I booked a two-night getaway to the Southern Cotswolds as a surprise for my boyfriend Josh, who has worked all the way through the pandemic. It was amazing that I was able to keep the secret for so long and luckily it took him the whole drive to figure out where we were going! My initial reason for choosing Tetbury in Gloucestershire was that, honestly, it was one of the only available accommodations anywhere on the dates we had free. It also seemed there would be good weather, and those famous charming Cotswolds villages. So I set about organising a secret itinerary, which I’ll now make available to you below!
Our accommodation at the Holford Arms (What to know before you go)
Located near the tiny villages of Didmarton, Knockdown and Westonbirt (all just outside Tetbury) is the lovely Holford Arms. Part of the charm of the Cotswolds is that you never know where one village begins and another one ends, but our glampsite seemed to be within reaching distance of just about anywhere. Bath, Oxford, or Cirencester are all possible options, around a 30-minute drive. However, sadly a lot of the local attractions were still closed due to Covid-19 (which is the complete opposite to what we experienced on our glamping holiday to Northamptonshire), and a lot of the best-looking pubs only opened on the weekend or weekday evenings. The Holford Arms itself was not open at lunchtime, which did pose a problem when we needed something to eat at mid-day, considering there were no cooking facilities inside the chalet either. Good thing I had expected and planned ahead for this! But the setting was beautiful and, when it comes to that, I couldn’t recommend it more.
Other restaurants/campsites/hotels that are open currently in the Southern Cotswolds:
|The Thames Head Inn (Independent, family-run)|
See their menu
|The Hunters Hall Inn (Greene King)|
*image provided by management to TripAdvisor
See their menu
Things to do in the Cotswolds (that are open right now)
Cotswolds Country Park & Beach
Looking for a wide-open space to enjoy the sunshine? Cotswolds Country Park & Beach is described as a family-friendly waterpark with an artificial beach – perfect for bringing a picnic if you have one. Think of the lake at Sherwood Forest Centreparcs and the activites you can do there. Anything me and Josh do on water tends to be quite tame as I can’t swim, so we opted for a romantic ride on one of their swan pedalos. Cute!
Shopping in Tetbury Village
Tetbury is a picture-perfect Cotswolds village, much like Stow-on-the-Wold, where a new house will cost you just under half a million pounds. If you don’t want to spend quite so much you can peruse the lovely shops in the village; my favourite being the Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, or have a gander in the Highgrove Shop where you can buy gins and whiskeys with ingredients made from Prince Charles’ garden.
Cotswolds Falconry Centre
Towards the North, in the picturesque village of Moreton-in-Marsh, lies Cotswold Falconry Centre. Josh and I both love owls and birds of prey so I thought this would be the perfect place to surprise him with either on the way to the Cotswolds or on the way back. Visitors can’t do any handling activities at the moment due to the virus, but the bird handlers themselves are very knowledgeable and they still do three displays a day (down from four). The social distancing measures were very good, but as we’ve found with other animal-centric places, it’s very hard to keep children from running away from their parents outside.
Things we missed out on…
The below attractions marked with a star* are all closed indefinitely. I am not sure quite why the Cotswolds is so “closed” at the moment, as similar places in the North have already re-opened slowly. Perhaps the region is just being extra cautious.
- Westonbirt House*
- Westonbirt National Arboretum (so popular we couldn’t get a booking!)
- The Royal Gardens at Highgrove*
- Chavenage House*
- Corinium Museum, Cirencester*
- Newark Park
Would you consider a trip to the Cotswolds at the moment? Why or why not?
*all information correct at the time of writing and may not be updated regularly.