The Cotswolds: open year-round

20th December 2016

Categories: Media News

The Cotswolds is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year. There’s always plenty to do, even in the middle of Winter!

WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre geese

Go wild!

We are lucky to have some of England’s best wildlife attractions right here in the Cotswolds. Winter is a fantastic time to visit, as you can avoid the crowds and explore at leisure. Plus there is always a café to warm up in!

With an astounding array of wildlife, Slimbridge Wetland Centre is home to the world’s largest collection of swans, geese, ducks and flamingos. A wonderful place to explore year-round, in Winter up to 30,000 birds make Slimbridge their home so there’s still plenty to see. The new Kingfisher café serves food and drinks with close-up views of the Caribbean Flamingo flock from the panoramic windows.

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens is open every day except Christmas Day and is home to over 260 different species spread out across 120 acres off beautiful parkland. Highlights include the three Asiatic lion cubs, the crash of rhinos and a new pair of Eurasian wolves.

Situated in a beautiful Cotswold valley, The Bird and Deer Park Prinknash is home to a wide range of birds, along with fallow deer and reindeer. Enjoy the views from the Visitor Centre which serves hot drinks and snacks, and discover the follies dotted across the park.

Birdland in Bourton-on-the-Water is open every day except Christmas Day so why not enjoy a Winter stroll around the park and see 500 rare and exotic birds, including King Penguins and Humboldts, have a Close Encounter with an animal and venture into the Jurassic Journey to spot 30 life-size dinosaurs.

Arboreta and gardens

The Cotswolds boasts glorious gardens which can be enjoyed in any season.

Batsford Arboretum is open year-round and is perfect for enjoying a winter walk with 56 acres, stunning Cotswolds views and one of the largest private tree collections in the country. Look out for early daffodils and the first snowdrops in late January.

Discover Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, which is open every day except Christmas Day. This is a remarkable place to enjoy and learn about trees, with around 15,000 from all over the world. Wrap up warm and take a walk through this beautifully landscaped arboretum. 

Open daily, Rousham is one of England’s most important gardens, representing the first phase of English landscape design and remains almost as its designer, William Kent, left it. It's a wonderful place to visit in Winter – you’ll feel like you have the whole place to yourself!

History and heritage

The Cotswolds is steeped in history and we are lucky to have so many impressive historic buildings and museums to explore, many of which are open year-round.

Blenheim Palace is open every day except Christmas Day. Take a winter walk through the 2,000 acres of ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped parkland, explore the formal gardens, take a tour of the impressive Palace state rooms and discover Sir Winston Churchill’s life at Blenheim in a special exhibition – there’s so much to see!

With spectacular views, Broadway Tower is perched on a hill above the Cotswolds village of Broadway and is open year-round. Inside the tower are a series of exhibitions about the history of its occupants, from William Morris to the Royal Observer Corps. There is also the excellent Morris & Brown Café for lunches, cakes and drinks. It’s also a great starting point for a Winter walk.

In the heart of the World Heritage City of Bath, The Roman Baths are open daily except Christmas/Boxing Day. Discover how the Romans built a magnificent temple and bathing complex on the site of Britain’s only hot spring.

From medieval fortress to Elizabethan palace, Kenilworth Castle has been at the centre of England's affairs for much of its 900 year history. It's a great day out for families! It's open from 27 - 31 December and then every weekend through the Winter.

Winter is the perfect time to visit a museum and we’re lucky to have museums covering all aspects of history and heritage here in the Cotswolds. Some of our museums which are open year-round are The Corinium Museum in Cirencester; Tewkesbury Heritage Centre; Museum in the Park in Stroud (closed December); Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Family Homes; Oxford Bus Museum and Morris Motors Museum.

Arts and crafts

If you love arts and crafts, Winter is a great time to visit a gallery or watch an artisan at work.

New Brewery Arts in Cirencester has two galleries showing inspiring work by artists, makers, craftsmen and designers, along with makers workshops where you can buy their work.

Nature in Art near Gloucester is the world’s first gallery dedicated to fine, decorative and applied art inspired by nature, housed in a fine Georgian mansion. Along with their permanent collection, they will be showing the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition from 17 January to 12 March 2017.

The Wilson is Cheltenham’s award-winning art gallery and museum which houses a collection of fine art and Arts and Crafts movement works as well as archives relating to Antarctic explorer Edward A. Wilson and Cheltenham’s history. Their current exhibition, The Last Word in Art, is open until 8 January 2017 and features work by David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Tracey Emin and many more well-known modern artists.

Bath’s excellent Victoria Art Gallery boasts an outstanding collection of paintings, sculptures and decorative arts, along with changing exhibitions. The current exhibition features 100 oil paintings by Bath-based artist Peter Brown, with scenes from Bath along with places he has visited on his travels.