57 Great Museums, Attractions and Places of Interest in the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds is one of the UK’s official ‘Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and visitors and tourists come from all over the World to visit the picturesque villages, the stunning countryside and to see the beautiful views that we surround ourselves with all over this wonderful region.
But we’re not all about the beauty in the Cotswolds… we’re also about wonderful and fun experiences, sustainable produce and products, great eateries, health and wellness, some of the most luxurious places to stay in the country, as well as interesting and exciting museums, galleries, towns, attractions and places of interest.
This is our list (in no particular order) of
57 Wonderful Museums, Attractions and Places of Interest in the Cotswolds.
1. Broadway Tower
Perched atop the second-highest point of the Cotswolds, Broadway Tower is an architectural marvel that has captivated visitors for centuries. This 65-foot-tall folly, built in 1798, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, stretching across 16 counties. Its unique blend of Gothic and Saxon styles, adorned with turrets and battlements, creates an almost fairytale-like atmosphere.
As you step inside the tower, you’ll embark on a journey through time. The tower’s interior is a treasure trove of historical artifacts, including a fascinating collection of rare books and manuscripts. The tower’s museum showcases its rich history, from its construction as a folly to its role as a printing press and a retreat for Pre-Raphaelite artists.
The highlight of any visit to Broadway Tower is undoubtedly the ascent to the top. As you climb the narrow spiral staircase, anticipation builds with each step. And then, as you emerge onto the roof platform, you’ll be met with a sight that will take your breath away.
The panoramic views from Broadway Tower are simply stunning. On a clear day, you can see for miles across the rolling hills, villages, and towns of the Cotswolds. It’s a truly unforgettable experience.
The Broadway Tower estate is not just about the tower itself. There are also 200 acres of parkland to explore, with woodland trails, meadows, and a deer park. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or a game of hide-and-seek.
Broadway Tower is a great destination for families. There are plenty of things to keep children entertained, from exploring the tower and its grounds to playing in the playground. There’s even a café where you can enjoy a bite to eat and refuel after all your adventures.
Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a unique and memorable experience, Broadway Tower is a must-visit destination in the Cotswolds. With its stunning views, rich history, and family-friendly atmosphere, it’s a place that will leave you feeling enchanted.
2. Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a magnificent Baroque palace located in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England. It was built between 1705 and 1722 to honor John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, for his military victories against the French and Bavarians in the War of the Spanish Succession. The palace is considered one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in England and is also home to a vast parkland, designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.
Blenheim Palace was commissioned by Queen Anne as a gift to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, in recognition of his victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. The palace was designed by Sir John Vanbrugh, who was known for his flamboyant and theatrical style. The construction of the palace was a massive undertaking, involving thousands of workers and taking over 17 years to complete.
Blenheim Palace is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture, characterized by its grand scale, imposing proportions, and intricate detailing. The palace’s exterior is made of Oxfordshire sandstone and features a series of columns, pilasters, and pediments. The interior of the palace is equally opulent, with lavishly decorated state rooms, gilded ceilings, and marble fireplaces.
Blenheim Palace is set within a vast parkland designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, one of the most famous landscape gardeners of the 18th century. Brown’s design for Blenheim Park is considered a masterpiece of landscape architecture, and it features a series of lakes, canals, follies, and woodlands.
3. Brian Sinfield Gallery
The Brian Sinfield Gallery is a haven for art enthusiasts, nestled in the picturesque Cotswolds town of Burford, England. Established in 1972 by Brian Sinfield, the gallery has garnered a reputation as one of the most prestigious exhibition spaces outside London, showcasing exceptional contemporary paintings and sculptures.
Stepping into the gallery is like entering a realm of visual enchantment. The walls are adorned with a captivating array of artworks, each piece meticulously selected for its depth, tone, and originality. The gallery’s focus lies primarily on 21st-century, traditional, and semi-abstract works by a diverse range of British artists.
Whether you’re an experienced art connoisseur or a curious newcomer, the Brian Sinfield Gallery offers an enriching and immersive experience. The gallery’s commitment to showcasing both established and emerging talents ensures that there’s always something new and captivating to discover.
4. Best Cotswold Tours
Best Cotswold Tours will describe and take you to the beautiful and quintessentially English countryside that is the Cotswolds. You will gain insight into everyday Cotswold Life. Each tour is tailored to your own requirements and will be at your speed. You will not be sharing the day with anyone else. The aim is to have a relaxing and memorable day.
5. Chipping Campden
Chipping Campden is quite simply one of the finest towns in the Cotswolds – well-preserved and full of history, but also full of life and bustle. It’s elegant High Street is a delight, described by the historian, G.M. Trevelyan, as “the most beautiful village street now left in the island”: a broad gentle curve flanked on either side by an unbroken sweep of buildings covering a host of architectural styles, with buildings dating back to the 14th century.
6. Batsford Arboretum
Batsford Arboretum is te perfect place to go in the Cotswolds for for nature lovers and garden enthusiasts alike. With its vast collection of trees, shrubs, and flowers, the arboretum offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Established in the 19th century, Batsford Arboretum is home to over 2,800 different species of plants, many of which are rare and endangered. The arboretum’s collection is divided into several distinct areas, each with its own unique character. The Woodland Walk winds through a mature forest, while the Glades and Lawns provide open spaces for relaxation and picnicking. The Walled Garden is a true gem, with its manicured lawns, colorful borders, and fragrant rose beds.
