YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO A LOG CABIN HOLIDAY IN THE COTSWOLDS

Our guide to the Cotswolds will show you the best places to go, the best places to eat and drink, the best sights to see and the best attractions to visit during your stay with Log House Holidays. We want your log cabin holiday to be filled with fun, exciting and relaxing activities and that’s why we’ve brought together all our knowledge of the local area to help you plan the perfect Cotswold getaway.

We’ve been here since 1980 and we’re passionate about the Cotswolds. With its historic towns, quaint villages, stunning scenery and fantastic local food, it’s the perfect destination for short UK breaks or a whole week away. Use our Log House Holidays guide to plan your holiday itinerary and make the most of your time in the beautiful Cotswold area. WiFi is available in all of our log cabins so you can easily access our guide from the comfort of your holiday home. From things to do and popular spots to eat and drink to tips on how enjoy a more eco-friendly holiday, this guide has it all. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions before or during your time here. We hope you enjoy this guide and have a fantastic lakeside holiday…

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ATTRACTIONS

TOWNS AND VILLAGES

We are spoilt for choice with so many picturesque and historic towns and villages to discover. The quaint atmosphere of villages nestled in the Cotswold hills provide a great day out as you explore winding roads on foot, enchanting gardens and fantastic pubs with all of their local produce. Old towns with excellent shopping and dramatic history await with experiences that will make your getaway truly special.

We’ve listed our top 3 villages to explore whilst in the Cotswolds:

These three villages are around 30 minutes drive through lovely countryside from your log cabin and just 15 minutes drive from each other – so they can be easily combined for a lovely day out in the Cotswolds.

1. Bourton on the Water

One of the most famous villages in the Cotswolds for its quintessential English feel. The clear waters of the River Windrush run through the town itself and the many low bridges that crisscross the waterway have given this village the name of “Venice of the Cotswolds”. All this makes its an obvious choice if you are on a romantic weekend away.

There are a few things you must do whilst in the village. Birdland Park is a fantastic attraction for all of the family with over 500 birds inhabiting the woodland, river and water gardens. Meet king penguins and vibrant pink flamingos and enjoy feeding displays and walking guides. For classic car enthusiasts, the Cotswolds Motor Museum will take you on a journey through 20th century automobile history. Boutique shops are aplenty here and make sure you head to the Cotswolds Perfumery for a sensory tour into how perfume is made. You can even do a course to make your own scent! Be sure to save time to take your pick of idyllic spots to enjoy a traditional afternoon tea (see the Food and Drink section for some of the award winning options).

2. Burford

Burford’s steep main street is teaming with history and stunning Cotswolds architecture. Some dating back to the 17th and 18th Century, this place has a lovely atmosphere. The medieval bridge sits at the bottom of this main street and stands over the River Windrush. Just like Tetbury, this town is renowned for its antiques shops so keep a look out for something to take home!

It would be hard to visit Burford and not see Cotswolds Wildlife Park and Gardens. You will surely be surprised when you see species such as giraffes and rhinos wandering around, with the gothic manor house as their backdrop. The magnificent gardens are home to the 260 animal species at the centre and you can spot some of them from the great open-air train.

3. Chedworth

This attractive sprawling village is spread out along a valley side in the rolling Cotswold landscape. The Church of St Andrews is worth a stop, with a lovely waterspout nearby. Chedworth Roman Villa, dating back to the 4th Century, has this village on every historian’s radar. One of the richest families of the time chose to reside here for its ideal location near the affluent Roman town of Cirencester. Hidden in the Chedworth Woods, this is one of the finest surviving illustrations of Roman Villas in Britain. Enjoy seeing some truly pioneering inventions introduced to England by the Romans – from mosaics, to bathhouses and latrines, to under floor heating.

We’ve listed our top 3 towns to explore whilst in the Cotswolds:

1. Cirencester

Cirencester is just 15 minutes away and is the nearest town to your lakeside getaway. One of the major Roman towns and with a rich history since, this stunning market town is a must see. The main attractions and shopping are listed in the whole section below dedicated to Cirencester. We have also laid out our perfect day in town!

2. Tetbury

South of the Cotswold Water Park, Tetbury is around 20 minutes drive. Situated in the Cotswolds ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. This thriving town’s beauty lies not just in the land around it but also in the elegant listed buildings, which line its winding streets. The pillared seventeenth century Market Hall is the centrepiece of the town. A unique and enjoyable shopping experience – the town is synonymous with antiques and is in fact one of the biggest antique centres outside of London. The great spire of St Mary the Virgin Church governs the skyline and this lovely site is worth looking around. Highgrove, home of Prince Charles is just outside of Tetbury. The shop here, naturally offers a great experience for foodies. Tetbury is en route to the great Westonbirt Arboretum and Abbey House Gardens near Malmesbury and combined with either make a lovely day out.

3. Cheltenham

Cheltenham’s history lies in the discovery of its first natural spring and consequent spa almost three hundred years ago. The myth being the spring was discovered after people noticed pigeons pecking at a mineral deposit from spring water rising up from the ground. Renowned for its regency architecture, stylish shopping and independent bistros, this town is well worth a whole day and evening out. Driving from your log house takes just 35 minutes.

Just outside of town is one of the most highly esteemed venues in the horse-racing calendar. Internationally famous, this race circuit is the home of English jump racing. Races run from October to May with the highlight being the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. Check out their website to see up coming races and book your tickets in advance to enjoy a day at the races! (http://www.cheltenham.co.uk/) This bustling town is also known for music and literature festivals running all year round. The jazz festival in May, features acclaimed jazz musicians; July also sees a music festival featuring performances all over the town. Montpellier Gardens hosts the Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival in June and brings together a sampling of the best from both local and national producers. Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre provides a memorable night out; opened in 1891 this theatre hosts dramas, opera and musicals. Check out their website for upcoming shows and to book tickets. (http://www.everymantheatre.org.uk/)

WILDLIFE

Near the recommended town of Burford lies the aforementioned Cotswold Wildlife Park, which is one of the top wildlife attractions in the country. Discovering the rare and endangered animals here in the picturesque landscaped gardens makes for a fun day out. You’ll find animals to impress all of the family from rhinos and penguins to giraffes and lions. Another wildlife attraction is Birdland Park and Gardens at the recommend village of Bourton-on-the-Water. You may not have time to meet all 500 of the birds here but don’t miss the king penguins, storks and flamingos. If you are in Gloucester for the day, the Barn Owl Centre allows you to enjoy activities including flying eagles and Harris hawks.

GARDENS

It probably wont be a great surprise that you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful gardens in the Cotswolds. The larger attractions offer year round experiences and are a delight to visit in every month. Both Westonbirt and Batsford Arboretums both fall into this category. A trip to both Westonbirt and Tetbury can be combined for a great day out. This famous arboretum was founded in 1829 by Robert Holford and has been described as ‘natures very own theatre’. With 17 miles of pathways to choose from you can enjoy anything from a 20-minute stroll to a 3-hour hike. The Victorian rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias present especially bold colours during March, April and May. Close to Westonbirt you will find the Hare and Hounds Hotel, which is a great place to head to for local ale and some good food after a long outing. Batsford Arboretum, due North can be added on to a trip to quaint Bourton on the Water. If gardening is a keen interest we recommend looking out for village fetes wherever you end up exploring; the large houses that host these events often open their gardens to visitors – a great place to pick up bargain plants too! One of Britain’s most popular gardening destinations is Abbey House Gardens in the nearby Malmesbury. This picturesque town has a major antique presence as well as lots of great boutique shops. The abbey and central market square are also both worth a visit if you have time.

HISTORY AND HERITAGE

If you are coming to the Cotswolds for its rich history, you won’t be disappointed. Not technically in the Cotswolds but within easy reach for a day trip, Stonehenge and Avebury offer prehistoric stone circles that will captivate your imagination. The Eerie Rollright Stones are a more local example of these unexplained structures. The Romans put the Cotswolds on the map. At the time Cirencester was the second largest city in England. The Corinium Museum here is a fantastic opportunity to learn everything about Roman life. The exceptionally straight Fosse Way, which is now the A429, is in fact one of the old roman roads. Did you know that they made them straight to protect themselves from ambush on corners! A string of villas were also built in this area. Chedworth Roman Villa, is one of the most atmospheric villas and is worth looking around. Cotswold churches and cathedrals range from Saxon to Medieval origin. If you are in Tetbury, Cirencester of Gloucester you must make time to see these historic buildings. When built, Gloucester Cathedral boasted the largest stain glass window in Europe, around the size of a tennis court. It has also been the location for the two first Harry Potter films. Whilst in Gloucester spend some time exploring the historical docks where the longest river in Britain, the River Severn, runs through. Go on the guided walk where you can learn all about England’s most inland port. The famous Sudeley Castle brims with history involving Henry VIII and his sixth wife, Katherine Parr, who is buried in the castle church. There are 14 acres of wonderful gardens and regular exhibitions. Chastleton House, in the north Cotswolds is also worth a visit. It is among England’s best Jacobean houses, virtually unchanged in 400 years.

