You could be forgiven for thinking The Cotswolds is just picture-perfect countryside and cosy, traditional pubs, but look a little closer and you’ll find it’s also home to some more surprising attractions. Here’s seven of the best out of the ordinary things to see and do during your visit…
Go husky dog sledding Get hands-on and join in an authentic husky sled dog trek. Based just outside of the Cotswold town of Tewkesbury, you’ll find Arctic Quest, offering the chance to live out those Alaskan dreams of heading up your own husky adventure. Rides take you through the glorious Cotswold countryside and you can even extend your trip and stay in the traditional Sami Tipi overnight, complete with campfire, furs and beds. Arctic Quest, Croft Farm, Bredon’s Hardwicke, Bredon, Tewkesbury, UK, +44 7968 794758
Imagine lazing back on a picnic blanket, with a glass of champagne in hand, as you watch a classic film in the open-air. Sounds pretty magical, right? Alfresco Cinema combines gorgeous hand-picked venues across The Cotswolds and classic films to create a pop-up cinema experience like no other. Just keep an eye on the website for details of upcoming screenings.
Explore a shrunken village Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the prettiest villages in The Cotswolds, but if you don’t have time to explore the real thing, take a trip to The Model Village – a one-ninth scale replica of the heart of the village. You’ll feel like a giant as you tower above the miniature stone houses, tiny River Windrush and little gardens. Officially opened in 1937, to celebrate the Coronation of King George VI, it’s a quirky piece of history that’s well worth a visit. The Model Village, Bourton-on-the-Water, UK, +44 1451 820467
Spot crocodiles The Cotswolds might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of crocodiles but, believe it or not, the pretty Oxfordshire countryside is home to over 17 different species. Crocodiles of the World is a zoo with one of the largest collections of crocodiles, alligators and caimans in Europe. The zoo is dedicated to crocodiles and their conservation, and here you can watch them in their natural habitat from a cool underwater viewing spot, as well as get the chance to hold a baby alligator yourself. Crocodiles of the World, Burford Road, Brize Norton, UK, +44 1993 846353
If you’re feeling brave, join one of the Cotswolds Ghost Tours. These aren’t your typical, gimmicky tours (don’t expect anyone to jump out and try to scare you silly), but gripping story-telling events taking you through the creepy history of The Cotswolds. The tour guides tell eerie tales of paranormal happenings as they take you on a walking tour around either Prestbury or Cheltenham. Chills down the spine, guaranteed!
Sample local whisky and gin Set in five acres of stunning Cotswold countryside you find one of the most picturesque distilleries in England. Cotswolds Distillery lovingly creates their own artisan whisky and gin, and you can sample it for yourself on one of the distillery tours. Here you’ll learn the craft that goes into creating the spirits and see the distillation equipment in action, before enjoying your very own tasting in front of a cosy log fire. Just make sure you call or visit the website to book your tour in advance, as spaces are limited. Cotswolds Distillery, Phillip’s Field Whichford Road, Stourton, Shipston-on-Stour, UK, +44 1608 238 533
Get lost in a maze The Dragonfly Maze isn’t your typical English hedge maze. Here you need to solve the clues and puzzles as you work your way around the yew-tree maze, to find the golden dragonfly at the centre. Whatever your age, it’s hard not to get swept up in the feeling of adventure as you hunt to find the treasure on this fun day out. The Dragonfly Maze, Rissington Road, Bourton-on-the-Water, UK, +44 1451 822251