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Things to do in the Cotswolds this spring

Posted: Wed, 8th Mar 2023
Spring blossom in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is a beautiful part of the country to visit at any time of year, but it really comes to life in the spring. Blooming with happy yellows, bright blues and vibrant greens the air is alive with the fresh scent of new flowers and wild plants. If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this spring, countryside walks are now accompanied by a backdrop of bluebells and daffodils while you forage for wild garlic and spot lambs frolicking in the fields. Towns and villages become sun-kissed giving the golden Cotswold stone a warm glow and emphasising the beauty of this region. No matter what you choose to do during your stay this spring make sure you don’t miss out on these special events.

Flowering at its Finest

Painswick Rococo Garden

This beautiful garden is a unique example of the Rococo style with woodland walks, hidden valleys and mazes surrounded by Cotswold views. It has been restored to show its original splendour which would have been enjoyed as a pleasure garden in the 1700s. In spring the trees begin to be covered in their green splendour and the ground is a carpet of colour. Over 9,000 bulbs including tulips and bluebells and a wonderful display of roses are on offer during spring. Wild garlic flourishes in the shady woodlands and is taken advantage of by being incorporated into the café menu along with other ingredients from the kitchen garden. The Rococo Garden is a wonderful garden to explore and get up close to nature in the Cotswold springtime sunshine.

Where to stay: Stable Cottage at Freams Farm, Court Cottage, Locks Cottage

Evesham Blossom Trail

Between March and May the Vale of Evesham becomes host to the Blossom Trail, a display of delicate whites through to pinks which begin the cycle of life on pear, plum, apple, damson and cherry trees throughout the area. Pershore was once dominated by plums and the fruit is celebrated at a festival later in the year during the August harvest. The blossom trail stretches 45 miles from Pershore to Broadway passing through Evesham and villages along the way. It can be cycled, enjoyed in part on foot or you can discover the entire route by car. These delicate blossoms look spectacular with the lush green background of farmland and open country.

Where to stay: Gras Lodge, Box Cottage, Rose Cottage

Badminton Horse Trials

Racing Returns

Badminton Horse Trials

The Badminton Estate hosts events throughout the year but in spring you can attend the much-anticipated Badminton Horse Trials from the 4 – 8 May. This international competition begins with the horse inspection through to dressage and the cross-country event at the end of the week before the final show jumping. Alongside these events there are over 500 trade stands to browse in this incredibly grand setting. This year’s trials will be an especially historic event as it falls on the same weekend as the Coronation of King Charles III and the service will be broadcast to ensure nobody misses out on this celebration. In spring the gardens at Badminton House are also open to the public for two days so you can view the roses, kitchen garden, laburnum archways and formal beds.

Where to stay: Swangrove House, Chapel Walk Cottage, Grindstone Mill

Cheltenham Festival

Spring on the horizon means it’s time for Cheltenham to come alive for the famous festival, a four-day event running from 14 March. Renowned as the greatest racecourse in the world, Cheltenham has a buzzing atmosphere, and the festival is an unforgettable experience that can’t be missed. Each day has its own pivotal races and the final day of the festival is the Gold Cup where winning horses and their jockeys go down in history. If you are visiting Cheltenham for the racing, be sure to spend time in this Regency Spa town which is full of blooming bulbs in the picturesque parks at this time of year.

Where to stay: Green Farm House, Tom’s Barn, Brockhampton Cottages


Wonderfully Wild Walks

Winchcombe Walking Festival

Known as the walking capital of the Cotswolds, Winchcombe has a ‘walkers are welcome’ status with circular routes and around seven long-distance trails that pass close by. In spring you can immerse yourself in nature and discover the delights of the season for yourself on easy to follow self-guided routes. To make the most of this time of year, you can also join a walk during the walking festival from 19-21 May 2023. There are 21 walking options most of which are led by knowledgeable locals who can tell you more about the flora and fauna you pass along the way. It is an award-winning event where you get to see parts of the country that may have otherwise passed you by unnoticed.

Where to stay: Barebones Farm, Paddock Cottage, Queen Mary Cottage at Sudeley Castle

Foxholes Nature Reserve

This nature reserve is a tranquil woodland where bluebells thrive creating a blanket of blue amongst the tree trunks. Nothing epitomises spring in the UK quite like a relaxed walk where you can take your time to spot the local wildlife and plants which draw so many people to the Cotswolds each year. A short route of less than two miles is waymarked through the reserve though there are other longer trails that extend from this. The best time to go is between April and May when the bluebells will be at their finest but remember to also keep an eye out for butterflies fluttering past while you stroll.

Where to stay: Brock Cottage, Crofter’s Barn, Church Cottage

Awe-Inspiring Arboretums

Batsford Arboretum

Take a trip to the east and surround yourself in cherry blossoms at Batsford Arboretum which holds the national collection of Japanese flowering cherries. This beautiful display ranges from white to deeper pinks making these gardens blush with colour. Amongst the trees you will find the whites of snowdrops, yellow daffodils and bluebells making it look as though the ground has been painted by an artist’s brushstrokes. A number of the flora found here isn’t native to the UK including the handkerchief tree with its delicate white blooms fluttering in the spring breeze.

Where to stay: Bay Tree Cottage, Pilgrim Cottage, Swift Cottage

Westonbirt Arboretum

While most visitors will head to Westonbirt to see their collection of over 15,000 trees it is well worth paying attention to the lawns and shaded areas during spring when bulbs are also a highlight. On your walk around the park you will find many endangered species including the beautiful magnolia which can start to flower in May showing its candy-floss coloured delicate white and pink foliage. The treetop walkway gives you a new viewpoint and really showcases the different colours found throughout the arboretum. There is also an activity trail for children so the whole family can immerse themselves in the delights of this forest.

Where to stay: Charlton Cottage, Red Devon House, Hillside Cottage

Read more: 10 favourite bluebell woods in the Cotswolds

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