The Cotswolds is ideal for a relaxing escape from city life with its quaint villages and picturesque countryside. Bring along that special someone and enjoy each other’s company. There are plenty of romantic things to do in the Cotswolds for couples.
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- Why the Cotswolds Is Ideal for a Couples Trip
- Romantic Things to Do in the Cotswolds
- Where to Stay For a Romantic Cotswolds Trip
- Is the Cotswolds Romantic?
- Expert Tips for a Romantic Cotswold Getaway
Why the Cotswolds Is Ideal for a Couples Trip
The Cotswolds is a region in central-southwest England with rolling hills that rise from the meadows. The picture perfect villages look like they could be places in fairy tales.
It’s a peaceful area full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. You and your partner can enjoy each others’ company while seeing some of the most beautiful spots in England.
Romantic Things to Do in the Cotswolds
Russell and I loved our romantic getaway in the Cotswolds. The area has so much to offer, that we couldn’t fit it all in. Let me share some of our favorite romantic experiences along with a few things to do that are on our list for our next couples trip.
#1 Visit a Castle
Just like in a fairy tale, you and your prince can visit a castle in the Cotswolds. These castles also have beautiful grounds that you can explore together.
For those interested in British history, Sudeley Castle is a must. It has royal connections spanning thousands of years and is the only private castle in England where a Queen is buried. You can visit the tomb of Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s last wife, in the church at Sudeley Castle.
In addition to Katherine Parr, other royalty including Henry himself, Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, Queen Elizabeth I, Richard III, King Charles I, and more have stayed and/or owned Sudeley Castle. At the end of the Civil War it lay neglected and derelict for nearly 200 years until it was rescued by John and William Dent who started work to restore the castle in 1837.
When you visit, you can go inside the castle, see exhibitions about its history, go inside St. Mary’s church, and explore the grounds. Sudeley Castle is free for Historic Houses members. Get more information including current opening hours and admission prices here. Keep in mind it closes over the winter.
For more than 850 years, the Berkeley family has made Berkeley Castle their home. King Edward II was imprisoned in the castle and died inside it, some think he was murdered by his wife Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer.
Berkeley Castle is a popular filming location. You may recognize it from BBC’s period dramas Wolf Hall, Galavant, and The White Princess. It was also used in 2018 action comedy film Johnny English strikes again among others.
The Castle is open from Easter until the end of October, from Sunday until Wednesday. Be sure to allow some time to check out the coffee shop ‘Hideout at Berkeley Castle’ during your visit.
Not your typical castle, this folly that stands as a token of the enduring love between William George, 6th Earl of Coventry, and his second wife, Lady Barbara. Unlike other follies, it was created as a usable space that was a place of entertainment, a signaling station, accommodations, and more.
The building was the brainchild of Capability Brown, who also is responsible for landscape work done on many stately homes including Chatsworth House and Blenheim Palace. Unfortunately, he died before construction began, so renowned architect James Wyatt took over.
While Broadway Tower was finished in 1798, it was designed to look like it was much older. Some features were inspired by Saxon and medieval castles. The huge windows and other decorative details make it clear this tower was built for pleasure not battles.
When you visit, you see three rooms elaborately decorated like you might expect to see at a castle. Then when you get to the top, you can enjoy 360 degree views of the unspoiled countryside with your loved one.
#2 Go See a Stately Home
In many cases, stately homes are as special as castles and definitely worth a visit. It’s fun to see how aristocratic families lived and dream of living with your partner in a house just as opulent. You might be able to get some ideas for your own home or garden.
Sezincote is different from other stately homes in England as it was designed in the Indian style which combines Hindu and Muslim architecture. It is believed to have influenced the design of the Brighton pavilion after a visit by The Prince Regent in 1807.
The house is still privately owned but on select days there are guided tours that take you inside. You will learn all about the history of the estate and get to see several eclectic and colorful rooms.
When you visit, be sure to allow time to see the gardens as they are some of the most unique and beautiful in the area. You can also enjoy tea and cakes in the Orangery.
All house tour tickets must be pre-booked and pre-paid through the website. Historic Houses members can visit for free. Get more information including current opening hours and admission prices here.
In the charming village of Snowshill, you can find the unconventional home of the eccentric Charles Wade. He restored and redesigned the Snowshill Manor using architectural and theatrical techniques to create a dramatic effect.
When you visit, you will also want to see the Arts and Crafts Garden which is an extension of the house. It has a series of outdoor rooms with intriguing doorways, hidden vistas and other surprises like Wolf’s Cove model village.
