Cotswolds Attractions

The Cotswolds offers visitors a range of local attractions located across the region offering visitors plenty of interesting and charming places to discover. The region includes a choice of attractions including museums, galleries, historic buildings, theatre, concerts, events and its location means the scenic English countryside, rolling hills and the great outdoors are all within reach.

We have outlined a number of interesting attractions and places of interest for visitors to the Cotswolds, these include:

For fans of history and culture there is Sudeley Castle to visit. The castle is Located close to Winchcombe approx 8 miles from Cheltenham. The current castle dates back to the 15th century and is a Grade I listed building recognised as a castle of international importance. The castle is one of a select few in the UK that is still in residence with Lord and Lady Ashcombe and their family residing here. Visitors can view a number of exhibitions that tell the storey of the castle and its history, there is also a coffee shop and adventure playground on site. The impressive gardens at Sudeley form the highlight of any visit here, they are among the finest in England offering some fantastic views of the Cotswolds Hills. There are a number of gardens to explore here including the East Garden, Knot Garden and Queens Garden where visitors can take a leisurely stroll in scenic surroundings.

Owlpen Manor is located in the village of Owlpen in the scenic Cotswolds. The Grade I listed manor house and estate includes manor house and gardens. The manor house dates back to the 15th century and is the home of the Mander family. Inside the house there are a number of impressive collections for visitors to see. There are collections of portraits, fine art works, textiles and furniture that have been collected over time. The gardens including the showpiece Walled Kitchen Garden form one of the highlights of a visit here, visitors can stroll through the Old English Garden where there are traditional flowers and plants and garden features. The Owlpen estate offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy a number of walks on a number of footpaths where visitors can look out for a choice of species of tress, plants and flowers.

The Avon Valley Railway offers the chance to experience a train journey with nostalgia, it is great for the whole family to enjoy. The railway is located at Britton Station, an original Midland railway station that has been restored. The station is located a few miles from both Bristol and Bath. Visitors can go on a journey where they will see River Avon valley with views that cannot be seen by car. Bitton Station located between Bristol and Bath has been restored to its former glory and offers visitors refreshments, outdoor seating and a railway shop.

The station at Avon Riverside in the heart of the Avon Valley allows visitors to experience the attractions in the area such as boat trips, picnic area, riverside pubs and walks in the surrounding countryside. There are plans to extend the line further in the future to include going through the Avon Valley that would further increase a great nostalgic experience that awaits visitors.

Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens is set among 160 acres of parkland and gardens centred around a listed Victorian House in Burford in Oxfordshire. It has been open since 1970, the Park is home to an interesting and wide array of birds, reptiles, mammals and invertebrates, ranging from white rhinos to big cats to bats. Each year around 350,000 people visit the park to enjoy a fun filled family day out, they see the many exotic animals from all over the world and benefit from the lovely gardens in the tranquil and peaceful surroundings that are synonymous with the Cotswolds.

Cotswold Wildlife Park is a member of the Federation of Zoological Gardens of Great Britain and Ireland they share and exchange animals with other collections to help further breeding programmes that has conservation importance.

The Parish Church of St John Baptist Cirencester is located in the heart of Cirencester close to the Corinium Museum. The medieval church dates back to the 12th century and is well known for its fan vaults and perpendicular porch. Visitors can take a guided tour of the historic church to learn more about the church and its long history. The church is one of the largest parish churches in the UK and has been a place of worship for over a 1,000 years, the church is still in active use regular prayers, services and events.

Bourton-on-the-Water Model Village is located in the village of Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire. The model village is a one ninth replica of the actual village. The model village has become known for its bonsai style trees, the model village gives visitors a look at how the village looked in the 1930s and includes famous village sites, the churches, bank, shops and river. There is also the Miniature World exhibition of room sets and miniature scenes produced by top miniaturist craftsmen and women.

Slimbridge Wetland Centre is located in Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. The centre is a wetlands reserve that studies and cares for a range of birds, swans and geese. The reserve offers a place to see rare birds from around the world, summer safaris in Land Rovers are available where visitors can see grass snakes, wild orchids, kingfishers and dragonflies among others. Visitors can go on a number of guided walks and listen to a number of talks to learn more about the wide range of wildlife here. Each season brings something different to the reserve ensuring an interesting visit any time of year. There is a restaurant and souvenir shop on site.

Wotton-under-Edge Heritage Centre is located in the market town of Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire. The heritage centre is located within a converted fire station and offers a fascinating insight into the history of the town and the surrounding area. Visitors can see a number of artefacts showcasing the towns craft and history, ever changing exhibition displays, information of local history and a range of local photos, documents and maps of local interest. The centre has a range displays covering different themes including family, industry and world war two.

For those that enjoy theatre and culture the Cotswolds has one of the best known theatre companies, the Royal Shakespeare Company that focuses on works by Shakespeare as well as other renaissance dramatists and also more contemporary writers. The company provides an expert training environment for its actors, directors and theatre artists. In Stratford-upon-Avon the town where William Shakespeare was born, visitors are attracted from around the world and the town is seen as the home of the RSC. The company has three theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon, the larger is the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and the smaller ones are the Swan Theatre and The Courtyard Theatre.

Whilst the company is well known among the theatre aficionados around the world it is also trying to get more people interested in theatre and has done works aimed at families to increase their general appeal.

The Cotswolds are well known for the gentle English countryside where you can relax, there are also plenty of opportunities for more energetic pursuits including adrenaline filled activities if so wish. The region offers many activities including walking, camping, cycling, horse riding, golf, hiking, motor sport, gliding, ballooning and fishing. Walking has long been a favourite for those visiting the Cotswolds, walkers can discover the beauty of the countryside first hand. There are organised walks with knowledgeable walker leaders to add to the experience. See Talking Walks for further details.

Cycling is also a firm favourite for visitors, it provides a great way to see the Cotswolds, soak in the atmosphere at your own pace and visit the charming towns and villages for which the region is famous for. There are cycling tours and routes that can be followed as well as those that take a good map and just set off to discover what hey find. Visitors can cycle, see and explore and then have a drink and enjoy some wonderful local food at the many charming restaurants and traditional pubs. See Cotswolds Country Cycles for information on hiring cycles and a range of cycling routes in the area.

For those that like to play golf, Cleeve Hill is a heath land course that falls within an area of outstanding natural beauty. You can see some stunning views that include the Malverns, the Forest of Dean, Severn Vale and beyond including the Black Mountains. The course is set in Cleeve Common, where it benefits from its stunning natural location. The aim is no frills access to help encourage people to take up golf and benefit from the exercise of playing the game.

It is recommended that prior to visiting the Cotswolds; visitors do their research and ensure any sights and attractions they plan on visiting are actually open on the days you intend on coming. The transport is also worth checking as maintenance and engineering works can mean a restricted service on public transport and the road network.

For visitors, Cotswolds is one of the most scenic areas of the UK offering visitors the choice to do as much or as little as possible. There are a wealth of historic attractions, including the famous historic villages and towns many of which retain their own distinctive character and charm offering visitors the opportunity to see up close the picture perfect towns and villages whilst being able to enjoy the best there is to offer from the English countryside. The Cotswolds retain their traditional charm ensuring visitors can enjoy a short break, weekend away or a longer stay here.

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