, street food and fresh produce literally straight from the field, the foodie experiences here are some of the best in the country.

The Cotswold Forager

Spend a few hours in the company of Cotswold Forager Rob Gould and you’ll leave with a greater appreciation for the natural world around you and the bounty it delivers. Join a foraging walk, a forage and feast, where you prepare and then dine on your finds, alternatively book a private experience for your party.

Natural Cookery School

Hone your own cookery skills with a small group cookery lesson with Erin, owner of the Natural Cookery School in Nailsworth. Depart with a new-found talent, recipe cards and if you’ve not been greedy, the leftovers. Alternatively, why not host a private cooking party in the comfort of your holiday cottage for a very cool Cotswolds experience?

Daylesford Cookery School

The cookery classes at Daylesford (part of the eponymous Bamford empire) are driven by what’s in season and what’s growing on the farm. Expand your knowledge of vegan dishes, how to prepare game and whip up simple suppers. For the ultimate Daylesford experience combine your cookery class with a blissful spa treatment.  

Michelin-Star Dining

Whilst there is much charm, and indeed superb gastronomy fare found in the delightful pubs and inns across the Cotswolds, the region also plays host to a plethora of fine dining establishments. Michelin stars are much coveted and hard to come by, and we’re blessed with one or two. In Cheltenham try for a table at Le Champignon Sauvage or the Olive Tree in Bath. Restaurant Hywel Jones at Lucknam Park, The Royal Oak in Whatcote and Salt in Stratford-upon-Avon should also be on your list as Michelin-starred dining spots.  

Stroud Farmers’ Market

We couldn’t talk about food in the Cotwolds without mentioning Stroud Farmers’ Market. There are many fabulous markets all across the region but there is something rather special about Stroud. This Grandad of the Cotswold market scene takes place each Saturday, is a much-loved celebrity haunt and everything comes from within a 17-mile radius of the town.

Cool Cotswolds Tipples

With access to so much incredible local produce, it stands to reason that there is an abundance of cool Cotswold producers dedicated to the creation of outstanding beverages. Scattered across the countryside are breweries, vineyards and distilleries, where you can sip and slurp your way through an afternoon.

Cotswold Distillery

Tucked away in beautiful countryside at the northern tip of the Cotswolds is the Cotswold Distillery. Known for their Cotswold gin, their first passion was actually whisky. Whisky takes time and patience to produce, but after three years of planning, the Cotswold Distillery’s signature malt whisky, the first to be distilled in the  Cotswolds, was released. Spend an enjoyable few hours in one of the gin or whisky master classes or join a tour and tasting. Takeaway samples are thoughtfully provided for drivers.

Bikes & Brewing at Donnington’s

Combine a fun e-bike and brewing experience at historic Donnington Brewery near Stow-on-the-Wold. Depending on your tipple of choice choose between the art of brewing real ale, or the alchemy of Bavarian-style craft lager. Tours include a scenic e-bike ride, private tour and tastings followed by lunch.   

Little Oak Vineyard

Whilst wine and the Cotwolds might not be natural companions, there are a couple of spots where the lay of the land lends itself perfectly to wine production. Just outside the delightful village of Chipping Campden is one such place. Producing white and an award-winning sparkling wine, Little Oak Vineyard is a truly delightful enterprise with tours, tastings, and lunch available.

Brennan & Brown Gin

This artisan gin company is based in Cheltenham and invites visitors to imbibe in gin-tasting sessions or blend their own in the Ginspiriational Experience Lab. After learning a little about the botanicals used, you will create, measure and mix your own bespoke gin flavours, and then distil it to bottle and take home. Whilst the stills work their magic there’s time for a tour of the flavour nurseries too.

Private Wine Tasting

For an exceptional wine experience, we recommend hosting your own private tasting in the comfort of your holiday cottage. Working with Corks of Evesham or Vinotopia enables you to create an evening which is designed entirely for you. Choose your tasting by region, country or colour or allow the wine connoisseur to surprise you.  

Cool Cotswolds Festivals

Starting with The Festival™ in March and running throughout the year, the Cotswolds plays host to some of the finest festivals in Great Britain. Horses, music, literature, hot air balloons, food, or aeroplanes, simply take your pick for a fabulous festival extravaganza.

The Festival

Cheltenham Festival is famous across the world. Held at Cheltenham Racecourse, the home of jump racing, be part of the four-day Festival and experience Cheltenham come to life as locals and visitors alike partake in the highs and lows of the event.

Cheltenham Literature Festival

The grandad of literary festivals brings together some of the biggest names in the literary world and the Cheltenham Literature Festival is a must-do event for book lovers of all ages. Listen to your favourite author reading extracts from their work, answering Q&A sessions and discovering what makes them tick. Younger readers can enjoy sessions with authors of their beloved bedtime stories.

Big Feastival

This super-duper family affair combines fantastic local food, a star-studded musical line up, and good old-fashioned fun. The Big Feastival is perfect for families with children of all ages, including tiny ones. There’s plenty for the grown-ups to enjoy too, with fantastic local food and drink in the food village and supper club.

Wilderness Festival

Each year the four-day Wilderness Festival is packed full of music, theatre, arts, food, talks and workshops. The ethos of this unique festival is that of family, togetherness and well-being. You’ll be made to feel as important as the artists who create it.

Read more: Best restaurants in the Cotswolds to book now

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