Beautiful gardens in the Cotswolds

Best Things to Do in the Cotswolds for Couples (2023)

The Cotswolds is a picturesque region in England, well-known for its charming villages, rolling hills, and stunning countryside and an ideal destination for couples seeking to spend quality time together.

We’ve come up with the best things to do in the Cotswolds for couples looking to get away from it all, discover somewhere new, experience a home away from home and, of course, sample great food and all that’s good in this beautiful part of England.

Here, you can take leisurely walks through forests of ancient trees, or stroll through gardens where the flower and fauna are lovingly cared for, where the air is fresh and invigorating, all amidst breathtaking scenery.

Best Things To Do In The Cotswolds For Couples

The Cotswolds is a picturesque region of rolling hills, charming villages, and idyllic countryside and a place where time seems to stand still, and the beauty of nature is on full display all day and every day.

Romantic getaway, Cotswolds countryside

While we have laid out some places and things to do in the Cotswolds, wherever you stay, you will often find a countryside walk a few minutes from your doorstep.

Or, if you’re driving, you may spot a secluded trail leading into a forest or overlooking wonderful, unspoilt meadows.

The peace and solitude is something quite different in this region of outstanding natural beauty and is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with nature.

If you don’t drive or want to explore the Cotswolds without a car, there are train and bus options, and several taxi services enabling you to go to wherever you want.

Note that a big effort is made to ensure accessibility at all attractions to enable enjoyment for all. If you go for a walk in the countryside, the trails may be muddy, and this being England, you can expect rainy days.

In winter, there may be snow and the main roads will be gritted while secondary and other minor roads will not and there is often ice on the roads.

Now, we’ve got that out of the way, let’s roll out our list of the best things to do in the Cotswolds for couples.

Picturesque Villages

The Cotswolds is home to some of the most picturesque villages in England and each village has its own unique character and charm, with honey-colored stone buildings, thatched roofs, and quaint cottages.

Some have rivers running through or close by, nearly all will have a church and a pub or just one or the other. Others are rooted in history, with ancient monuments, grand stately homes and gardens.

Many of these villages date back centuries and are steeped in history, providing a glimpse into the past and wandering through narrow streets and alleyways, is a great way to explore the area.

Sometimes it’s the joy of simply walking down a street and coming across a store, family butcher, antique shop, or cafe. I remember stopping for fuel (gas and a pie) and asking for a recommendation from the guy behind the counter. That’s how we ‘discovered’ Broadway and Burford villages.

Bibury

A classic Cotswolds village, Bibury features charming honey-colored stone cottages and the iconic Arlington Row, the most photographed row of houses in Britain. The English countryside is on full display as you stroll through the village, taking in the lush views and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere as you enjoy a walk along the river. At one end is the Bibury Trout Farm next to the gorgeous Swan Hotel and nearby, an ice cream van. You’re on holiday, so you may as well get an ice cream!

Castle Combe

Renowned for its stunning medieval architecture and idyllic scenery, you can wander through Castle Combe’s narrow streets and take in the beautiful stone cottages, or enjoy a leisurely walk along the river. This is quite a marvelous sight to see, and here, in Castle Combe, it’s hard not to feel as though you’ve been transported back in time.

Bourton-on-the-Water

Known as the Venice of the Cotswolds, Bourton-on-the-Water is famous for its bridges and picturesque river running through the village center. Stroll along the village greens or enjoy a relaxed riverside picnic or, if the weather is sunny, dangle your feet or go for a paddle in the river; a must-do and popular activity by tourists and locals alike. The water was cold when we did this on a gorgeous sunny day.

The old mill, Lower Slaughter
The Old Mill, Lower Slaughter

The Slaughters

The names may be offputting, but Upper and Lower Slaughter offer a quintessential Cotswolds experience. Don’t miss the traditional watermills and tranquil riverside walks and the opportunity to appreciate the charming English countryside fully before stopping off for a pub lunch or picnic.

Stow-on-the-Wold

One of our favorite places to visit. Stow-on-the-Wold is a historic market town with a charming town square surrounded by unique shops and traditional English pubs. There is free and metered parking, and the centre of the town can get busy as can be the main road.

Moreton-in-Marsh

The high street has many quaint shops, cafes, and inns, creates the perfect atmosphere for couples wanting to spend time together. Whether you like to window shop, poke around in antique shops, drop in at cafes or the popular weekly market, this village has plenty to keep you occupied. Batsford Arboretum is nearby.