MUSEUMS

One of the most fascinating museums is the Corinium Museum which is just 15 minutes away in the Roman town of Cirencester. You’ll learn of Roman life here and get the opportunity to see real artefacts found in the area. North into the Cotswolds, the Cotswold Motor Museum in Bourton-on-the-Water and the Toy Museum in Stow-on-the-Wold are both enjoyable – a great choice if the weather misbehaves.

SPORTS

Old English spectator sports such as cricket and rugby can be enjoyed in the surrounding area. Why not book tickets for an Aviva Premiership match at the Gloucester Rugby teams atmospheric stadium with crowds of up to 16,000. This in fact was once home to England’s national team before they settled at Twickenham. See a full list of fixtures and more details at: www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk Horse racing can also be appreciated nearby with both Point to Point events and the world famous Cheltenham Racecourse just 40 minutes away. There are a number of fantastic events here throughout the racing season. For details on the endless water sports to enjoy in the surrounding Cotswold Water Park see the below ‘Outdoor Activities’ section.

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best cotswold foods

FOOD & DRINK

The Cotswolds is famous for its year round local produce. Award winning pubs lie in small villages; serving fresh, local, seasonal food. For great produce to take back to your lakeside getaway try any one of the local farm shops. We recommend ‘The Organic Farm Shop’, listed below. If it’s authentic Cotswold gelato you are looking for head straight to Dolcetti in Cirencester and appreciate their “cow to cone in a day” philosophy. The larger towns of Cirencester and Cheltenham, hold an abundance of farmers’ markets and specialist delis too. At certain times of year you’ll find almost daily foodie events to explore. Look out for the delicious local specialities such as old spot pork and Gloucester sausages, Blaisdon red plums, Tewkesbury mustard, trout, and an array of cheeses.

A fantastic food and drink guide to get you started in the nearby Cirencester and surrounding Cotswolds can be downloaded from the following link. From chocolatiers to the best butchers, these guys have worked hard to pick the best places for you to head straight to on your short break in the Cotswolds: Grazing Guide to the Cotswolds (produced by VerdiCotts Design.)

FARMERS MARKETS

In this foodies heaven the regular farmers markets listed below give you an enjoyable alternative to your usual supermarkets. Peruse local produce and meet the passionate growers to hear the story behind what you’re buying…

When and Where:

Bourton-on-the-Water: 4th Sunday in the month

Cirencester: 2nd and 4th Saturday in the month

Lechlade: 3rd Thursday in the month

Stow-on-the-Wold: 2nd Thursday in the month

Cheltenham: 2nd and 4th Friday of the month

Gloucester: Every Friday

Nailsworth: 4th Saturday of the month

Stroud: Every Saturday

PUBS

If you’re looking for the quintessential English pub, look no further than the Cotswolds. These often honey coloured establishments have been the focal point of village life here for hundreds of years, usually on a market square, perched by a slow flowing river or facing onto a village green. Local ales and gastro local food menus are enjoyed with roaring fires in colder months, and in flower scented beer gardens in the summer. What better way to unwind. Try out the large variety of local ales, bitters and lagers coming from both long established breweries and up and coming ones.

Our top guide to pubs in the Cotswolds:

All driving times are from Log House Holidays.

The Potting Shed @ Crudwell

Probably our favourite pub. A lovely atmosphere and beautifully furnished. Voted National Pub of the Year in 2011 and 2012. Their 2 acres of gardens are used to grow produce and herbs for the seasonal menu. There are plenty of picnic tables outside for sunny days too. Driving Time: 10 minutes

The Wild Duck Inn @ Ewen

This old pub dates back to 1563, and sits in the quiet nearby village of Ewen. The inside is eccentrically furnished complete with a roaring fire. The seasonal menu uses unrivalled local produce. A great wine menu and charming ambiance. They even have their own micro-brewery producing some great local ales. In the summer months the outside courtyard makes ideal al fresco dining. Driving Time: 5 minutes

The Swan @ Southrop

A quintessential 17th century English pub. Complete with open fires, a lovely spot looking onto the village green, a traditional skittle alley and very smart food. The operators previously ran a highly acclaimed London restaurant. Perfect if you celebrating something special like a Cotswold honeymoon breakDriving Time: 20 minutes

The Village pub @ Barnsley

One of our favourties to head to if you’re already in the Cirencester direction or heading back from an afternoon exploring the North Cotswolds. This beautiful pub has a sophisticated menu without the miniscule portions you sometimes get in high end dining. Dog frinedly and a lovely atmosphere. Driving Time: 20 minutes

The Rectory @ Crudwell

Not technically a pub, more of a boutique feel country house hotel. This is a great place for a really special occasion with a smart but relaxed menu. Driving Time: 10 minutes

The Trouble House @ Tetbury

A great pub on route to or from Tetbury and Westonbirt Arboretum. This old pub on the main road has a long history of trouble! Fear not though, it’s a calmer place today and the food is lovely. Driving Time: 15 minutes

The Kings Head @ Cirencester

In the heart of Cirencester this boutique hotel and pub does elegant food in trendy Cotswold surroundings. Make sure you check out the roman mosaics seen through a glass floor on your way out. This always makes a great place for a romantic dinner for two. Driving Time: 15 minutes

Bathurst Arms @ North Cerney

Set in a picturesque village, right on the edge of the River Churn, this is a great stop for a day out to Cheltenham as it’s en route. Previously winning Gloucestershire Dining Pub of the Year for serving up great food and local ales. The unique Wine Room offers a great place to relax after choosing from their wide variety of wines. Driving Time: 20 minutes

The Tunnel House @ Sapperton

This 17th century pub is set in idyllic rural surroundings at the entrance to what was the longest canal tunnel in Europe on the Thames-Severn canal. Make sure you walk down to the canal before leaving to see the tunnel entrance and read the plaque on its history. Don’t be put off by the fairly long pot holed driveway, its worth the trip! Inside the bar is furnished with memorabilia from over the years and the log fire completes the scene. The large gardens are perfect for lunch in summer with a playground for children. Driving Time: 15 minutes

The Bell at Sapperton @ Sapperton

In the sleepy little village of Sapperton. Beamed cosy rooms, a real mix of patrons, smart honest food and local ales all make for a great atmosphere here. In winter you can read the papers in front of a wood fire and in hotter months sit outside and enjoy the courtyard and gardens. Driving Time: 20 minutes

The Seven Tuns @ Chedworth

Thought to be the ‘happiest pub in the Cotswolds’ this is popular with both visitors and locals alike. Honest traditional food. Sited in pretty village surroundings and convenient for walking, cycling and your visit to the Roman Villa nearby. Driving Time: 20 minutes

The Snooty Fox @ Tetbury

A delightful bar in a smart hotel with creative local dishes, local ales and ciders. This bar sits in the centre of the bustling town of Tetbury – great for afternoon teas too. Driving Time: 20 minutes

TEA ROOMS

Join the long standing tradition thought to have been started by Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford in the 1800’s, after three meals a day was simply not enough. Ordering her servants to serve tea and cakes at exactly 5pm the tradition slowly became popular. There really isn’t a much better way to relax in the summer than in one of the famous Cotswolds tearooms. Small sandwiches and a selection of delicious cakes with of course, a pot of English tea. A book in hand and a beautiful English landscape stretching off in front. One of the most popular types of afternoon tea consists of scones, jam and fresh cream – the famous ‘cream tea’. Fear not though, this is not just a summer tradition. Heartier toasted teacakes and chocolate cakes are enjoyed throughout the winter months in company of a roaring open fire.

Two of our favourite spots for a Cotswold afternoon tea are Bourton on the Water and Stow on the Wold. ‘Huffkins’ come highly recommended serving up fabulous afternoon teas in Burford, Stow-on-the-Wold, Witney and Cheltenham. You can also get fantastic hampers here for those special picnics down by the lake or anywhere you find in the rolling countryside.

