With beautiful sights, outstanding natural beauty and delicious local food and drink to indulge in, there’s so much to do in Gloucestershire – even on a short weekend trip.
In this two-day Gloucestershire itinerary, SoGlos rounds up some of our favourite ways to spend 48 hours in the Cotswolds. Also see SoGlos’s 24 hours in Gloucestershire itinerary for more ideas about exploring Gloucester and Cheltenham, or a week in Gloucestershire itinerary for inspiration for longer trips.
9am – Brunch at Daylesford in Moreton-in-Marsh
No 48-hour trip to Gloucestershire would be complete without a visit to the county’s most famous farm. Daylesford, near Kingham, serves breakfast from 8am, with freshly-squeezed juices, sourdough toast and dishes made with produce grown on the farm, alongside Daylesford’s own organic eggs.
10.30am – See some of the Cotswolds’ most iconic sights
Spend the morning taking in some of the must-see sights in the Cotswolds, with a visit to the iconic Broadway Tower, boasting panoramic views across the Cotswold countryside; a spot of leaf peeping at Batsford Arboretum, where visitors can admire exotic trees and plants, including the National Collection of Japanese Flowering Cherries; or explore the 200-year-old Mogul Indian palace reminiscent of the Taj Mahal, set within the stunning grounds of the Sezincote Estate.
3pm – Discover the doorway that ‘inspired J.R.R. Tolkein’
The doorway of St Edwards Church in Stow-on-the-Wold has been named one of the most influential doors in the country – and is supposedly the inspiration for the Doors of Durin in J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings.
One of the most unique sights to see in the Cotswolds, the ultra-Instagrammable door is framed by two ancient Yew trees and looks fit to transport Tolkein fans straight into the heart of Middle Earth!
Afterwards take the chance to stroll around the pretty market town, with shops spanning independent bookshops, antiques dealers and outdoor clothing retailers to cheese and fudge boutiques or simply grab a flat white and a flaky pastry from Coach House Coffee, all in the centre of Stow.
7pm – Enjoy a delicious dinner in the Cotswolds
If you’re visiting in spring or summer, make the journey out to The Scenic Supper at Todenham Manor Farm for one of the most unique dining experiences in the area. With unique glasshouses to dine in; an ever-changing menu of local, seasonal dishes; a farm-to-fork ethos; some of the most impressive gin cocktails the county has to offer; and incredible views across the Cotswold countryside, it’s most certainly worth the trip!
Alternatively, stick around in Stow-on-the-Wold for some delicious dining options with local, seasonal produce taking pride of place on many of the menus. Said to be the oldest inn in England, The Porch House has buckets of quintessential Cotswold charm, from exposed oak beams to flagstone floors, as well as a menu of comforting British cuisine featuring everything from locally-sourced steaks to Cotswold brie.
For fans of Mediterranean cuisine, Alexiou’s offers a small but perfectly formed menu in stylish surroundings, with options including lamb moussaka, whole roasted aubergine and mezze platters to share; The Sheep on Sheep Street is known for its wood-fired sourdough pizza; while The Old Butchers is housed within, you guessed it, an old butcher’s shop, but is more famous for its seafood – with highlights including Scottish langoustines; Cornish scallops; and lobster mac and cheese.
10pm – Spend the night at a cosy Cotswold Inn
If you’re staying around Stow-on-the-Wold, there are plenty of Cotswold inns to choose from. As well as having a fantastic restaurant, The Old Stocks Inn also boasts a stylish cocktail bar, perfect for a nightcap, as well as a range of boutique rooms blending modern comforts with the building’s 17th century charm. The Stag at Stow offers quirky rooms in its Georgian townhouse and The Bell at Stow has a range of characterful rooms in its traditional Cotswold pub, too.
10am – Meet some of the Cotswolds’ most famous residents
After enjoying a hearty breakfast at your B&B, head to Guiting Power to pay a visit to some of the area’s famous residents. Cotswold Farm Park – which is run by Gloucestershire’s most famous farmer, Adam Henson – offers an animal-themed adventure with rare breed farm animals to meet, including Cotswold Lion sheep and Gloucester Old Spot pigs, as well as a wildlife trail and outdoor play areas galore.
In Winchcombe, meanwhile, history enthusiasts can visit the final resting place of Queen Katherine Parr at Sudeley Castle, where visitors can, quite literally, walk in the footsteps of the Tudors and learn all about the fascinating life of Henry VIII’s sixth wife.
1pm – Tuck into a Cotswolds Sunday lunch
If your weekend plans include a Sunday, head to a Cotswold pub for a traditional Sunday lunch with all the trimmings. Some tasty options in the area, include The Hollow Bottom in Guiting Power, which offers everything from Double Gloucester cheese soufflé and devilled lamb’s kidneys to start, to dry-aged beef; chicken; pork belly and crackling; or mushroom wellington for the main event.
Lords of the Manor in Upper Slaughter has a traditional Sunday lunch menu featuring beef rump and Yorkshire pudding; glazed pork belly; and a classic sticky toffee pudding for dessert; The Slaughters Country Inn has options including roast sirloin of beef with Yorkshire pudding; roast loin of pork with apple sauce; and traditional bread and butter pudding with crème anglaise for afters; while menu highlights at the family-run The Mousetrap Inn in Bourton-on-the-Water include black pudding Scotch egg with The Mousetrap’s own brown sauce; dry aged sirloin of beef with Yorkshire pudding; roasted pork belly with thyme and onion stuffing; and sticky date pudding with toffee sauce and banana ice cream.
3pm – Take a walk along the Cotswold Way
Walk off your lunch on a short 1.3-mile-long section of the Cotswold Way between Lower Slaughter and Bourton-on-the-Water, which gives walkers a chance to admire the gorgeous Gloucestershire countryside, the River Windrush and some of the area’s most picturesque chocolate-box towns, with Lower Slaughter being home to Britain’s ‘most romantic’ street – Copse Hill Road.
4pm – Spend the afternoon in Bourton-on-the-Water
Known as ‘the Venice of the Cotswolds’, visitors can wander alongside the River Windrush as it weaves through Bourton-on-the-Water, with plenty of photo opportunities on the town’s many beautiful bridges – and even the chance to dip your toes into the shallow waters on warmer days.
Take a walk around the quirky Model Village – an authentic miniature replica of the town in Cotswold stone, find your way to the centre of the Dragonfly Maze, or meet flamingos, England’s only breeding colony of king penguins and even dinosaurs at Birdland.
7pm – Enjoy dinner, bed and breakfast at one of Bourton’s historic hotels
Right next door to the Model Village, cosy up next to the fire at the freshly refurbished Tap Room at The Old New Inn. With heritage vibes fitting for the historic coaching house, dinner guests can enjoy an eclectic range of dishes with its ‘Tapas at the Tap’ menu, including mushroom and truffle risotto; garlic chilli tiger prawns; padron peppers; and baked camembert with sourdough – before settling in for the night in one of The Old New Inn’s beautiful, bright and airy rooms with views over the river. Breakfast is included too, with local produce like Cacklebean eggs taking pride of place.
Enjoy Asian-inspired dishes with everything from vegetable gyozas, duck bon bons, tarka dhal to Thai yellow curry at the 17th century The Dial House hotel, which offers a range of rooms both in the main house and its modern coach house building with breakfast included.
Or, go straight for a stylish suite at Bourton’s boutique Old Bank Rooms right on the High Street, with an in-room breakfast included with every stay.