Burford

Burford

Another favorite of ours. Burford has a steep main street lined with beautiful old houses and shops such as the Oxford Brush Company where there is an outstanding amount of brushes. St. John the Baptist Church is worth a visit for the 12th century frescoes alone.

Activities

Westonbirt Arboretum

Westonbirt Arboretum, near Tetbury, is a perfect place to enjoy a romantic walk with your partner. Wander through the stunning collection of trees and explore various trails together. Suitable for a picnic, there’s a bit of a hill at the entrance but the majority is flat with gravel and natural paths.

Blenheim Palace Visit

At the magnificent Blenheim Palace, explore the stunning grounds, gardens and parkland of this iconic location and take in the grand architecture.

Steam Train Ride

As we continue on our best things to do in the Cotswolds for couples, it’s time to step back in time and embark on a nostalgic train ride through the picturesque countryside.

Known as the Friendly Line, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railways (www.broadway-cotswolds.co.uk/heritage-railway) is a steam and diesel heritage railway running 14 miles from Cheltenham Racecourse to Broadway via Winchcombe and Toddington.

Wine Tasting

A wine tasting tour to learn about the growing and production process plus the opportunity to taste wines is something different to do. [For more information about Cotswolds wine tours, see our post here.]

Cotswolds Romantic Road

Drive along the Cotswolds Romantic Road and experience breathtaking views from the region’s highest point. This scenic route takes you through charming villages, winding lanes, lush countryside and there are many opportunities for walks, picnics, or simply to share a moment together while taking in the stunning vistas of the Cotswolds.

Historic Sites

Broadway Tower and Museum

Broadway Tower, in the charming village of Broadway, offers you and your partner a chance to explore history together. Climb to the top of the tower for panoramic views and learn about the fascinating history at the museum nearby.

There’s a war memorial here honoring two Canadian and three British servicemen who died when their plane crashed near Broadway Tower in 1943.

Near the car park, there stands a former nuclear bunker and a lovely, spacious cafe. It gets windy and chilly at Broadway Tower.

Sudeley Castle

Step back in time and explore the stunning Sudeley Castle. The gardens here are stunning and there are various artworks on the grounds, making this a delightful way to spend a morning or afternoon. There’s a museum (some stairs to climb) full of artefacts and information.

A cafe with indoor (a beautiful hall with natural light) and outdoor seating and plenty to see makes Sudeley Castle a great place to visit.

Malmesbury Abbey

Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Malmesbury Abbey which boasts an impressive history dating back over a thousand years. Together, explore the striking architecture, stunning gardens, and fascinating stories about the royalty and saints that have a connection to this revered site.

Outdoor Exploration

Picnic

Whether it’s in a village like Bibury or Castle Combe, or amidst the rolling hills, you’ll find the ideal spot for a picnic. Even better, some hotels offer a picnic hamper filled with local produce. It’s just as fun to pack your own picnic though and choose a place where you can enjoy the food and drink at your leisure.

Cleeve Hill

Standing tall as the highest peak in the Cotswolds, Cleeve Hill offers breathtaking views of the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and you are rewarded with panoramic scenery.

Cirencester Park

Venture to Cirencester, a historic market town known as the “Capital of the Cotswolds.” Here you’ll find the familiar honey-colored buildings, independent and high street brands, family businesses, market stalls, cafes, pubs, and grocery stores.

Home to the beautiful Cirencester Park with stunning gardens and woodland to explore. Spend a leisurely afternoon strolling through the park with your partner, admiring the nature and taking photos to remember the experience.

River Windrush

For a more relaxed exploration, visit the charming River Windrush, which meanders through the Cotswold countryside. The quaint riverside towns of Lechlade and Oxford offer the opportunity to enjoy romantic walks hand in hand, while watching swans cruise along the river.

Culinary Delights

The Cotswolds offers an array of culinary experiences for couples to enjoy. Indulge in the local flavours and unwind together while exploring these delicious options.

Afternoon Tea

Treat yourself to a quintessential English afternoon tea experience and choose from an assortment of teas, accompanied by finger sandwiches, scones, and delightful pastries.

Cosy Pubs

The Cotswolds is home to numerous cosy pubs, providing an ideal setting for you and your partner to relax after a day of exploring. Delight in warm, welcoming atmospheres and indulge in hearty, traditional British dishes.

