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If you are heading to this beautiful part of the country with your other half, stay tuned as we bring you the best things to do in the Cotswolds for couples. I lived in Cheltenham and Gloucester for several years, so I know just how much this area of the country has to offer. From stunning scenery and historic houses to delicious artisan food and drink, it’s the perfect escape for a weekend or longer stay.
The Cotswolds were designated as an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) in 1966 and cover 787 square miles. The Cotswolds lies across the county borders of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire. It is known for rolling green hills, cosy pubs, and some of the prettiest villages and honey-coloured market towns. Any visit will not disappoint.
Choosing Where to Stay in the Cotswolds
When it comes to finding the perfect place to stay, the Cotswolds is a virtual paradise. From luxurious manor houses and boutique holiday cottages to cosy bed and breakfasts, there’s something for every couple looking for a getaway. Many of these places provide amazing views over stunning countryside or quaint villages, guaranteeing you can enjoy some quality seclusion.
For an extra special experience, why not head to The Fox country pub in Chipping Norton? Rated as fabulous and with over 1100 reviews, it’s one not to be missed. It’s only 10 miles from Blenheim Palace and a central place to explore the rest of the Cotswolds.
If you prefer a place of your own then Japonica Cottage in Bourton-on-the-Water could fit the bill. The cottage is central to this picturesque village, also known as the Venice of the Cotswolds, on the River Windrush so you can head to the local pubs on foot making it the perfect relaxed escape. While in Bourton-on-the-Water take in the model village, a host of independent retailers and Birdland Park and Gardens.
Of course, there is a huge variety of accommodation in the Cotswolds available. Explore more here. No matter where you decide to stay in the Cotswolds area, one thing’s for sure – you won’t be disappointed. With its incredible scenery and abundance of quaint villages, it’s no wonder so many couples choose this part of England for their romantic weekend getaways.
Best Things to Do in the Cotswolds for Couples
1 Enjoy a Romantic Picnic in the Countryside
Weather permitting, enjoying a picnic can be a great way to take in the sights and relax all at the same time. Pack a bag, we have a roundup here of the best picnic backpacks, with delicious local produce and if you are on foot, throw in a bottle of local wine or delicious cider.
Choose a quiet spot with beautiful views, so you can watch birds soaring above and meadows filled with wildflowers while enjoying a few hours to yourselves.
Here are just some of the best picnic spots in the Cotswolds:
2 Take a Private Guided Tour of the Cotswolds
Exploring some of the Cotswolds’ many picturesque villages is an excellent way to get to know the region. If you want to do it in a stress-free way with someone else taking care of the navigation, then check out this guided private tour in a luxury Mercedes.
This day tour can be catered to your needs and what you would like to see. These are the towns and villages you can explore:
This is the perfect way to learn more about the history of the area and to have a personal guide who can answer any questions.
3 Visit Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace is one of the great stately homes in the UK, a World Heritage Site, and an amazing place to spend the day as there is just so much on offer. You can tour the staterooms, including the birthplace of Winston Churchill, or glimpse below stairs at what life was like for those who worked for the Dukes of Marlborough. Just remember, tickets for the house need to be booked ahead of your visit.
There are also formal gardens, a walled garden and the maze, which is over 2 miles in length. Blenheim also has many events year-round, including food and flower festivals, jousting tournaments, festivals, a circus and so much more. Check out what’s coming up at the time of your visit.
4 Explore Sudeley Castle
The setting of Sudeley Castle is stunning, surrounded as it is by Cotswold hills. It has a long history and the last and surviving wife of Henry VIII, Katherine Parr, is buried in its grounds.
You can tour the house and gardens and there are a variety of exhibitions and events that run throughout the year. Tickets need to be booked ahead of time on their website.
5 Mooch Around Tetbury Antique Shops
The Cotswold town of Tetbury is renowned for its antique shops.
Here are just some of the shops on offer:
You can find them all on Google maps here, so you can easily navigate between them.
If you as a couple are a fan of antiquing, then a mooch around the town will be a perfect way to pass a morning or afternoon. With a stop for lunch or dinner at a local pub, is there any more relaxing way to pass a day?
