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Idyllic treacle-toned villages dusted in snow, winter walks through England’s finest countryside and welcoming country pubs with roaring log fires: there’s no better place to be than the Cotswolds at this wonderful time of year.
With the aroma of pine trees and cinnamon in the air, we thought we would share with you our favourite things to do in the Cotswolds at Christmas. From the best places to enjoy a festive lunch to inspiring seasonal walks and traditional days out.
During winter in the Cotswolds when the days are crisp and sparkling, wrap up warm and enjoy a refreshing walk in the countryside. A picturesque ramble with friends and family amongst the region’s rolling hills is a great way to spend time together (and highly recommended after a heavy Christmas dinner!). If it gets a little chilly, seek out a traditional Cotswold pub for a festive tipple in front of the fire. Some superb seasonal walks include the Cotswold Way circular walk (4 miles), the Cleeve Hill to Winchcombe walk (4 miles), and the Painswick to Slad circular walk (6 miles).
One of our favourite ways to get into the festive spirit is to visit the many Christmas markets in the Cotswolds. The wonderful scents of spices, roasting chestnuts and mulled wine drift through the rows of stalls, with cheery traders selling everything from local food and produce to jewellery, crafts and unique decorations. Perfect for the whole family, there are often dazzling light switch-ons, live entertainment, fireworks, ice skating and a Santa’s Grotto for the kids.
Check out our guide to Christmas in the Cotswolds, for some of the best markets to visit this year.
Festive pub lunches
Wherever you choose to stay, you’ll never be far from the crackling fire of a traditional Cotswolds pub. These friendly inns are simply bursting with olde-worlde charm, real ales and excellent food and during the festive season, are even more cosily adorned with decorations and twinkling lights. Serving up delicious seasonal menus using local ingredients, these country pubs are the best places to enjoy a Christmas lunch in the Cotswolds. Eat, drink and be merry in some of our favourites including The Ebrington Arms in Chipping Campden, The Wild Rabbit Inn in Kingham, The Kings Head Inn in Bledington and The Wild Duck Inn in Cirencester.
Late Night Shopping
For Christmas gifts that you won’t find anywhere else, visit one of the smaller villages in the Cotswolds for their late-night shopping evenings. Broadway and Bourton-on-the-Water’s sought-after boutiques open their doors late over the festive period and with fewer crowds, Christmas shoppers can pick up some one-of-a-kind and thoughtful presents in relaxing surroundings.
A day at the races
A popular Cotswolds Christmas tradition is to gather friends and family for a festive day at the races. Don your best winter woollies and head to Cheltenham Racecourse where you can merrily cheer your horse past the post with a glass of fizz in hand. This is particularly fun if you’re on a group holiday in the Cotswolds. Alternatively, if you’re celebrating Yuletide with young children, the Bibury Duck Race which takes place on Boxing Day is sure to delight. Choose yourself one of the little yellow ducks and applaud as it races down the River Coln to the finish line. You might even win a prize!
Singing along with classic Christmas carols, against the backdrop of some of the Cotswolds most picturesque locations, is the perfect way to embrace the holidays with your loved ones. Promising sprinklings of festive cheer, there is a plethora of services taking place all over the region. Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucester Cathedral and Cheltenham Town Hall all host traditional family concerts and are musical highlights of the Cotswolds festive season.
Cosy Christmas cottages
Christmas in the Cotswolds is a magical experience and after a glorious day of exploring picture-postcard glittering villages, you can cosy up in one of our chocolate-box cottages. A whole day can easily disappear between reading a book in front of the fire, gathering around a favourite board game and indulging in a glass or two of eggnog. If you want to enjoy a winter stroll, there are plenty of scenic walks within easy reach of our accommodation, as well as lovely village churches for a Christmas service or carol concert. Even your canine companion can join in the festive fun, in one of our dog-friendly cottages.
Why not have a browse of our Christmas cottages in the Cotswolds and start planning your yuletide holiday? And don’t worry – our chimneys are Santa Claus friendly!
How will you be enjoying Christmas in the Cotswolds? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter and tag us in your Instagram photos too!