Gourmet Restaurants

Elevate your romantic getaway with a dining experience at one of the many gourmet restaurants in the Cotswolds with many using locally sourced vegetables, fruit, meat, and more. There are many dining options with creative menus, and exceptional service so be sure to make a reservation for a memorable, special evening.

Local Delis and Markets

Discover the delicious, locally made products the Cotswolds has to offer by visiting local delis and markets and you can find artisanal cheeses, freshly baked bread, locally roasted coffee, and other delicacies.

Get inspiration for a romantic picnic in the beautiful Cotswolds countryside, or gather your favorite ingredients to create a delicious meal together.

Unique Experiences

Cotswolds Distillery Tour

A visit to the Cotswolds Distillery is a must during your couples’ break. Venture on a guided tour, where you’ll learn about the distilling process and even have the chance to taste different gins and other spirits. For an extra-special experience, consider creating your own gin, blending flavors to make a perfect souvenir to remember your trip.

Vintage Car Ride

vintage car ride

Add a touch of nostalgia to your Cotswolds experience by hiring a vintage car and driving around the picturesque winding lanes and explore charming villages together.

Harry Potter Locations

Did you know that the Cotswolds is home to several Harry Potter filming locations? If you’re fans of this magical world, immerse yourself in the enchanting sites where some of the most memorable scenes were shot.

Falconry Centre and Owl Experience

Add a touch of excitement to your Cotswolds adventure by visiting the local falconry centre. You and your partner can have a hands-on experience with magnificent birds of prey such as hawks and owls.

Charming Towns for Shopping

Broadway

Broadway is a must-visit destination for couples looking to experience the charm of the Cotswolds. While here, you’ll find a variety of independent boutiques and art galleries, perfect for exploring with your significant other. Don’t forget to pause at one of the many cafés for a delightful cup of tea or coffee to energize you for more shopping.

Cheltenham

Here, you’ll find high street brands, specialty shops, boutiques, cafes, antiques and more. While shopping, refuel at one of the local restaurants or cafés, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Cheltenham.

Tetbury

Tetbury, a charming market town in the Cotswolds, is known for its incredible selection of antique shops, making it a collector’s dream. In addition to antiques, you’ll find several independent boutiques selling locally crafted products and artisanal goods. Tetbury also hosts local markets, where you can shop for fresh produce, street food, and beautiful crafts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top romantic garden attractions?

There are many romantic garden attractions in the Cotswolds. Two must-visit options include Hidcote Manor Garden, with its stunning Arts and Crafts design, and the picturesque Kiftsgate Court Gardens, known for its beautiful flowers and the impressive Kiftsgate rose. Both gardens are close to Chipping Campden and offer a delightful day out for couples.

Where can couples experience scenic walks in the Cotswolds?

For couples who love walking, the Cotswold Way is a perfect choice. This National Trail covers 100 miles, starting in Chipping Campden and ending in Bath and offers stunning views and varied landscapes, making it ideal for both casual strolls and more challenging hikes.

Which villages are the most picturesque for couples?

Bibury, Bourton, Stow on the Wold, Broadway and many more giving a glimpse into the beauty and charm of the region.

What are recommended evening activities?

Cotswolds evening activities include attending a play or concert at a local theatre, enjoy a live music performance at a cozy pub, or catch a film at a charming independent cinema.

Where are the most romantic restaurants located?

The Cotswolds boasts a variety of romantic restaurants to suit every taste. From fine dining establishments like the Wild Rabbit in Kingham to charming country inns like the Slaughters Country Inn, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting the perfect dining experience for your romantic getaway.

How can couples best enjoy a day in Bourton-on-the-Water?

Bourton-on-the-Water, often referred to as the “Venice of the Cotswolds,” is an ideal destination for couples to spend a day enjoying picturesque scenery and unique attractions. Start your day with a walk along the tranquil River Windrush, visit the whimsical Model Village, and try to squeeze in a visit to the Cotswold Motoring Museum or Birdland Park & Gardens.

Enchantment Awaits
Enchantment Awaits

The Cotswolds region is home to many charming villages and towns, churches, historic landmarks, outdoor activities, in a beautiful part of England.

After visiting the region many times, we created the TravelCotswolds.com website dedicated to helping others plan their own trips to the Cotswolds.

Check out some great places to eat, including Where To Find Authentic French Food In The CotswoldsCheese, Glorious Cotswolds Local Cheese!Discovering the Delicious Delights of the Cotswolds, and our food and drink page.

Contact: hello@travelcotswolds.com

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