As winter’s chill sets in and the Cotswolds dons a frosty, picturesque cloak, it’s the perfect time to discover the hidden treasures and cosy delights that this enchanting region has to offer.
While January may be known for its colder temperatures and shorter days, it’s also a time when the Cotswolds come alive with unique experiences and a charm all its own. From idyllic villages nestled among rolling hills to roaring fires in centuries-old pubs, the Cotswolds in January promises an unforgettable journey through quintessential English countryside.
Join us as we explore the best things to do (and find events here!) in the Cotswolds during this magical winter month, where every quaint corner reveals a story waiting to be told and a warm welcome to be received.
So, bundle up, grab a hot cup of tea, and let’s embark on an adventure through the Cotswolds in January like no other!
Things to do in the Cotswolds in January
If you’re considering a trip to the UK or specifically the Cotswolds in January, our blog post is here to make it easier than ever to plan your trip.
While warm-weather travel might be the preference for many, there are numerous benefits to embarking on a winter journey. Maybe you prefer the cooler months, have a little holiday time to use up, or simply prefer the quieter months!
What to expect in the Cotswolds in January
If you feel like soaking up a little winter sun in the Cotswolds this January, there are a few things you should know before booking your trip…
1. The Cotswolds in January is pretty quiet
Visiting the Cotswolds in January holds a distinct advantage—while everyone else flocks here during the summer, in the winter you’ll have these picturesque villages all to yourself (mostly!).
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Indeed, January in the Cotswolds is a far quieter period for tourists, granting you the rare opportunity to explore the streets of Bibury in solitude, pop into a Stow-on-the-Wold shop without enduring long lines, and savour the unspoiled beauty of Dover’s Hill with no one else to disturb your view.
2. Expect cold weather!
For some, the Cotswolds can be pretty damn cold, but what you consider ‘cold’ can depend greatly on where you’re travelling from! However, in the UK, January is typically the coolest time of the year. During this month, the Cotswolds experience an average temperature ranging from approximately 1-6°C.
It’s the perfect weather for bundling up warmly and embarking on a tour of the exquisite Cotswold villages!
3. Expect short, dark (ish) days
It’s important to note that January can still be quite dim with just an average of 54 hours of sunshine for the whole of January. So, make sure you soak up the sunshine while you can!
When you plan your visit to the Cotswolds in January, keep in mind that the days are comparatively short.
So, what should you add to your bucket list for the Cotswolds in January? Well, let’s take a closer look…
What to do in the Cotswolds in January
Frequent Cotswolds visitors are likely aware that ringing in the New Year at the Cheltenham Races on New Year’s Day is one of the most exhilarating ways to commence the year. However, there are numerous other winter events to enjoy as well. Tickets are now available for Festival Trials Day on Saturday, January 27, 2024, with prices starting at just £10 for entry to the Best Mate Enclosure and £25 for the Club/Tatts Enclosure.
Visit the oldest pubs in England
Embarking on a winter pub crawl in the Cotswolds is a pub crawl like no other. The reason lies in the fact that our region is home to some of the world’s most ancient pubs. As you step inside, anticipate the welcoming embrace of roaring fires, low-hanging beams, medieval stone walls, and an authentic ambience that transports you to a bygone era.
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There’s an undeniable romantic charm to our cherished haunts, where every dish is crafted with locally sourced ingredients and infused with the love of the Cotswolds. Among the top-notch pubs where you can warm your soul is The Swan at Southrop, Red Lion Inn at Chipping Campden, The Swan Hotel at Bibury, and The Castle Inn at Castle Combe. If you’re seeking a nearby gem, don’t miss The Wild Duck at Ewen or The Potting Shed at Crudwell.
Nestled within the enchanting Cotswolds are some of the most pristine night skies in England, owing to the region’s minimal light pollution and splendidly secluded locations.
Bundle up all cosy and venture out to Aunt Phoebe’s Recreation Ground, South Park, Painswick Beacon, or the Rollright Stones Ancient Monuments on a crisp, clear night to witness the splendour of stars and constellations illuminating the heavens.
