The Cotswolds need no introduction; the areas is famous for their gentle rolling hills and picture perfect Cotswold stone villages which epitomise the ‘quaint English countryside’. Stretching over 6 different counties, the Cotswolds is the largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England & Wales, home to c. 140,000 people but visited by 38 million tourists each year!
We are located in the South Cotswolds, inside the AONB, 20 minutes from the ancient Roman market town of Cirencester, and within easy distance of both the historic spa town of Cheltenham and city of Bath. Although less well known than its northern counterpart, the South Cotswolds has plenty to offer, with its bustling market towns, sprawling valleys and industrial heritage, however with far less tourists. With so much to do in the surrounding areas, this guide hopes to give you just a flavour of the options available to you during your stay with us. For a few suggestions of seasonal events and activities throughout the year, have a look at our Cotswold Calendar.
Nailsworth (1.5 miles, Free parking)
A mile down the road from our vineyard, Nailsworth is a thriving little market town with a wide variety of restaurants, cafés and shops ranging from boutique clothes to unique home ware stores. Once known for its involvement in the Cotswolds wool trade, it is now a friendly and welcoming town, very popular with walkers, cyclists and visitors to the South Cotswolds, and was named as one of the best places to live in Britain by the Sunday Times in 2014. There is a farmers market on the 4th Saturday of each month and a great selection of restaurants and eateries serving quality local produce. The local football team, Forest Green Rovers play in league 2 of the English Football League and is the smallest settlement ever to host an EFL team. They are also the only vegan football club in the country!
We are very fortunate to have many lovely restauarants, pubs and cafés within a couple of miles of our vineyard; click here if you would like to see a selection of local pubs and restaurants.
Stroud (3.5 miles)
At the heart of the Five Golden Valleys, brimming with independent shops and home to one of the best Farmers’ Markets in the country (every Saturday until 2pm), there are plenty of things to do in Stroud, which was once described by Jasper Conran as ‘the Covent Garden of the Cotswolds’. Stroud was made famous in Laurie Lee’s book ‘Cider with Rosie’ and still has a reputation as a creative, artistic centre today, with a variety of events throughout the year such as the Stroud Fringe Festival (August), the SITE art festival and Select Festival. Textile mills still operate in the town, a link to its industrial heritage, and can be visited at certain times of the year. If you miss out on the Saturday Farmers market then the Friday Shambles market is also well worth a visit.
Tetbury (8 miles)
The ancient town of Tetbury dates back to AD 681 where Tetta’s Monastery was mentioned in a charter by King Ethereld of Mercia. Historically an important town for the Cotswolds Wool trade, Tetbury is know known for its numerous antique shops, old wool merchant houses (many of them unchanged since the 16th and 17th centuries) and for its proximity to Prince Charles’ Highgrove estate. Tetbury hosts a range of festivals and events throughout the year, including the traditional ‘Wool Sack’ race (May bank holiday) which involves contestants carrying a sack of wool up and down a very steep hill! It is also a base for many equestrian events including Badminton Horse Trials, Gatcombe Festival of British Eventing and Beaufort Polo.
Cirencester (13 miles)
The ‘Capital of the Cotswolds’, Cirencester is an ancient Roman market town which was, in Roman times, second only in London in size. Today it is a bustling town which makes a great base to explore the rest of the South Cotswolds. It has excellent shopping facilities, ranging from independent boutiques to high street stores and a wide range of markets, including crafts, antiques and a farmers market. There are also numerous attractions such as the Corinium Museum, the Roman Amphitheatre, and the New Brewery Arts Centre.
A short drive from Cirencester is the village of Bibury, once described by William Morris as the most beautiful village in England. Home to one of the most photographed sites in the UK, Arlington Row, Bibury is a favourite tourist hotspot and makes for a very scenic stop off point.
The towns spread out around the five valleys, particularly Minchinhampton and Painswick (both used as filming locations in JK Rowling’s ‘A Casual Vacancy’) are typical of South Cotswold villages, worth a visit and are useful as a pit-stop for lunch after a walk. Minchinhampton, Selsley and Rodborough commons are all a stone’s throw away and are a perfect walking spots, offering stunning views across the rest of the five valleys. Don’t miss out on an icecream at Winstone’s icecream factory on Rodborough common.
