The Cotswolds has become year-round popular in recent times and more and more local attractions are opening up right through the year - helping to ensure that Cotswold hotels have an ever improving list of options. That said, hoteliers smile a little when guests get so comfortable that they never leave the hotel - often the temptation of a good book is enough for guests seeking perfect relaxation. We’ve noticed how hotels are dropping the books-by-the-yard approach to their bookshelves and are actually creating proper libraries. A trend we like. You’ll also find hot tubs and spas in many hotels and we’ve noticed how many Cotswold hotels happen to be within perfect walking distance of the local pub. Barnsley House hotel have thoughtfully arranged things so that they also own the Village Pub over the road. New member, Artist Residence in Oxfordshire has gone one better by having a very fine pub downstairs (Mr Hanbury’s Mason Arms). Very cosy and hygge, we reckon.
Speaking of hygge, the Scandinavian approach to cosy living in colder weather, we’ve also notes how many of our hotels are adopting ‘Scandi-cool’ interiors. Almost as if they are made for Winter visits.
For many years Westonbirt Arboretum led the way in the winter, with an illuminated woodland trail named Enchanted Christmas. The combination of tree shapes and creative lighting is, indeed enchanting. Crowds are huge and it’s a highly recommended event.
Sudeley Castle has recently picked up on the idea and their ‘Spectacle of Light’ adds illuminated castle buildings and trees to the excitement of exploring the grounds at this Tudor castle. Guests at Cotswold hotels love the experience and are also very enthusiastic about a new venture at Blenheim Palace, whose ‘Christmas at Blenheim' event (which runs until January 1st) runs on an even grander scale. The Palace’s formal gardens are lit up to create a marvellous after dark spectacle. Their tunnel of light is sensational, as you pass under thousands of twinkling lights. Bright illuminated boats bob on the lake and there’s a giant water fountain too.
For many visitors the opportunity to base themselves at one of our Cotswold hotels is also a chance to shop in the nearby villages for truly individual gifts - or to visit Daylesford Organic for a bit of celeb spotting. For other guests at Cotswold hotels, a stay is a chance to forget the shops in favour of a walk on the Cotswold Way or a visit to walk around a local National Trust property such as Upton House.
Another option is to explore local theatre, which includes the Royal Shakespeare theatre in Stratford, well within range of the North Cotswolds.