In addition to its stunning plant collection, Batsford Arboretum also boasts a number of historic features. The arboretum’s entrance is marked by a magnificent Victorian gatehouse, and the grounds are dotted with follies and sculptures. The arboretum also houses a museum dedicated to the history of the estate.
A visit to Batsford Arboretum is a truly enchanting experience. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or a day of exploration and discovery, the arboretum is sure to captivate your senses and leave you with lasting memories.
7. Beautiful Broadway
A famous Cotswold beauty spot, and popular throughout the year, Broadway is dominated by a wide main street lined with independent shops, restaurants, hotels and plenty of antique shops. It’s one of the most wonderful towns, in the Cotswolds and anywhere.
8. Chipping Campden Playground
The recreation ground in Chipping Campden is a mere 3-minute walk from the centre of the High Street. It is a wonderful playground that you simply must go visit if you are in the area with children. The beautifully kept lawn is the size of a couple of football fields, with an area for ball games on one end and playground on the other. The playground is well laid out, maintained very nicely and made so there are different activities grouped together so children of various ages will be drawn to areas with equipment they can master. The grounds are perfect for a family picnic or simply for sharing a snack and a drink on a blanket while the kids are running to and from and having a whale of a time.
9. Broadway Playground
Set among beautiful Cotswolds hills and old trees, the playground in Broadway is made of sections with equipment appropriate for various age groups – there’s something for every single age there, something even for adults. There are designated picnic areas, tables and even nice rest rooms, so there’s every opportunity to spend a good few hours on a nice day out with your kids. Located off Broadway High Street, look for the signs to the Leisure Area.
10. Redwings Horse Sanctuary
Redwings Oxhill is home to almost 90 rescued horses, ponies and donkeys, including the most friendly group of cobs known as “The Breakfast Club” because they’re all named after breakfast items! The centre’s staff offer regular ‘Walk and Talk’ tours where you can meet residents large and small – from impressive cuddly cob Rumpel to super fluffy part-Poitou donkey Arya – and the café offers tasty refreshments, while the shop has a range of tempting gifts, homewares and souvenirs.
11. Mary Arden’s Farm
Discover the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of a working Tudor farm on a fantastic family day out at Mary Arden’s Farm. Meet the Tudors who run the farm just as Shakespeare’s mother would have done, watch craft and falconry demonstrations and explore the farmyard, playground and historic buildings in Stratford-upon-Avon.
12. The gardens at Cowley Manor
The garden at one of the most iconic hotels in the Cotswolds, Cowley Manor, is a haven of tranquillity. From an eclectic collection of trees and beautiful plant life that blooms all year around, to the unique sculptures dotted around the grounds, these gardens will inspire you to reconnect with nature, no matter the time of year. Just like the interiors in the hotel, a trip to Cowley Manor’s gardens is full of surprises. Explore the 55 acre estate and discover secret woodland pathways, vibrant sculptures, and relaxing hideaways. Take a look around and soak up the sights, smells, and sounds of this slice of peaceful Cotswold countryside.
13. Highgrove Gardens
Highgrove Gardens, a verdant oasis that has captivated the hearts of gardening enthusiasts worldwide. Under the visionary guidance of His Majesty The King Charles III, these remarkable grounds have blossomed into a symphony of colors, textures, and fragrances, showcasing an extraordinary blend of traditional and contemporary landscaping.
As you step through the gates of Highgrove, you embark on a journey into a realm of horticultural artistry. Each garden, meticulously designed and lovingly nurtured, unfolds like a chapter in a captivating story, revealing the King’s deep connection to nature and his unwavering commitment to sustainable practices.
The Thyme Walk, a fragrant pathway lined with aromatic herbs, sets the stage for an olfactory adventure. As you inhale the invigorating scents of rosemary, thyme, and sage, you’ll feel a sense of tranquility wash over you, preparing you for the wonders that lie ahead.
Next, the Cottage Garden beckons, a riot of vibrant colors and whimsical charm. Meandering paths weave through a tapestry of blooms, where roses, delphiniums, and foxgloves dance in the gentle breeze. The air hums with the melodies of pollinators, drawn to the nectar-rich blossoms that adorn this enchanting haven.
Venturing further into the heart of Highgrove, you’ll encounter the Wildflower Meadow, an expanse of untamed beauty that stretches as far as the eye can see. A kaleidoscope of wildflowers paints the landscape with vibrant hues, creating a mesmerizing spectacle that changes with the seasons.
For a moment of contemplation, seek solace in the Sundial Garden, a serene haven where time seems to stand still. Amidst the fragrant blooms and the gentle trickle of the fountain, you’ll discover a sense of peace and harmony, a reminder of the enduring beauty of nature.
As you wander through the Orchard, laden with apple, pear, and plum trees, you’ll witness the bounty that nature provides. The scent of ripening fruits fills the air, promising a harvest of delectable flavors that embody the essence of the English countryside.
