Autumn in the Cotswolds

Autumn in the Cotswolds

A magical time of year for dreamy sojourns, autumn in the Cotswolds is full of enchantment. Leaves turn red, the pace slows, and cosy cafés and welcoming pubs beckon with crackling fires and warming food. Perfect for luxury retreats in honey-hued villages and bronze-tinged landscapes, it calls for relaxation and exploration in equal measure.

For a unique look at all there is to see and do, enjoy our guide to autumn in the Cotswolds this year, with everything from the top events to places to eat.

Places to Eat

Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham

The exterior of Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham

Le Champignon Sauvage is one of the Cotswolds’ esteemed Michelin star restaurants. Located on Suffolk Road in the heart of Cheltenham, it has been run for over thirty years by husband-and-wife team, David and Helen Everitt-Matthias, and promises an unmissable fine dining experience. On its set and à la carte menus, modern cuisine composed of the best of British ingredients tempt the tastebuds, showcasing everything from Cotswolds lamb to Cornish hake.

Bybrook, Castle Combe

The creeper clad facade of Bybrook in Castle Combe

The Michelin star restaurant Bybrook in Castle Combe is one of the best places to go for autumnal feasts this year. Taking its name from a flowing river that runs nearby, it resides within a sprawling estate and enjoys a beautiful location overlooking rolling grounds. Using ingredients sourced from local producers and the restaurant’s kitchen gardens, it serves up delicious food for leisurely lunches, afternoon teas and formal dinner dining. Book ahead to avoid disappointment.

The Dining Room, Malmesbury

A delicious dessert served at The Dining Room

One of the best restaurants in Wiltshire, The Dining Room in Malmesbury is bestowed with both a Michelin Star and a Michelin Green Star. Recognised for the quality of its cuisine and its commitment to sustainable practices, it promises the very best of seasonal, local fare. Perfect for celebrating special occasions and indulging in dreamy date nights, it is open for dinner during select days of the week and offers a set menu that can be complemented with dedicated wine flights.

Broadway Deli, Broadway

A miniature vintage van used as a display outside of Broadway Deli in Worcestershire

The picturesque village of Broadway in the Cotswolds is renowned for its beautiful aesthetics and is often referred to as ‘The Jewel of the Cotswolds’. Home to rows of quintessential Cotswolds cottages, little boutiques and cute tearooms, it is also the setting for the well-known Broadway Deli. An independent delicatessen and café, Broadway Deli beckons with an array of autumnal treats of the sweet and savoury variety. Relax into slow moments over warming plates in the café and select goodies to take back to your Boutique abode from the well-stocked counters and shelves.

The Bell Inn, Langford

The white-washed frontage of The Bell Inn

The Bell Inn is a characterful gastropub in Langford near Burford. Recommended by the Michelin Guide, it focuses on good, simple pub food and exudes a warm, welcoming ambience. Inside, the country-core interiors make autumn afternoons a treat with cosy corners, crackling fires, and lots of places to sit. Outside, those crisp sunshine days are well catered for with an attractive beer garden boasting gorgeous countryside vistas – perfect for wholesome repasts throughout the season.

Places to Visit

Westonbirt Arboretum

Beautiful trees with bright red autumn leaves at Westonbirt Arboretum

There are few places more enticing for leisurely autumn strolls than the six-hundred-acre Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire. An adumbral paradise that protects one of the most important plant collections in the world, it can be reached via a picturesque drive through the countryside or a walk from nearby Tetbury (though we recommend a taxi on the way back). Wrap up in layers and head over to trace trails between the fiery blaze of trees, which includes 2,500 species from across the globe.

Batsford Arboretum

A pretty pathway through the autumn trees at Batsford Arboretum

If you can’t wait to see autumn’s colours in all their glory this year, then make way to the dog-friendly Batsford Arboretum in the Cotswolds. Parading leaves of sunshine yellow, burnt orange and deep crimson, it provides a visual sensation at every turn and overflows with autumn highlights. Wend along winding pathways through the arboretum’s sixty acres of estate and marvel at nature’s seasonal embellishments as you go. For those with a keen eye for photography, a camera is a must.

Miserden Estate

Multi-coloured autumn trees at Miserden Estate

Home to one of our favourite gardens in the Cotswolds, Miserden Estate near Stroud encompasses woods, valleys, fields, lakes and waterways that set the scene for idyllic autumn walks. Follow the footpaths through the seventeenth-century gardens, wandering along the topiary yew walk and through coppery tunnels of autumn leaves. When you’re ready to warm up, you can visit the onsite Glasshouse Café afterwards and savour a plate of something delicious to refuel and revive.


The picturesque town square of Cirencester

The historic market town of Cirencester in Gloucestershire lies in the heart of the Cotswolds and awaits with a wealth of things to see and do, including great shopping and dining opportunities. With roots dating all the way back to the Romans, it is particularly adored for its heritage sites that lend themselves perfectly to autumn exploration. Within the town and its surrounds, you can find Cirencester Roman Amphitheatre and the Corinium Museum, as well as the beautiful Arts and Crafts Rodmarton Manor.


Autumn leaves in the park in Cheltenham

Cheltenham, also known as "the Garden Town of England", is one of the most famous destinations in the Cotswolds and a sought-after spot for breaks in the UK. A stunning Regency town famed for its festivals, racecourse, attractions, and world-class restaurants, it makes for a wonderful place to while away the hours under autumn skies. Just outside of the town, the top of Cleeve Hill signals the highest point in the Cotswolds Hills and rewards walkers with stunning views across sweeping countryside.

