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9 Bizarre Things You Can Do in the Cotswolds

There are many festivals, events and activities to be explored in Great Britain’s smallest and kookiest towns – and it’s certainly the case in the Cotswolds. Here are 9 truly bizarre, completely wacky, and very exciting events to get stuck into the next time you visit the beautiful region.

1) Ghost Hunting

England’s most famous ghost is said to reside in The Cotswolds. King Charles I is said to haunt both Painswick Court House and Chavenage House since being beheaded in 1649. Sightings of the King have been documented frequently, as well as ghostly cavaliers suiting up for battle. Stay over at the bed and breakfast any time of year and experience the supernatural sightings for yourself.

2| Cheese Rolling

It’s been a controversial event with many spectators believing it to be a dangerous sport but it prevails as The Cotswold’s oldest tradition; cheese rolling takes place at Cooper’s Hill every May and is a thrilling event to watch.

3| Woolsack Races

Join the crowd of thousands at the Tetbury Woolsack Races as competitors race through the town carrying woolsacks on their back. Tetbury was a thriving wool town in the Middle Ages which is where this bizarre tradition hails from – and today the atmosphere is just as electric as it was back when the races began in the 17th Century.

4| Pig Face Day

This bi-annual event takes place every couple of years in September – and is certainly no place for vegetarians. After evening mass at Avening Church, villagers attend a delicious hog roast at the village hall in honour of Queen Matilda (William the Conqueror’s wife) who was famous for feeding the builders of the church with a feast of pig’s face. Spend a few nights in this quaint Cotswold village and take part in the huge local feast.

5| Bourton Football in the River

The last Bank Holiday in August sees the strange but exciting event of football being played in Windrush River in Bourton-on-the-Water. This game is over 100 years old and thousands of spectators come to cheer on the Bourton River Football Club. A great day out for the family.

6| The Fish and Chip Train

If you’re a fan of the great British dish of fish and chips, hop on board the ‘The Cheltenham Fryer’ for a scenic train ride, complete with delicious fish and chips served in traditional newspaper. You can also order wine, beer and non-alcoholic refreshments for your journey and take a step back in time as you enjoy the leisurely ride through stunning Cotswold countryside.

7| Christmas Lido Swim

Head to Cheltenham’s Sandford Parks Lido, on the edge of The Cotswolds for a freezing cold swim at Christmas time. Often taken on in fancy dress, this cold weather challenge is a lot of fun but isn’t designed for the faint-hearted. Wrap up warm and bring the whole family along to enjoy a fun-filled day with a great atmosphere.

8| Onion Eating Contest

For a day of celebration and laughter, visit Forest of Dean in September to catch their annual Onion Fayre, where the humble vegetable is celebrated by local farmers and residents – and the raw onion eating contest takes place. A strange competition but a lively affair for both locals and visitors.

9| Bibury Duck Race

The quaint little Cotswold town of Bibury is a delight all year round but head to the River Coln on Boxing Day and you can witness something truly amazing. Each year, you can enjoy mulled wine and local mince pies as rubber ducks race down the river. Sponsor a rubber duck for just £10 and have the pleasure of choosing a charity to donate all the money to if your duck comes out in victory.