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25 of the best things to do in the Cotswolds in spring [2024]

The days are getting warmer, flowers are blooming and animals coming out of hibernation – the Cotswolds in spring is bursting with new life. From March to May the region’s gardens are at their best but its picturesque villages are still fairly quiet before the summer rush. Add in a host of seasonal events from blossom trails and guided walks to chocolate festivals and Easter egg hunts, and it’s a great time to visit. So here are 25 great things to do in spring 2024 in the Cotswolds.

25 things to do in the Cotswolds in spring

25 of the best things to do in the Cotswolds in spring
Spring blossoms

The great outdoors

1. Admire beautiful bluebells

A carpet of vibrant bluebells is a sure sign that spring has arrived, and you can see them in woodlands across the Cotswolds, with the best on display in April and May. One of the top places to see bluebells in the Cotswolds is Foxholes Nature Reserve, south of Kingham. Follow the 1.75-mile circular Wildlife Walk through ancient woodland to also spot birds and butterflies.

Our other favourite Cotswold bluebell-spotting locations include Frith Wood Nature Reserve and Woodchester Park near Stroud, Cam Peak near Dursley, Leckhampton Hill near Cheltenham, Kiftsgate Court Gardens, and Dover’s Hill on the Cotswold Way near Chipping Campden.

Bluebells in the Cotswolds in spring
Bluebells along the Cotswold Way

2. Follow the Evesham Blossom Trail

Located just outside the official border of the Cotswolds, the Evesham Blossom Trail takes you through the Vale of Evesham along a 50-mile signposted route which is lined with white and pale pink apple, pear, plum, damson and blackthorn blossoms. The route runs between mid-March and mid-May, with a trail map that shows where you can see the different types of blossom.

3. Visit Highgrove Gardens

King Charles’ country house Highgrove near Tetbury opens its impressive gardens to the public on selected dates from April 2024. Ninety-minute tours are led by knowledgeable guides who explain how to garden was designed, planted and is sustainably managed. You’ll visit the Stumpery, Thyme Walk and Carpet Garden, and can have cream tea in the Orchard Room afterwards.

Highgrove Gardens in the Cotswolds
Highgrove Gardens

4. Take a hike in Winchcombe

Winchcombe is a hub for walkers in the Cotswolds, and the annual Winchcombe Walking Festival is a great opportunity to explore its scenic surroundings on a guided walk. This year’s festival takes place from 17–19 May, and has walks at different lengths and difficulty levels, including one to the site where the Winchcombe meteorite hit and a history walk to Sudeley Castle.

5. Try wild swimming

Wild swimming is booming in popularity, both for its health benefits and the chance to get back to nature. As water temperatures start to warm up in the Cotswolds in spring, why not take a dip? Popular local wild swimming spots include the River Windrush by Minster Lovell Hall, Buscot Weir near Lechlade, Stonesfield on the River Evenlode and several Cotswold Water Park lakes.

Lakes in the Cotswold Water Park
Lakes in the Cotswold Water Park

Animals and nature

6. Spring lambing at Cotswold Farm Park

Meet the new additions at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park this spring. Over 900 lambs and kids are expected to be born on the farm between 9 February–14 April 2024, making it one of the largest lambing events in the country. You can watch live births, meet newborns and their mums in the Animal Barn, and learn more about the process with talks from their farm experts.

Fluffy lambs in the Cotswolds in spring
Fluffy lambs

7. See Easter chicks at Birdland

If that’s not enough fluffy cuteness, you can also see newborn chicks at Birdland Park and Gardens in Bourton-on-the-Water. Dozens of eggs in special incubators are due to hatch out over the Easter break. There are also Easter trails, quizzes and egg-themed talks for their Cracking Easter Fun event from 23 March–14 April, as well as the park’s penguins, parrots, pelicans and flamingos.

8. Go horse-riding in Stanton

Head out into the Cotswold countryside on horseback with a guided hack. Cotswolds Riding are based in the pretty village of Stanton and take riders out into the hills along quiet paths and bridleways. Trips start from an hour and are suitable for beginners to advanced riders. Or you can make a day of it with one of their pub rides which stop off for lunch along the way.