Highgrove Gardens is more than just a collection of beautiful landscapes; it is a living testament to the power of nature to inspire and transform. Every corner of these extraordinary grounds reveals a dedication to sustainability, from the organic farming practices to the use of recycled materials.
14. A lovely walk through the Venice of the Cotswolds
Step into the Cotswold countryside in and around Bourton-on-the-Water. Walk along the river and take in this pretty village, known far and wide for it’s rich architecture and tranquil village scenes, and is often referred to as ‘The Venice of the Cotswolds’.
15. A view from the Top
Stow-on-the-Wold is Cotswold’s highest town and while you may not be able to stand on it ‘hill top’-style, you are able to have a deserving break in one of the abundant cafes in the market square and immerse yourself in the town and it’s history. It was here that the last fight of the English Civil War happened in 1646 and there are many references to this throughout the square in the centre.
16. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
If Shakespeare is your fancy, or his wife for that matter, visit Stratford-on-Avon and tour Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. Take a seat by the riverside at The Dirty Duck, have a sip of wine or ale, and take in the nearby Swan Theatre where many of Shakespeare’s plays are showcased. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage was originally a farmhouse, built in 1463 and comprising of just two rooms. The first Hathaway to live in the house was Anne’s grandfather, John Hathaway, who was a tenant farmer. Anne, later Shakespeare’s wife, was born in the house in 1556.
17. The Slaughters (not what it sounds like)
Walk in your wellies through the charming villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter, both unbelievably pretty and everywhere you look is a snapshot for the perfect Cotswold postcard.
18. The Cotswold Way
Wake up early to catch the sunrise over The Cotswold Way. A 102 mile walk starting in Chipping Campden and travelling through picturesque fields all the way down to Bath in the south of the region, is well worth the morning wake up call.
19. The Cotswold Water Park
Cotswold Water Park is a captivating haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. With over 180 lakes sprawled across 42 square miles, this enchanting landscape offers a mesmerizing blend of tranquility and adventure.
Embark on a journey of discovery as you navigate through this labyrinth of shimmering lakes, each with its unique character and charm. Whether you seek the serenity of a gentle paddle across a tranquil lake or the thrill of windsurfing across a sun-kissed expanse, the Cotswold Water Park has something for everyone.
For the intrepid explorer, a network of cycling and walking trails beckons, inviting you to delve into the heart of this watery wonderland. As you pedal or stroll along these meandering paths, let the tranquility of nature wash over you, and allow yourself to be captivated by the symphony of birdsong and the gentle murmur of the breeze rustling through the trees.
Angling enthusiasts will find themselves in paradise, as the Cotswold Water Park is home to an abundance of fish species, including carp, pike, and trout. Cast your line into these crystal-clear waters and immerse yourself in the serenity of the moment.
As the sun begins its descent, casting a warm glow over the landscape, seek out a cozy spot to savor a picnic or indulge in a delightful meal at one of the many lakeside restaurants and cafes. Let the flavors tantalize your taste buds as you admire the mesmerizing spectacle of the setting sun painting the sky with hues of gold, orange, and pink.
Whether you seek an adrenaline rush or a tranquil escape, the Cotswold Water Park promises an unforgettable experience that will linger in your memories long after your visit has come to an end.
20. All Things Wild
All Things Wild is a fantastic year-round family attraction, comprising of animals, dinosaurs, soft play and much more to discover! With plenty of activities both indoor and outdoor, to keep all ages entertained whatever the weather.
21. Chedworth Roman Villa
Chedworth Roman Villa is a captivating glimpse into the opulent lives of the Roman elite in Britain. This remarkably well-preserved villa, dating back to the 2nd century AD, boasts an extensive complex of buildings, including intricate mosaics, lavish bathhouses, and a serene water shrine.
As you embark on your journey through time, imagine the bustling activity that once filled these halls. Picture the villa’s owner, a wealthy Roman landowner, conducting business, entertaining guests, and enjoying the comforts of his luxurious home.
Beneath your feet, intricate mosaics depicting geometric patterns, mythical creatures, and scenes of everyday life await discovery. These vibrant artworks, crafted by skilled artisans, provide a fascinating glimpse into the artistic tastes and beliefs of the Roman era.
Immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere of the villa’s two bathhouses. Imagine the soothing warmth of the hypocaust heating system, the relaxing aroma of essential oils, and the invigorating sensation of cold plunges. These elaborate bathing complexes were not just for hygiene; they were social hubs and places of relaxation for the Roman elite.
Venture beyond the villa’s main buildings to discover a hidden gem – the water shrine. This serene sanctuary, dedicated to the Roman god of healing, offers a moment of tranquility amidst the grandeur of the villa.
After delving into the villa’s rich history, take a moment to appreciate the picturesque surroundings. Stroll through the tranquil gardens, adorned with wildflowers and ancient trees, and soak in the breathtaking views of the Cotswolds countryside.
A Visit to Chedworth Roman Villa is not just a journey through time; it is an immersion into the grandeur, culture, and daily life of the Roman elite in Britain.