6 Shop Chipping Norton, A Thriving Market Town
Chipping Norton is a thriving Cotswold market town. There is a wide variety of independent shops here, as well as a regular market.
If you are a fan of Clarkson’s Farm, you can also check out the nearby Diddly Squat Farm Shop and Cafe. Pick up some cow juice, the famous chilli jams and chutneys, or a candle that may or may not have a scent that appeals.
7 Go Wild at Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens
With activities running throughout the day, such as penguin and lemur feeding, Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens is a fun place to spend the day.
Big cats, porcupines, giraffes, camels, tapirs, capybaras, zebras, reptiles, and birds are in abundance in the park. Plus, there is a petting zoo and narrow gauge railway to get you around. The park has a focus on conservation and you can learn more about the work they do here.
Best Things to Do in the Cotswolds for Couples – We Aren’t Finished Yet!
8 Go Back in Time: Roman Baths, Bath
The Roman Baths in the city of Bath, Somerset are one of the most popular sites to visit on the edge of the Cotswolds. Dating back to around 60 to 70 AD, the baths are a fascinating insight into what life was like during Roman times.
You can take a tour of the baths and audio tours are available if English isn’t your first language, or you’d like to learn more about the history of the site. The Pump Room restaurant is famous for its traditional English afternoon tea, one not to be missed. There are numerous events held at the Roman Baths year-round, so check their website to see what’s coming up when you will be in town.
If you want to try the thermal waters yourself, head to the nearby Thermae Bath Spa, the iconic rooftop pool is worth it for the trip alone.
9 Shop and Eat: Dalesford Organic
Dalesford Organic is a family-run farm located in the rolling hills of the Cotswolds. Founded over 25 years ago, the farm grows a variety of organic produce and is committed to sustainable and regenerative farming practices. The farm’s produce is sold at markets throughout the counties of the Cotswolds as well as at their shop onsite.
At Dalesford, visitors can also sample the farm’s own produce in their café or take home some delicious treats from the shop including: jams, preserves, chutneys, pickles, bread and cakes – all made from locally sourced ingredients. They also offer gifts and homewares and you won’t want to leave without picking up a little something for yourself or a friend.
10 Explore Gloucester and Its Cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral is one of England’s most beautiful and important cathedrals. The cathedral boasts an impressive interior with exquisite stained glass windows, an ornate high altar, and tombs of royalty and bishops.
The Great East Window is one of the highlights of Gloucester Cathedral and is renowned for its beauty and intricate detail. You can take guided tours around the cathedral or simply wander by yourself. The cathedral also hosts various events throughout the year, so be sure to check its website for details on what’s happening during your visit.
Gloucester Cathedral was also one of the filming locations for three of the Harry Potter films: Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Chamber of Secrets (2002) and the Half-Blood Prince (2009). If you know the films well, during your tour you are sure to recognize where the scenes were shot.
The cathedral is located in the heart of Gloucester so you can also explore the rest of the city on your day out.
11 Visit Film Famous Berkley Castle
Berkeley Castle is a stunning medieval castle located in Gloucestershire. Dating back to the 12th the castle has a colourful history – it was once home to Edward II, who was imprisoned here before his mysterious death.
The castle is incredibly well-preserved and visitors can explore the vast grounds and its rich history through guided tours of the property. Inside, you will find tapestries, armours and arms. There are also fascinating exhibits about famous figures associated with the castle and you can take in The Tower, the Picture Gallery and much more along the way.
Another highlight of a visit to Berkeley Castle is its beautiful gardens which provide a breathtaking backdrop for picnickers and photographers alike. There are plenty of trails to explore where you can learn more about the plants, while special events like falconry displays, archery competitions and Knight School provide entertainment throughout the year.
If you are a fan of Father Brown you might recognise the location from Episode 3 of Season 2, The Pride of the Prydes, and the castle has also been used as a backdrop for many other film and television productions.
12 Get Adventurous at Cotswold Water Park
Cotswold Water Park is a stunning area of natural beauty, spanning over 40 square miles. The park consists of 180 lakes and pools that provide visitors with an array of activities for all ages.