FARM SHOPS

The Cotswolds has its fair share of farm shops. Here are a few of our most local and best:

Cirencester’s Organic Farm Shop

Vegetables here are grown literally a few metres from the shop. You can get produce delivered from here too direct to your cabin. There are some great cookery courses, and if you’ve got a moment why not sit back and enjoy some afternoon tea in the café. Driving Time: 15 minutes

Jesse Smith Farm Shop

On the way into Cirencester you’ll find this wonderful farm shop with lots of delicacies to chose from – both local and from further afield. If you want good meat for your lakeside BBQ this is the place to head! They have a lovely cafe there too if you want to stay a little longer.

Butts Farm

A farm of rare and traditional breeds of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and poultry. The award winning meat you can buy is some of the finest in the UK. There is an abundance of courses and activities for all the family here too. Have a look at their website for more information. Driving Time: 10 minutes

Highgrove Shop

Very different from your usual farm shop but well worth going to if you are heading to Westonbirt or Tetbury. This is run by the team at Highgrove – home to the Prince of Wales. All profits go to the Prince’s Charity Foundation. On sale is a wide range of original items for home and garden – all of which are beautifully packaged and make marvellous presents. Driving Time: 20 minutes

MICRO BREWERIES

On the edge of the nearby town of Cirencester you’ll find a tiny micro brewery that packs a punch with it’s ales. Arrange a seated tour of Force Brewery and its brewing process or simply head here to pick up some of their refreshing ales straight from the man who made them.

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places to shop cotswolds

SHOPPING

The surrounding areas offer a wide variety of shopping experiences whilst on your holiday in the Cotswolds. From boutique fashion to antique dens and cutch interior design shops. Below are some of our favourite places to visit and what they are known most for…

BOURTON ON THE WATER

The Victorian Evening is a famous late night shopping event; topped off by the Christmas tree lit up in the River Windrush. Following the Christmas theme, the Christmas Corner Shop is open year round to those organised shoppers for all your festive needs. Craft and gift shops, such as the Laurel Tree Shop, are the place for souvenirs of your stay in the Cotswolds.

STOW ON THE WOLD

There are many antique dealers here as well as a good mix of individual small shops selling clothing, home ware and art. If you like galleries, we recommend Red Rag Gallery – art from Scotland & Ireland, and Lindy Allfrey’s portraits where you can view works in progress in the gallery.

There is a monthly fleamarket in Stow-on-the-Wold, held in St Edwards Hall, The Square. Stalls sell an eclectic mix of antiques and collectables, bric a brac, vintage, greeting cards, books, militaria, original art, teddy bears and gifts. Isabel’s Cafe provides greats snacks, cakes, tea and coffee whilst you’re there.

See here for upcoming dates.

CHELTENHAM

Famous for its beautiful architecture and tree lined avenues this is a lovely place to enjoy a days shopping. Below are some of the main areas to head to.

  • The Promenade – A fine shopping experience with high end brands. If you like looking around Karen Millen, Russell & Bromley, L K Bennett, Jaeger, Hobbs or Jigsaw this is just the place. There are quality jewellery and gift shops too as well as bookstores for picking up some holiday reading!
  • The Brewery – This stylish destination offers the complete day out package. Eating, leisure and retail. With a good mixture of bars and restaurants this is a great place to enjoy an evening drink after a hard days shopping!
  • The High Street – On the main street itself and in the adjoining Regent Arcade and Beechwood Shopping centre you will find plenty of well known highstreet names.
  • The Suffolks – Hidden away behind Montpellier Terrace this shopping location is known for its antiques as well as small specialist shops selling everything from art to clothes and accessories to interiors. From here you can easily get to Bath Road where locals enjoy the excellent offer of organic and local produce.
  • Montpellier Quarter – Some uniquely indulgent boutiques here to enjoy. Treat yourself on holiday with the stunning collections offering eveningwear, lingerie and antique jewellery.

CIRENCESTER

Check out the section below dedicated to our nearest town of Cirencester for more information on this great shopping experience. Cirencester boasts a whole array of shopping to enjoy from high street names to some fantastic boutiques stores. Our favourite spot is the recently renovated Corn Hall and Arcade. The many independent stores here include Hobbs House Bakery making amazing breads, Made by Bob Deli producing amazing lunches, Oeno selling fantastic wines and a collection of other stores selling clothing and home ware. Regular weekly events running in the Corn Hall include: a home, fashion and garden bazaar from Monday to Thursday; Antiques and collectables on Friday’s; and Saturday involving a Craft Market. Other lovely areas to explore include The Swan Yard, Old Post Office Development, Wool Market, Stable Yard and Black Jack Street.

GLOUCESTER

Much like the other great Cotswold shopping experiences, Gloucester offers an eclectic array of independent shops as well as some high street names. Enjoy walking around the Westgate Quarter whilst in the vicinity of the great Gloucester Cathedral. Other destinations include The Mall, King’s Walk Shopping Centre and Gloucester Quays which is the city’s latest offering great designer brands at discounted prices. Whilst here explore the three floors of the nearby Gloucester Quays Antiques Centre.

STROUD

Whether you’re in the area for the famous farmers market or one of the picturesque walks listed in our ‘Outdoor Activities’ section below, drop into town to experience the bohemian shopping experience here. With the dramatic backdrop of surrounding Cotswold Valleys this is a unique shopping experience, matched with equally unique shops. In the hotter months, street artists will keep you entertained here on Saturday mornings too! The Stroud Auction Rooms which are held on the 2nd Wednesday and Thursday of each month, are the perfect place to walk away with a vintage treasure – be it jewellery, art or a classic car!

SWINDON DESIGNER OUTLET

Housed in the renovated old Great Western Railway Works the Swindon Designer Outlet is one of the largest covered designer outlets in Europe. A great choice if it decides to rain on your holiday in the Cotswolds! Reduced by up to 60 per cent at all of the top designer brands you could name, you may end up buying more than you need! The homeware departments are fantastic and sell a wide variety of home furnishings and kitchenware. There are plenty of options for lunch too so you can stay all day. If you are coming from London or the South East this is a great stop en route.

TETBURY

If you are heading to Westonbirt Arboretum then you will pass through here and it’s well worth stopping for lunch and a spot of shopping. This market town is the second largest antique market outside of London and you will enjoy searching for a new piece for the hallway! On the quaint high-street there are also lots of specialist stores selling homeware, crafts and jewellery with a charming level of customer service and attention. Don’t miss the nearby Highgrove Shop, owned by Prince Charles, that sells over 700 items either sourced from Home Farm or selected by the Prince personally. A great place for presents!

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summer walking cotswolds

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

With the Cotswolds being a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and our site itself being a Special Site of Scientific Interest, the stunning surroundings are just perfect for outdoor activities. We’ve got sections below on both walking and cycling but there are tonnes of other options. Being in the beautiful Cotswold Water Park there are lots of days out to be enjoyed right on your doorstep. Head for the Gateway Centre on weekends and school holidays to get great advice from the helpful volunteers who man this centre. Info for the centre can be found here: Cotswold Water Park Gateway Centre

WALKING

Offering thousands of miles of footpaths and bridleways to choice from, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to planning a fun days walk. Take in the rolling countryside, sleepy villages, winding river valleys and spectacular views. It’s perfect spot for a luxury walking holiday.

Short Circular Walks

Your private lakeside walk

Weaving its way around your private 100-acre lake is the lakeside trail, which is around 2 miles. Mostly flat and well maintained this walk is great for all the family and is lovely way to explore the lake and see lots of wildlife. Great in all season with seasonal highlights being the many wildflower banks, autumnal colours and frosted scenes.

Thames Source Walk

A walk that is just over 4 miles takes you from your luxury getaway to the source of the great River Thames. In summer this is dry but from autumn to early summer it literally gurgles out of the ground here and is a lovely sight. You can drive to within a few hundred metres of it at Kemble and walk from there or walk from the lake across the road to the Thames path where you follow the water back upstream. Treat yourself to a drink and food at the Wild Duck Inn on the way!

