A weekend in February: escaping to the Cotswolds

Published on  

July 11, 2024

Bidding adieu to London's hectic life, the weekend whisks us to an emerald escape in the English countryside, where rolling hills and quiet lanes soothe the city's clamour. Be inspired by a lick of Cotswold sun, a fresh leg of lamb, long walks with the dogs and a cosy afternoon by the fire before heading home to London again.

A Weekend in February: Escaping to the Cotswolds

A perfect day in the Cotswolds starts at dawn, awakening to the soft sound of birdsong, the morning light casting its golden rays. Postcard perfect vistas are framed by wooden windows; each rolling ‘wold’ brightened by bursts of seasonal blooms… No better time to experience the region’s allure than in spring’s first flurry. 

Signs of the new season linger on the horizon and darker, damper days are bade adieu. Air, still crisp, fills the lungs with a burst of freshness. Sun, low in the sky, touches the skin with its welcome warmth. 

Cobwebs blown away, the day ahead can take many forms. For a quintessential escape in the emerald English countryside, here within lies our guide:

What to do

See the sights

First time visitors should fully immerse themselves the Cotswold’s fabled charm – a tapestry of chocolate box villages, old market towns and miles of open countryside waiting to be explored. Walk the Windrush Valley and its eponymous river, passing Norman churches and Georgian manors on the way, or marvel the Neolithic Rollright Stones before taking the opportunity to warm the spirits at Wood Brother’s Distillery, home to six generation farmers, just outside of Bampton town.

Entertainment for all ages

Homeowners with little ones can visit Cotswold Farm Park, a wholesome place to spend the afternoon, especially in spring when lambing season is in full swing. Alternatively, head to the Cotswolds Wildlife Park where giraffes, lions and penguins keep children entertained, and beautiful walled gardens delight the adults, demonstrating some of the finest horticulture in the region. 

Switch off

While the great outdoors beckons, for many, the Cotswold’s leisurely pace is its draw. Time slows, and days are whiled away recharging in the comfort of one’s own private home. After a morning dash with the dogs down the lane, fires are lit and places assumed. While some find their peace in the kitchen sipping wine as the scent of roast lamb fills the room, for others, it’s books, games and snoozing until suppertime arrives. 

Where to shop

Local produce

Alongside renowned hotspots such as Daylesford, several hyperlocal farm shops can be found across the Cotswolds. Our favourites include Upton Smokery, Sherbourne Village Stores and The Costwold Cheese Company. A weekend trip to all three results in the finest Sunday roast, a true taste of the region.

Treats & treasures

Offering more than just plants, Burford Garden Centre is a local institution. Visitors flock for lunch at the café, and stock up on local produce from the farm shop, but their curated collections of homeware, art and accessories are just as unique and inspiring. Elsewhere, Borzoi Bookshop – an independent retailer for over forty years – stocks a range of unusual and specialist titles, alongside gifts, cards and stationery. 

Where to dine

British pubs

Not trip to the countryside is complete without a traditional British pub experience and thankfully, the Cotswolds is home to some of the best. With roaring fireplaces and soulful Cotswold cooking, our favourites include The Lamb in Shipton-under-Wychwood; The Sherborne Arms in Northleach; The Fox Inn in Broadwell and The Bell in Langford. When warmer weather ensues, The Victoria Inn in Eastleach has an idyllic garden terrace, a laidback setting in which to enjoy a well-earned ale following a long hike in the hills. 

Finer dining

The region is also home to several contemporary dining venues, pairing seasonal dishes with a refined atmosphere. The Cellar in Stow-on-the-Wold lives up to any occasion, serving European small plates and over 150 biodynamic wines with regular events and tastings. Alternatively, foodies should plan their stay around a visit to the two Michelin starred Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, with reservations required well in advance. 

Delicious delis

While spring’s weather might be unpredictable, there’s nothing more British than a picnic under changeable skies. Pack a basket with goodies from D’Ambrosi in Stow-on-the-Wold where luxurious lobster rolls, fresh cervices and seasonal salads often sell out before noon. For those who prefer dining under cover, the deli also offers its dishes in takeaway form, ideal for easy entertaining in your home. 

What to pack

Preparation is key and an English weekend requires packing for all seasons. Despite resting less than an hour away from Heathrow Airport and London’s urban sprawl, the Cotswolds is a world away. Think muddy boots and Barbour coats – both of which are more than welcome in most local eateries. For an added bonus, pick up a basket of fresh vegetables along the way to ensure your pantry is well stocked with local favourites.  

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