22. Cogges Manor Farm
Cogges Manor Farm, a captivating haven of history and rural charm. This enchanting site, once a thriving agricultural estate, now welcomes visitors to embark on a journey through time, offering a glimpse into bygone eras and the enduring rhythm of farming life.
As you step through the gates of Cogges, you’ll be greeted by the sight of the manor house, a majestic 13th-century structure that has stood witness to centuries of change. Its honey-colored walls, adorned with ivy and framed by towering trees, exude an air of timeless elegance.
Venture inside the manor house and prepare to be transported back to a simpler era. Explore the grand hall, where feasts were once held and tales were spun by the firelight. Admire the intricate craftsmanship of the period furniture, each piece a testament to the skill and artistry of generations past.
No visit to Cogges would be complete without exploring the farm’s extensive grounds. Stroll through the orchard, laden with fruit trees that promise a bountiful harvest. Wander through the walled kitchen garden, where fresh produce was once grown to sustain the manor’s inhabitants.
As you explore, keep an eye out for the friendly farm animals that call Cogges home. Meet the goats, sheep, and pigs, their playful antics sure to bring a smile to your face. Watch as the ducks and geese waddle around, their cheerful quacks adding to the lively atmosphere.
Children will delight in the adventure playground, where they can climb, swing, and slide to their hearts’ content. Let their imaginations run wild as they explore the wooden playhouses and forts, transforming them into castles or pirate ships.
For a taste of the region’s culinary delights, head to the Cogges Kitchen Café. Indulge in freshly baked pastries, homemade sandwiches, and seasonal salads, all prepared with local ingredients. Enjoy your meal in the cozy café or take it outside to savor the tranquil surroundings.
Whether you’re seeking a family day out, a romantic escape, or a chance to delve into local history, Cogges Manor Farm promises an unforgettable experience. With its captivating blend of heritage, nature, and rustic charm, Cogges is a place where time seems to slow down, allowing you to reconnect with the simpler joys of life.
23. Compton Verney
Bringing a love of art and community together, Compton Verney is a not for profit national art gallery that is located in a beautiful park just outside the Cotswolds. A place for all ages, their gallery aims to entertain and inspire all visitors with its highly-acclaimed art exhibitions and wide range of cultural activities. A great place for kids too.
24. Cotswold Farm Park
Cotswold Farm Park is a wonderful place to spend a day with the family. Located in the heart of the Cotswolds, the park is home to over 50 breeds of rare breed farm animals, as well as a variety of activities and attractions.
One of the best things about Cotswold Farm Park is the opportunity to get up close and personal with the animals. You can hand feed the goats, sheep, and pigs, and even watch the lambs being bottle fed. There are also daily demonstrations, such as sheep shearing and cow milking.
If you have young children, they will love the adventure play areas. There is a large indoor play barn, as well as a number of outdoor play areas, including trampolines, swings, and slides.
25. Chastleton House
Chastleton House, a captivating gem of Jacobean architecture that has stood frozen in time for nearly four centuries. Built between 1607 and 1612 by Walter Jones, a prosperous wool merchant, Chastleton House embodies the grandeur and elegance of a bygone era.
As you step through the imposing oak doors, you are immediately transported into a world of rich tapestries, intricate plasterwork, and gleaming antique furniture. The house’s interior is a treasure trove of Jacobean artistry, with each room boasting its own unique character and charm.
The Great Hall, with its soaring ceiling and imposing fireplace, sets the tone for the house’s grandeur. The walls are adorned with portraits of the Jones family, their stern gazes seemingly scrutinizing every visitor who passes through.
The Long Gallery, stretching the entire length of the house, is a remarkable example of Jacobean craftsmanship. Its oak paneling, intricate carvings, and vast collection of portraits create an atmosphere of both elegance and intimacy.
The Parlour, with its warm, inviting atmosphere, provides a glimpse into the everyday lives of the Jones family. The room is filled with comfortable furniture, family heirlooms, and personal mementos, offering a touch of human connection amidst the grandeur of the house.
Stepping outside, you are greeted by the enchanting Best Garden, a haven of tranquility and beauty. The garden’s geometric layout, with its meticulously manicured hedges and topiary, reflects the formality of the Jacobean era.
A stroll along the Wilderness Walk, a meandering path through the garden, provides a welcome respite from the formality of the Best Garden. Here, you can lose yourself in the serenity of nature, surrounded by towering trees and blooming flowers.
A visit to Chastleton House is not complete without paying homage to the Dovecote, a charming stone structure that once housed the house’s doves. Today, the Dovecote stands as a reminder of the house’s rich agricultural heritage.
Over nine acres of gardens and forest, Birdland in the Cotswolds is a must-see. From bird watching and feeding to having a Jurassic Journey (yes, DINOSAURS) and discovering a variety of flora, Birdland is a jam-packed day of fun and exploration.
27. Let’s Go, Cotswolds
Lost on how to fit in both the wonderful town of Stratford-upon-Avon with all the Shakespearean action it has to offer and all the outstanding natural beauty of the Cotswolds into one day of sightseeing? Go Cotswolds offers day tours of both, so without the worry of directions or driving the narrow alleys and roads, this affordable and convenient bus tour is the way to go.