It’s a National Trust property so it’s free for members (get information about National Trust membership here). Snowshill Manor is only open mid-March through October and weekends in November.
Get more information including current opening hours and admission prices here.
Chastleton House is a Jacobean country house that has remained essentially unchanged for nearly 400 years as the interiors and contents have gradually started to give in to the effects of time. It’s now an informal and unspoilt place as it doesn’t even have a shop or tearoom.
You will also want to allow time to see the gardens where you will find several small and intimate spaces including the Best Garden, Kitchen Garden, Wilderness Walk and Croquet Lawns where the rules of the game were formalized.
It’s a National Trust property so it’s free for members (get information about National Trust membership here). Chastleton House is only open March through October. When the house is open, local charities take over the church and sell tea and cake to visitors.
Get more information including current opening hours and admission prices here.
Whittington Court is a small Tudor manor house with Jacobean and later additions, where Queen Elizabeth I is believed to have dined on her Progress through Gloucestershire. On select days during the spring and winter months, you can see the main rooms in the house, enjoy the gardens, go inside the 12th century St. Bartholomew’s Church, and see the grade II listed Tithe Barn.
Inside the house, the highlights include the dining room, library, and oak staircase. You can explore at your own pace, but there are staff members in each room to answer any questions.
It is free for Historic Houses members. Find out the most up to date admission prices and opening days here.
#3 Enjoy the Gardens
It’s romantic to walk through a garden with your partner hand-in-hand. As you pass by the flowers, breathe in and smell the sweetness. You can find a quiet spot and relax.
The Cotswolds is home to a wide variety of gardens. Let me share some of the most popular ones.
Hidcote Manor Gardens
These gardens are Arts and Crafts-inspired with intricately designed colorful outdoor spaces with views over the rolling Cotswold hills. It was created by the talented American horticulturist, Major Lawrence Johnston in the early 20th century.
Hidcote is now managed by the National Trust, so members can visit for free. Get more information about National Trust membership here.
Highgrove House Gardens
Highgrove is the private residence of King Charles III just outside the town of Tetbury. You can take a guided tour of the organic gardens between April and October each year. Tickets must be booked in advance.
Get more information here.
Painswick Rococo Gardens
Visit the UK’s only complete surviving Rococo garden. It was restored in the late 1980s based on a painting of the gardens by Thomas Robbins from the 18th century. They are known for their snowdrops as they have over five million of these white flowers, but it is worth a visit any time of year.
It’s quite a photogenic place and we enjoyed exploring the different garden areas. The spots that stood out most to me were actually the buildings (Eagle House, Exedra, and Red House) because they compliment the plants well.
They also have one of the best mazes that I have seen. It’s actually two mazes in one. If you walk to the viewpoint you can see that the maze says 250 which is fitting since it was created in 1998 to celebrate a special anniversary.
While you are in the area, check out our guide to the town of Painswick.
Sezincote is a stately home with a distinct Indian style. While the house is quite impressive, the gardens are just as special.
The grounds have seven pools, waterfalls, a grotto, a swing, several sculptures, and a temple. Take a walk through the gardens and you can imagine you are in an exotic Asian destination. Then head to the Orangery and enjoy some tea and cake with a view.
Explore 56 acres of wild gardens, paths, and streams, with Asian-influenced statues hidden in glades around the grounds and views across the Evenlode Valley. It’s open year round, but looks best when the fall colors are peaking or the cherry blossoms are blooming. The Arboretum also has a cafe and gift shop.
Get more information here.
The gardens at Sudeley Castle cover 15 acres so there is a lot to see. I love how they incorporated the ruins into the landscape and highlighted the castle’s ties to royalty.
They have 10 different gardens including the Queen’s Garden, Tithe Barn Garden, and the Secret Garden which is arguably Sudeley Castle’s most romantic spot. When we visited, they also had an exhibition of animal sculptures to highlight the importance of conservation.
You should also check out the pheasantry, where they are several unique birds.
#4 Go Antique or Art Shopping
If you are looking to build your art or antique collection, the Cotswolds has one of the highest concentrations of art and antique shops in England outside London. While most towns and villages will have these shops, some areas have more than others and specialize in particular categories.
If you are looking for furniture, then head to Stow on the Wold or Tetbury. The top places for art are Broadway and Woodstock. Other areas with a high concentration of antique shops are Winchcombe, Burford, Moreton in Marsh, Witney, and Chipping Campden.
#5 Have a Picnic
Picnics are one of my favorite activities. They can be fun as a group or as a family, but when it’s just you and your partner its definitely romantic.
In the Cotswolds, there are countless places where you can have a picnic. You could go to one of the gardens listed below or even just find a spot in one of the quiet villages.