Horse riding in Stanton in the Cotswolds
Horses and riders in Stanton

Festivals and events

9. Giffords Circus at Sudeley Castle

Giffords Circus is a much-loved magical village green circus with its headquarters in the Cotswolds. They travel around the UK performing their shows, which have a different theme each year. This year’s show Avalon is inspired by the medieval world of pageantry and Arthurian legend, and features special guest performers as well as Giffords favourites like Tweedy the Clown.

This spring there are shows at Fennells Farm near Stroud (28 March–21 April), Sudeley Castle (10–20 May) and Blenheim Palace (23 May–3 June), with more shows in the region later in the year. You can also add on a three-course feast after the show at their Circus Sauce supper club.

10. The Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham Festival is one of the biggest events in the horse-racing calendar, with thousands of racegoers taking over the town from 12–15 March. The action culminates with the famous Gold Cup on the Friday, but there’s also Ladies’ Day on Wednesday and St Patrick’s Day on Thursday. And away from the track there are special events in town, from racing breakfasts to pop-up bars.

Looking down on Cheltenham Racecourse from Cleeve Hill
Looking down on Cheltenham Racecourse from Cleeve Hill

11. National Trust Easter egg hunts

Join in an egg hunt this Easter at National Trust properties around the Cotswolds. Each of these family-friendly events has a trail to follow, activities to complete and a chocolate egg once you’ve finished. Trails are taking place at Chedworth Roman Villa, Dyrham Park, Prior Park, Newark Park, Hidcote, Chastleton House, Snowshill Manor and Lacock (dates vary slightly at each).

12. Easter at Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace is also putting on an Easter celebration in the palace’s walled garden from 29 March–1 April 2024. The event is in partnership with Hotel Chocolat, who’ll be running chocolate making and tasting workshops. There are also lots of activities for kids including Easter egg hunts, circus skills, balloon modelling, bungee trampolines, fairground rides and face-painting.

Easter eggs
Easter eggs

13. Easter Eggstravaganza at Over Farm

And if that’s not enough chocolate for you, then Over Farm just outside Gloucester is hosting an Easter Eggstravaganza from 23 March–1 April. This family event gives kids the chance to meet the farm’s animals – including the Easter Bunny – as well as watching live shows and taking part activities like tractor trailer and quad train rides, mini golf and bouncy pillows.

14. The RHS Malvern Spring Festival

Located just west of the Cotswolds at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, the RHS Malvern Spring Festival is one of the UK’s biggest horticultural events. This year’s festival takes place on 9–12 May and celebrates everything garden related, with masterclasses and tips on floristry and gardening, guest speakers and cookery demos in the new Kitchen Garden Theatre.

Malvern Spring Festival (photo © RHS)

15. The Bath Festival

From 17–26 May, the city of Bath hosts the Bath Festival, with a mix of talks, workshops, performances and walks led by famous names from the worlds of art, music and literature. One of the festival’s highlights is Party in the City on Friday 17 May, a free night of night of free folk, rock, classical and jazz music taking place in over 30 historic venues, churches and museums.

16. Chipping Campden Music Festival

Chipping Campden Music Festival is back for 2024 on 11–25 May with a host of performances from new and established classical musicians. Concerts take place in the stunning setting of Chipping Campden’s 15th-century St James Church. The programme includes performances by the Chipping Campden Festival Academy Orchestra as well as soloists and musical masterclasses.

St James Church in Chipping Campden
St James Church in Chipping Campden

17. Cheese-rolling on Cooper’s Hill

The Cotswolds’ most notorious event takes place on 27 May this year, as daredevil competitors chase an eight-pound wheel of Double Gloucester down steep Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire, with the one who makes it to the bottom the fastest – and in one piece – winning the cheese.

The event has a long history but has recently become an international spectacle, with the long list of injuries not discouraging people coming from all across the world coming to take part and try to win the coveted prize. There are several races for both men and women, starting from 12pm.

