If you fancy starting the new year surrounded by impossibly pretty villages and gently rolling hills, the Cotswolds should be a destination at the very top of your list. There are a variety of ways to ring in the new year in the Cotswolds, from a cosy New Year’s Eve in a characterful pub to an exciting New Year’s Day at Cheltenham Races.
You’ll also find a range of Cotswolds cottages to stay in, whether you fancy spending time with family, friends or just one special someone.
Winter walks in the Cotswolds
A walk in the Cotswolds is the perfect New Year’s Day activity and whether you fancy a gentle stroll or something a little more energetic, this area of the country is full to the brim with scenic walking trails. You can start the new year as you mean to go on and work off your festive overindulgences while enjoying some beautiful British scenery at the same time.
Sherbourne Park Estate
A great family-friendly option to invigorate your spirit on New Year’s Day, there are a choice of three waymarked routes around Sherbourne Park Estate which range from 30 minutes to over 2 hours. There’s also lots of winter wildlife to spot along the way with woodland trails and pretty views over a babbling brook. The estate is dog friendly so four-legged friends can come along to stretch their legs too.
Great Malvern to North Hill
The Malvern Hills are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and this short circular walk starts in Great Malvern before heading around one of the most easily accessible hills, then finishing at the Unicorn Inn for refreshments. You’ll climb about 200 metres in total but the paths are easy to follow and there are some terrific views along the way.
Broadway Tower walk
A 4-mile walk that circles around the lovely village of Broadway taking in part of the Cotswolds Way and the historic Broadway Tower - the highest point of the Cotswolds with views across to Wales. After the walk, you can reward yourself with a drink in one of Broadway’s lovely village pubs.
Characterful pubs in pretty Cotswolds villages
One of the best things about winter has got to be sitting by a wood burner in a traditional English pub. You can chat to old friends, make new friends, enjoy a drink and feel all toasty and warm in a characterful Cotswold pub.
Don your finest Christmas jumpers and spend the Twixmas period seeking out your favourite Cotswold pub ready for the big day itself - New Year’s Eve.
The Bell at Sapperton
This dog-friendly Cotswolds pub lies between Stroud and Cirencester. Squirrel yourself away in a cosy corner and enjoy some excellent home-cooked food in front of a roaring log fire. Local provenance is key at this dining inn with a menu filled with warming seasonal food for winter.
The Ebrington Arms
One of the top foodie pubs in the Cotswolds, The Ebrington Arms holds two AA Rosettes and was even named The Times' Village Pub of the Year in 2017. They will be serving a special festive three-course menu for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
The Five Alls
With leather Chesterfield sofas and a feature inglenook fireplace, you’ll feel cosy and warm at The Five Alls - no matter how cold it gets outside. The pub brews its own house ale and with a selection of seasonal cocktails and champagnes, you can get the New Year off to a flying start.
The Bathurst Arms in North Cerney
This pretty pink pub sits on the banks of the River Churn so makes a picturesque choice for Christmas and new year. There are a choice of three circular walks from the pub or you can try the 11-mile Cotswold Challenge walk to The Butcher’s Arms at Sheepscombe - there’s a free drink if you manage to complete it!
The Butcher’s Arms, Sheepscombe
This traditional 17th-century village inn lies on the Gloucestershire side of the Cotswolds and was a favourite haunt of Cider with Rosie author Laurie Lee who lived in the neighbouring village of Slad. The Butcher’s Arms will be serving warming mulled cider throughout the festive season.
The Fleece Inn, Bretforton
The Fleece Inn is one of the oldest pubs around with a history that dates back to the early 15th century. You can dance the night away there this New Year’s Eve as they will be hosting a family-friendly fancy dress ceilidh.
Toast the new year - Cotswolds style!
There are several breweries and distilleries in the Cotswolds so you can ring in the new year with a local tipple or two. Book a tour to see how the drinks are made then call in the on-site shops to stock up on supplies for New Year’s Eve.
Spirit of the Cotswolds
Part of The Cotswolds Brewing Company, Spirit of the Cotswolds are based in Bourton-on-the-Water and produce small batch gins that use local botanicals include verbena from their cottage garden and Cotswolds hawthorn berries. Brewery tours take place daily by prior arrangement and the shop is typically open Monday to Friday.
The Cotswolds Distillery
The Cotswolds Distillery produces a wide range of spirits including single malt whisky, Cotswolds cream liqueur, Cotswolds Absinthe and Old Tom gin. For something a little different, try their small batch ginger gin or bottled Espresso Martini cocktail.
The distillery is based in Stourton and you can pre-book a range of experiences including guided tours and a gin blending masterclasses. There are also Cotswolds Distillery shops in Broadway and Bourton-on-the-Water.
Cotswold Brew Co
A small craft brewery based in Bourton-on-the-Water, the Cotswold Brew Co. produces Cotswolds Lager and Cotswolds Cider which is all naturally flavoured and naturally carbonated. There’s an on-site bottle shop and regular tours around the microbrewery.
New Year activities in the Cotswolds
There are several events taking place in the Cotswolds over the new year period. Here are some of our favourites to try:
The New Year’s Day event at Cheltenham Racecourse is always popular and includes seven top quality races for adults, live music and a family fun zone to keep children entertained with face painting, inflatables and balloon models. The Gloucester Warwickshire Steam Railway even runs a special New Year's Day service to the races so you can arrive in style!
Magical Blenheim Palace
The festive extravaganza at Blenheim Palace runs until the 5th January and it’s open on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day if you fancy experiencing the spectacular illuminated trail through the grounds and 'Alice in the Palace' themed rooms. There will be mirrored hallways, a Mad Hatter’s tea party and hidden surprises around every corner.
The Theatre Chipping Norton Pantomime
Everyone loves a good pantomime and The Theatre at Chipping Norton will be putting their own twist on the classic Puss in Boots this festive season. There are no performances on New Year’s Day but there will be a couple of shows on New Year’s Eve.
Cotswold cottages to book for new year
If you fancy spending new year in the Cotswolds, you’ll find a range of lovely holiday cottages around Bath, Cheltenham, Stratford-upon-Avon and Gloucester along with the charming towns and villages in between. Here are a few options for inspiration:
A dog-friendly three-bedroom Cotswolds holiday home that’s set in the heart of the historic Tortworth Estate in Gloucestershire. There are a selection of waymarked paths to explore in the acres of surrounding grounds, views across to the village church and an estate farm shop nearby (with a special discount for guests).
A dog-friendly traditional stone barn conversion for two with a village pub nearby and scenic country walks from the doorstep. Perfect if you fancy a romantic new year break with your other half.
This cosy character cottage sleeps up to four people and three dogs making it a great choice for smaller families. It is set right in the heart of the Cotswolds with nearby villages including Chipping Norton, Stow-on-the-Wold and Moreton-in-Marsh.
This unique Grade I listed orangery sleeps up to eight people and is the perfect setting for a special new year celebration in the Cotswolds. Stock up on supplies and prepare a sumptuous feast to match your beautiful surroundings.
This is just a small selection of the Cotswolds cottages available for new year. Browse the full collection below and for more festive inspiration read our guide to the cosiest Christmas breaks in the Cotswolds.