A Guide to Christmas in the Cotswolds

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Sarah Roof

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  • Boutique Travel

  • Couples Travel

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  • Food & Wine

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  • Cotswolds

  • England

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

  • Sightseeing

A picture of a telephone booth with Christmas lights
Curator’s statement

The Cotswolds, a picturesque region in south-central England known for its rolling hills and charming honey-hued villages, become even more enchanting during the holiday season. Wander through historic cobblestone Christmas markets adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations, or indulge in the warmth of cozy pubs with crackling fireplaces while savoring traditional seasonal treats. Cozy up in a charming bed and breakfast or a luxury country estate and immerse yourself in the warmth of the season as the air is filled with the scent of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts. The Cotswolds at Christmastime promise a truly delightful holiday experience straight out of a storybook.

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Where to stay in Cotswolds

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Dormy House Hotel

Where relaxation and charm intertwine, inviting you to unwind in style.

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Ellenborough Park

Where history meets luxury, creating an unforgettable escape.

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Cowley Manor Experimental

Where tradition meets innovation in a symphony of design and experience.

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Things to do in Cotswolds

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Visit Christmas Markets

Explore the festive markets held in various villages across the Cotswolds. The towns of Bath, Broadway, and Cheltenham, among others, host traditional Christmas markets where you can amble down cobblestone streets to find handmade crafts, local delicacies, and unique gifts while sipping mulled wine or hot cocoa.

British Pullman Train

Traveling in meticulously restored 1920s and 1930s carriages, guests are treated to an opulent setting with fine dining, silver service, and breathtaking views of the British countryside. Whether savoring a gourmet lunch or enjoying a traditional holiday tea, the British Pullman offers a nostalgic and elegant escape, blending culinary excellence with the romance of vintage train travel.

Enjoy Festive Afternoon Tea

What would a trip to the countryside of England be without tea? Many hotels, tearooms, and country inns in the Cotswolds offer special festive afternoon teas during the holiday season. Indulge in seasonal treats and warm beverages while cozying up beside crackling fires.

Sudely Castle Spectacle of Light / Blenheim Palace Festival of Light

Explore these historic buildings and gardens while they are adorned with thousands of twinkling lights for the holiday season! Wander along illuminated paths, enjoy the reflections on water fountains, and experience the historic sites in a unique and visually stunning way.

Daylesford Cookery School

Enjoy a seasonal cooking class taught by experienced and passionate chefs at this cooking school, where menus are inspired by seasonal flavors.

Relax and Rejuvenate with a Spa Day

The Cotswolds already offer a tranquil escape from the hustle-and-bustle; however, you can sink even deeper into that inner peace by rejuvenating at one of the area's many spas! Some top recommendations include Calcot Spa and Barnsley House.

Explore the Picturesque Villages

Wander through charming locales like Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold, where the timeless beauty of the villages is accentuated by the warmth of seasonal decorations, capturing the heartwarming spirit of a traditional English Christmas.

Boxing Day Walk

The Cotswolds is renowned for its walking trails, offering opportunities to discover the stunning countryside and enjoy panoramic views. Why not partake in the age-old tradition of a chilly stroll out in the fresh air?

Cozy Up in a Pub

Visiting a pub during Christmas time in the UK is a quintessential experience you don't want to miss! With a roaring fireplace and a cozy atmosphere set amongst locals, British pubs offer a cherished experience of holiday merriment for all.

Places to eat & drink in Cotswolds

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The Wild Rabbit

This award-winning cozy gastropub offers a sophisticated and festive dining experience, featuring locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.

The Dining Room at Whatley Manor

This Michelin-starred restaurant offers a truly exceptional dining experience. The serene, romantic country house offers a great dining option for special occasions.

The Bell Inn

This charming 16th-century inn offers an ever-changing seasonal menu featuring inventive takes on classic British fare and comfort food.

The Potting Shed at Dormy House

Indulge in a festive feast at The Potting Shed, known for its inventive menu and stylish setting. The seasonal decorations and roaring fireplaces add to the festive atmosphere.

The Painswick

This boutique hotel's restaurant provides an elegant backdrop for a Christmas-time meal, with a menu showcasing modern British cuisine.

The King's Head Inn

A traditional Cotswold inn, The King's Head Inn offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere where you can enjoy classic pub fare and festive drinks in the heart of the picturesque countryside.

The Carpenter's Arms

This cozy 17th-century village pub offers comfortable seating where diners can savor seasonal offerings paired with a wide selection of brews.

The Double Red Duke

An upscale countryside inn that offers delicious food and an extensive and carefully curated wine + cocktail menu.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, 3 Cozy Spa Retreats for Winter Weekend Getaways

Advisor - Sarah Roof

Travel Advisor

Sarah Roof

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to England.