Don’t let the rain ruin your holiday
Naturally, we try to organise the sun to shine on all of our guests during their stay in one of our Cotswold holiday cottages. However, one reason why the Cotswolds is so green and beautiful is that it does, of course, rain at times. We understand that can be a bit dispiriting when it rains during a longed-for break, so we’re here to help you have a memorable holiday, even in your rain gear, with our top things you can do in the Cotswolds on a rainy day.
Indoor retail therapy
Who doesn’t like a bit of retail therapy when they’re on holiday? The Cotswolds and nearby areas has some fab-u-lush covered shopping spots that are spread nice and evenly from north to south and west to east. Here are our top rainy day shopping locations:
- Bicester Village
- Cabot’s Circus in Bristol
- Cribbs Causeway just north of Bristol
- Regent’s Arcade in Cheltenham
- Swindon Designer Outlet
- The Quays at Gloucester (lots of outlets)
- Westgate Shopping Centre in Oxford
Visit a museum
The Cotswolds and its immediate surroundings are blessed with a huge range of museums, ranging in size from the bijou Charlbury Museum to the much bigger (and free to enter) Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. A museum is great value, not only providing a focus for the day, but also post-visit activities that everyone can enjoy come rain or shine. Here are 12 museums in and around the Cotswolds:
- Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
- Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol
- Charlbury Museum, Charlbury
- Cotswold Motor Museum & Toy Collection, Bourton-on-the-Water
- Gordon Russell Design Museum, Broadway
- Holst Birthplace Museum, Cheltenham
- Jet Age Museum, Gloucester
- Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
- Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford
- Tudor World, Stratford-upon-Avon
- Wellington Aviation Museum, Moreton-in-Marsh
- Winchcombe Museum, Winchcombe
Be epic with some indoor bowling, mini-golf and a touch of escapism
Head to Cheltenham and Mr Mulligan’s, which has two epic, indoor adventure golf courses, electro-darts, escape rooms, shuffleboard and pool. It is a family-friendly fun experience for all. Work your way through a land where the jungle meets the sea and 36 holes of miniature golf weave through multiple obstacles.
Go puddle jumping
Get your rain gear and wellies on and go get really wet! Many of our cottages have big utility rooms, which are perfect for disrobing after a thoroughly good puddle jumping session. A few cottages that come to mind that have perfect towelling down utility rooms are Court Cottage, Hyde Tyning, Colebrook, Temple Guiting Cottage, Grindstone Mill, Old Manse, Lower Lodge Barn, Poplar House, Maple House and Hill View Rise.
See a show at the theatre
Head to the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham, which was designed by famed architect Frank Matcham, who was responsible for the London Palladium, Coliseum and Hippodrome amongst others, and has been entertaining audiences since 1891. The theatre showcases a wide range of productions encompassing ballet, opera, music, and comedy as well as musicals and a hugely popular Christmas pantomime.
Go for a dry ride on a steam train
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway runs whatever the weather, and though you may not be able to see out the windows in a heavy downpour, most of the time you will! And it’s so much fun – whatever your age – to steam along the 10 miles between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway. If you’re visiting during December, you may be lucky enough to get a ride on the Santa Special.
Visit a castle
The Cotswolds has some stunningly beautiful castles. Not all come with rooves, however, so some wouldn’t be much fun in the rain, but these three do have rooves and have plenty of space and things of interest for all ages to enjoy and explore:
- Berkeley Castle: this beautiful castle has been in the Berkeley family for 900 years, with the family able to trace their history from father to son back to the Saxon era. A family ticket includes entrance to this fairy-tale castle and gardens, a Dragon Trail through the grounds, Jester Explorer sheets to follow the Jester’s Journey through the castle, and entrance to the wooded play area.
- Blenheim Castle: this UNESCO World Heritage Site was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Explore the magnificent palace, which dates back to the 1700s, and the spectacular parklands.
- Sudeley Castle: steeped in one thousand years of history, and the resting place of Henry VIII’s sixth wife Katherine Parr, Sudeley Castle makes for a fascinating day out. There are 10 award-winning gardens set in the 1,200-acre estate, a Pheasantry (housing one of the largest collections in the world of rare and endangered pheasants), and a huge adventure playground.