Things to Do


An aerial view of Broadway tower in golden light

One of the best things to do in autumn is the simple pleasure of walking. Fortunately, within the Cotswolds there is a huge number of scenic walks that provide walkers of all ages with boundless inspiration. Depending on what you’re looking for, options range from glorious long-distance routes such as The Cotswold Way to shorter jaunts that can be completed in an hour or less. One of the best walks, a hike up to the top of Broadway Tower reveals panoramas across sixteen counties, extending as far as the Black Mountains in Wales.


A bicycle outside of a creeper-clad cottage in Oxford

Allowing you to get closer to nature, cycling provides a unique way to soak up autumn’s vibrant colour palette. If you would like to explore the enchanting countryside scenes of the Cotswolds, then there are lots of lovely cycle routes to choose from for both road and mountain bikers. That said, amongst the top choices for level, traffic-free trails are the Cotswold Water Park in South Cerney, home to nearly two hundred lakes across more than forty acres, the eight mile Stroudwater Canal, and the seventeen mile Colliers Way.

Village Hopping

The picture-perfect main street of Broadway in Worcestershire with shop windows illuminated by fairy lights

The Cotswolds is renowned for its beautiful villages and quaint cottages composed of yellow Oolitic Jurassic limestone. Pretty as a picture in honey hues and draped with creepers, these photogenic destinations are arguably even more spellbinding in autumn when the warm tones of autumn set a magnificent frame. Amongst the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds, Broadway in Worcestershire, Burford in Oxfordshire, and Bibury and Lower and Upper Oddington in Gloucestershire are must-sees.


A view of Blenheim Palace through autumn leaves

For the history lovers and romance seekers, the Cotswolds has an unrivalled appeal. Full of fairytale charm and awash with history, the verdant pages of its landscapes reveal a fascinating walk through time. To uncover some of its intriguing chapters, make way to some of the best sightseeing attractions, including Sezincote and Bourton House Garden in Moreton-in-Marsh, Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Tewkesbury Abbey, Berkeley Castle, and Blenheim Palace in Woodstock.

Wildlife Watching

Birds sitting atop golden, shimmering water at Slimbridge at sunset

Autumn is a wonderful time of year to be outside and soak up the beauty of nature. Adding even more incentive, the Cotswolds is beloved for its wildlife reserves and sanctuaries that shelter a range of wildlife species. For birdwatching, The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Slimbridge reserve  near Stroud is a great choice and an internationally important site for resident and migratory birds. The Laurie Lee Wildlife Way also offers the chance to see native flora and fauna during a six mile walk through the Slad Valley.


Broadway Food Festival

Stalls decorated with delicious produce at Broadway Food Festival

15th September 2024

The annual Broadway Food Festival marks the start of the autumn season of events in the Cotswolds. Held in the beginning of September, it brings together the region’s best local producers and makers to showcase and sell their foodie fare. Take a hamper with you and explore the market stalls for the freshest seasonal goodies and sample delicious food and drink from artisan chefs.

Blenheim Palace Autumn Fest

Signs directing to fun autumn activities and attractions at Blenheim Palace

Dates TBC

Blenheim Palace’s Autumn Festival is a widely anticipated event on the Cotswolds calendar. Held in the grounds of Blenheim, it features a family-friendly line-up of activities and attractions and, of course, delicious food and drink. Last year, visitors enjoyed a variety of workshops, presentations, and crafts around the subject of nature, including a talk from Professor and Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick.

Autumn Family Trail at Westonbirt

A couple admiring the autumn colours at Westonbirt Arboretum

1st October - 30th November 2024

Westonbirt Arboretum is hosting a family-friendly autumn trail this year encouraging visitors of all ages to take part in activities, relish the autumn colours, and breathe in the fresh country air. Along the way, children are invited to look out for Birtha, the woodland spirit of autumn, and her friends who are hiding along the trail, including Pippin the cone and Flitwing the seed.

Cheltenham Literature Festival

The colour and activity of Cheltenham Literature Festival

4th - 13th October 2024

One of the best festivals in the Cotswolds, the ten-day Cheltenham Literature Festival in Gloucestershire is recognised as the first festival of its kind in the world. A beacon for lovers of literature, it sets a global platform for authors, writers, critics, bookworms and more to celebrate the written and spoken word and promote creative works. This year stars names such as Brian Cox, Jojo Moyes, Elizabeth Day, Charlie Mackesy, Liv Little, David Mitchell and Tim Peake.

Pumpkin Picking at Cotswolds Farm Park

An adorable dog resting on a wheelbarrow filled with pumpkins at the Cotswolds Farm Park

Dates TBC

Head over to Cotswold Farm Park in Guiting Power near Cheltenham for a dose of autumn magic this year. Run by Countryfile presenter and British farmer Adam Henson, this family-friendly attraction opens its pumpkin patches for everyone to find the perfect orange prize. Don your wellies and visit the farm on select weekends this October ready for nostalgic festivities in the lead up to Halloween.

Notgrove Foraging Courses

A wicker basket filled with foraged mushrooms and wild foods

October 2024

For something a little different this autumn, why not turn your hand to foraging? Taking place in November, the scenic village of Notgrove is set to play host to an introductory foraging course. Glean expert knowledge from experienced guides as you peruse wild spaces for edible treats and learn about the seasonal foods you can find. Later, enjoy the fruits of your day with a tasty lunch of foraged ingredients for utmost reward.

Feeling inspired for autumn adventure? Take a look at our luxury cottages in the Cotswolds.


Sign up to receive our boutique stories…

Stay connected with retreat magic and be the first to know about our new additions. We promise to only fill your inbox with the dreamiest staycation stories and luxury travel moments.