Places to visit
In the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds is home to some of the most quintessentially English villages and picturesque towns. These postcard-perfect locations are great for exploring, enjoy luxury shopping at Bicester Village or sample delicious local produce in Burford.
Burford is 20 miles west of Oxford and its vibrant high street has its very own character with a wide variety of independent shops, many of which are family run businesses. You can find excellent galleries, specialist craft and antique shops. As you would expect from a town with such an abundance of farming on its doorstep, delicious Cotswolds produce is for sale in the local deli, butcher and cheese shop.
Located in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside, Bicester Village is an open-air shopping experience home to more than 160 boutiques of world-leading brands offering their collections on sale, all year round. There are plenty of options for the hungry shopper - savour the splendour of Café Wolseley or grab a bite at Soho House & Co’s farmshop restaurant. Open seven days a week, Bicester Village offers an array of personalised services including a concierge and personal hands-free shopping.
Standing 1,024 feet above sea level,Broadway Tower is a family-owned Cotswold destination set within a 200-acre estate of parkland and sits on the second-highest point of The Cotswolds Ridge. A great English heritage experience with views of 16 counties. Get ice cream or afternoon tea from the Shepherd’s Hut or Morris & Brown tearoom.
CHEDWORTH ROMAN VILLA
Famous for its mosaic floor and museum containing historical artefacts that date back to Roman occupation, Chedworth Roman Villa is one of the largest Roman villas in the UK to visit. Once inside, you’ll be able to explore how the Romans lived in this area of England and you can easily while away a few hours. On your way back, visit Cirencester, a gorgeous market town that’s steeped in history.
Cheltenham, the jewel in Jump racing’s crown, plays host to the best jumping action in the world from 350 spectacular acres in the lee of the beautiful Cotswolds hills. Whether you’re here on a crisp bright October day or a balmy evening in May, you’ll feel that unmistakable Cheltenham magic. Don’t forget to check the year-round calendar to see what’s on.
Lacock Abbey is a quirky country house developed over the centuries around a former 13th century nunnery, and the birthplace of modern photography. It’s set in spacious wooded grounds with plenty of space to picnic and there’s a regular programme for families with seasonal activities and trails around the grounds. With level access and winding paths, it’s suitable for everyone – and beyond the Abbey grounds is a quintessential English village with independent shops to discover along its medieval streets. Pop into The Stables Café for a meal or a snack before heading out on one of the walks in the surrounding countryside.
WILDLIFE PARK & GARDENS
Explore the Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens and be eye-to-eye with a giraffe, witness rhinos grazing on the front lawn and experience other amazing animal encounters. Make sure you book tickets online in advance.
COUNTRY PARK & BEACH
Great for a family day out, Cotswold Country Park & Beach is the largest inflatable waterpark in the area. With over 40 pieces to challenge yourself, The AquaVenture is the ultimate total wipe-out style experience.
LASSCO THREE PIGEONS
For everyone who knows Brunswick House, eat your heart out at the LASSCO Three Pigeons in Oxfordshire. Known as England’s prime resource for architectural antiques, salvage & curiosities, this large shop buys and sells all manner of architectural salvage. Including entire panelled rooms, marble fireplaces, garden ornament, doors, lighting, ironwork, museum cabinets, doorknobs and much more.
Near the pretty town of Winchcombe, is a gorgeous day out and one of the most romantic castles in the Cotswolds. Explore the 11 gardens and soak up some history. Don’t forget to visit the tomb of Catherine Parr, the only English Queen to be buried on private land. Afterwards, take a tour around the lovely gardens of the National Trust’s Showshill Manor – a Cotswold manor house that is home to the many treasures collected by Charles Wade.
Barn Theatre is a former 1940s Nissen hut that has been transformed into a beautiful, state-of-the-art, air-conditioned auditorium for 200 theatre lovers. With a fusion of high-profile and new talent, audiences will experience entertainment that competes with the West End. Including award-winning restaurant and bar Téatro, it’s the perfect setting for a night out.
LONGLEAT SAFARI PARK
Discover various species of animals from around the world including lions, tigers, wolves, koalas, porcupines and sea lions as you travel by road, rail, waterway or foot in the UK’s number 1 Safari Park. Wind up your windows, hide all the sandwiches and enjoy a safari tour that’s wilder, furrier and growlier than you ever dared imagine.
Looking for something more unique? Take a trip to the clouds with Cotswold Balloon Safaris. They’ll take you up in a hot air balloon and tour the below towns and villages of the Cotswolds.
THE COTSWOLDS DISTILLERY
Fancy something a bit stronger? The Cotswolds Distillery is your place to go. Take a tour of the stills and gem up on botanicals which make the craft gin. Plus, the obligatory tastings too, of course. Make sure you book in advance as it can get busy, and don’t forget to bring home a bottle or two.
If you’re heading Oxford way, the monumental Blenheim Palace is a must-see. Here you can explore 300 years of history, 2,000 acres of landscaped parkland and gardens designed by the famous ‘Capability Brown’. Have a look at their year-round calendar to see what’s on.
LITTLE OAK VINEYARD
For the wine-lovers amongst us, you no longer need to head to
Tuscany or Bordeaux. You’ll find brilliant micro-breweries, distilleries and vineyards dotted near The Lakes. One of them is the Little Oak Vineyard in Chipping Campden - they do private tastings and tours followed by an al-fresco lunch, and you can order a crate of wine for next day delivery to your lakeside door. For an extra-special gift (or as a treat to yourself), you can even lease a row of vines for a year, meaning you’ll receive several bottles of your own-label wine throughout the year to savour back at home