Cotswold Water Park Walks

There are lots of great circular walks that you can link up to from your cabins front door. We have put a fold out map with these in your cabin so you wont get lost in the maze of lakes and footpaths! Check out the picturesque walks on the Cotswold Water Park Trust’s webpage here: Walks in the CWP

Recommended walking areas in the surrounding Cotswolds

There are great walks to look at around Chedworth and Bibury but you can’t go too far wrong with the abundance of quaint villages and rolling scenery to explore. Below are our favourite two sites that have some of the best surrounding walks available to download. They are typically 1-5 miles long, which is perfect for summer strolls or half-day excursions. Along the way you will find village pubs, historic churches and beautiful houses. Enjoy!

Walking Englishman

Escape to the Cotswolds Downloadable Maps

Long Distance Routes

The Cotswolds has a number of long-distance routes crisscrossed across its beautiful scenery. You can easily dip in and out of these famous stretches or perhaps take the whole distance on and reward yourself with a Log House Holiday and steaming hot tub at the end of one! The most famous is the 100 mile Cotswold Way which runs the length of the Cotswolds, starting in Chipping Campden in the north, and finishing at the front of Bath Abbey in the south. Taking in peaceful villages and a number of the major Cotswold attractions along the way this is a great walk to train or even raise some money for charity on! Information on this can be found at the following link (nationaltrail.co.uk).

Don’t forget to check the weather before you go, pack a torch in case you may be walking late in the day, take plenty of food and water and carry warm clothes and waterproofs if necessary. These few things can make all the difference!

CYCLING

To make packing for your holiday easier we now rent bicycles out and you can arrive to your lakeside getaway with them waiting for you. Feel free to bring your own though too if you have space on the car. You will find the water points on the side of your log cabin useful for washing bikes and the space for drying clothes outdoors is always useful for when you are caught out in the rain! Start by exploring the two-mile lake track that surrounds our nature reserve. You may want to explore further into the Cotswold Water Park after that.This flat landscape is ideal for exploring on bike. The Cotswold Water Park Trust have some great suggestions here: Cycling in the CWP. Beyond this you can head further afield into some of the Cotswold villages listed below. Cycling is a great way to link up the plentiful pretty villages, market towns and local attractions at your own pace. Allowing of course some well deserved food and drinks as part of the day! A warm local ale from a country pub or a fresh cream tea at a tea room always hits the spot.

Being in the Cotswold Water Park with its abundant cycle routes and flat terrain we are the perfect place for family friendly excursions. Check out the map in your cabin with the local cycle routes and choose from relaxing country lanes, cycle paths, or for the more adventurous, some lovely off road routes. You can also enjoy cycling down nearby canal towpaths which are traffic free routes and fairly level. On these routes you’ll experience an abundance of wildlife and beautiful olden structures. The best option from your log cabin holiday is Stroudwater Canal.  Here you can enjoy a 12 mile stretch of the towpath between Eastington and Sapperton. Stop at the Tunnel House Inn or The Bell for a well deserved pub meal.

Country Road Cycle routes

We have listed below a few options for safe quiet country lanes, which will take you to the beautiful market towns and surrounding villages as well as some of the great visitor attractions. These great routes were put together by the official Cotswolds website and are hoped to give families and non-frequent cyclists, a better idea of getting around the Cotswolds by bicycle.

  • Cycle route 1 – Chipping Campden to Moreton-in-Marsh
  • Cycle route 2 – Winchcombe, Guiting Power (Turkdean and Hazleton) and Brockhampton
  • Cycle route 3 – Lower Swell, Notgrove, Turkdean, Sherborne, Windrush and Great Rissington
  • Cycle route 4 – Cirencester, Fairford and Northleach
  • Cycle route 5 – Duntisbournes, Frampton Mansell, Kemble, Cotswold Water Park, Cirencester
  • Cycle route 6 – South West Cotswolds, Tetbury, Sherston, Malmesbury and Kemble

 

Off-Road Cycle Routes

The Cotswolds Conservation Board has put together a series of fantastic off-road cycle trips exploring some of the best scenery and countryside nearby. See the following link for lots of great routes and information: Cotswold Cycling Routes and Info

You will need a bike that is designed for off road conditions to cycle the above routes. Our bikes are not designed for such routes but full off road bikes can be hired just half a mile down the road at ‘Go By Cycle’ (01285 862152).  You should wear a helmet on these trips and you may want to consider sunglasses to protect your eyes from insects in the summer. Remember too that riding a bicycle is not permitted on footpaths. Please be considerate of other users on shared routes such as byways and bridal ways.

OTHER LOCAL ACTIVITIES

Water sports

Being in the water park itself you’ve got to give water sports a go on one of the nearby lakes. Water-skiing, wake boarding, ringo riding, banana boating and tele-skiing. A perfect choice for a group holiday in the Cotswolds. Both of the below lakes have restaurant’s and bars too.

WMSki  (one of the best cable ski centres out there!)

Cotswold Water Park. 01285 897493

Wibit Aquaventure

Kids love this floating ‘Its a Knockout’ style assault course. Only 5 minutes drive away.

Paddle boarding

Sign up for one of the many courses or book in a one-to-one session with an experienced instructor.

Cotswold Water Park Stand Up Paddle Board Hire

Cotswold Water Park. 01285 860086. Book here…

Sailing

Courses, tuition and hire for beginners right through to experienced sailors.

Waterland

Somerford Keynes. 01285 861202

South Cerney Outdoor Centre

South Cerney. 01285 860388

Riding

Lessons and guided hacks with body protectors, hats and boots provided.

South Cerney Riding School

Cerney Wick. 01793 750151

Camp Riding Centre

Stroud. 01285 821219

Climbing

A fun, adrenaline filled activity for all ages.

Head 4 Heights

Keynes Country Park. 01285 770007

Ballooning

Ballooning in the Cotswolds

Amberley. 01453 873529

Gliding

Oxfordshire Sportflying Ltd. – trial lessons and holiday courses

Aston Down. 01285 760415

Golf

Oaksey Park

Oaksey. 01666 577995

Fishing

We have great course fishing on your private 100 acres of water but if you are looking for trout fly fishing check out the below…

Bibury Trout Farm – Founded in 1902 and within beautiful settings with plenty of pubs and restaurants around.

Bibury. 01285 740215

Lechlade & Bushyleaze Trout Fishery

Lechlade. 01367 253266. www.lechladetrout.co.uk

Paintballing

Combat Splat

Cotswold Water Park. 07818 284 082

Swimming

Swimming in the lake is fantastic usually from June through to September. If you fancy doing some lengths though below are a few nearby pools…

Cirencester Open Air Swimming Pool

Heated pool open from dates in May to September. 01285 653947

Cotswold Leisure Centre

Gym, squash courts, classes and an inside pool. 01285 654057

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picnic places cotswolds

PICNIC SPOTS

Take advantage of one of the many farmers markets, deli’s or farm shops and pack in your picnic hamper a feast worthy of kings. There a lots of hidden spots around your private 100 acre lake for picnics. In your welcome pack we have put a map together for some of these. Grab your hamper, jump in the boat and escape to your ‘somewhere only we know’ spot.

Top Picnic Spots in the Cotswolds:

Cheltenham

  • The Devil’s Chimney at Leckhampton Hill – Offers views across Cheltenham & Gloucester.
  • Pittville Park – The largest ornamental park in Cheltenham offering lovely views across the lake there and the beautiful pump room. The children’s play area will also keep young ones entertained for hours.

Cotswolds

  • Bourton on the Water – Pick a sunny day and a spot next to the Windrush river and it doesn’t get much better than this. Sitting in quaint surroundings and dangling your feet in the flowing water.
  • Sherbourne Estate – Get lost on the many walking trails here until you find a perfect picnic spot.

Stroud Valleys

  • Coaley Peak Picnic Site – The elevated grassland offer panoramic views over the Severn Vale and the picnic tables and car parking makes this a convenient spot to set up a feast! There are great walks here so why not work up an appetite first! Being quite exposed its best to avoid windy days.
  • Woodchester Park – Weave your way through the ancient woods and hunt out a quiet spot by one of the lakes.

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summer breaks for families

COTSWOLDS CALENDAR

There is a full calendar of events and festivals throughout the year in the surrounding Cotswolds. From international festivals to local events we hope this sections helps you make the most out of your special time on your log cabin holiday. We have included links through to each events website so you can find out further information and book tickets.