Cheltenham (17 miles) The beautiful regency spa town of Cheltenham is often referred to as the ‘cultural capital’ of the Cotswolds, known for its shopping, theatres, festivals and racecourse. The highlight of the racing calendar is the Cheltenham Festival, held in March every year, although events are held throughout the year. Cheltenham’s four arts festivals (Jazz, Science, Music and Literature) are hugely popular and attract many well-known artists and speakers. Shopping is another highlight with the areas of Montpellier and the Promenade, particularly popular. Cheltenham also has an excellent food and drink scene with lots of excellent restaurants, cafes, pubs and wine bars.
Bath (28 miles) The spa city of Bath is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and has plenty to offer for a day of sightseeing; from exploring the historical Roman Baths and the stunning Royal Crescent to bathing in the Thermae Bath spa or shopping in the many high street retailers or independent shops. Bath has an array of places to visit including the Jane Austen Centre, Pulteney Bridge, the Circus and Bath Abbey. Not far out of Bath, Longleat, Wookey Hole and Stonehenge are all worthy of a visit.
Bristol (31 miles) There is so much to do and see in the city of Bristol. The Galleries and Cabot Circus offer a variety of shops, cafes and restaurants. Admire Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge and the SS Great Britain in the harbour. For modern art lovers explore the Banksy street art and the M Shed offers an insight into Bristol life, its people and their stories. Take in a show at the Hippodrome or visit the Aquarium or @ Bristol Science centre. The Clifton area of the city has a different feel to the city centre and lovely to stroll around on a sunny day. Bristol Zoo is another favourite tourist attraction well worth a visit. Or why not enjoy soaking up the city atmosphere with a walking or cycling tour! With so much to choose from you will be glad you visited this diverse city.
Bourton-on-the-Water (29 miles) A beautiful Cotswold town with some unique tourist attractions, Bourton-on-the-Water is sometimes referred to as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ due to the little bridges that cross the River Windrush, running through the centre of the village. The Model village is a grade ll listed 1/9th scale replica of the village, an incredible model well worth a walk around. You can also visit the Cotswolds Motor Museum where you can see great cars, motorbikes and other vehicles from the 20th century. Take a stroll down the high street to discover quaint shops and cafes where you can sit and enjoy the village, often voted one of the prettiest in England.
Woodchester Mansion, Woodchester Just down the road, this Grade 1 listed Victorian Gothic style mansion was famously left unfinished when the family ran out of money in the 1870s. Because of this, it provides visitors with the opportunity to see how houses of this period were made, with many fine examples of stone masonry. Used as an army training ground during World War 2, it has also featured in several films and TV series, most recently in Series 2 of The Crown.
Museum in the Park, Stroud Set in the grounds of Stratford Park, housed in a Grade II listed 17th Century wool merchants house, Museum in the Park offers an interesting look at the local history of the Stroud area. From drawings and examples of the world’s first lawnmower invented in Stroud, to dinosaurs bones, discover the very local history of Stroud, through this large collection.
Chavenage House, Tetbury A Grade 1 listed Elizabeth house, Chavenage was originally built in 1576 and is reportedly one of the country’s most haunted homes. It is currently used as a location for the TV series Poldark.
Corinium Museum, Cirencester Home to one of the most extensive Roman collections in the country, explore the artefacts and step back in time. With talks, tours and exhibitions, this museum is a great place to visit.
Berkeley Castle This grade 1 listed medieval castle has been home to the Berkeley family since the 12th Century. The castle has a fascinating history, and is thought to be the place where Edward II was murdered in 1327.
Gloucester Cathedral Dating back to 679 AD as a religious site, this predominantly Romanesque and Gothic style cathedral has over 1,300 years of history and is well worth a visit. It has been used a filming location for several of the Harry Potter films and the BBCs adaptation of Wolf Hall.
Gloucester Life Museum Housed in two of the oldest buildings in the city of Gloucester. Discover social history through a collection of interesting artefacts. From the story of the River Severn fisheries, to a Victorian classroom, costumes and treen (small wooden items) there is so much to discover in these beautiful buildings.
