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Unusual Things to Do and See in the Cotswolds


Getting off the beaten track and away from the crowds is one of our favourite things to do in the Cotswolds. And the beauty of a break in the Cotswolds is that it doesn’t take long to leave the bustling narrow streets of Cirencester or the popular waterways of Bourton-on-Water to enjoy complete peace and quiet. Plus, leave the well-trodden paths and you’ll stumble across unusual attractions and quirky entertainment that’s sure to spark joy and create long-lasting memories.

Clearwell Caves

Head west of Cheltenham to the Forest of Dean and leave the crowds by heading deep underground to a world that few eyes have seen before. Here at Clearwell Caves visitors are wowed by the iron mining museum and a network of nine ancient caverns. This is an experience that will feed the appetite of the super-curious and can be enjoyed by all ages. They are real mine workings and so the cave tour is not suitable for wheelchairs, mobility scooters or visitors with difficulty walking. The cafe and intriguing gift shop is a destination in itself, flanked by the lush green of the Forest trees.

When filled with ‘wonder at what’s under’, see if you can spot film locations for Dr Who, The Chronicles of Narnia and Merlin. The enormous network – 230 acres – offers tonnes of ‘ore-inspiring’ wonder, including the Frozen Waterfall and Skeleton Pool.

Clearwell Caves

The Cotswold Distillery, North Cotswolds

As far as holiday experiences go, a Gin Blending Masterclass with the passionate Cotswold Distillery is extremely special. Everything about this gin and whiskey distillery screams of excellence. It only opened in 2014, and the newly refurbished production space and warehouse are kitted out with top of the range equipment. A tour takes 45 minutes and ends with a drink in the bar. The spirit process has been designed by the best in the industry, with names like Harry Cockburn and ‘the Einstein of whisky’ Dr Jim Swan involved. There is passion in every nook and cranny of this secluded state-of-the-art distillery, just outside the little-known village of Stourton. It is precisely this rural location that drew founder Daniel Szor to Phillip’s Field because using local wheat from the nearby fields is the cornerstone of Cotswold Distillery.

Far away from the buzz of gin bars, this is a gin experience like non-other. If you don’t have a driver in your party, book a taxi to make sure you get the most out of this extremely special experience.

Browse our Chipping Norton cottages.

Cotswold Distillery

Cotswold Vale Alpacas

Let your guide of the glorious Cotswold countryside be non-other than a hilarious Alpaca on an Alpaca walk. Alpacas are extremely sociable creatures and as well as enjoying the company of other Alpacas, they also enjoy hanging out with people. They have a very inquisitive nature, which makes them lots of fun but they are also very gentle creatures. The cheeky-looking animals do enjoy a good group walk and a stroll with them is a slow one, stopping for lots of selfies along the way as their nosiness gets the better of them. This is ideal when looking for things to do with groups and with visitors of differing walking abilities.

Read more about The Vale of Evesham and find accommodation nearby in our Broadway cottages and Winchcombe cottages.

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Open-Air Swimming Pool

Open-air swimming is enjoying something of a come-back and the Cotswolds is home to some of the UK’s very best lidos. In fact, the Cotswolds is world-famous for its health-giving spas owing to its unique natural springs. Cirencester, in the central Cotswolds, is home to Britain’s oldest open-air swimming pool and is particularly special as you swim in the famous natural spring water – heated, of course.

Outdoor swimming pools are popular with keen open-air swimmers looking for the pleasure of the sea and river swimming in a local setting, as well as day-trippers seeking a sociable swim, a coffee by the pool and a relaxing sunbathe when the sun’s out. Whilst you may have not experienced the fun of open-air swimming, other than when on a beach holiday, there are in fact ten outdoor swimming pools in the Cotswolds if you know where to look.

In the North Cotswolds, Chipping Norton Lido is popular for family swimmers as well as the more serious open-water fish.

For centrally located outdoor pools in the Cotswolds, look up Sandford Parks Lido, Cheltenham, which has a heated paddling pool with slides and a busy events schedule. Cirencester Open-Air Swimming Pool is located in the centre of the town and easily accessible.

Sandford Parks Lido