ARTS AND CULTURE

Giffords Circus

Enjoy this world class touring circus in their sparkling vintage tent. This years show, ‘The Thunders’, will take you through a hilarious adventure of ancient Greek myths and gods. Live music, flying people and dancing horses to say a few highlights.

www.giffordscircus.com

Cheltenham International Dance Festival: August

Whatever your level there is something here for everyone. This new two week festival allows you to experience workshops in a variety of styles as well as try out your new moves at Salsa Bash, two evening balls, cabaret, or Afternoon Tea Dance. Held in Cheltenhams Town Hall.

www.cheltenhamtownhall.org.uk

FOOD AND DRINK

The BITE Festival: Throughout the year

A wide range of foodie events from talks and tastings to food fairs.

http://cargocollective.com/bitefestival

CLA Game Fair Blenheim Palace

This large outdoor event offers great foodie experiences as well as plenty of shopping and outdoor field sports. Food experiences include the Totally Food Show as well as lots of passionate food stands selling local and further afield delicacies.

www.gamefair.co.uk

Gloucester Quays buy cialis online cheap uk Food Festival

You must go for a day out to experience the beautiful surroundings and atmosphere of this food festival. With over 80 food stalls selling everything from local cheeses and artisan breads to homemade chutneys and handmade chocolates. All set in the stunning surroundings of the historic Gloucester docks.

www.gloucesterquays.co.uk

Frocester Beer Festival

Near Stroud, this event allows you to enjoy live music, great food, and over 100 different real ales from more than 50 breweries around the UK. There are also lots of wines and cider to taste, in case ales aren’t your thing.

www.dursleylions.com

Canal & Beer, Cider & Perry Festival, The Wharf House, Over Basin and Vineyard Hill

This free entry event is set on the canal waterside and includes a weekend packed with live music, water demonstrations and processions, model boats, local stalls, classic cars and much more.

www.thewharfhouse.co.uk

Tetbury Food & Drink Festival

In and around the historic town of Tetbury, hotels, restaurants and artisans food stalls offer you the best of local, seasonal food and drink. Join in with this five-day celebration of Cotswold food and drink.

www.tetburyfooddrinkfestival.com

MUSIC

Stroud Fringe Festival: August Bank Holiday Weekend

One weekend of talented, and mostly free, music entertainment around the Stroud area.

www.stroudfringe.co.uk

The Phoenix Festival

Bringing together local music, drama and food from the surrounding Cotswolds. With great children activities too there is something for everyone.

http://www.phoenix-festival.co.uk/

OUTDOOR SHOWS

Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford

The world’s largest military airshow! This great outdoor family even allows you to up close to some of the most unique military aircraft as well as being able to enjoy interactive activities and ground exhibitions. There is free parking but getting there can be very slow.

www.airtattoo.com

Stroud Country Show

Local breeds of farmyard animals feature in this fantastic country show. Other attractions onsite include the Stroud Horticultural Society show tent; dog shows; vintage cars; Stroud Brewery and children’s rides – all topped off with the sound of brass bands.

http://stroudshow.co.uk/

Five Valleys Festivals

This festival brings together all that is unique about this area of the Cotswolds. With great food, drink and crafts this is a great day out for all of the family.

www.stroudvalleysfestivals.co.uk

Dursley Walking Festival

Take part in the many walks around the beautiful Dursley and its picturesque surroundings.

www.dursleywelcomeswalkers.btck.co.uk

CRAZY COTSWOLDS

Severn Bore: Various dates throughout the year

A spectacular natural phenomena. Watch as the mass of surfers attempt to out do each other on this surge wave that moves up the estuary of the River Severn.

www.severn-bore.co.uk

Football Match in the River at Bourton-on-the-Water

This 70 year old tradition sees two six-a-side teams takes to the river and battle it out in a truly unique football match.

Bibury Duck Race

This fun Duck Race in the picturesque village of Bibury raises thousands of pounds for charity and is a great day out for all the family.

SPORTS

The Festival of British Eventing, Gatcombe Park

Entertainment for everyone with world class riding and an array of outdoor shopping in the beautiful surroundings of Gatcombe Park.

http://www.gatcombe-horse.co.uk/

Blenheim Horse Trials

This three day event held in the surroundings of the beautiful Blenheim Palace is a fantastic opportunity to see world class riders, walk the cross country route and enjoy some of the excellent outdoor shopping stands.

http://www.blenheimhorse.co.uk/

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things to do in autumn gloucestershire

SEASONS
If you’re wondering when to come to the Cotswolds or looking for some of the best seasonal things to do when you are staying with us we have listed our top three highlights for each season below. We’ve also included a brief packing guide with tips on a few useful things to bring in each season. Your log house holiday and the surrounding Cotswolds changes dramatically through out the year. From a hot summers days rowing around the islands to a cosy night around the wood fire there’s a lifetime of experiences to enjoy. Check out our Seasonal Galleries to see how your lakeside retreat looks throughout the year and to read about how the lake moves through the changing months.

SPRING

This is a time of greenness. Plants are beginning to grow again and there is a real freshness in the air. The changing colours are beautiful as wild flowers around your getaway and throughout the Cotswold scenery come into their own. This is also the time when birds eggs are hatching and other birds are returning from migration so the wildlife is fantastic to see and hear. Its not just birds though as baby lambs are being born and can spotted across the rolling Cotswold hills.

Don’t miss out on the blue bell woods that come out from mid-April to May. The nearby Westonbirt is a great place for both bluebells and wild daffodils. With nature looking at its best in the Spring this is a great time of year to enjoy local walks – some good days out are listed in the walking section above. As for events in Spring, check out the ‘Cotswolds Calender’ section for whats on. An added bonus of the visiting in the Spring is that the main attractions around the Cotswolds are typically quieter and our prices are lower than in the summer so you’ll have more spending money for nice meals in all of the local pubs!

Top 3 things to do in the Cotswolds in Spring:
  1. See the snowdrops at the Painswick Rococo Gardens in February
  2. Walk to the source of the River Thames a few miles away where it gurgles out the ground
  3. Attend one of the world famous horse races at Cheltenham Racecourse

What to Pack:

Spring in the Cotswolds can involve both showers and hotter weather so bring lots of thin layers including a good waterproof shell so that you are prepared for the array of weathers possible. There is no need to bring binoculars to spot the abundant wildlife as there is a pair waiting for you in your cabin. Don’t forget to bring your camera though to capture the stunning scenery and wildflowers! For those April showers we have put an array of games and books in your getaway so there is no need to bring these – unless you have a family favourite!

SUMMER

Boasting higher temperatures and fantastic long days a summer holiday in the Cotswolds is always special. With this in mind you’ll want to enjoy the outdoor attractions and activities that are listed in the ‘Outdoor Activities’ and ‘Cotswold Calendar’ sections of this guide. Obviously there are lots of things to do around the lake too such as fishing, rowing or some rounder’s in the large field. Eating al fresco is often a lovely way to dine when at one of the many award winning restaurants and pubs listed in the above ‘Food and Drink’ section. Not to mention the picnics too! Pick up some top meat from a local butcher such as Butts Farm and get your lakeside BBQ going. The local produce, including fruit and farmers markets are at their fullest now which is obviously a big draw of the Cotswolds.

Top 3 things to do in the Cotswolds in Summer:
  1. Enjoy a cream tea at Bourton on the Water and explore the model village
  2. Pack up a picnic and head for one of the gorgous spots listed in our picnics section
  3. Enjoy one of the Cotswold circular walks listed in our Outdoor Activities section

What to Pack:

Given the hot days don’t forget T-shirts, light clothing, hats, swimming gear and lots of sun-cream. Goggles are useful if you want to spot some of the big fish we have too! The tap water from your getaway comes from our deep natural spring so there is no need to buy mineral water – just fill up your bottles! A light waterproof is always a good idea too.

AUTUMN

With the summer passed the Cotswolds becomes quieter and very romantic. The array of specimen trees around your private nature reserve turn to an collage of stunning colours. This is possibly the best time to visit arboretums such as Westonbirt, which is world famous for this. Autumn a great time of year to visit some of the shopping towns listed above. The weather is usually mild, with the some lovely sunshine in the mornings often with mist rising from lake as it looses its summer heat.

Top 3 things to do in the Cotswolds in Autumn:
  1. Take a walk at Westonbirt Arboretum and appreciate its Autumnal colours
  2. Peruse the bustling farmers market in Cirencester’s market square
  3. Explore the Roman Villa at Chedworth with its rich history

What to Pack:

Despite often mild weather it is best to pack a good wolly jumper in case we get a sudden cold snap. Don’t forget your camera as there will be some great autumnal colours to capture. You may want to bring your swim stuff as at the start of autumn there is still often some heat in the lake.