Jet Age Museum, Gloucester A collection of historic aircraft and artefacts covering the history of aviation in Gloucestershire. With A Gloster Meteor, Gloster Javelin and Gloster E28/39 this museum is the only museum in the world to boost examples of the three Gloster aircraft company jets together.
National Waterways Museum, Gloucester An award winning museum, charting the 200 year history of both the docks and the Gloucester and sharpness Canal. Housed in a Grade ll listed warehouse at the docks you will find interactive exhibits and enjoy seeing the docks, which were once the deepest and widest in the world.
Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, Gloucester Docks Dedicated to the memory of those who served their country as Soldiers of Gloucestershire. Learn about the history from 1694 to our modern day conflicts. With changing exhibitions, and a chance to learn about twelve generations of Gloucestershire Soliders.
Holst Birthplace Museum, Cheltenham One of only two composer birthplace museums in the country, the Holst Museum is a memorial to Gustav Holst, one of England’s most celebrated composers, best known for his orchestral suite ‘The Planets’. He was born in Cheltenham, in 1874 and the museum is set in the house he lived in until 1882.
Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe The burial place of Katherine Parr (Henry VIII’s 6th wife), Sudeley Castle is one of the few castles in the UK still used as a residence. Due to this the castle is only open at certain times, but it is worth a visit and has ten different award-winning gardens to visit as well.
Cotswold Motor Museum, Bourton on the Water housing, classic and vintage cars, as well as motorbikes and even caravans this is a must do for car enthusiasts. It also homes an amazing collection of enamel signs. TV children’s favourite form the 80’s ‘Brum’ can also be seen here.
Roman Baths, Bath Remarkably preserved, the Roman Baths are one of the greatest religious spas of the ancient world, attracting 1 million visitors each year. The baths still flow with natural hot water from the city’s thermal springs.
The Cotswold Way Offering 102 miles (164 km) of magical discovery through the western edge of the Cotswolds from Chipping Camden down to Bath. From walking through picturesque villages to taking in the stunning views from the Cotswold escarpment, this is a must for walkers. Often done in ‘sections’, the route passes through our Stonehouse ‘Doverow’ Vineyard and behind our Woodchester site.
Woodchester Park boathouse walk An easy 3.5 mile walk in the grounds of Woodchester Mansion, just down the road from our vineyard. Admire the abundance of wildlife while walking through the landscaped park past the mansion and a chain of five lakes, woodland and pasture.
Laurie Lee Wildlife Way This six mile circular walk, created by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, follows 10 poetry posts around the wildlife-rich Slad Valley. Each cedar post features a different poem by Gloucestershire's most famous twentieth century writer, inspired by the landscape around him. The walk is very steep in places, but well worth the effort! An 11th post is located at the Museum in the Park in Stroud.
Cloth, Coal & Canals (Stroudwater Canal walk or cycle) This walk, in association with the Royal Geographical Society, goes along the canal towpath from Stroud to Stonehouse It tells the story of the Stroud Valley - from the past, present to the future, with plenty to observe along the way including mills, locks, bridges, warehouses, beautiful scenery and wildlife. Cycling is also very popular along the canals and towpaths which run from Eastington to Sapperton.
Crickley Hill One of the stops along the Cotswold Way, Crickley Hill is also a great place for a shorter walk. A stunning view overlooking the Severn Vale, the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains in the far distance. A walk around Crickley Hill and across the limestone grassland you will discover a variety of wildlife and plants.
Cotswolds & The Severn Vale 7 day Circular Cycling Tour A 180-mile 7 day circular cycling route, this starts and finishes in Stroud going to Berkeley, Painswick, Winchcombe, Burford and Cirencester. This scenic cycle goes through some stunning countryside and beautiful Cotswold villages, although has some good hill climbs in it! For shorter cycles circular routes around Nailsworth, Berkeley and Painswick are also available to download.
Stroud Valleys trail A 6.5 mile route from Stonehouse to Nailsworth, along an disused railway line, this is a traffic free flat cycle route that provides wonderful views, interesting buildings along the way and ends up in Nailsworth, perfect for some lunch! If you fancy a challenge, then Minchinhampton Common is a steep cycle up out of Nailsworth.
