Why not try coming to stay in our cottage in one of the Winter months? We are open nearly all year round apart from a few weeks of maintenance (and a couple of weeks off for ourselves!), generally during the months of November and February. Some of that time there is a minimum stay of one week, some a minimum booking period of 3 nights – if you are unable to stay 3 nights, then you still have the whole of the 3rd day at the cottage after your 2nd night as it is yours until the next day anyway.
The Cotswolds, an area of outstanding natural beauty is a magical place for all seasons and in many ways, if you are willing to don a few extra garments for the outdoor experience, discovering the hidden gems in winter is more fun as you will rarely be bothered by “other people” standing in the way of that gorgeous view or creating a queue to get into a place of interest. Yes, occasionally you will encounter crowds when it is a school holiday or special event in the area but in the main, you will find yourself amongst locals, rather than tourists. A striking example of the difference between Winter and Summer is Bourton on the Water, otherwise known as the Venice of the Cotswolds (a bit of a misnomer as there is one river and no canals but several little footbridges) which does feel a bit like Venice on a Summer’s day as you battle through the crowds to take a photograph or buy an icecream. But in the winter this is just one of the myriad of beautiful Cotswold villages and towns you can enjoy in peace. Many of the visitor attractions in the Cotswolds are open all year round and although some of the National Trust properties close down for the Winter, more and more of them are keeping their houses and gardens open year round, albeit with restricted opening hours, usually just at weekends. Blenheim Palace Parkland at Woodstock is open all year round although the Palace and grounds close down for the winter. Of course Oxford is a year round destination for hours and hours of fascinating exploration.
The views from Broadway tower can be even more spectacular in Winter and the low sunlight you can get on a frosty December day makes for a prizewinning photographic opportunity. You won’t have so much trouble finding parking for your car in places such as Chipping Campden and Broadway as you will in high Summer (not that I want to put you off coming in Summer!). Chipping Campden, apart from being a major wool town of the Middle Ages was a centre for the Arts and Crafts movement and as such has many shops selling creations you will not find elsewhere. Other lovely villages and towns you can explore in the area are Moreton in Marsh (there is a street market on Tuesdays throughout the winter and Batsford Arboretum is open all year), Stow on the Wold (more antique shops and tea rooms!), Burford (another ancient wool town) Stanton and Blockley. For the enthusiastic church visitors, you won’t be disappointed by the vast selection of ancient and beautiful churches you can explore.
This is the perfect time of year for keen walkers (or even not so so keen!) but make sure you have the appropriate gear, most notably a sturdy pair of boots which can cope with mud and occasional frosty surfaces. You can get lovely crisp days with blue sky and sunshine but, equally you should be prepared for rain and of course wrapped up warm with hat and gloves and suitable raingear. For cyclists, there is a plethora of routes in the area, both hilly and flat.
You can find some walks here Escape to the Cotswolds Walking downloads
to help you plan ahead. Also here http://www.walkingenglishman.com/cotswolds.html All free to download. I have some particular favourites and am happy to point you in the right direction!
Winter is a good season for scouring the antique shops for bargains as the owners are keen to keep up turnover over the more barren months. You can try your hand at negotiation and you may be surprised.
When you have walked and wandered, looked and shopped (you will find loads of irresistible shopping in the Cotswolds, particular stand-outs being the Highgrove shop in Tetbury and the Garden Company at Burford) then it may be time for afternoon tea in one of the many tea rooms which abound in this area. Evenings can be spent in the cosiness of a pub sipping a hot toddy or a beer in front of a roaring fire before partaking of a gourmet dinner. Many of the pubs of the Cotswolds offer prizewinning dining.
Of course the Winter season is an important one for the Royal Shakespeare Company so when you have seen all the places associated with Shakespeare around Stratford upon Avon you can settle down in a theatre seat for the evening. There are several theatres, offering performances for all tastes as well as concert venues in the town and in the surrounding area. Ballet, opera and Pantomime are all on offer somewhere in the area.
If you need help with finding what you want to see or do, of course just ask us and we will assist all we can!