WINTER

Another quiet time of the year which is great for crisp walks and visits to local pubs where you will most likely be welcomed in next to a roaring fire. There are some fabulous Christmas markets and if you’re feeling organised you could take advantage of the great shopping on offer before the Christmas rush. Alternatively why not head to Gloucester where you can try out the ice skating rink. The wide variety of events on at this time of year are listed above in the ‘Cotswold Calender’ section. Go on treat yourself to a much deserved winter holiday in the Cotswolds.

Top 3 things to do in the Cotswolds in Winter:
  1. Visit a bustling Christmas Fair at Cirencester or Cheltenham
  2. Experience Roman life at the famous Corinium Museum in Cirencester
  3. Unwind with a few drinks by the roaring open fire at the atmospheric and historic Wild Duck Inn that dates back to 1563

What to Pack:

Lots of big warm jumpers, gloves and wolly hats! You should also bring good footwear for exploring the lake paths with and for walking in the local area. A packet of marshmallows to enjoy over your cosy woodburner is always a winner!

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spring holidays cotswolds

HOLIDAY ITINERARIES

Whether you want to just spend one day of your lakeside break exploring the local Cotswolds or every day we have put together some suggestions below on perfect days out. We have also pulled together a list of ideas for you if you would like to enjoy a low cost day out, a green excursion, or a day out in wet weather.

LOW COST DAYS OUT

Many of Cotswold attractions are completely free or cost very little. With a lot of the best things involving the great ideas or just exploring quaint towns and villages your days out shouldn’t cost a thing. Below, however are some of the more well known things that are in fact free…

Cotswold Water Park

We sit in the Cotswold Water Park and there are lots of walking and cycling trails to do. Look out for the fold out map in your cabin that covers these.

Bourton on the Water

This really is our top choice for your stay and it’s free! Spend the afternoon wandering over the low bridges, dangling your feet in the clear water and meandering the quaint streets. Take a picnic and take in what is probably the most Cotswold of scenes. You must visit the model village here that is a replica of the village itself. Its not free but for £3.60 for adults and £2.80 for children it’s well worth it!

Cirencester Roman Ampitheatre

This free site is walkable from the town centre and is one of the most preserved in England. It was built to seat 8,000 people so is large enough for kids to love running up and down the grassy mounds.

Gloucester Cathedral

This is free to see although a donation is requested. With huge stain glass windows and impressive architecture this is well worth a look. It was also one of the filming locations for the Harry Potter films so all of the family will enjoy looking around and spotting familiar scenes.

Farmers Markets

Free to look around and you’ll find that most stalls will offer you tasty bites to try. You will probably end up buying a few treats once you taste how good their passionate food is! Check out the Food and Drink section above for dates and locations.

Cheltenham

There are some lovely parks in this regent town to enjoy when the weather is hot. Montpellier Gardens often hold free events and music performances on the bandstand too. Pittville Park, which is one of top recommendations for a stunning picnic is lovely for both couple and families. In town centre, the art gallery and museum is free and includes a paintings, drawings and sculpture, from all over the world.

Avebury Stone Circle

This prehistoric site will captivate your imagination and it’s a lovely place to explore with a picnic in mind.

Picnics

There are countless spots in the rolling hills that are perfect for rolling out the rug and enjoying some local delicacies. Check out our picnics section for some top spots.

River Thames Source

This is a four-mile walk from your lakeside getaway or you can drive to very nearby. This lovely excursion takes you along the Thames Path to see the water eventually bubbling out of the ground. Amazing to think it’s the same river that runs through London.

GREEN DAYS OUT

We believe that just by coming on a Log House Holiday you are being hugely eco-friendly. If you are looking for some suggestions though on green days out in the Cotswolds we have listed a few below. Check out our Holiday Tips info below on how to be more green during your stay. You’ll be pleased to hear that the best way is just to sit back and enjoy your hidden hideaway though!

Westonbirt Arboretum

This famous arboretum is a top place to walk through gorgeously landscaped surroundings. Helping to support an attraction like this with thousands of unique trees is as good for the environment as all of the fresh air will be for you!

Farmers markets with low food miles

Head to some of the local farmers markets included in our Food and Drink guide above to pick up delicious food with low food miles. Meeting the food producers themselves is a real highlight and seeing their passion for their produce.

Nearby Butts Farm or The Organic Farm Shop

More delicious food that is grown mostly right by the farm shops door! In The Organic Farm Shops case everything is also truly organic and their extensive shop means you really can do your holiday food shop in one place. Everything is environmentally friendly here from the soya bean paint on the walls to the wood chip burning boiler.

Cycling

Days out on the bike, be it exploring the lake paths or heading into the surrounding Cotswold Water Park are fantastic fun. Treat yourself to a well-deserved drink or lunch at one of the local pubs en route.

Walking

Just like days out on the bike, there are tonnes of walks to tick off around the lake and in the surrounding area. Why not drive to the gorgeous Rococo Gardens at Painswick. The flowers here are unbelievable and if you are there in February you must go to see the snowdrops that cover the woodland floor.

Gardens

Wandering the many gardens waiting to be explored in the surround areas is a lovely low impact way to enjoy the Cotswolds. Check out the Attractions section above to see the few top gardens that we recommend.

WET WEATHER DAYS OUT

Yes occasional it does rain here in the beautiful Cotswolds. Our guests always tell us though that it just makes their luxury log cabin feel even cosier. You really appreciate a real log fire, a steaming hot tub or even a special massage to make you feel like you are on luxury spa weekend away, all the more when there is tropical rain outside on the lake! In case you’re desperate to get out though and explore the local area below are a few ideal places to head to…

Corinium Musuem

One of the top museums in the Cotswolds this is great for all ages and gives you a really good feel for Roman life here a thousand years ago. Once in Cirencester too the shopping areas are all fairly close together with some being covered as well.

Cheltenham Art Gallery

Another inside attraction is the Art Gallery in Cheltenham with its expansive fine art and touring exhibition galleries. Like Cirencester, Cheltenham has some covered shopping areas such as the Regent Arcade if you wanted to spend more time here while the showers pass. Free admission.

Gloucester Cathedral

Famous for its huge stain glass windows and being one of the film locations for the Harry Potter series! Enjoy feeling like you’re at Hogwarts and trying to locate some of the recognisable surroundings. This is a free attraction.

Pubs

The many cosy pubs that lie in the rolling Cotswold hills are the perfect place to head for when the heavens have opened. With a local ale in hand or nice glass of wine, put your feet up by the roaring fire, read the papers, or chat to some of the local patrons.

Shopping at Swindon Designer Outlet

This large shopping complex with over 90 stores has something for everyone. Shops range from top fashion brands like Polo Ralph Lauren, L K Bennett and Tommy Hilfiger to athletic labels and high-street favourites, like Nike and Superdry. Just 30 minutes by car this is an easy rainy day out.

Bourton on the Water

Our favourite place to visit in all weather this is also great for rainy days. Simply spend less time wandering the low bridges over the river and head to the fun Cotswolds Motor Museum or Cotswold Perfumery. Both are great experiences. Follow this with one of our above award winning tea rooms.

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dog holidays in winter UK

We understand that your dog is part of the family and that a getaway with everyone should involve your four legged friends too. We offer pet friendly holidays and our log cabins are just as cosy for your dog as it is for you. We are so dog friendly in fact we were highly recommended in the ‘Your Dog’ magazines ‘Where to Stay Guide’! Dogs love being in and around the 100-acre lake and exploring the wooded areas that make up your private getaway. As long as you have a well-behaved dog, nearly all pubs are more than happy to have them with you and the Cotswolds is a very dog welcoming destination. There are loads of dog friendly attractions and things to do across the Cotswolds which we have listed below. For lots of great advice for your days out on holiday head over to Dog Friendly Cotswolds. Dogs do not need to be kept on a lead around the lake but remember that at most attractions they are required to be.

DOG FRIENDLY ATTRACTIONS IN THE COTSWOLDS

Birdland Park and Gardens

Sitting in the ‘must see’ Bourton on the Water this well laid out attraction with over 500 birds from King Penguins to Flamingoes is a good place to visit with dogs. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times.

Batsford Arboretum

Home to the countrys largest private collection of trees and shrubs, exploring this gem is magical. Dogs are also welcome in the visitor and plant centre as well as the Garden Terrace Café. Dogs must be kept on a short lead at all times.