28. The Rollright Stones
Nestled amidst the tranquil countryside of Oxfordshire, England, lies a captivating ensemble of megalithic monuments, collectively known as The Rollright Stones. These enigmatic sentinels, standing silently against the backdrop of rolling hills and verdant meadows, have long held a place of fascination and intrigue, enchanting visitors with their timeless allure.
The Rollright Stones stand as enduring testaments to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of prehistoric communities. Their origins can be traced back to the Neolithic period, between 3800 and 3500 BCE, a time when humans transitioned from a nomadic lifestyle to one rooted in agriculture and settlement. These megaliths, meticulously selected and positioned, bear silent witness to the lives and beliefs of those who erected them.
The Rollright Stones are not merely silent observers of time; they are also the subjects of rich and captivating folklore. Local legends weave tales of a mischievous witch, her transformed knights, and a petrified king, all intertwined with the enigmatic stones. These stories, passed down through generations, add an enchanting layer of mystique to the site.
29. Westonbirt Arboretum
Westonbirt Arboretum is a haven for nature lovers. With over 15,000 trees and shrubs from all over the world, the arboretum is a living tapestry of colors, textures, and fragrances. Whether you’re interested in botany, history, or simply want to enjoy a peaceful stroll among the trees, Westonbirt is a must-visit destination.
The arboretum’s history dates back to the 1830s, when Robert Holford, a wealthy Victorian landowner, began planting trees from around the globe. Holford was passionate about trees, and he envisioned Westonbirt as a place where people could come to learn about and appreciate the natural world.
Today, Westonbirt is home to over 2,500 different species of trees, including towering maples, graceful birches, and ancient oaks. The arboretum is divided into several different sections, each with its own unique character. The Silk Wood, for example, is home to a collection of ancient conifers, while the Acer Glade is a riot of color in the autumn.
In addition to its trees, Westonbirt is also home to a variety of other plants, including shrubs, flowers, and ferns. The arboretum’s trails wind through a variety of habitats, from shady woodlands to sunny meadows. There are also several lakes and ponds, which provide a home to a variety of waterfowl.
One of the most popular attractions at Westonbirt is the STIHL Tree Top Walkway. This elevated walkway allows visitors to experience the arboretum from a different perspective. From the walkway, you can see the trees up close and appreciate their size and beauty.
Westonbirt is also a great place to visit with children. The arboretum has several children’s trails, including the Gruffalo Discovery Trail. This trail is based on the popular children’s book, and it features sculptures of the Gruffalo and his friends.
Westonbirt is open year-round, and there is always something to see and do. The arboretum is a popular destination for walking, cycling, and birdwatching. There are also several events held throughout the year, including concerts, workshops, and family activities.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply looking for a relaxing day out, Westonbirt Arboretum is a great place to visit. With its stunning scenery, diverse plant collections, and family-friendly attractions, Westonbirt is sure to please everyone.
30. The Model Village
Hidden away in the heart of the Cotswolds, nestled amidst rolling hills and quaint villages, lies a miniature world that will transport you to a bygone era. The Model Village in Bourton-on-the-Water is a one-ninth scale replica of the actual village, painstakingly crafted from local Cotswold stone.
Step through the gates and you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of tiny details, from the meticulously thatched roofs of the cottages to the miniature figures going about their daily lives. The River Windrush meanders through the village, its tiny currents carrying boats and barges under the iconic bridges.
As you wander along the winding paths, you’ll discover hidden corners and charming scenes, each one a testament to the skill and artistry of the village’s creators. Take a moment to listen to the gentle strains of music drifting from the miniature church, or watch as the trains chug along their tracks, their tiny engines puffing smoke into the air.
There’s something for everyone at the Bourton-on-the-Water Model Village. Children will be captivated by the intricate details and the sheer scale of the miniature world, while adults will appreciate the historical significance and the craftsmanship that went into its creation.
So whether you’re a history buff, a train enthusiast, or simply looking for a fun and unique day out, the Bourton-on-the-Water Model Village is a must-visit. Prepare to be enchanted by this charming world in miniature, where every detail is a masterpiece.
31. Snowshill Manor
Snowshill Manor is a captivating blend of history, eccentricity, and artistry. Once the home of Charles Paget Wade, an enigmatic collector and visionary, the manor today stands as a testament to his unique passions and the enduring allure of craftsmanship.
Wade, a man of discerning taste and boundless curiosity, spent a lifetime amassing an extraordinary collection of objects, each carefully chosen for its aesthetic appeal, historical significance, or sheer quirkiness. From intricate musical boxes and antique toys to suits of armor and handcrafted tools, Wade’s collection spans centuries and cultures, offering a glimpse into the creative spirit of humanity.
Wade’s approach to displaying his collection was as unconventional as the objects themselves. He transformed the manor’s rooms into theatrical tableaux, arranging his treasures in thematic groupings and employing dramatic lighting and architectural details to create a sense of wonder and intrigue. Each room is a journey into Wade’s imagination, inviting visitors to engage with his unique perspective on the world.
