Top Things to Do and See in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds are full of beautiful villages, including Lower Slaughter, on the River Eye
The Cotswolds are full of beautiful villages, including Lower Slaughter, on the River Eye | © Stuart Black / Alamy Stock Photo
Colette Earley

From breathtaking landscapes and historic monuments to beautiful walking routes and romantic, secluded spots, what’s not to love about the Cotswolds? Here we round up the top must-dos for when you visit.

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Cotswolds Wildlife Park

Take a walk on the wild side at this family-friendly attraction that will make the perfect day out. Set in 160 acres (65ha) of parkland, the park is home to an abundance of different species, many of which are endangered. Take a peak at Asiatic lions, say hello to friendly giraffes and watch the penguins have their lunch – this is definitely one for the kids.

Cheltenham Racecourse

Hundreds of thousands of racing fans come to Cheltenham every year, eager to live out the classic day at the races experience. The racing, the setting, the tradition, the history and the shared sense of enjoyment all combine to give everyone an incredible experience. With the stunning scenery, this is a Cotswolds attraction not to miss.

Westonbirt Arboretum

If you’re visiting the Cotswolds, then it’s essential you take a stroll through this gorgeous arboretum. The landscape, filled with more than 600 acres (240ha) of trees from all over the globe, was laid out aesthetically rather than in any botanical order, making Westonbirt one of the most beautiful tree gardens in the world.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace

Walk in the footsteps of one of the greatest writers of all time and explore the house where he was born and grew up. The house has been passed through the family over the years, and now is in the hands of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, which has kept it true to its original form. From resident actors and exhibitions to workshops and readings, you’re guaranteed a day of entertainment and learning.

Fairytale Farm

Fun for kids both small and big, Fairytale Farm is a learning wonderland and an incredible day out for the entire family. Particularly good for children with disabilities, the park is divided into three main zones designed to create an amazing sensory experience that both kids and adults will love.

Chipping Campden

This bustling market town in the north Cotswolds is filled with ancient churches, glorious gardens, stately homes, country pubs and friendly locals. Time your visit when the monthly market is on at the town hall, where you can find crafts, gifts, cakes, clothes and handmade goods.

Snowshill Manor

Snowshill Manor is a 16th-century country house containing thousands of objects from its previous owner, Charles Paget Wade, who gave the house to the National Trust in 1951. Expect to see everything from old bicycles, toys, instruments and even 26 suits of Japanese samurai armour.

The Slaughters

The Slaughters – the two villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter – is a stunning, scenic walk. Don’t be put off by the unsettling name – it comes from the old English “slohtre”, which basically means “muddy place”. Far from their name, these villages are among the most picturesque you’ll come across. Expect to see old mills, country houses, historic brick work, pretty river routes and plenty of beautiful places to stay, like the Slaughters Manor House in Cheltenham.

The Model Village

The Model Village is a one-ninth scale replica of the heart of the beautiful Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water, containing all the buildings from the Old Water Mill down to the Old New Inn and ford, all built in Cotswold stone. Become a giant for the day and look down over miniature trees, flowers, shops and more. There’s even music that comes from the miniature church. A truly enchanting place to visit.

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