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

One of the UK’s largest zoological collections with some truly exciting gardens. This is highly recommended by us and is great for people of all ages. Dogs must be kept on a lead and cannot be taken indoors or into the Bat Belfry, Reptile House, Children’s Farmyard and any areas with free ranging animals.

Painswick Rococo Garden

Set in a hidden Cotswold valley this Georgian sensual garden dating back to the early 18th century stand for what gardens were al about then – theatrical and romantic backdrops for entertaining guests. The restaurant serves up delicious homemade cakes and teas as well as light lunches. Dogs should be kept on leads at all times.

Westonbirt Arboretum

In these renowned tree surroundings which is fantastic for playing, walking, relaxing and learning about nature, dogs are welcome in Silk Wood, on the Downs and in the main visitor area. The Old Arboretum is a dog free zone however. Silk Wood is a fantastic area to explore with your dog and this is a great area to appreciate the famous spring and autumn colours. There are also dog-friendly guided walks around Silk Wood. Dogs should be kept on a lead around the car parks, plant centre, shop and restaurant area and on the Downs.

Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection

Overflowing with vintage and classic cars, motorcycles, original enamel signs and an intriguing collection of motoring curiosities. This fun experience is just another great reason to go to the Bourton on the Water. Dogs on leads are welcome.

Cotswold Pubs

The vast majority of pubs in the Cotswolds are more than happy to have your well behaved dog inside. Dogs should always be on leads when inside and in pubs gardens. We take our two giant Schnauzers everywhere we go in fact! The nearby Wild Duck Inn usually has a few pooches hanging out there and dogs love the social scene that comes with a pub outing.

Source of the River Thames

This is a lovely 4 mile walk from your log house or a few hundred metres from the bridge just on the Cirencester road out of Kemble. You can park here. Wherever you join the small stream, that is the Thames, simply follow the Thames Path upstream till you get to long wall where you can see the water bubbling out of the ground behind. This is best from late Autumn to Spring as in the summer this part is usually dried up. Hard to believe this is the same river that flows through London, 184 miles later. When near the road and surrounding fields please put your dog on a lead. To help you out before you arrive at your luxury log cabin holiday here’s a short dog holiday check list:

DOG HOLIDAY PACKING LIST

  • Dog food
  • Food bowl
  • Travel water bowl – they wont get thirsty once around the 100 acre lake but for the journey here and on days out this is useful
  • Poo bags – please do pick up your dogs poo when around the lake or somewhere public
  • Collar and Lead – remember too that some attractions require dogs to specifically be on short leads
  • Bedding – the familiarity and smell of their own bed will help your dog settle in more easily
  • Doggie Towels – great for drying off your pet if they decide to take a swim
  • Brush – if your dogs fur gets matted up in the rain
  • Toys – helps your dog feel more at home and also keeps them occupied whilst you are unwinding in the hot tub or enjoying a spa session!
  • Torch – useful for late-night walks
  • Treats – because they are on holiday too
  • Rucksack – great for putting everything in when on longer walks

In case you didn’t know we run excellent dog-training holidays through our experienced dog trainer. Sessions are run from outside your cabin or in the private 4-acre field. Please see our Dog Training Holidays Page for more info. Courses include general obedience, working under distraction, specific activities such as swimming and retrieving, specific problems (recall, other dogs etc).

Recommended Vet in case you have any problems whilst away:

The Sidings Veterinary Surgery (01285 643146 – GL7 1QW). Just 15 minutes drive away in Cirencester. It’s just opposite Waitrose.

The George Veterinary Hospital  (01666 823165 – SN16 9AU). 24 hour. 20 minutes drive.

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exploring-the-cotswolds-guide

GETTING AROUND AND YOUR JOURNEY
Driving is the best way to get about and explore the Cotswolds if you are staying in one of our getaways. You can travel between the small towns, villages and other attractions, pulling up to enjoy the scenery and historic buildings at your own leisure. Allowing you to stop to enjoy the many options for an afternoon tea or a delicious pub lunch! You can reach the Cotswolds in less than two hours from London by car and with the M4 and M5 being well connected to our area getting here and away is hassle free.

GETTING ABOUT BY CAR

The Cotswolds are has relatively clear roads and the busiest traffic. Some roads can get busy in peak summer months or for weekends of big events such as Badminton Horse Trials. Visitor attractions are well sign-posted too and drivers with a Satnav should have no problems. A lot of the roads are scenic winding roads although the exceptionally straight Fosse Way which is an old Roman road runs through the area north to south connecting Cirencester to Stow on the Wold and Moreton in Marsh.

The Romantic Road

A highly recommended driving route through the Cotswolds is the 75-mile loop that will take you through the valleys, winding roads and villages of this beautiful area. The starting point begins in the picturesque town of Cheltenham. From here there are two options, quaintly known as “A Road for Today” and “A Road for Tomorrow”.

A Road For Today

This is the northern loop which passes through the curiously named villages of Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter, both located on the River Eye and dotted with small bridges. The beautiful Stow-on-the-Wold is also en route and is great stop for afternoon tea. Moreton-in -Marsh is next on the loop and houses an old curfew tower, whilst further along the loop the small towns of Broadway and Chipping Campden are full of character and history. Broadway is home to the Lygon Arms which includes Oliver Cromwell and Charles I amongst its patrons, whilst Chipping Campden is renowned to be one of the most beautiful villages in the Cotswolds. You should allow around 35 minutes drive to get to Cheltenham.

A Road For Tomorrow

The loop south of Cheltenham is closer to your getaway in the Cotswold Water Park and passes through the medieval town of Burford which has a bridge dating back to 1322 alongside quaint inns and tearooms. Lechlade-on-Thames is the next point to aim for and is the highest navigable point on the River Thames. From here head to Cirencester. There are plenty of other tranquil villages and bustling towns within reach with a small diversion. If you are coming from Log House Holidays it makes most sense to start and finish The Romantic Road from Cirencester.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

If you need to use public transport for travel there are regular services that run to towns such as Cheltenham and Oxford from London, Birmingham and major cities in Northern England. From these Cotswold towns there and connections onto smaller town such as Stroud, Kingham and Moreton-in-Marsh as well as other smaller villages. There are regular bus services between towns and villages around the Cotswolds and the Railbus service provides links from some stations in the Cotswolds to towns and villages that are not served by the railway.

If you are coming to Log House Holidays on the train the nearest station is Kemble which is just 10 minutes taxi away. Kemble station has regular connections with Cheltenham and Swindon train stations. National Express buses also run to Cirencester which is 15 minute taxi drive from your lakeside getaway. Getting around the Cotswolds by Public Transport is easy. The Cotswolds AONB website has a list of timetables and information on buses and trains.

IDEAS FOR YOUR JOURNEY TO US

Why not make your arrival or departure day more special by seeing something en route and making your drive part of the holiday! It makes sense and can break up a long drive if you are coming from further afield. Below are a few recommended sights to see a bit further out from us on the way for the majority of our guests.

Travelling from London and the South East:
  • Henley – Nip off the M4 to walk a little of the Thames path and enjoy some of the delicious cafes and pubs on the waterside.
  • Oxford – Why not stop at Oxford to explore the many collages and historical monuments. Perhaps taking a punt up the river if the sun is out or tasting some of the excellent pub menus.
Travelling from South West:
  • Stourhead – this stunning National Trust property has lovely lakeside walks allowing you to stretch your legs and explore the beautiful woodlands
  • Stonehenge – you can see this from the road itself and is so famous it is a must see if you are coming from South of us.
  • Bristol – full of things to do including S.S. Great Britain and @Bristol which kids will love. Shopping is great here at Cabot Circus
  • Cheddar Gorge – explore Britain’s biggest gorge and enjoy everything from the 450ft dramatic cliffs right down to the pre-historic stalactites. A great place for a family adventure.
Travelling from The North:
  • Cheltenham – if you are worried you wont want to leave your lakeside hideaway once you get here why not stop at this beautiful town for some shopping and exploring
  • Stratford-upon-Avon – The birth place of William Shakespeare, full of culture and lovely cafes on the waterside. Take a rowing boat up the pretty Avon for an hour and touch up your rowing skills in preparation for exploring Log House Holidays
  • WWT Slimbridge – If you are coming to Log House Holidays to enjoy nature then you must drop by and see the world’s largest collection of swans, geese and ducks en route! There are regular walks and flying demonstrations of Eagles, Owls, Hawks and Falcons.

