With its rolling hills, woodlands, and sleepy villages, the Cotswolds are known for the typically English countryside that offers a beautiful backdrop for a romantic getaway.
From taking walks through the incredible landscapes and taking in the views from the many hills to having trips to some of the UK’s most famous historical landmarks, the Cotswolds is the perfect location for a couple to spend time together.
Whether you’re planning a weekend break, a longer holiday, or just passing through the area, here are some of the best things to do in and around the Cotswolds for couples.
1. Visit Bourton-on-the-Water
One of the most picturesque villages in the Cotswolds. The beautiful old buildings and the scenic River Windrush provide the perfect setting for a romantic day out.
Explore the independent shops or get refreshments from one of the many cafes. Make sure to visit the Waterfront Tea Room to relax with a delicious afternoon tea.
On a warm day, you can sit by the river and enjoy a picnic. To stretch your legs with a short stroll, you can also follow the river west to a beautiful old stone bridge and mill.
2. Walk around a model village
If you’re visiting Bourton-on-the-Water, make sure to stop by the model village. This curious attraction is one of the most unique places to visit in the Cotswold.
A miniature reconstruction of the village, it’s a lot of fun for couples to walk around the minimised buildings and take pictures pretending to be giants!
There is even a stream running through it as well as a model of the church.
3. Go on a hike
Covering almost 800 square miles, the Cotswolds offer a range of fantastic walking routes over five counties: Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.
Each part of the Cotswolds has its own identity so there are always new areas to explore on long hikes or casual strolls through the beautiful rolling green hills.
While there are many hiking trails to try out, The Cotswold Way is a particularly great route to follow as it cuts through the entire length of the Cotswolds, allowing you to see plenty of different surroundings.
4. Explore other towns and villages in the Cotswolds
While Bourton-on-the-Water is one of the standout places to visit in the Cotswolds for couples, there are also plenty of other fantastic towns and villages that are worth seeing.
Stow-on-the-Wold is a great place to visit, with a beautiful market square in the centre, while Mourten-in-Marsh is one of the larger towns in the Cotswolds and has a large selection of shops and places to eat.
For an especially picturesque village, Lower Slaughter is also one of the best locations to visit with its stone houses and the small River Eye flowing through the middle.
5. Drive out to Stratford-upon-Avon
For a day out near the Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon is one of the most beautiful towns nearby which makes for the perfect location to spend a few hours.
Walking along the River Avon or strolling around the historic centre of Stratford-upon-Avon is one of the most romantic things to do near the Cotswolds for couples.
As the birthplace of William Shakespeare, it’s full of history and there are plenty of fascinating sites to visit such as Shakespeare’s New Place and his wife Anne Hathaway’s cottage.
For more ideas of what to do when you’re there, check out our blog on the best things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon for couples.
6. Have a day trip out at Warwick Castle
Another fun destination for a day trip out from the Cotswolds is Warwick Castle, one of the best-preserved and most popular castles in England.
Climb the impressive medieval walls and towers for some great photo opportunities, and check out the exhibitions inside the castle to discover more about its history.
You can also watch birds of prey during one of the regularly-scheduled aerial displays. Plus, there are plenty of great spots around the castle grounds to have a romantic picnic.
7. Relax in the rooftop pool at Bath Thermae Spa
At the very southern extent of the Cotswolds you will find Bath, one of the most beautiful cities in the UK and one of the most popular locations for a city break.
As part of a day trip, there are plenty of things to do such as visiting the Roman Baths or seeing the beautiful Pulteney Bridge, but one of the most romantic activities in the city is going to the Bath Thermae Spa.
With a heating rooftop pool and water sourced from springs below the city, the spa is the perfect place for an intimate and relaxing time as a couple.
Bath is one of the best UK city break destinations by train, so if you’re reliant on public transport it should definitely be on your list of places to visit.
Plus, if you’re stopping by this beautiful city, you can also discover some of the other fun things to do in Bath for couples.
8. Visit Blenheim Palace
One of the best things to do in the Cotswolds for couples is to visit Blenheim Palace, a country house near Oxford that dates back to the 18th century.
With over 300 years of history, you can take a tour of its many impressive rooms or take a romantic stroll around its beautiful gardens.
In winter, the palace is worth visiting when the sun sets. Christmas at Blenheim is a magical experience that includes a trail of lights leading around the grounds and illuminating the palace, and it’s one of the most romantic things to do in the Cotswolds.
9. Have a romantic picnic with a view
Because of the range of scenery and expansive rolling hills, there are plenty of quiet spots around the Cotswolds to take a walk and have a picnic.
These include areas with amazing views of the surroundings, making for great backdrops to a romantic lunch together in nature.
These are some of the best locations:
- Broadway Tower – Near the village of Broadway, this iconic tower is located on the second highest point in the Cotswolds, so there are great views if you sit anywhere around it.
- Dovers Hill – At 230 metres above sea level, this hill near the town of Chipping Campden offers a great vantage point where you can see for miles.
- Cleeve Hill – As the highest peak in the Cotswolds, Cleeve Hill provides breathtaking views that can’t be rivalled, with the incredible Malvern Hills in the distance. On a clear day, you can even see the Black Mountains in Wales.
10. Enjoy a trip on a steam train
There aren’t many experiences as nostalgic and serene as sitting on a steam train and enjoying the sights and sounds of it chugging through the English landscape.
A volunteer-run heritage railway, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway operates steam trains between Cheltenham and Broadway on a route through the Cotswolds that shows off views of the surrounding hills and cute villages.
There is even a traditional 1950s-style restaurant buffet car where you can pick up a tasty treat such as bacon rolls or cakes, as well as various alcoholic drinks to really make the trip feel special.
Things to do in the Cotswolds for couples FAQs
What are the best times of the year to visit the Cotswolds for couples?
The Cotswolds contains beautiful landscapes throughout the year, but the spring and summer months offer the most pleasant weather and stunning colours across its countryside, making this a popular time of year for couples.
Many tourists visit this part of the country, including families. If you can, try to avoid school holidays so you can see the Cotswolds when it’s quietest and at its most serene.
What are the best free things for couples to do in the Cotswolds?
The best free activities in the Cotswolds for couples include taking a hike through its scenic hill and countryside and visiting Bourton-on-the-Water, where you can relax by the river or browse some of the local independent shops.
Are there any unique attractions or experiences in the Cotswolds that couples shouldn’t miss?
The Cotswolds is known for its unique attractions which shouldn’t be missed when you’re planning a trip here. Couples should consider visiting the romantic ruins of Hailes Abbey, exploring the beautiful gardens of Hidcote Manor, and seeing the impressive model village at Bourton-on-the-Water.
Don’t forget to visit the charming market towns, such as Stow-on-the-Wold and Chipping Campden, for a taste of traditional Cotswold life.
Are there any local festivals or events in the Cotswolds that couples can enjoy together?
There’s a variety of festivals and events held in and around the Cotswolds throughout the year. Couples can enjoy events like the Cheltenham Literature Festival, the Tetbury Music Festival, or the Broadway Arts Festival, which showcase the region’s vibrant arts and culture scene.