18. Tetbury Woolsack Races

Another quirky event taking place this spring in the Cotswolds is the Tetbury Woolsack Races. On 27 May 2024, competitors take to the streets of Tetbury to show off their strength by carrying a sack of wool weighing 60lb up and down a steep hill between two pubs. Crowds of up to 5000 people gather to watch, with a street fair featuring food stalls, a funfair, singers and entertainers.

Cooper's Hill in the Cotswolds – site of the annual cheese rolling competition
A calm-looking Cooper’s Hill

Art and history

19. Go back in time to the Roman Cotswolds

Take a trip back in time by visiting some of the Cotswolds’ Roman sites. Cirencester – or Corinium – was an important town in Roman Britain, and remains of villas, roads and temples have been found in the Cotswolds. Best known are the Roman Baths in Bath, but there’s also Chedworth Roman Villa, once home to a wealthy family with underfloor heating, bathhouses and shrines.

At Great Witcombe Villa you can see Roman mosaics which feature sea creatures. There’s also the ruins of North Leigh Roman Villa by the River Evenlode in Oxfordshire. And you can visit the earthwork remains of one of Britain’s largest Roman amphitheatres in Cirencester, as well as learning more about Cirencester in the Roman era at the town’s Corinium Museum.

Mosaics in Cirencester's Corinium Museum
Mosaics in Cirencester’s Corinium Museum

20. Visit William Morris’ summer retreat

17th-century manor house Kelmscott Manor near Lechlade was described by William Morris as ‘Heaven on Earth’. He used the house as a summer escape from London and it helped inspire the Arts and Crafts Movement. It opens to the public from 1 April (open Thursday–Saturday), and you can see Morris’ furniture, textiles and belongings on display, and explore the gardens.

21. Ride on a steam train

Take a ride on board a stream train on the Gloucestershire–Warwickshire Steam Railway this spring. This volunteer-run heritage railway travels through stunning Cotswold scenery between Cheltenham and Broadway. Get a Day Rover ticket to travel on the line all day, or visit from 25–27 May 2024 for the Cotswold Festival of Steam, with locos in action and heritage displays.

Kelmscott Manor in the Cotswolds
Kelmscott Manor (photo © Kelmscott Manor)

Food and drink

22. Feast on chocolate

Experience the joy of chocolate at the first Broadway Chocolate Festival, which takes place on the Village Green on 17 March 2024. Swap the shop-bought Easter eggs for handcrafted chocolates from local artisan producers, or try your hand at making your own chocolates in one of their workshops. There are also stalls selling other food and drink, and live musical entertainment.

23. Forage for wild garlic

Take a walk in the woods in the Cotswolds this spring and you might notice the distinctive smell of garlic. The wild garlic season starts in March, when you can pick young leaves to make a tasty pesto, soup or garlic bread. Wild garlic likes shady damp conditions, so looks out for it in woodlands and riverbanks. Our top foraging spots are Newark Park, Prior Park and Dowdeswell Woods.

Wild garlic in woodland near Newark Park in the Cotswolds in spring
Wild garlic in woodland near Newark Park

24. Treat mum to a Mother’s Day afternoon tea

Mother’s Day takes place on 10 March in 2024 and is the perfect excuse to spoil your mum with a delicious afternoon tea in the Cotswolds. Some of our favourite spots which combine a gorgeous setting and tasty treats are The Painswick, Lucknam Park Hotel near Bath, Lords of the Manor in Upper Slaughter, Ellenborough Park near Cheltenham and Whatley Manor in Malmesbury.

25. Take a cider-making class

If you’ve ever fancied making your own cider, Dunkertons on the edge of Cheltenham are running cider masterclasses. Taking place on 3, 17 and 31 March, 14 and 28 April, 12 and 26 May 2024, each class start with a tour of the cidery with an expert cider maker who’ll show you how to blend your own cider, followed by a cider tasting session accompanied by cheese and chutney.

Cider making and shop at Dunkertons near Cheltenham
Dunkertons cidery

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25 of the best things to do in the Cotswolds in spring, from blossom trails and garden festivals to guided walks and Easter egg hunts | Easter in the Cotswolds | Spring in the Cotswolds | Cotswold spring events | Things to do in the Cotswolds

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