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travel guide cirencester

YOUR NEAREST TOWN - CIRENCESTER

Just a few miles away, Cirencester is on your doorstep. We have therefore put together a section on Cirencester itself being the ‘Capital of Cotswolds’ and all. Most of the major supermarkets are in town too including Waitrose, Tesco, M&S, Aldi and Lidl. Once a major Roman town that was in fact the second biggest Roman city in Britain, now there is a vibrant atmosphere with a host of upmarket shops and popular restaurants.

A DAY IN CIRENCESTER…

Lunch at Made By Bob is always a winner with delicious Italian foods and a trendy atmosphere. If you’re looking for somewhere nice for coffee try Keiths Coffee Shop where the smell of roasting coffee and baking is unbeatable. For a good cupcake though head to Cirencester cupcakes in Swan Yard. With such a significant Roman history in the area you should definitely pay the Corinium Museum a visit. Here you will be taken back to the times of Roman occupation finding lots of roman artefacts and descriptions of life in Roman days. You can also travel through centuries of Cirencester’s history here. You can’t miss the beautiful old wool church of St John the Baptist, built from the prosperity of the wool trade, nip inside to see Anne Boleyn’s silver goblet on display. This church was built around 1490 and is a lasting symbol of the town’s wealth and influence in medieval England.

With an afternoon to spare why not watch some polo played in Cirencester Park. Matches are played most afternoons, with tickets at £5. If you are looking for somewhere special in town for dinner book at table at the Kings Head for great food and a lovely sophisticated atmosphere. If the sun is shining why not head over to Dolcetti where you will find locally made gelato. Right next door is Rave coffee too. Don’t be deceived by the industrial exterior of these two shops – this is where all the locals go for the best coffee and ice-cream! Cirencester’s is well known for its good markets and you will find stalls set up every Monday and Friday. The delicious farmers’ market runs every second and fourth Saturday in the month in the Market Place. Crafts and antiques markets are also regular attractions in the adjacent Corn Hall. During December there is a Christmas Market around the large Christmas tree with the town square filled with wooden chalets selling wonderful food and unusual gifts.

THINGS TO DO

Corinium Museum

This award winning museum holds one of the largest collections of Romano-British antiquities from the prosperous Roman occupation of Cirencester centuries ago. Experience life as a Roman and marvel at the stunning mosaics.

Roman Amphitheatre

Continue the Roman theme and head to the now grass covered but in great condition Roman Ampitheatre. This was built in the early 2nd century as part of the great Roman town planning. With a capacity for 8,000 spectators this English Heritage site is one of the best-preserved in Britain. Just a short walk from the town centre, this free attraction is well worth a visit.

Cirencester Park

Get lost in the Earl of Bathurst’s 3,000 acre estate which was designed by the famous Alexander Pope. This extensive 19thcentury parkland is open daily and you are free to wander freely. New

Brewery Arts

This great centre for contemporary craft in the Cotswolds is a converted Victorian brewery. Here you’ll find a contemporary art gallery, craft shop and cafe, a theatre and twelve on-site maker studios. Crafts include glassmakers, potters and traditional upholsterers. Meet the artists, jewellers and craftspeople and see or buy their work. This is a great place to find that extra special gift to give during your romantic getaway! With its central location, next to the main Cirencester Brewery Car Park, this unique arts and crafts shopping experience is well worth a visit. Open seven days a week.

Shopping

Shopping in Cirencester with its fantastic variety of boutique shops is a lovely experience. The quaint courtyards, and many historic streets radiating from the town centre allow you to easily get lost for an afternoon. There are lots of yummy eateries and coffee shops too to try out. The Swan Yard, Old Post Office Development, Wool Market, Corn Hall, Stable Yard and Black Jack Street are a few places to aim for when shopping in town.

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nature holidays in spring UK

HOLIDAY TIPS

WHAT TO PACK

All of the cabins kitchens are fully equipped with everything you should need for your holiday so there is no need to bring anything for the kitchen except food. We’ve tried to think of all of the things you should need and you’ll find everything from weighing scales to casserole dishes! In your kitchen you will also find Ecover washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets and a scourer too. Luxury linen and big fluffy towels are inclusive and there is no need to bring these. Don’t worry about packing board games or books as each cabin has a fun array of board games to enjoy and small libraries.

Food can be picked up in the nearby town of Cirencester where there is a large Tescos, Waitrsoe, M&S and Lidl. See the Food and Drink section above for info on farmers markets and farm shops too. Alternatively you can get food delivered right to your cabins door. Tescos, Ocado and Sainsbury’s  are best for this and the postcode to give is GL7 6ED. The site name is either Friday Island or Lake 55. There is no need to buy bottled water, as the water from our taps is our own pure spring water! Don’t forget to pack swimming stuff for the hot tub or if you wish to jump in the lake. A backpack is also useful when on days out or on walks. If you are bringing a dog, check out the Dog Holiday Packing List found in the ‘Dog Friendly Holidays’ section above. Don’t leave behind your camera as you will be sure to get some great photos on your escape to the country. Of course it goes without saying don’t forget all of your chargers for the camera and phone!

A torch is sometimes useful in case you feel you may be coming back late from one of our local pubs or returning from a day out after sunset. There’s no need to bring binoculars – each cabin has a pair waiting for you. Walking boots or wellies are a good idea if you plan to go on lots of rambles. A raincoat too is always important. And of course sun cream and sunglasses if you’re here in the hotter months. If you think you might enjoy a picnic on an island or in the Cotswold hills a picnic basket and picnic rug is always a nice touch – although a rucksack will probably do! We have a private four acre field which is great for football, rounders or kite flying so don’t forget these things so you can have a fun few hours with friends and family. If you require either a cot or a highchair you will need to pack these, as we unfortunately do not supply these to guests.

YOUR ECO FRIENDLY HOLIDAY

Simply going on a Log House Holiday is a fantastically eco-friendly holiday. No flights, environmentally conscious luxury cabins, electricity generated from on site solar panels and heat exchange pumps and the supporting of a unique family run nature reserve. We have put together a small section nonetheless on being extra green whilst on your escape in the Cotswolds. We feel this is important as the local area is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and we ourselves are a Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI).

  • Consider how many cars you plan to get to us with. Is there any need to bring two rather than one car?
  • Have a day out without the car – explore on one of the many walking or cycle routes in the surrounding Cotswold Water Park that begin right at your cabins door
  • Eat local produce from farm shops and farmers markets to help cut down on ‘food miles’
  • Try to reduce the amount of rubbish you put out and help us to recycle as much as possible by dropping recyclables off at our entrance depot
  • Turn on the dishwasher and washing machine during the day as they are then run through the solar panels!
  • Don’t leave the hot tub lid off when you are not using it
  • Remember to leave lights off at the end of the night

OUR COTSWOLD HOLIDAY READING LIST

1. Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee

Probably the book most associated with the Cotswolds. This memoir of Lee’s childhood in the Slad Valley is a quaint perspective on old-fashioned Cotswold village life. The Laurie Lee Wildlife Way, a 6-mile circular walk was launched in 2014 for Lee’s centenary – exploring the wildlife-rich Slad Valley, beautiful nature reserves as well as passing 11 new ‘poetry posts’ featuring poems by Lee. A self-guided walk leaflet is available and is a great accompaniment the walk.

2. The Agatha Raisin books by MC Beaton

Bestselling crime series set in the fictional Cotswold village of Carsley. A natural choice for some holiday reading – unless of course you get easily scared! If you like crime fiction books by Agatha Christie or the crime novels of Alexander McCall Smith you’ll love Agatha Raisin.

3. Burnt Norton by Caroline Sandon

A well-reviewed book from 2014 about the house made famous by T.S. Eliot in Four Quartets. This partly true, dramatic story of a country house seduction, attempted murder, forbidden love, and betrayal really knocks Downton Abbey out of the water.

4. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Said to be based on her experience in the village of Adelstrop in the Cotswolds. Get lost in this lovely story and then explore the beautiful location itself.

5. Americashire by Jennifer Richardson

Jennifer’s own memoir of being an American in the Cotswolds, complete with four illustrated walks in the area. A candid, compelling, and humorous tale of marriage, illness, difficult life decisions and village life in the quaint and often quirky Cotswolds.

You can see an illustrated map the above books and more at her Pinterest page. With thanks to Jennifer Richardson for her top 5 list of Cotswold books. Check out her great blog: ‘An American in the Cotswolds’.

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