Things to do in The Cotswolds

Culture and heritage

One of England’s most beautiful areas, the Cotswolds boasts pretty villages of honey-coloured stone, manor houses, charming churches, dry-stone walls and country pubs. History is all around you, from the Regency houses of Cheltenham to the black and white medieval buildings of Tewkesbury.

Attractions

The stunning Gloucester Cathedral was used as a Harry Potter filming location. Head to Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens and get up close and personal with a huge range of primates, reptiles and more. Alternatively, you could join some of the world’s best writers at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. Keep a look out for live music events at the spectacular Westonbirt Arboretum. Dating back to 1950, petrolheads will love Castle Combe Circuit.

Food and drink

Gloucestershire offers plenty of fantastic food and drink, from smart gastropubs to traditional inns and quirky cafes. If you enjoy a tipple, don’t miss the local wines and ales. You’ll also find farmers’ markets, delis, farm shops and prize-winning cheese producers all selling the freshest local produce.

Sports and outdoors

The Cotswolds is horseriding heaven, with the Cheltenham Festival – including the Gold Cup – taking over for a week in March, plus more horse-related events at Gatcombe and Badminton. There’s top-class rugby in Gloucester. Cheese rolling at Cooper’s Hill near Gloucester. Plus there’s over 3,000 miles of footpaths and bridleways to explore.

Music and nightlife

From folk, classical or jazz festivals, to summer opera and concerts in the open air, the Cotswolds has plenty to offer music lovers. There’s also the prestigious classical music celebration, the Three Choirs Festival every 3 years.

Shopping

From traditional antique shops at Stow-on-the-Wold and Tetbury to contemporary crafts in Cirencester, you’ll find a great choice of local shops in the Cotswolds. Head to Cheltenham for a wider-range of well-known stores – and for delicious local produce try Daylesford Organic Farmshop.

Walking the Cotswolds

Starting from locations across the Cotswolds AONB, including GWR stations Charlbury, Stroud and Moreton-in-Marsh, use the downloadable Cotswold Gateways walks to easily discover hidden corners, epic views, historic sites, and a rich diversity of wildlife. If you fancy a longer walking and exploring break then National Trails is the place to start planning your multi-day overnight itinerary. The Cotswold Way - a step back in time is a three day itinerary between the handsome heritage towns of Chipping Campden, Broadway and Winchcombe. Wander idyllic honey-stone hamlets, discover more about the ground-breaking Arts and Crafts Movement, stop off in teashops and walk out into the sublime surrounding hills.

Discover more about the Cotswolds AONB and Cotswolds.com

Where do GWR trains to the Cotswolds arrive and depart?


GWR trains run through many stations in the Cotswolds on two separate railway lines, from Oxford to Moreton-in-Marsh in the north of the region as well as Swindon to Ashchurch for Tewkesbury (via Stroud, Gloucester and Cheltenham Spa) in the south, with direct connections from London Paddington and Reading, or from Bristol and Bath Spa to the South.

What’s the best way to get around the Cotswolds?


The Cotswolds Discoverer One Day Pass is the perfect and hassle-free way to travel around and explore some of the most scenic parts of the Cotswolds by train and bus on just the one ticket.

Travel on GWR services between:

  • Oxford and Moreton-in-Marsh
  • Swindon and Cheltenham Spa/Ashchurch for Tewkesbury
  • Gloucester and Yate
  • Plus, Transport for Wales & Cross Country train services between Gloucester and Ashchurch for Tewkesbury only
Plus, travel on Johnson’s Excelbus or Stagecoach buses to connect between train stations and the wider Cotswolds.

Find out more at cotswoldsaonb.org.uk.

Buy your Cotswolds Discoverer One Day Pass from:
  • train stations
  • Johnson's Excelbus
  • Stagecoach
1-day pass costs:
  • £10.50 for adults
  • £5.25 for children
Rail travel not valid before 8:50 Mondays to Fridays.

Only with a valid 16-25, Senior, Two Together, HM Forces or Disabled Persons Railcard.

Train tickets to the Cotswolds

By using Railcards or booking tickets in advance, you’ll be able to make big savings on your train tickets to The Cotswolds. Check out our range of money saving ticket options below and find the best fares for your journey.