Head to a spa
We are a little biased here, but we think the Cotswolds is no better place to relax and recharge in one of the country’s finest spas. Head to our blog Top Cotswold spa experiences, which presents a beautiful collection of our favourite Cotswold Spas, including C-Side Spa at Cowley Manor and Barnsley House Spa.
Book an in-cottage pampering session
If heading out to a spa in the wet weather doesn’t appeal, bring the spa to you! We can recommend visiting spa companies to come to you, no matter what the weather is like. Just imagine, you keep cosy and dry inside while a fully-trained therapist comes to you to create a calming and rejuvenating space right inside your holiday cottage.
Play ping-pong Olympics
Some of our holiday cottages have a table tennis table, so if you love this anyone-can-play-game, put everyone’s name in a hat and then pull them out to create a league table – with handicaps, of course, for the youngest and oldest – though watch out, Grandpa may have secret table tennis skills!
- Butts Farm in Poulton, near Cirencester, has a huge dining table that converts into a table tennis table. Recent guests wrote: “Great place to stay. Super spacious and loved the fact that the table turned into a table tennis table. Kept us occupied for hours!”
- Super stylish Colebrook Cottage in Blockley has a dedicated table tennis room, separate from the house – so if play gets a bit boisterous for all members of the group, the players can shut themselves away!
- Cyder Press House in Leigh, near Cheltenham, has an outdoor full-size ping-pong table in the car port, as well as lots of toys in the playroom, including a foosball table that converts into pool, ice hockey and ping pong.
Go hide and seek or squish together like a sardine
There can’t be a generation that doesn’t squeal with delight at the thought of playing Sardines or Hide and Seek. Most homes aren’t great for playing either game for more than a couple of rounds, but we have some holiday cottages that are perfect, with plenty of cubby holes and hiding places to entertain everyone for hours. Here are our top hide and seek-sardine property picks: Mercia House, Pilgrim Cottage, Corn Close, Candlemaker’s Cottage, Cyder Press House, Tom’s Barn, Almsbury Farmhouse, Barebones Farm, Grindstone Mill, Brock Cottage and Old Manse.
Snuggle up in front of a roaring fire
Some days just cry out to batten down the hatches, make a delicious hot drink and curl up with your loved ones in front of a roaring log fire. We’ve got lots of gorgeous holiday cottages with open fires or log burners, which lend themselves perfectly to a fireside snuggle. Here are our favourite fireside retreats: Lovell Cottage, Church Cottage, Brown’s Cottage, Tachbrook, Lily Cottage, Tom’s Barn and 27 Horsefair.
Simply dash across the road to a pub!
Even if the weather is really set in for the day, at some point you might just have to get out for a change of scene. There’s no better place to go than a great Cotswold pub and there’s plenty of them, as demonstrated by the fact that we have over 120 holiday cottages that are a mile or less from a pub while these six properties literally have a pub on the doorstep:
- Apple Store Cottage: The Bell Inn
- Maple House, Poplar House, Rowan House: Ebrington Arms
- Old Fox Cottage: The Fleece
- Springfield: The Black Horse
Plan your next day out
The rain will stop, so gather round and get the maps and local guidebooks out and start planning tomorrow’s adventure. Ask each person in your group what they would like to do and try to work out an itinerary that makes everyone happy. We include a location guidebook with every booking that includes a list of ‘Top 10 Things to Do in… Burford, Bourton-on-the-Water, Cheltenham’ etc.
Forgot your wet weather gear?
If you haven’t bought all your wet weather gear with you, never fear – head to Cotswold Outdoors in Cotswold Water Park or one of the retail centres mentioned above. Or, if you don’t want to splash the cash, and would like to support a charity at the same time, visit a charity shop – they’re bound to have some wet weather gear there.
Not that it rains all the time in the Cotswolds, of course, but because we want our guests to enjoy their leisure time even if there’s a downpour or two, we include a location guidebook with every booking that includes a list of ‘Things to do on a rainy day’.