With so much going on throughout the Cotswolds, it’s always a good time of year to visit! Below we’ve put together a few highlights during the different seasons to give you a flavour of what to do while you are here.
(March – May)
(June – August)
Cheltenham Gold Cup (March) A major highlight in the racing calendar, culminating in the world famous Gold Cup.
Cheltenham Wine Festival (April) Explore and taste over 300 different wines and meet the people behind them.
Badminton Horse Trials (May) An annual three day event culminating in the cross-country day which attracts crowds of up to a quarter of a million.
Cheltenham Jazz Festival (May) Boasting Jamie Cullum and Moira Stuart as some of their biggest fans, the Cheltenham Jazz Festival brings a mix of international jazz icons, up-and-coming news artists and unique festival exclusives.
Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling (May bank holiday) A centuries old tradition with spectators coming from far and wide to see competitors race down a near vertical hill after a wheel of double Gloucester.
Tetbury Wool Sack Races (May bank holiday) 240 yards up a 1 in 4 hill, carrying a 60lb (35lb for women) sack on your back. Originally thought to have started in the 17th Century and officially Been going for more than 30 years.
Giffords Circus (May – September) Touring through various locations in the Cotswolds from May – September, Giffords Circus has been running since 2000 and is hugely popular with all ages.
Cheltenham Science Festival (June) Attracting some of the world’s greatest scientists and comedians, Cheltenham Science Festival hosts some fascinating talks challenging and debating some of the great unknowns. A free interactive exhibition is held in the Town Hall for the duration of the event.
Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival (June) A three day event in the heart of Cheltenham, showcasing a vast range of food and drinks, as well as hosting events such as wine tastings, food talks and cookery demonstrations.
Cheltenham Music Festival (July) One of the most prestigious music festivals in the world, the Cheltenham Music festival offers a fantastic programme of concerts across several Cheltenham venues, including the Town Hall, the Pittville Pump Rooms. Over 60 events with 650 performers across the 12 day festival.
Royal International Air Tattoo (July) The World’s largest military air show full of dramatic displays and spectacles!
WOMAD (July) International arts festival showcasing music, arts and dance from around the world.
Stroud Country Show (July) Dating back to Victorian times, the Stroud Show has lots of crafts and produce from around the region, with music, beer tents and local food, making a great day out.
Cotswold Show (July) Based in Cirencester park, the two day Cotswold Show and Food Festival is a great day out, with everything from falconry displays to cookery demonstrations, dog agility courses and brass bands!
Festival of British Eventing (August) Set in Gatcombe park, the Festival of British Eventing encompasses the British Open, Intermediate and Novice Championships as well as the Amateur Championship, The Corinthian Cup.
Big Feastival (August bank holiday) Situated on Alex James’ farm in the North Cotswolds, this three day foodie extravaganza also features a cracking musical line up.
Stroud Fringe (August bank holiday) A free music and arts festival in Stroud celebrating the towns musical and artistic talents, with live bands, street food and entertainment. Taking a break in 2018, it will return in 2019.
Frocester Beer Festival (August bank holiday) Annual festival with over 100 different cask-conditioned real ales from breweries throughout the UK. Live-music, hot food and a large selection of wines are also included.
Painswick Art Couture (Usually August) Every two years (2016, 2018), Painswick hosts this unique wearable art festival where works of art are displayed on the body. Catwalk displays happen throughout the day and there are trade and craft produce stalls, music and workshops.
Spring: The vines start to wake up during Spring, having lain dormant over the winter months. The buds burst into life, and bud-rubbing is one of the key vineyard activities, which involves removing the shoots and buds growing on the lower part of the vine, ensuring that the main shoots receive all the energy and nutrients in the vine. After the bottling of the still wines at the end of February or early March, the winery is a bit quieter; time for a well earned break for Jeremy our winemaker!
Summer: Summer in the vineyard is one of the most interesting times; flowering usually occurs round about the Wimbledon fortnight, when we pray for a dry spell! Vine flowers are not particularly interesting however this is one of the most important parts of the plant life cycle. Flowering is followed by fruit-set, with the grapes starting off as pea-sized hard berries. The process of ripening the grapes and the colour change from green to yellow or red depending on the variety, is known as veraison, and usually occurs during August. The winery is quieter at this time of year with the tanks empty waiting to be filled with the harvest! However, we bottle our sparkling wines during the summer months, ready for bottle-ageing.
(September – November)
(December – February)
Autumn Colours at Westonbirt Arboretum The best time of year to visit the arboretum; the autumn colouring of the leaves is quite spectacular.
Cheltenham Literature Festival (October) A literary lover’s dream, the Cheltenham Literature festival is packed full of writers, actors, politicians making up the 10 day programme with debates, interviews, talks and workshops for everyone.
Five Valleys Walk (September) In aid of Meningitis Now, this sponsored walk covers the Five Valleys. Attracting thousands of visitors of all ages, and four-legged friends, the full walk is 21 miles however participants can pick a shorter distance if they wish.
Blenheim Horse Trials (September) An annual three day event attracting some of the world’s best event horses and riders.
Bibury Duck Race (Boxing Day) Every boxing day, hundreds of spectators gather for this annual charity duck race, with thousands of yellow ducks floating along the river Coln through the village.
Cheltenham New Year’s Day Races A hugely popular event held every New Year’s Day; an excellent way to see in the New Year.
Wassailing (January) One of the more unusual Cotswold traditions, the Stroud wassail has been revived over the past few years, drawing a large crowd to witness the singing, dancing, costumed procession as they go through the town, wishing the citizens of Stroud a healthy and successful year.
Snowdrops at Rococo Gardens One of the best times of the year to visit the Rococo Garden is when the snowdrops are in full bloom usually in February each year. With one of the largest naturalistic plantings of snowdrops, it is a truly lovely sight.
Autumn: One of our busiest times of year; harvest is usually in full flow by the end of September and takes about six weeks for us to gather all the grapes. They then head straight into our winery for pressing and fermentation, with the ferments usually finished by the end of November. It’s one of the best time of the year in the winery as the fresh juice tastes delicious and there is a constant wine smell!
Winter: The vines lie dormant over the winter however the huge task of pruning our 60,000 vines starts in the first week of January and usually takes until mid to late February before we’ve finished. This is one of the most labour intensive times in the vineyard (after harvest) and is quite a skilled discipline. In the winery January and February are busy with blending and tasting trials for the still wines, which are then bottled at the end of February or beginning of March.
Welcome to Woodchester Valley
Are you over 18?