If you’re looking to escape to the country on your stag do, then a break in the Cotswolds is the perfect place to enjoy a weekend of fun with your mates before the big day.
Spanning villages such as Bourton-in-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold, Moreton-in-Marsh, Chipping Campden, Kingham and Burford, along with towns including Cirencester and Tetbury, the Cotswolds is the destination of choice for discerning stags.
We’ve given the best man a leg up with organising the shenanigans and have created SoGlosWeddings’ ultimate Cotswolds stag do guide – giving you all the more time to plan what fancy dress costume you’re going to make the groom-to-be wear.
There is a wealth of accommodation options for stag dos in the Cotswolds whatever your budget, but if you’re looking to keep costs down then the Travelodge in Cirencester is one of the most affordable options. There’s also a YHA hostel situated in the pretty village of Stow-on-the-Wold that makes an ideal base for activities in the north of the Cotswolds.
For stags wanting to stay somewhere in town check out The Kings Head Hotel, a stylish boutique hotel located in the heart of Cirencester, the capital of the Cotswolds. With The Kings Hotel a charming choice in the heart of Chipping Campden’s The Square.
For a classy stag do base near the watersports action of South Cerney head to De Vere Cotswold Water Park which offers rooms, some with a lake view, and self-catering apartments.
While those searching for a venue that oozes in the style stakes should head to The Fish Hotel, a newly opened boutique bolthole situated on the Farncombe Estate, which offers Boys’ Weekends geared at stag parties with 47 rooms available and the chance to build a bespoke itinerary to suit your groom.
When it comes to self-catering options the Cotswolds has ample to choose from whether you want to splash the cash on a rural retreat or lord it up in a manor house. The White House is a luxury rental situated in Moreton-in-Marsh that sleeps up to 14 and has a swimming pool, a hot tub and an impressive outdoor eating and entertaining area.
For larger groups Middle Stanley Farm is ideal and can accommodate up to 28 in the three properties situated on the 90-acres woodland estate near the Cotswold village of Gretton, just nine miles north of Cheltenham.
And, if you really have a large budget to play with then Bibury Court near Cirencester offers a decadent playground for stag parties, with space to sleep up to 36 and there’s even the possibility to arrive in a helicopter – now that’s a classy stag do!
While all-day drinking is tempting on a stag do, organising activities is also a staple part of giving your mate a send-off to remember with the Cotswolds offering an array of options, whether you want an action-packed agenda or chill out time with your pals.
If the groom is a fan of golf then he’ll enjoy the chance to hit the fairway and play the 18 holes at Cirencester Golf Club which welcomes visitors, although larger groups are advised to book in advance.
A bit of friendly rivalry is something of a given on a stag do and if you want the chance to flex your competitive streak then head to Cotswold Clay Club to practice your marksmanship skills at its popular Have a Go days.
Thrill-seeking stags will love the opportunity to get behind the wheel and try their hand at rally driving at Gloucestershire Rally School near Cirencester, with full and half-day options available.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush up with a difference Head4Heights, situated in Cotswold Water Park near Cirencester, offers the chance to challenge your nerve at the aerial adventure centre, whether it’s climbing the 12-metre totem poll or free falling from the 13-metre high platform.
Wherever you decide to base yourself for your Cotswold stag do, you’ll be within reach of Cheltenham Racecourse which holds racing meets from October to April and offers an action-packed day out – and, of course, the chance to drink a few pints of Guinness and have a flutter or two.
Whether the stag’s a footie fan or you just want to laugh at your mates looking ridiculous while they try to score a goal wearing a giant inflatable ball, then head to Cirencester Arena for a game of Bubble Football. The sessions including equipment and facility hire and unlimited games, while there’s also the option to create packages that include food, drink and the chance to watch Cirencester Town in action.
Far Peak Climbing in Northleach offers the chance to gather your stags for a weekend of bonding when you combine scaling the highest artificial town climbing tower in Gloucestershire with a night under the stars at its campsite. If camping isn’t your thing then you can stay in one of the Shepherd’s Huts, while there are also other activities to keep you entertained including bush craft, archery and team challenges.
It’s the classic stag do activity that never grows old and allows you to channel your inner marksman! Cotswold Paintball near Bourton-on-the-Hill offers a multi-zone site in the heart of a 300-acre forest with the forts, towers and deep valleys adding to the excitement of the competition.
