Step out of real life and into a fairytale in the Cotswolds; an idyllic collection of charming villages, historic battlefields, and stunning landscapes.  

Classified as being an ‘Area of Outstanding Beauty', the Cotswolds are one of the United Kingdom’s best-loved landscapes, from quaint stone villages and their cobble-ridden alleyways to the expansive scenery just waiting for you to immerse yourself in. Our tours and holidays in the Cotswolds are perfect for both outdoor enthusiasts and history-hunters with this romantic region offering you the chance to explore castles straight out of your favourite fairytales and eat at centuries-old pubs. Whether you fancy cycling through the lush greenery on our Cycle the Cotswolds tour or want some time to wander down ancient streets guaranteed to take your breath away, a visit to the Cotswolds should be high on your priority list. 

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Things to do in the Cotswolds

A man cycling through the Cotswolds in the United Kingdom.

Cycle across the Cotswolds

There’s no better way to explore this storybook setting than from the seat of a bicycle. A comfortable yet super active way to take in everything the Cotswolds has to offer, ride through picture-perfect villages, and enjoy the fresh air and the smell of nature that surrounds you. Making your way around on 2 wheels is a sure-fire way to soak up as much history as you possibly can, with various trails to follow that’ll both challenge you and take your breath away. 

A lake at the Cotswold Water Park.

Take a dip at the Cotswolds Water Park

Cotswolds Water Park is more outdoor lakes than chlorinated pools with tons of places to take a refreshing dip (no plastic slides in sight). Spanning a whopping 40 square miles, this park has 180 lakes and offers the ideal destination for bird and animal watching. Whether you’re excited to get your toes wet on a morning swim with your tour or interested in turning the excitement dial up a notch with some watersports, the Cotswolds Water Park is waiting for you to explore it.  

The Blenheim Castle in the Cotswolds.

Wander a castle or two

If you want to feel as though you’re living out a real-life fairytale then a trip to the various castles in the Costwolds is a must. Spend hours strolling through castles that have withstood wars, witnessed murders, and housed British royalty. From the superbly landscaped gardens and baroque style construction of Blenheim Palace to the medieval influenced Broughton Castle, the Cotswolds are filled with ancient landmarks to visit that are more than fit for a Queen. 

The magnificent Chastleton House in the Cotswolds.

Walk around the Chastleton House

Take a step back in time, about 400 years to be in fact, and explore Chastleton House; one of the finest Jacobean houses in England. Century-old family memories and head-scratching mysteries are set against a backdrop of ancient architecture with domed ceilings and antique furniture a testament to eras gone by. Perfect as an add-on to your Cotswolds tour, this unique experience offers the chance for you to wonder at the lives lived within the walls and the stories only they could tell. 

A street in Chipping Camden in the Cotswolds.

Make your through Chipping in Campden

If you thought the Cotswolds couldn’t get any prettier then think again. Recognised as one of the most beautiful towns in the United Kingdom, this scenic destination offers a peaceful atmosphere with ancient architecture that’s been well preserved. Make a tour stop in this market town and be pleasantly delighted at the features that await you including the honey-coloured limestone buildings and the 400-year-old Century Market Hall. 

Broadway Tower in the Cotswolds.

Marvel at Broadway Tower

Trust us when we tell you there’s no better place to look out over the insanely scenic streets and fields of the Cotswolds than from atop the Broadway Tower. The second highest point in the Cotswolds, this postcard-perfect landmark allows you to take in the English countryside and have you trying to spot all 16 counties (and maybe a deer or two). Beautifully constructed with turrets, gargoyles, and balconies even Juliet would be jealous of, the Broadway Tower is a must-visit.

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Cotswolds FAQs

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy

There are a number of ways to travel to the Cotswolds regardless of where in the United Kingdom you're traveling from. One of the main ways, and perhaps the easiest way, to travel to the Cotswolds is via the British Rail network. Trains run to the Cotswolds from London and other areas of England with rail stations in major towns in the Cotswolds including Moreton-in-Marsh and Cheltenham. You can also drive to the Cotswolds via the national motorway network or you can fly into either Birmingham or Bristol airports, rent a car and make the 1-1.5 hour drive to the Cotswolds. 

Getting around the Cotswolds is quite easy thanks to England's great public transportation network and infrastructure. If you've driven to the Cotswolds, then getting around the region is pretty straightforward with easy-to-navigate streets and clearly signed motorways. You can also make use of the British Rail network with numerous lines connecting major towns in the Cotswolds. The bus network is another form of transportation you can use with many local bus services traveling to and from various towns within the region. 

The weather in the United Kingdom is mostly rainy and overcast for the majority of the year and the weather in the Cotswolds is no different. That's not to say the weather in the Cotswolds never gets warm or particularly sunny because it does (especially in Summer), however, the region is more likely to experience cold temperatures. 

Read more about the weather in the Cotswolds

What to pack for your trip to the Cotswolds really depends on what season you're going in. It can get quite warm in the Summer months so items like t-shirts, dressed, shorts, skirts, pants are all suitable. However, you still want to pack a cardigan or a light jacket because the temperatures can be cooler in the evenings. If you're traveling in Winter, it's best to pack clothes that are going to keep you nice and warm - think scarves, gloves, coats and thick jackets. No matter what season you're travelling in, it's also smart to pack an umbrella as rainfall can occur at all times throughout the year. 

There are a number of great restaurants to enjoy a meal at in different towns across the Cotswolds. While the Cotswolds are known to have some of the best pubs, you can also feast on various other cuisines including restaurants that serve delicious seafood and Italian dishes. Here are some of our favourites:

  • The Bell Inn, Langford 
  • The Feathered Nest, Nether Westcote 
  • Ox Barn at Thyme, Southrop Manor Estate 
  • The Coconut Tree, Cheltenham
  • The Porch House, Stow-on-the-Wold

Located in the Southcentral, West Midlands, and South West areas of England, the Cotswolds is a region that spans over 800 square miles encompassing several counties including Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. There are various towns and villages situated within this region, all with the same characterising features of rolling hills and honey-coloured, stone architecture. The Cotswolds is a popular spot for travelers wanting a weekend away, perfect for both outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs. 

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You're spoiled for choice when it comes to enjoying nature in the Cotswolds. Not only are there numerous nature reserves and wildlife parks to explore but the Cotswolds is also home to a heap of walking trails so you can take in the English countryside on foot. Some of our favourites are:

  • Rollright Stones Walk 
  • The Blossom Trail 
  • Winchcombe to Cleeve Hill 
  • Otmoor Nature Reserve
  • Windrush Way

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