The Best Cotswolds Spots To Visit In Autumn
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The Best Cotswolds Spots To Visit In Autumn

Honey coloured houses and crunchy orange leaves

The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is, indeed, just that: outstandingly beautiful. It attracts tens of millions of visitors every year, whether that is people looking for a stroll through quaint chocolate box villages, a photo opp, or keen walkers looking to take on the Cotswolds way. In autumn, the Cotswolds – with its plethora of cute country pubs and trees shedding orange leaves ripe for crunching – comes into its own. Looking to make the most of it? Here’s the C&TH guide on what to do in the Cotswolds in autumn.

Read the C&TH Responsible Tourism Guide

What To Do In The Cotswolds In Autumn

Dressage test at Cornbury Horse Trials

Go To Cornbury Horse Trials

Head over to the Cotswolds’ most prestigious estate this autumn to witness the finest young horses and riders in the country competing in dressage, cross country and show jumping. Plus, expect family fun and foodie feasts, all set against the beautiful backdrops of Cornbury House and the ancient Wychwood Forest. 6–10 September 2023,

Find out more here

Cotswold sheep near Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire with Church in background at sunrise.

Chipping Camden at sunrise (c) Getty.

Experience Incredible Music

In the gorgeous Northleach Church – considered the ‘cathedral of the Cotswolds’ – head to The Cotswold Festival Of Music this autumn for an intimately-lit evening swelling with magnificent voices and music. 10 November.

Cheers! Sip Wine At Cheltenham Wine Festival

With exhibitors brimming with stories about over 300 wines, Cheltenham Wine Festival is ideal for wine lovers to learn, explore and, of course, sip. 28 October.

Go On A Ghost Hunt

Love Halloween? Wondering what to do in the Cotswolds in autumn? Head to Woodchester Mansion – a beautiful gothic revival mansion in Nympsfield, Gloucestershire, considered one of the UK’s most haunted houses – for a thrilling ghost tour drawing on tales of rituals, black magic, death, sacrifice and murder. Definitely not one for the faint-hearted.

aerial view of trees at Westonbirt Arboretum, cotswolds

Aerial view of trees at Westonbirt Arboretum (c) Getty.

Leaf-Peeping At Westonbirt Arboretum

See the 2,500 species of trees in all of their autumnal glory at Westonbirt Arboretum. They have a lovely line-up of events this season, too, including the Autumn Family Trail, the Disappearing Trees Trail, and the Enchanted Christmas Trail a little later in the year, alongside their cute Gruffalo sculptures – fun for all of the family.

Tackle (A Section Of) The Cotswold Way

Extending from Chipping Camden all the way down to Bath, wherever you choose to visit in the Cotswolds, you’re likely to be close to a portion of this 102-mile-long footpath. Where better to go on an autumnal walk? Passing through pretty market towns, bucolic fields and landmark sights such as Broadway Tower (where you can also spot deer) and Cleeve Hill (the highest point in the Cotswolds), there’s plenty to see as you plod along.

Or Try A Woodland Walk

If you’d like to go leaf peeping at the best time of the year for it, a woodland walk should be high on your list of what to do in the Cotswolds in autumn. We recommend Laurie Lee Wood in Stroud, part of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves a tucked away in the pretty Slad Valley. Open to the public since 2013, Laurie Lee Wood is named so as it used to be owned by Laurie Lee, author of Cider with Rosie, a memoir exploring the author’s life which contains many references to the wood’s natural features, previously known as Trantershill Wood.

woodland cotswolds

(c) Photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash.

Stay In A Cosy Hotel

There’s a plethora of beautiful country hotels in the Cotswolds, from pubs with rooms to countryside estates. The Tudor Farmhouse Hotel is quintessentially country chic – or try the Artists Residence for something a little edgier. Or, for a little something different, we love Bibury Farm Barns, a series of gorgeous converted stone barns, for a rural retreat.

Visit A Chocolate Box Village

The Cotswolds hosts an array of quintessentially ‘chocolate box’ villages (named so because Victorian chocolate boxes used to feature images of cute and characterful cottages – not because they are brimming with chocolatiers, sadly). Castle Combe is one of the best – and often voted the Cotswolds’ prettiest village – with no new houses built since the 1600s and a river babbling through the middle.

A view along he village main street from the bridge with river in the foreground.

Castle Combe (c) Getty.

Get Eco At Daylesford

Looking to inject some sustainability into your Cotswolds trip? Head to Daylesford, one of the UK’s pioneers in sustainable farming. The eco-empire has evolved since its 2002 days (when it was founded by Lady Carole Bamford) into an organic farm with free-roaming animals, a shop, spa, and cookery school.

Tuck Into A Delicious Roast

Nothing says autumn quite like the return of the roast. Try the Royal Oak in Tetbury for a classic country pub complete with beamed ceilings, or head to The Horse And Groom for a locally-sourced slap-up roast after exploring the pretty village of Bourton-on-the-Hill. Find all of our recommendations here.

stanway house

Stanway House (c) Photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash.

Check Out Some Of The Filming Locations

Film lovers know that the Cotswolds has featured on the silver screen countless times, from Harry Potter to Downton Abbey, James Bond to Bridget Jones. Visit Stanway House, with its 300-foot fountain, to reminisce Reese Witherspoon’s Vanity Fair (2004), Emma (1996), and to absorb the general Jane Austen vibes. Harry Potter fans should head to Gloucester, where the cathedral played a starring role, and there’s Chavenage House for Poldark fans, which played Trenwith, the ancestral home of the Poldark family.

Feel Royal At Highgrove Gardens

Situated close to Tetbury, the gardens surrounding HRH The King’s Highgrove house are managed organically and sustainably, and are open to the public. Book one of the Autumn Walks to be guided through the areas of the gardens at their seasonal best.

Featured Image (c) Getty.