If the groom-to-be is a fan of spirits, he’ll relish the chance to go on a tour at Cotswolds Distillery situated in a stunning setting near Shipston-on-Stour. On the special group tour you’ll discover how the premium spirit brand crafts its gin and whisky and, of course, enjoy tastings.
Waterland, situated in Cotswold Water Park near Cirencester, offers a selection of stag activities both on the water and on dry land. From sailing to windsurfing, raft building to archery, there’s plenty to entertain stag parties with a taste of adventure.
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to dining in the Cotswolds, with a huge selection of eateries catering to a range of tastes and budgets.
For those looking for a classy and sophisticated meal, the restaurant at The Kings Head Hotel in Cirencester offers a delicious yet informal menu that favours seasonal produce, and there are also a host private dining options available. The Wheatsheaf Inn in Northleach is a charming gastropub, with its private dining room ideal for larger groups who can tuck into the decadent feast menu.
If it’s a rural Cotswold pub you’re after then check out The Inn at Fossebridge, near Cirencester, which serves up tasty grub and cask ales aplenty, while the private dining room can accommodate large parties.
There is also a selection of other options for larger parties in Cirencester including Indian Rasoi, which serves a good value banquet menu; and Piazza Fontana where you’ll find authentic Italian food at decent prices.
If you’re stag do is more about leisurely sinking pints of real ale then you’re in for a treat, as the Cotswolds is home to a bevy of outstanding pubs, from The Bell at Stow and The White Hart in Stow-on-the-Wold to The Ebrington Arms in Chipping Campden which brews its own craft beer and also offers food.
But, for those looking for something a bit livelier Cirencester is the place to head. Graze, a stylish bar and brasserie, offers a selection of ales, wines and spirits, while the cocktail lounge at Somewhere Else is the perfect space for private parties and can also serve canapés along with your drinks.
Seventeen Black is a wine bar and club with live music and DJs along with a vast choice of beers, premium spirits, wines and cocktails.
If you want to carry on the party late into the night head to REVA, Cirencester’s biggest night spot, offering two dance floors and a mix of tunes that span house and RnB, along with the option of booking a VIP area and a host of drink packages to get the party started.
Cheltenham is also within easy reach for those planning a stag do in the Cotswolds and offers a vibrant nightlife that’s ideal for getting the celebrations started. For ideas on where to party, check out our Cheltenham hen do guide.
The Cotswolds hosts an array of events throughout the year and basing the stag do around these diary dates is an ideal focal point for your weekend.
World-famous horse racing event, The Festival and Gold Cup, takes place every March. Expect a riotous atmosphere but bear in mind that accommodation across Cheltenham and the Cotswolds often gets booked up a year in advance and prepare to pay a premium for somewhere to stay.
Every May the village of Chipping Campden becomes a hive of activity when Robert Dover’s Cotswold Olimpick Games opens, for an evening of sporting fun. The event dates back more than 400 years and spectators can expect to see – and take part in – a host of weird and wonderful traditions including a tug of war tournament and the British Shin Kicking Championships!
When it comes to eccentric Cotswold events Tetbury Woolsack Races, which see competitors run around town with a 60lb woolsack on their backs, is certainly up there. The race takes place on the last bank holiday in May and is open to individuals and teams who can test their strength and determination, making it the ideal event for groups of stags.
One of the world’s biggest air shows takes place at RAF Fairford in the Cotswolds for three days every July and offers the chance to catch a glimpse of internationally-acclaimed aircrafts and display teams, as they take to the skies to showcase impressive choreographed flying displays, along with the opportunity to see military jets rehearsing.
Every August bank holiday Monday the quiet river that runs through the Bourton-in-the-Water is transformed into a football pitch with a difference as teams battle it out to be crowned champions. While it’s only open to local teams it certainly makes for an entertaining spectator sport for stag dos.
The easiest way to get around the Cotswolds is by car as the villages and activities can be quite spread out. If you do want to arrive by train there are stations at Kingham, Moreton-in-Marsh, Cheltenham, Kemble, while the nearest airport is Gloucestershire Airport.
By Anna Marshall
Thursday 30 July 2015
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