Having a picnic does take a bit of planning though. You will need food and ideally a picnic blanket. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of pulling it together yourself, you can order it all like we did for our afternoon tea picnic from the Little Picnic Shop in Castle Combe.
Once you have chosen your location and have your supplies, cross your fingers for good weather. If it rains, you could “picnic” in your car or maybe under an umbrella but it wouldn’t be the same.
#6 Drive the Romantic Road
You may have heard about the Romantic Road in Germany, but did you know there is a Romantic Road in the Cotswolds too. Both made our list of the best road trip for couples.
Get more information on the route here, but to be honest, there are so many scenic roads in the Cotswolds feel free to deviate if you like.
#7 Go for a Walk
The rolling hills in the Cotswolds offer endless possibilities for scenic walks. You can find options for all ability levels too.
During this trip, we did the Broadway Tower Circular Walk and the Belas Knap Walk. I have a long list of walks that I want to do during our next visit(s) from this book.
The trails were nice and quiet so we were able to spend quality time together. When we would pass through a kissing gate, we couldn’t help but give each other a quick kiss.
If you plan on doing walks, it’s a good idea to bring hiking shoes. Also, you should carry water with you (ideally in a reusable bottle) as depending on the route you could walk for awhile without passing by any facilities.
#8 Have a Romantic Meal
The Cotswold is a fantastic destination for foodies. Why not take advantage and enjoy an intimate meal for two? You can enjoy some delicious food and wine and the company of your date. It doesn’t have to be very expensive.
During our trip to the Cotswolds, we had several romantic meals. Our favorites were:
- The Lamb Inn in Burford
- Lygon Arms in Broadway
- The Porch House in Stow on the Wold
#9 Do a Vineyard Tour
Wine (especially red) is considered to be an aphrodisiac by many because the ethanol in the wine stimulates the hypothalamus. It’s the part of the brain that regulates basic human functions, including body temperature, hormone levels, and sex drive.
While you are in the Cotswolds, you can visit a vineyard to do a tour and tasting. Thanks to climate change, the weather and fertile soil in the area is suitable for wine making.
You can choose from more than a dozen vineyards including Little Oak Vineyard, Woodchester Valley Vineyard, and Three Choirs Vineyard. If you don’t want to have to worry about driving, Three Choirs Vineyard has a romantic B&B so you could stay on site. Read reviews here.
#10 Ride on a Heritage Train
You can travel back in time with your partner on a heritage train. The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is a volunteer operated heritage railway in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire that runs along part of the route of the former Great Western Railway’s main line from Birmingham to Cheltenham which used to go via Stratford-upon-Avon.
Take a steam or heritage diesel train between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Cotswolds. It’s a 28-mile round trip where you get views of sleepy hamlets and villages, the Malvern Hills, and more.
Get more information about it here.
Where to Stay For a Romantic Cotswolds Trip
The Cotswolds has no shortage of romantic places to stay. You can choose from luxury hotels, bed and breakfasts, glamping, or holiday homes. The best option depends on your preferences and budget.
Here are some options for romantic hotels in the Cotswolds.
Swan Hotel in Bibury
Set on the banks of the River Coln in Bibury, one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds, the Swan Hotel has 22 unique rooms (including some with four poster beds and four cottage suites, one of which includes its own hot tub). It also has a private riverside garden, library where you can enjoy afternoon tea, a brasserie, and more.
Check reviews on Tripadvisor here.
Check price and availability for the Swan Hotel here.
Thyme in Lechlade
When you stay at Thyme, your room may be in the Farmhouse, the Lodge, the Courtyard, or one of the cottages of the country estate. It’s one of those peaceful places where you can relax with limited cell phone service (they have free WiFi if you need it).
No two rooms are the same, but they do all have comfortable mattresses, luxurious linens, coffee machines, and private bathrooms. While families are welcome for lunch in the ox barn restaurant, children under 12 are not allowed in the rooms to help maintain a quiet grown-up environment.
During your stay you will have access to the hotel’s drawing rooms and can wander around the landscaped gardens. They also have a spa, outdoor pool, and offer cooking classes too.
Check price and availability for Thyme here.
You can find more options for romantic places to stay in the Cotswolds here.
Is the Cotswolds Romantic?
Yes! It’s a peaceful area where it’s easy to feel like you are walking through a storybook. The rolling hills of the countryside, the colorful gardens, and the quaint cottages are almost too pretty for real life. It’s the perfect place to escape and spend quality time with your partner.
Have you been to the Cotswolds?
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Last Updated on February 15, 2023