27 of the Best Things to Do in the Cotswolds for Groups

Outdoor & Adventure

Experience the Charm of the English Countryside with Your Group

Are you in search of a timeless and picturesque destination that blends rich history, stunning natural beauty, and authentic British culture? The Cotswolds, located in the heart of England, is your answer. This quintessentially English region, with its rolling hills and charming villages, is ideal for group travelers looking for a unique experience. Let’s dive into some of the top activities and attractions that the Cotswolds has to offer.

Here are a few of the best things to do in the Cotswolds…

Historic Sights

Kelmscott Manor

The Cotswolds offer a peek into England’s past.

  1. Sudeley CastleLocated near Winchcombe, Sudeley Castle is a stunning historic site with royal connections. Explore its beautiful gardens and learn about its rich history, including its ties to Queen Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII.
  1. Chedworth Roman VillaStep back in time at Chedworth Roman Villa, an exceptionally well-preserved Roman site. Explore the ancient mosaics, bathhouses, and discover the lifestyle of Roman occupants.
  1. Broadway TowerBroadway Tower offers panoramic views of the Cotswolds from its hilltop location. Visit the tower and its museum to enjoy breathtaking vistas and learn about its history.
  1. Kelmscott ManorKelmscott was William Morris’s country retreat, from where he drew most of his inspiration for his designs. With its gardens, meadow, stream and wonderful gift shop, this manor house is one of the Cotswolds’ most inviting corners.
  1. Hailes AbbeyHailes Abbey, near Winchcombe, is an atmospherically ruined medieval Cistercian monastery. Discover its history and enjoy the peaceful ambience of the grounds.


  1. The Wilson (Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum)The Wilson in Cheltenham is a cultural hub, housing an impressive art collection and exhibitions that celebrate the region’s heritage. It’s a must-visit for art and history enthusiasts.
  1. Corinium Museum (Cirencester)The Corinium Museum in Cirencester showcases the Roman history of the region, with a vast collection of artifacts and exhibits that transport you back to ancient times.
  1. Holst Birthplace Museum (Cheltenham)The birthplace of composer Gustav Holst is also a time capsule of 19th-century British life with a working Victorian kitchen, Victorian bedroom, scullery and nursery.
  1. Cotswold Motoring Museum (Bourton-on-the-Water)A quirky museum with seven galleries of vintage cars celebrating the history of the automobile in the 20th century.

Notable Villages


There are plenty of towns and villages in the Cotswolds that are worth a visit. Here are just five you mustn’t miss…

  1. Bourton-on-the-WaterKnown as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’, Bourton-on-the-Water is a picturesque village with charming bridges spanning the River Windrush. Stroll its quaint streets and visit the model village.
  1. Stow-on-the-WoldStow-on-the-Wold is a historic market town perched atop a hill. Explore its market square, antique shops, and historic buildings, including St. Edward’s Church.
  1. Moreton-in-MarshMoreton-in-Marsh is a charming market town with a bustling high street and a history dating back to the 13th century. Don’t miss its weekly Tuesday market.
  1. Chipping CampdenChipping Campden is a quintessential Cotswold town known for its historic High Street, lined with picturesque limestone buildings. Visit the market hall and St. James’ Church.
  1. BiburyBibury is famous for its charming Arlington Row cottages, often featured in postcards. William Morris even described Bibury as the ‘most beautiful village in England’. High praise indeed from the designer.

Nature & Scenic Beauty

Bourton-on-the-Water England

  1. Ancient woods and outstanding countrysideThe Cotswolds is a haven for nature-lovers. The undulating landscapes, wildflower meadows, and ancient woodlands like Puzzlewood and Selborne Wood, are perfect for leisurely strolls and hikes. Birdwatching and picnicking opportunities abound.
  1. Lavender FieldsCotswold Lavender, in Snowshill, paints the region purple during peak seasons. It’s a sensory delight, and a must-see if you’re in the area from June to August.
  1. Cotswold Water ParkWith 180 lakes spread over 45 square miles, this water park offers various water-based activities, from kayaking to paddleboarding and windsurfing to boat hire as well as an ideal spot to watch wildlife all year round. It’s a fantastic option for groups seeking outdoor adventures.