Cotswold Water Park Offers waterside walking and cycling paths around the 150 lakes. Bicycles can be hired on site. The Thames Path National Trail and National Cycle Network route 45 also run through the park. If walking you can try the Cricklade Circular walk or the Thames north west, you will discover the source of the Thames, in Kemble.
Treasure Trails A fun way to explore the local area, offering online treasure trails of local villages.
Painswick Rococo Gardens Designed in 1740 as a pleasure garden for Benjamin Hyett and his house guests, this is England’s only remaining complete rococo garden. Discover the intriguing garden buildings, take a woodland walk then enjoy tea and cake in the café.
Westonbirt Arboretum Planted in the heyday of Victorian plant hunting in the mid-19th century, today Westonbirt Arboretum is one of the finest tree collections in the world, carefully laid out within a Grade One listed historic landscape. Home to over 15,000 rare and beautiful trees, it is at its most spectacular in Autumn however offers excellent walking, through the 600 acre site.
The Bird and Deer Park, Prinknash Once the hunting lodge of Henry VIII, the site of Prinknash Abeby, was created in 1974 as a bird park. It now homes fallow deer, reindeer, piggy goats and miniature Mediterranean Donkeys.
Highgrove Garden The home of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. Tours of the private gardens, many of designed or inspired by Prince Charles himself are available between April to October (booking in advance is required).
Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Started by Sir Peter Scott, Slimbridge boasts 800 acres of wild reserve providing a haven for diverse wetland creatures. Spot some of the world’s most spectacular swans, ducks, geese and flamingos as well as otters.
International Centre for Birds of Prey, Newent Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017 , the International Centre for Birds of Prey homes over 250 raptors including eagles, vultures, hawks and owls.
Cotswold Farm Park, Guiting Power Adam Henson’s farm park is the home of rare breed conservation and makes a great day out for visitors of all ages. For wildlife enthusiasts, a 2 mile wildlife walk through the estate makes a lovely addition to your visit.
Royal Victoria Park, Bath Opened in 1830, these botanical and woodland gardens provide a visual delight to visitors.
Birdland, Bourton on the Water Nine acres of beautiful park with gardens homing over 500 birds. From waterfowl to pelicans, Parrots to toucans you will encounter such a variety it will be hard to come away disappointed.
Cotswolds Wildlife Park and Gardens, Burford Believed to be the largest privately owned zoological collection in the United Kingdom, Cotswold Wildlife Park is home to over 260 different species. Housed within its 160 acre site, you will find reptiles, lemurs, rhinos, giraffes, meerkats and sloths.
Batsford Arboretum, Moreton-in-Marsh Slightly further afield, you will find this far eastern influenced garden of trees, planted in the late 1800’s by Lord Redesdale and restored in 1919 by lord Dulverton and his son.
Forest Green Rovers Football Club Based in our closest town Nailsworth (5 mins drive). Currently in League 2 FGR ground the New Lawn ground holds 5,032 spectators. Famous for being the first vegan football team and the smallest settlement to ever host a league team.
Cheltenham Racecourse Home to the Cheltenham gold cup in March. Steeplechases races are held here throughout the year.
Minchinhampton Golf Club The host venue for the 2018-22 Open Qualifying Series (Regional), Minchinhampton boasts 3 courses, The Avening, The Cherrington and the Old Course.
Minchinhampton Old Course Set on Minchinhampton Common, a National Trust area of outstanding natural beauty, The Old Course was originally established in 1889 and was one of the earliest clubs to be formed in the West of England.
Stratford leisure Centre, Stroud Our local fitness centre with a gym, two pools (indoor and outdoor) and a climbing wall as well as a host of courts including squash, table-tennis, badminton which can be hired.
Cotswold water Park, Cirencester 150 lakes set in over 40 square miles, the water park offers plenty of activities, both on and off the water. Some of the activities available include: kayaking, rowing, paddleboarding, sailing, wakeboarding and water-skiing. Non-water based activities include, high ropes, paintballing, archery, walking or cycling around the lakes.
Equestrian There are plenty of riding schools in the area, offering tuition and treks. A few close to us are: South Cerney Riding School (located at Cotswold Water Park), Talland School of Equitation.
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