Go for a winter ramble
In this corner of the world, winter strolls and discovering cosy local pubs are a harmonious pair. We wholeheartedly endorse the idea of blending the two experiences. There’s nothing quite like a brisk walk to balance out a hearty lunch, just as there’s nothing like a refreshing pint to soothe your soul after a lengthy jaunt.
In the Cotswolds, you’ll find hiking getaways tailored to every type of explorer, so don your warm and comfy clothes (and shoes!), bring along your four-legged companion if you wish (as there are plenty of dog-friendly hotels!), and prepare to embark on an enchanting adventure through the Cotswold winter wonderland.
Spent time at Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens
If you’re eager to have a close encounter with rhinos, meerkats, penguins, and an array of wildlife, look no further than this expansive 160-acre park. Here, you’ll encounter over 260 species of animals, making it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts.
Additionally, it boasts one of the UK’s most extensive collections of reptiles, where you can marvel at the likes of crocodiles, lizards, frogs, and various snakes, including formidable green anacondas and venomous species like black mambas.
It’s important to note that during the final three weeks of January, the park operates on weekends only.
Visit the miniature village in Bourton-on-the-Water
Nestled in Bourton-on-the-Water, this remarkable attraction stands out as one of the finest family-friendly destinations in the area. It’s a one-ninth-scale replica of the village and holds the unique distinction of being the sole Grade II-listed model village in the entire country.
Notable features of this miniature marvel encompass meticulously crafted tiny trees, miniature structures constructed from authentic Cotswold stone, a true-to-life replica of the River Windrush complete with flowing water, and a petite model church where you can even listen to the choir’s melodious voices.
Enjoy the views from Broadway Tower
Though its beauty endures throughout the year, there’s a certain enchantment in trekking around this folly, perched high on the escarpment above the picturesque village of Broadway, especially on a clear January day.
Ascend to the rooftop viewing platform, which happens to be the Cotswolds’ highest point officially recognised, and be treated to awe-inspiring vistas that stretch across 16 counties, spanning an impressive 62 miles in every direction.
Marvel at the Painswick Rococo Gardens
Crafted in the 1740s as an extravagant pleasure garden for the proprietor of Painswick House and his visitors, this site stands today as the nation’s sole fully preserved rococo garden.
Whether adorned with a delicate blanket of snow in January or not, Painswick serves as an ideal winter destination for savouring panoramic vistas of the neighbouring countryside, leisurely strolls, navigating the heart of the maze, and savouring delectable homemade fare at the inviting café.
Go for afternoon tea
January might not be your typical time to indulge in an afternoon tea, but rest assured the Cotswolds’ delights are well worth it! Sit back and enjoy a selection of sweet and savoury treats, whether you opt for afternoon tea at Dormy House, The Frog Mill or Burleigh Court.
Find our personal favourite places to enjoy afternoon tea!
Common questions about winter in the Cotswolds
When is the winter solstice?
The winter solstice marks an astronomical event, signifying the year’s shortest day, typically occurring on December 21st, although this year it falls on December 22nd. In the days leading up to the solstice, the sun gradually approaches the horizon with each passing day, resulting in weaker daylight, shorter days, and longer nights.
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What about New Year’s Eve in the Cotswolds?
If you’re looking to visit the Cotswolds this New Year’s Eve, there’s plenty to do and more than enough places to stay to see in the New Year. Plenty of pubs and restaurants host special events, including live music alongside their delicious food and drink offerings.
Take a look at the best places to stay this New Year’s Eve.
Ready to visit the Cotswolds in January?
No matter what you feel like getting up to in the Cotswolds in January, it’s the perfect time of year to explore this beautiful region. Whether you’re looking for a little winter sun, fancy planning some winter walks or even indulging in some private tours – there’s more than enough to do! Check out our Cotswolds events page for more information.
So grab yourself a hot chocolate, and take advantage of the short daylight hours during this rather cold month! Looking for somewhere to stay? Take a look at our places to stay page for the perfect home away from home accommodation.
With thanks to Go Cotswolds.