While the Cotswolds might be famous for its gorgeous greenery and pretty villages, it’s also bursting with fun activities – from bushcraft to brewery tours.
In this hot list, sponsored by Cotswolds Tourism, SoGlos shares 10 activities to try for a truly unique experience, whether you’re a local looking for something a bit different, or visiting on your summer staycation.
Offering a wide variety of bookable activities spanning traditional crafts; guided walking and cycling tours; foodie experiences; gin masterclasses; and even bushcraft, Cotswolds Tourism is showing locals and visitors that there’s so much more to the area than just chocolate-box villages and rolling hills.
For more information, or to book one of these experiences, visit cotswolds.com.
Broadway’s Bloomery gives green-fingered visitors the chance to flex their creative muscles and create their very own floral arrangements.
Using a variety of plants and flowers, it offers workshops on making hand-tied bouquets; spring wreaths with live bulbs that keep on growing; and even your own terrarium – with all tools and equipment provided, as well as drinks and cake!
Thrill seekers can test their mettle with rally driving experiences across the rugged terrain at Cotswold Water Park. Offering white-knuckle rides with experienced rally drivers; one-to-one tutoring; and junior rally driving training – as well as catering for groups like hen and stag parties – Cotswold Driving Experiences give petrolheads a whole new way to experience the Cotswolds.
It also offers 4×4 experiences on its purpose-built course, for anyone who’d rather take things at a slightly slower pace!
Combining beer and bikes, these unique brewery tours give visitors the chance to enjoy a day out in the Cotswold countryside and explore some of the area’s finest breweries. Real ale-lovers can opt for the Donnington Brewery Experience, learning how to make traditional English ale at the 13th century mill, where the water wheel is still used in the brewing process today.
Meanwhile lager fans can head to Cotswold Brew Co. to see how master brewer Richard Keene and wife Emma create their flavoursome and unique alternatives to big brand lager. Both tours include an e-bike ride to and from the brewery of choice, taking in the Slaughters and Bourton-on-the-Water, as well as a guided tour, beer tastings and lunch.
With the Fossils and Fun experience from Cotswolds National Landscape, would-be palaeontologists can discover the ancient secrets of Cotswold limestone – some of which dates all the way back to the Jurassic period – and have a go at finding fossils within it.
Fossil hunters will also learn how Cotswold limestone has been used to create the area’s characteristic honey-coloured buildings, have a go at carving a stone block and repairing a drystone wall. All tools and materials are provided, including safety glasses, work gloves, and that all important cup of tea!
From mastering the art of fire building to trying your hand at archery, axe throwing, rifle shooting and shelter building, Fat Squirrel Outdoors offers a range of activities in its secluded woodland setting near Witney – with experienced guides on hand to help guests master expert survival skills and have fun doing it. Plus, there’ll be marshmallows to toast your success once that fire is lit!
The award-winning Go Cotswolds runs minibus tours for small groups, taking in all the sights of the Cotswolds’ most popular towns and villages. Its Cotswolds in a Day Tour is ideal for first-time visitors, visiting six locations including Dover’s Hill; Chipping Campden; Stow-on-the-Wold; Bibury; Bourton-on-the-Water; and a secret village which promises to be the highlight of the tour.
For those who prefer to explore on foot, Hikes and Bikes offers guided walking tours from Broadway to Chipping Campden; Chipping Campden to Moreton-in-Marsh; as well as a Moreton-in-Marsh circular walk.
Local expert, Andrew Guppy, aims to bring the history and essence of the Cotswolds to life on each tour, as he leads guests through open meadows, ancient woodlands and picture-perfect villages, taking in some of the Cotswolds most recognisable sights, from Broadway Tower to Batsford Arboretum.
Providing a completely unique dining experience with panoramic views from its location in the pastures of Todenham Manor Farm, The Scenic Supper serves up seasonal, local dishes in its seven sustainably-built glasshouses.
The five-course set menu changes each month, showcasing the best of the region’s produce, from the rare breed beef and pork produced at the farm itself, to the local artisan gins stocking the bar. And did we mention those views?
Gin-lovers can take their tastebuds on a tour of the Cotswolds with a local gin tasting at The Bell in Selsley, near Stroud. The three-hour session explores the nuances of gin, tasting a range of local artisan produce including The Bell Inn’s very own Mrs Chef’s Ruin.
Drinkers who choose to make an evening of it and enjoy a meal at The Bell Inn will also receive a miniature bottle of gin to take away. Chin chin!
Anyone who’s seen the iconic scene from Ghost has probably thought about giving pottery a try. At Honeybourne Pottery, guests can enjoy a hands-on experience with its 90-minute potter’s wheel taster sessions.
Ideal for beginners, budding potters can enjoy a pot throwing demonstration from one of Honeybourne’s experts before having a go at throwing some shapes of their own. What’s more, at the end of the session potters can choose their favourite creation to keep, with Honeybourne Pottery taking care of drying, turning, firing them in the kiln and finally glazing the pots, ready to be collected or posted to their makers.
For more information about Cotswolds Tourism, or to book one of these experiences, visit cotswolds.com.
By Chloe Gorman
Tuesday 27 July 2021
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