low season travel to the Cotswolds

Low Season Travel To The Cotswolds: Hidden Gems Await (2023)

There’s something quite surreal about low season travel to the Cotswolds.

While many people visit this charming region during the warmer months, there is a lot to be said for experiencing the Cotswolds in the low season.

You can almost hear sighs of relief from residents, tramped trails, and the various landmarks that took the brunt of the annual tourist season.

Cotswolds in December. When it snowed.

And yet, visiting the Cotswolds during the rainy fall season and the colder winter months and into spring, puts a different spin on this area of outstanding natural beauty.

I visited in December one year and the cold and snowy conditions somehow made the trip just as special as visiting in the warmer months.

There is something quite homely to stamping your feet on a welcome mat of a traditional Cotswolds pub and then sitting next to a real log fire getting warm.

Key Takeaways

  • Low season travel to the Cotswolds offers fewer crowds and more access to attractions
  • Cooler temperatures are perfect for exploring the region’s scenic countryside
  • Experience unique aspects and hidden gems in the Cotswolds during low season

Low Season Travel To The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that stretches across several counties in England and is punctuated with picturesque villages, unrivaled scenery, stunning gardens, quaint cottages, and rich history.

In low season, the Cotswolds appear even more magical. The tranquility of the countryside, the changing colors of the landscape, and the chance to experience local English life is an experience everyone should do.

Benefits of Low Season Travel

Low season travel to the Cotswolds means fewer tourists, which means it’s easier to explore the area at a more leisurely pace and seeing the countryside in a different light.

Traveling during low season can be more cost-effective. Many accommodations offer lower rates and, something for foodies, enjoy seasonal produce in local restaurants making the travel experience truly authentic.

The lack of tourists, the more affordable accommodation, and the opportunity to relax in peaceful surrounds during low season travel has downsides.

Take warmer clothing, be prepared for shorter days, there is a risk of icy roads, and some attractions may be closed during the off peak season.

Yet these are easily parlayed with the many advantages of the region during the off season.

What to Expect in Low Season

Cotswolds Weather

During the low season, which is generally during the winter months, Cotswolds weather is cooler with average daytime high temperatures of 43ºF and nighttime lows of 34ºF in January. Rain can be expected, with an average precipitation of around 59.75mm per month.

Snowfall is less common but happens, and you need to monitor the changeable weather.

Accommodation and Dining Options

Hotels and Inns

During low season in the Cotswolds, there are still plenty of accommodation options available. Some fantastic hotels and inns can be found nestled in the quaint villages and picturesque countryside. One notable place is the Luxury Barn Rentals In The Cotswolds, which are perfect for holidays or romantic getaways. These accommodations are cozy yet luxurious and provide a unique experience.

For those who prefer a more traditional stay, charming budget hotels can be found throughout the area. Options include places like The Bull Inn in Charlbury, where visitors are treated to stylish bedrooms and a fantastic ambiance. Another great choice is the Red Lion Inn, a heritage-listed inn with warm log fires and classic pub grub.

Food and Drink

As for dining options, the Cotswolds offers an array of pubs and restaurants that cater to a wide variety of tastes. Many of these establishments focus on locally sourced ingredients and traditional British specialties. The honey-colored stone cottages that the area is known for often house charming eateries where patrons can relax and enjoy their meals.

Pubs are a cornerstone of the Cotswolds, and many offer delicious food alongside a wide selection of beverages. These establishments are perfect for stopping by after a day of exploring for a warm, hearty meal and a pint.

Ensure you make the most of your low season trip to the Cotswolds by exploring the various hotels, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, and dining options available, all with a welcoming atmosphere.

Exploring Cotswolds Towns and Villages

Broadway and Stow-on-the-Wold

My favorite places to visit is Broadway, a picturesque Cotswold village, known for its peaceful atmosphere and strollable high street with quaint shops and savoring the local delicacies in cozy tearooms.

Saying that, I had one of the best and proper British fish and chips in Broadway. Cooked to order, crispy fish, almost-fat free chips (Brits call fries, chips don’t forget!).

Just a short drive away, Stow-on-the-Wold offers a similarly enchanting experience. This is an elegant market town with historical buildings and architecture to match. Plenty of free parking in the square which is ringed by independent and brands plus one or two pubs, cafes and restaurants.

Cheltenham and Cirencester

Cheltenham, a stylish spa town, is popular for its regency architecture, lush gardens, and enticing cultural scene. Low season is the ideal time to explore the town’s fascinating museums, art galleries, and theatres.

If you want to go shopping, the street level shops stand out and there’s some beautiful coffee culture cafe along the way.

Cirencester, often referred to as the “capital of the Cotswolds,” is peaceful and charming with a mix of modern and historical landmarks. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the market stalls that set up outside the church.

Attractions and Activities

Gardens and Nature

While visiting the Cotswolds during the low season, the world renowned gardens are still enjoyable despite the changeable weather, with Hidcote being one of the best gardens.

Blenheim Palace and Sudeley Castle

A visit to the famous Blenheim Palace at Woodstock is a must and is open all year round as is Sudeley Castle, another favorite for viewing an ancient landmark, gardens, and chapel.

Walking and Hiking Trails

If you are visiting during the low season, then the walking and trails offer a fantastic opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the British countryside. Although muddy and slippery in places, a walk in the elements is the perfect outdoor activity (and free) in the Cotswolds.

This is when the English countryside comes into its own and there are trails through ancient forests, circular walks, and many others. This really is too good an opportunity to pass up!

Travel and Transport

Driving and Public Transport

I hire a car when visiting the Cotswolds for the convenience and the ability to visit remote villages and sights that would otherwise be made difficult if relying on public transport. Traffic is much more manageable and parking is often more available. I don’t bother with trains; too complicated, costly, and unreliable.

There are plenty of taxi services on offer in the Cotswolds.

I tend not to bother with an itinerary unless it’s to have one place I want to see per day. The beauty of the Cotswolds is that the region is best explored without a plan. In fact, the only plan I have is that I need lunch at some point and maybe a coffee in the afternoon, and get back to where I’m staying by 8pm.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the most convenient way to travel around the Cotswolds?

The most convenient way to travel around the Cotswolds is by car. With the villages spread out across 100 miles of countryside, driving allows me to easily access all the beautiful locations the Cotswolds offers.

Where are some good places to stay in the Cotswolds during the low season?

During the low season, there are plenty of cozy Cotswold cottages available with wood-burning stoves, perfect for relaxing after a day of exploration. See our Places to Stay section on the website.

How is the weather in the Cotswolds during March and December?

The weather in the Cotswolds during March and December can be quite variable, but overall it tends to be cool. December sees average daytime high temperatures around 43°F and nighttime lows around 34°F. March typically has more moderate temperatures, but it’s still essential to prepare for chilly days by wearing layers and packing warm clothing. It snowed in some places when I visited in December last year.

Which villages in the Cotswolds are less crowded?

Some of the less crowded villages in the Cotswolds include Chipping Campden, Painswick, and Stow-on-the-Wold. During the low season, even popular tourist spots like Bourton-on-the-Water and Castle Combe can be less busy.

Is visiting the Cotswolds in December a good idea?

Yes, visiting the Cotswolds in December can be a lovely experience. The villages are dressed up with festive decorations, and there’s a cozy atmosphere perfect for enjoying a warm cup of tea after a day of sightseeing. If you don’t mind wintery weather and the occasional chilly winds and rain, off season travel is highly recommended.

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.

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