The area’s diverse landscape includes vast open spaces, wetland habitats, woodland areas and meadows, making it the perfect place for nature lovers to explore. There are plenty of outdoor activities on offer, from boating and fishing to bird watching and walking trails.
For those looking for more adventurous activities, Cotswold Water Park is home to a range of water sports such as windsurfing, sailing and kayaking. You can also enjoy angling, archery, horse riding, rally driving and much more. Check their website for full details.
13 Motor Over to Cotswold Motoring Museum
The Cotswold Motoring Museum is located in the picturesque village of Bourton-on-the-Water. Housed in an old stone building, it showcases an extensive collection of vintage cars and motorbikes from the 1920s to the present day. The museum also has a wealth of artefacts, photographs and documents related to motoring history.
A visit to this unique museum offers a fascinating insight into motoring history for all ages. Whether you’re looking for some nostalgia or simply want to learn more about automotive engineering, the Cotswold Motoring Museum is sure to have something for everyone.
14 Fly High at Cotswold Falconry Centre
The Cotswold Falconry Centre is an incredible bird-of-prey sanctuary located in the heart of the Cotswolds. Home to birds from around the world, the centre provides visitors with a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures. From hawks and falcons to eagles and vultures, you can observe these birds in their natural habitat, as well as learn all about them through interactive displays and shows.
The centre offers a variety of experiences suitable for all ages, including flying demonstrations, educational talks and hands-on activities. You can also take part in daily falconry displays which provide insight into how these birds have evolved over time and how they interact with their environment. Additionally, the centre provides guided walks that allow visitors to explore the grounds while learning all about different species of birds.
15 Relax in the Shade at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum
Westonbirt Arboretum is one of the most enchanting and spectacular sites in England. Located in Gloucestershire, it covers over 600 acres and is home to one of the finest tree collections in the world. With over 2,500 species from across the globe, Westonbirt Arboretum is a must-see for anyone visiting the Cotswolds.
Housing national collections, champion, signature and endangered trees – there’s something for every nature lover at this incredible location. For those looking for adventure, Westonbirt Arboretum offers plenty of activities including nature trails, cycling, orienteering and even disc golf. There are also regular events throughout the year such as art exhibitions, music concerts and outdoor theatre performances that can be enjoyed during your visit.
16 Find Out What the Romans Ever Did For Us at Chedworth
Chedworth Roman Villa is one of the largest and most important archaeological sites in Britain. The villa boasts a wealth of Roman remains, including hypocausts (underfloor heating), mosaics, wall paintings and baths. It provides an invaluable insight into how the Romans lived during this period and gives visitors a chance to explore this fascinating era.
The site has been carefully preserved over the years and many of its original features are still intact, giving a unique insight into everyday life in Roman Britain. To see the mosaics, visitors can walk along the suspended walkways in the conservation centre for a better view of the artwork below.
Cared for by the National Trust, Chedworth offers a range of activities throughout the year and has a cafe and museum on site. If you love history this is one not to be missed.
17 Take a Ghosts and Giggles of Gloucester Walking Tour
Have you ever wanted to uncover the mysteries and stories of the past? Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply interested in a unique experience, then the Ghosts and Giggles of Gloucester walking tour is definitely for you. Immerse yourself firsthand in Gloucester’s history as knowledgeable guides take you through an enlightening adventure, discovering all the hidden gems in and around this ancient city.
The tour takes in Gloucester Cathedral and the Folk Museum and can even be upgraded to a private visit if you prefer some undivided attention.
Final Thoughts For Visitors
Embarking on a couple’s getaway to the Cotswolds offers endless experiences that’ll bring delight and joy to any visitor. Whether picking produce at local farm stands, discovering unique shops and cafes in iconic villages, admiring the beauty of sprawling gardens or taking a guided tour – you’ll leave your trip with fond memories that will stay with you for years to come.
Make sure you take full advantage of one or more of these best things to do in the Cotswolds for couples, and create moments that will last forever.
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