The manor’s enchantment extends beyond its walls, spilling into the surrounding gardens, which Wade meticulously designed in collaboration with Arts and Crafts architect M. H. Baillie Scott. The gardens, a series of interconnected “outdoor rooms,” showcase Wade’s love for color, texture, and fragrance, with formal beds, a model village, an ancient dovecote, and orchards providing a tranquil escape into nature.
Today, Snowshill Manor remains a captivating destination, offering visitors a chance to step into the world of Charles Paget Wade, a man who saw beauty and intrigue in the everyday and the extraordinary. His legacy lives on in the manor’s magical atmosphere, inspiring curiosity, creativity, and a deeper appreciation for the craftsmanship and artistry that enrich our lives.
32. Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) beckons travelers with a promise of stepping back into a bygone era. This heritage railway, lovingly preserved and operated by passionate volunteers, offers a captivating glimpse into the golden age of steam travel.
As you board one of the meticulously restored steam or heritage diesel trains, you’ll be transported to a time when the rhythmic chugging of locomotives echoed through the countryside, connecting communities and fueling the nation’s industrial heart. The GWSR’s tracks follow part of the former Great Western Railway’s main line from Birmingham to Cheltenham, a route steeped in history and rich in local heritage.
The 28-mile round trip between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway unfolds like a moving panorama, showcasing the breathtaking beauty of the Cotswolds. Rolling hills adorned with quaint villages, verdant meadows, and meandering rivers create a picturesque backdrop for your nostalgic adventure.
Whether you’re a seasoned railway enthusiast or simply seeking a unique and memorable experience, the GWSR has something to offer everyone. Admire the intricate craftsmanship of the locomotives, many of which have been lovingly restored to their original glory. Engage with the knowledgeable volunteers who are passionate about sharing their love of steam railways.
33. Cotswold Falconry
Cotswold Falconry Centre, a haven for birds of prey and a captivating destination for nature enthusiasts. As you step through the gates, you enter a realm where eagles soar, owls glide silently, and falcons unleash their breathtaking aerial acrobatics.
Prepare to be amazed by the sheer diversity and magnificence of these feathered predators. Over 150 birds, representing 50 different species, call the Cotswold Falconry Centre their home. Witness the imposing grandeur of the Eurasian eagle-owl, the smallest owl in the world, the Eurasian scops owl, and the majestic European eagle.
Embark on a journey of discovery as you wander through the center’s expansive aviaries. Observe these magnificent creatures up close, learning about their unique adaptations and behaviors. Witness the owls’ nocturnal prowess, the falcons’ lightning-fast strikes, and the eagles’ effortless dominance of the skies.
The center’s daily flying displays are not to be missed. Witness the incredible aerial feats of these birds as they showcase their hunting prowess and breathtaking agility. Watch in awe as they swoop and dive, their wings outstretched, demonstrating their remarkable control and mastery of the air.
34. Cotswold Lavender
All lavender, all the time. Home to the finest English lavender, Cotswold Lavender is rows on rows of beautiful purple lavender. Visitors are able to purchase a variety of lavender products including bath and shower, skincare, oils, and other well-being items.
35. Corinium Museum
Corinium Museum is a treasure trove of Roman history, offering a unique glimpse into the lives of the people who once inhabited this ancient city. As you step through the doors of this award-winning museum, you’ll embark on a captivating journey through time, exploring the rich archaeological heritage of Cirencester, once known as Corinium Dobunnorum, the capital of the Dobunni tribe.
Your journey begins in the Roman galleries, where you’ll be greeted by an awe-inspiring collection of mosaics, the largest found in Britain outside of London. These intricate works of art, depicting scenes from mythology and everyday life, provide a vibrant window into the artistic sensibilities of the Roman era.
Venture further into the museum, and you’ll discover a fascinating array of Roman artifacts, from everyday utensils to elaborate sculptures. These objects offer a tangible connection to the past, allowing you to imagine the lives of the people who used them centuries ago.
As you explore the museum, you’ll also gain insights into the town’s layout and social structure, from the grand public buildings to the modest homes of ordinary citizens. You’ll learn about the Roman baths, once a hub of social and cultural activity, and the impressive amphitheatre, where gladiatorial contests and other spectacles once entertained the masses.
A highlight of the museum is the remarkable Roman town model, a detailed reconstruction of Corinium at its peak. This intricate miniature city brings the ancient town to life, allowing you to visualize the bustling streets, imposing buildings, and the daily lives of its inhabitants.
36. Cirencester Park
The Bathurst Estate and Cirencester Park is meticulously landscaped to bring out the natural beauty of plants, flowers and buildings. Every second and fourth Saturday of every month is a Farmer’s Market, and the Cricket and Beer Festival is always a good time.
37. The Queen of the Cotswolds
This beautiful, historic wool town, sitting in regal hilltop splendour near Stroud, is known as ‘The Queen of the Cotswolds’. It is one of the best-preserved settlements in the Cotswolds, built from mellow honey-coloured stone quarried from nearby Painswick Beacon. Painswick is one of the mot picture-perfect villages in the Cotswolds.