Culinary Delights & Local Produce

  1. The Traditional British PubNo trip to the United Kingdom is complete without a visit (or two or three) to a pub.  The Cotswolds is dotted with cozy pubs, three of which you must visit are The Kingham Plough, The Swan Inn Swinbrook, and The Bell at Sapperton.  These establishments not only serve delicious local fare and a well-pulled pint, but also offer a taste of history.
  1. Local Breweries & DistilleriesFor those who appreciate a good draught or spirits, the Cotswolds has both a burgeoning craft beer scene and a range of small-batch distilleries.  At the renowned Cotswolds Distillery (Stourton, Shipston-on-Stour) you can enjoy tastings of award-winning gin and whisky and take a tour.
  1. Farmers’ MarketsThe region’s farmers’ markets are a treasure trove of local produce and artisanal goods. Head to Cirencester Farmers’ Market or Stroud Farmers’ Market for an authentic taste of Cotswold flavors.

Festivals & Annual Events

  1. Cheltenham Festival (March)The Cheltenham Festival is a renowned horse racing event held in March. It’s a celebration of sport and culture, attracting visitors from all over the world.
  1. Tetbury Woolsack Races (May)Tetbury hosts the Woolsack Races in May, a unique and entertaining event where participants race while carrying heavy sacks of wool. It’s a true local spectacle.
  1. Bourton-on-the-Water Football (Soccer) in the River (August)A curious event that has been celebrated for over a century – a soccer match in the river! As you can imagine, it’s a decidedly soggy affair.
  1. Cotswold Show & Food Festival (July)The Cotswold Show is an annual event celebrating the region’s agricultural heritage. Enjoy livestock shows, food stalls, and family-friendly entertainment.
  1. Broadway Arts Festival (June)The Broadway Arts Festival celebrates the arts in the Cotswolds with exhibitions, workshops, and performances. It’s a creative and inspiring summer event.

Active Group Tours

  1. CyclingCycling allows you to venture off the beaten path and discover hidden corners that may not be accessible by car. The Cotswolds’ winding lanes and peaceful countryside make for scenic rides stretching away in every direction. You can find both easy, flat routes for casual cyclists and more challenging hilly routes for those seeking a workout.For recommendations and to explore guided cycling tours in the Cotswolds, visit Cotswolds cycling tours by Active England.
  1. WalkingWalking in the Cotswolds offers a sense of tranquillity and a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Walking tours often take you through historic villages and past ancient landmarks, allowing you to soak up the rich heritage and architecture of the Cotswolds.  If you’re thinking of traveling as a group, walking fosters a sense of camaraderie as you explore together, share stories, and enjoy the journey.Embarking on a walking tour in the Cotswolds will provide you with an immersive and enriching experience, allowing you to truly connect with this stunning region.

Walking in the Cotswolds

Practical Tips for Group Travel Planners

How to get there and transportation? The Cotswolds is about 75-90 miles west of London and is easily accessible from the capital by train or car. If you’re traveling as a group, renting a coach or minibus is a convenient option and possible from London airports.

What’s the best town to use as a base in the Cotswolds? Popular towns often used as bases to explore the region include: Cheltenham, Cirencester, Bourton-on-the-Water, Moreton-in-Marsh and Tetbury.

What accommodation is there? For accommodation, there’s a wide choice of traditional British stays from pubs with rooms, to B&Bs and boutique hotels. 

Tour guides can take the pain away from accommodation booking if you plan tours or activities. It’s wise to schedule and book ahead of time to ensure availability.

What’s the best time of year to visit the Cotswolds with a group? Late spring and early summer are ideal for pleasant weather and blooming landscapes. But be aware of these peak tourist seasons – and major events like the Cheltenham Festival – as the area will be at its busiest. 

The weather can be unreliable during fall and early spring, but it can also be very atmospheric. During winter there are many Christmas markets held in the villages, and there’s nothing like wrapping up warm and feeling the crunch of frost under your walking boot.

How physically demanding are the cycling and walking tours in the Cotswolds? There are tours suitable for all fitness levels, from leisurely walks in villages to more challenging hikes in the countryside.

Phew! This list of things to do should help you plan your visit to the Cotswolds. Whether you’re a solo traveler, family, or large group, the region has so much to offer.

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