A Guide to the Cotswolds this Summer
Updated: Jul 22
Planning a trip to the Cotswolds this summer? You’re in for a treat! Nestled in the heart of England, the Cotswolds is a picturesque area of rolling hills and charming villages. With so much to see and do, it can be difficult to know where to begin. To help you make the most of your visit, here is our short guide to the Cotswolds including the best places to visit, local restaurants, and top-rated hotels.
Where should I visit?
Sudeley Castle is located near Winchcombe in the heart of the Cotswolds and features a beautiful Tudor Castle and 10 stunning gardens which you can look around by yourself or book onto one of the guided tours.
There is a fabulous children’s playground and fun fort to keep the little one’s entertained.
Sudeley’s gardens open at 10am – 5pm, and the Castle is open from 11am – 4pm.
Ticket prices are £19.50 for an adult, children £8.75 and a family for £48.00. Further information on opening times and pricing, including concessions, can be found here.
(Image from webbbaviation.co.uk)
The world-famous and magnificent Blenheim Palace is a World Heritage site, located near to Woodstock. The Palace is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and you can have a tour around the Palace, including the room where he was born. There is so much to see and do here, various tours of the Upstairs and/or Downstairs of the Palace, wander around the vast gardens, or go to children’s amazing Adventureland.
(Image from Time Out)
A full-price list can be found here, along with concessions.
Top Tip: Plan ahead! Have a look at the website for details for a virtual tour, look at a plan of the Blenheim estate, and see what activities are on when you are there and book ahead as it can get booked up.
If you want to be a bit more active and enjoy fishing, then why not try a stay at Cotswolds Water Park Retreat, located near Cirencester, where you’ll find over 140 lakes, over half of which are stocked with a variety of fish. The accommodation on site ranges from small cabins to larger lodges and even a farmhouse and is a great base to stay on-site and relax or explore the local area.
Alternatively, you could take a trip on a boat down the River Thames from Lechlade-on-Thames. You could join a cruise for either a day or an hour or hire your own boat. More information and contact details can be found here.
A fantastic way to see the Cotswolds is on a bike. You can hire a bike from many of the small towns and villages including Hartwells in Bourton-on-the-Water. They can provide a helmet, child seats, a baby trailer, or a tagalong if you have young children with you. You will be provided with a map that will take you to many of the local attractions, taking you away from the main roads and onto paths and lanes. There are some lovely local pubs and cafes to stop off at en route for a refreshing drink and snack. The costs start at £13.00 for half a day hire or £18.00 for a full day.
Picturesque Towns & Villages
The Cotswolds are very well known for the quaint and ‘chocolate box’ villages and arguably the most well-known is Bourton-on-the-Water. Although some of the villages can get busy with tourists in the summer months, they are still worth a wander around the lanes and shops and maybe stopping for a cream tea in one of the many cafes. There is a beautiful model village here that the children love to visit.
Near Bourton, is another beautiful village, Stow-on the Wold with a vibrant market square and some lovely independent shops, antiques, and eateries located on the Roman Fosse Way. Visit St Edwards Church whose door is flanked by 2 giant Yew Trees or the Iron Age Fort in Well Lane.
(Photo from booking.com/stowonthewold)
Named by William Morris as ‘the most beautiful village in England’, Bibury sits on the River Cohn. Arlington Row (pictured) is owned by the National Trust and is one of the most iconic and photographed sites, even appearing in the British Passport!
(Photo from poundtravels.com)
What are the best restaurants?
The Cotswolds is full of award-winning restaurants offering traditional English fare as well as international cuisine.
For hearty pub grub with a side of local history, visit The Fleece Inn located in Bretforton near Evesham, which is owned by the National Trust. Catering for all food tastes, including gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan, there is a wide range of family favourites like Beer Battered Fish and Chips for £18 or The Fleece Dirty Burger for £17. Head to Le Champignon Sauvage, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the historic spa town of Cheltenham where husband and wife have been running it since 1987. It's open from Wednesdays to Saturdays.
Offering quality meat, fish, and vegetarian dishes and using locally sourced produce The Old Butchers in Stow-on-the -Wold offering casual dining in an eclectic interior design. The extensive menu changes daily and is on the pricier side, but an example of prices would be £21 for a main dish of Cornish Lobster Mac and Cheese or a 300g fillet steak for £38.
If you’re looking for something more modern then head over to The Ivy Cheltenham which serves up contemporary dishes with an emphasis on seasonality. There is a choice of a set menu, with a price of £18.95 for 2 courses or £23.95 for 3 courses, or an a la carte menu.
For an authentic taste of Italy, try La Bussola Italian restaurant located just outside Cheltenham in Leckhampton Hill. Serving traditional family favourites such as Lasagna Al Forno for £7.99 and Penne Bolognese for £7.50, the restaurant is a small family-run restaurant offering authentic Italian dishes.
Which hotel would you recommend?
For luxury accommodation right in the heart of the Cotswolds, why not stay at The Lygon Arms Hotel? This boutique hotel has been welcoming guests since 1532 and boasts elegant baroque style throughout its rooms and suites and also features a spa and The Grill by Celebrity Chef, James Martin. Some of the Special Offers can be found here, including a Little Explorers Package from £285 per room per night or Totally James Martin from £457 per night.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something more affordable then check out Foxhill Manor situated on the Farncombe estate near Chipping Norton – which offers stylish rooms starting from £50 per night! Featuring a spa in the Dormy House, an outdoor woodland hot tub, and a whole host of activities including archery, clay pigeon shooting, and cocktail making. Details of Special Breaks can be found here.
There are plenty of Airbnb options catering to all budgets within the Cotswolds. Cotswolds Holiday Breaks have 2 unique properties which are centrally located in Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water. The Clock Tower in Stow-on-the-Wold sleeps 5 people in 2 bedrooms with 2 en suite bathrooms. For 2 nights in July prices start at £539 based on 2 people. Lavendar Cottage sleeps 4 with 2 bedrooms, both of which have en suites, and the price for 2 nights in August for 2 people is around £561.00.
Other Hotel options are Lords of Manor, a Luxury Cotswolds Hotel, or De Vere Cotswolds Water Park. De Vere Cotswolds has an excellent spa, and gym facilities with spectacular surroundings. It's situated in the heart of the 152 lakes that spread across the unique Cotswolds Water Park with plenty of water sports and activities to do.
No matter what type of holiday experience you’re looking for, there’s something for everyone in the beautiful countryside of The Cotswolds this summer. From stunning views to delicious restaurants and luxurious hotels – it truly is one of England's hidden gems! So pack your bags now and get ready for an unforgettable experience surrounded by nature's beauty.
We hope our guide has helped you plan your perfect summer getaway! Have fun exploring!
Let Lady PA help to plan your day trips, and book restaurants, events, and activities - get in touch.