38. Cotswold Motoring Museum
Love cars? Cotswold Motoring Museum takes visitors through the course of motor vehicles in the 20th century. From vintage car collections and classic cars to motorcycles and caravans, the museum is a family friendly afternoon activity.
39. Sezincote Estate and Garden
Sezincote Estate and Garden is a captivating oasis of exotic beauty and tranquil charm. Stepping through its gates is like embarking on a journey to a faraway land, where the enchanting architecture and mesmerizing landscapes transport you to the heart of India.
As you approach the estate, an imposing copper dome emerges from the lush greenery, beckoning you closer. This is Sezincote House, an architectural marvel that stands as a testament to the enduring fascination with the East. Built in the early 19th century, the house is a masterpiece of Mughal design, with its intricate carvings, minarets, and curved orangery.
Beyond the house lies a wonderland of gardens, meticulously designed to complement the Indian theme. Stroll along meandering paths lined with vibrant blooms, pause by serene pools reflecting the sky, and discover hidden grottoes and temples. The gardens are a symphony of colors, textures, and scents, offering a feast for the senses.
A wonderful mix of the traditional and the new, Cheltenham nestles against the Cotswolds as the perfect place to unwind and refresh your mind, body and soul. With unique festival vibes, an abundance of independent and much loved High Street shops, incredible dining experiences from street food to Michelin starred fine dining, Cheltenham is a must-visit town.
41. Stanway Fountain and Gardens
A beautiful example of a Jacobean manor house, Stanway House and Fountain, the tallest gravity fountain in the world, brings together history, architecture and nature in beautiful harmony. From a 14th century Tithe Barn to an 18th century water garden–home to the magnificent Stanway Fountain, Stanway is an experience that will take your breath away.
42. Cirencester Amphitheatre
The Cirencester Amphitheatre is one of the largest natural Roman amphitheatres in Britain. Built in the early 2nd century, it could hold up to 8,000 spectators. An incredibly impressive place… one not to miss.
43. Gordon Russell was here!
Nestled in the picturesque village of Broadway in the Cotswolds, England, lies the Gordon Russell Museum, a hidden gem that celebrates the life and work of one of Britain’s most influential furniture designers, Gordon Russell.
Russell was a pioneer of 20th-century design, bridging the gap between the Arts and Crafts movement and the emergence of Modernism. His furniture was known for its clean lines, elegant proportions, and impeccable craftsmanship, making it a favorite among both discerning collectors and everyday consumers.
The museum is housed in the former showroom and workshops of Russell’s company, Gordon Russell Ltd, which operated from 1920 to 1986. The building itself is a testament to Russell’s design philosophy, with its spacious interiors, natural light, and harmonious blend of traditional and modern elements.
44. See the Cotswolds from the Air
A unique experience among the clouds in the sky, Cotswold Balloon Safaris take guests up in a hot air balloon and tours the below towns and villages of the Cotswolds, leaving guests awe-inspired.
Situated on the edge of the Cotswolds, Woodstock is a fine Georgian town, famous as the home of Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.
46. Poulton Hill Estate
In the heart of the south Cotswolds, just east of Cirencester, lies Poulton Hill Estate, a small, family-run vineyard producing award-winning English wines and spirits. Founded in 2010, the estate has quickly become a leading producer in the English wine industry, with the wines praised for quality and complexity.
The estate’s vines grow on the warm and sunny south-facing slopes of Poulton Hill Estate where they grow a variety of grape varieties, including the white Bacchus, Seyval Blanc and Phoenix to the red Pinot Noir, Regent and Rondo. These grape varieties are carefully blended and balanced to create a range of award winning white, rosé, red, and sparkling wines.
The Square is the heart of this large market town in the Cotswolds. It is surrounded by town houses, independent shops, antique centres, cosy cafes and inns all built in the yellow local stone, and it has been the focus of town life over many centuries, with the medieval market stocks at one end, the ancient market cross at the other and the impressive St Edwards Hall standing in the centre.
48. Chipping Norton
Renowned for its antique shops and diverse shopping offer, including a regular market, Chipping Norton retains a robust living, working market town atmosphere. There is good choice of places to eat and top quality entertainment at the wonderful Theatre, famous for its pantomime and visiting world class performers.
Burford’s famous High Street sweeps downhill towards the River Windrush, its three arched medieval bridge and its impressive church, both sides of the street flanked by an unbroken line of ancient houses and shops.
Brimming with independent shops, cafés and galleries and home to one of the best Farmers’ Markets in the country, there are plenty of things to do in Stroud, described by Jasper Conran as ‘The Covent Garden of the Cotswolds’.
51. Slimbridge Wetlands Centre
Embark on a journey into the heart of nature at Slimbridge Wetland Centre, a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Nestled amidst the picturesque backdrop of the Severn Estuary in Gloucestershire, England, this expansive wetland reserve sprawls over 800 hectares, offering a captivating glimpse into the wonders of the natural world.
As you step through the gates of Slimbridge, a sense of tranquility washes over you. The gentle murmur of flowing water mingles with the melodious chorus of birdsong, creating a symphony of nature’s finest melodies. Lush greenery carpets the landscape, dotted with shimmering ponds, tranquil waterways, and towering trees that provide sanctuary for a diverse array of creatures.
52. Woodchester Valley Vineyard
Nestled amidst the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, England, lies Woodchester Valley Vineyard, an idyllic haven for wine enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. As you approach the vineyard, you’ll be greeted by a picturesque landscape of verdant vines stretching across the valleys, their leaves shimmering in the sunlight. The air is filled with the intoxicating aroma of grapes, promising a delightful sensory experience.
Established in 2007, Woodchester Valley Vineyard has quickly gained recognition for its exceptional quality wines, crafted from grapes hand-picked from the vineyard’s 58 acres. Their passion for viticulture and winemaking is evident in every bottle, showcasing the unique terroir of the Cotswolds region.
Embark on a guided tour of the vineyard, where knowledgeable experts will unveil the secrets of vine cultivation and winemaking. Stroll through the rows of vines, learning about the different grape varieties and the meticulous care they receive. Witness the transformation of grapes into wine as you explore the state-of-the-art winery, where tradition meets modern technology.
No visit to Woodchester Valley Vineyard is complete without indulging in a tutored tasting. Savor the delicate flavors and aromas of their award-winning wines, guided by a sommelier who will expertly introduce you to the nuances of each variety. Discover the perfect pairing of wine and food, as you sample local delicacies that complement the wines’ unique characteristics.
As you linger over your wine, soak in the breathtaking views of the Cotswolds countryside. The vineyard’s elegant tasting room provides a tranquil setting to unwind and appreciate the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
53. Broadway Tower’s Nuclear Bunker
Journey beneath the Cotswold countryside and descend into a relic of the Cold War at the Broadway Tower Bunker Experience. This unique attraction offers a fascinating glimpse into the past, revealing the secret world of nuclear monitoring during a time of global tension.
Fifteen feet below the surface, a network of tunnels and chambers lies dormant, a testament to a bygone era. Built in the 1950s, this former monitoring bunker was one of many scattered across the United Kingdom, forming a vital line of defence against the threat of nuclear attack.
As you venture into the depths of the bunker, you’ll discover an array of preserved equipment and artefacts, each piece silently recounting the stories of those who once manned this crucial outpost. Explore the cramped living quarters, the decontamination chamber, and the operations room, where dedicated volunteers kept a watchful eye on the skies, ready to report any signs of impending danger.
The Broadway Tower Bunker Experience is a poignant reminder of a period marked by fear and uncertainty. It provides a rare opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the Cold War and its impact on everyday life. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a curious visitor, or simply seeking a unique and thought-provoking experience, the bunker’s doors are open to all.
Step into the Cotswold countryside in and around Bourton-on-the-Water. Walk along the river and take in this pretty village, known far and wide for it’s rich architecture and tranquil village scenes, and is often referred to as ‘The Venice of the Cotswolds’.
55. Giffords Circus
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Giffords Circus, the best circus EVER… yes, we said it, EVER! Acrobats, horses, magical performances and more, this is a family-friendly event that tours throughout the Cotswolds and beyond all summer long. Get your ticket to see the most glamorous troupe of performers.
56. Hidcote Manor Gardens
Hidcote Manor Garden is a masterpiece of horticultural artistry, a symphony of color, texture, and form that has enchanted visitors for over a century. Created by Major Lawrence Johnston, a passionate plantsman and gifted designer, Hidcote is an enduring testament to the Arts and Crafts movement, a movement that sought to harmonize art and nature.
As you step through the gates of Hidcote, you enter a realm of enchantment, a world where the boundaries between indoors and outdoors blur. The garden is a series of interconnected “garden rooms,” each with its own distinct personality and atmosphere. From the serene White Garden, a haven of purity and tranquility, to the vibrant Red Border, a blaze of color that ignites the senses, Hidcote offers a kaleidoscope of horticultural delights.
Winding paths lead you through a labyrinth of hedges, revealing hidden corners and unexpected vistas. The Long Walk, a grand avenue lined with clipped yew trees, provides a dramatic contrast to the intimate spaces of the garden rooms. Along the way, you’ll encounter a treasure trove of rare and unusual plants, each carefully chosen to complement the overall design.
Hidcote is a feast for the senses, a riot of color and texture that changes with the seasons. In spring, the garden bursts into life with a profusion of bulbs and early perennials. Summer brings a blaze of color, with roses, lilies, and delphiniums taking center stage. As autumn approaches, the garden mellows into shades of gold, orange, and red.
Hidcote has been a source of inspiration for gardeners and designers for generations. Its influence can be seen in gardens around the world, from the grand estates of England to the modest backyards of suburbia. The garden’s timeless beauty and enduring charm continue to captivate visitors, offering a glimpse into the creative genius of its creator.
57. The most beautiful village in England
Bibury is such a charming Cotswold village, once described by William Morris (1834-96) as “the most beautiful village in England”. In fact, Fox News says that Bibury is one of the world’s most picturesque villages, and an article on the Huffington Post website (1st May 2014), titled “The Most Charming Towns In Europe You’ll Want To Visit ASAP”, mentioned Bibury. And the cottages of Arlington Row are often referred to as the most photographed and beautiful cottages in the country.