CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Christmas in the Cotswolds: Reasons to be cheerful

PUBLISHED: 12:35 11 December 2015 | UPDATED: 10:12 14 December 2015

Christmas in the Cotswolds © stocker1970

Christmas in the Cotswolds © stocker1970

Archant

’Tis the season to indulge, relax, get active, escape, turn over a new leaf.

The nights have drawn in, the days are short; it would be easy to curl up and hibernate. But that would be to miss so much: the sculpted beauty of winter trees etching patterns on the sky, the crunch of mud frosted solid underfoot on a morning walk, lunch beside a log fire in a pub. And there’s the approaching glow of Christmas.

Whether you’re prone to SAD (seasonal affective disorder) through missing the sun or all revved up and looking for festive fun, here are 10 favourite ideas for getting out and about to make the most of the season.

1. Go winter wild

Avoid ‘cooped-up kids’ syndrome by pulling on the boots and scarves and playing winter I-Spy, for example at Brown’s Folly Nature Reserve, Bathford: spotting old man’s beard, berries, maybe a sparrowhawk or deer, and all the different shaped frosty cobwebs at this time of year – great for photos, www.avonwildlifetrust.org.uk.

Or let Wild Westonbirt bushcraft and survival youth club (Dec 19) bring out youthful Bear Grylls (14-18 year olds; booking essential, 0300 067 4854 or Karen. price@forestry.gsi.gov.uk.

2. Food, glorious food

Get some tasty inspiration – ‘Cooking at Christmas’, ‘Christmas Dinner Party’ – on December courses at The Cookery School at Daylesford, near Kingham. Alongside tips for making your culinary Christmas stress free, you’ll be using organic, seasonal ingredients from the farm – and there’s a timely class on ‘Healthy Tips for Christmas Leftovers’ too (Dec 27), www.daylesford.com.

3. Festive family fun

Meet Rudolf, Prancer and Comet, the resident reindeer at The Bird and Deer Park, Prinknash, as the park transforms into a Winter Wonderland (Nov 28/29; 5/6, 12/13, Dec 18-24). See waterfowl looking their best, swans turning pink on the lake beneath Christmas lighting and Santa arriving by reindeer-drawn sleigh, www.thebirdpark.com. Enjoy more animal magic at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park, Guiting Power, as donkeys, sheep and goats play Farmers’ markets and seasonal fairs are full of temptations right now.

For further information on the Cotswolds AONB and the Cotswolds Conservation Board Cotswolds Conservation Board The Old Prison, Fosse Way, Northleach GL54 3JH Tel: 01451 862000 www.cotswoldaonb.org.uk their part – with audience participation – in the Living Nativity (Nov 28–Dec 20), www.cotswoldfarmpark.co.uk.

4. Stock up

Whether it’s stocking- or tummy-fillers you’re after, farmers’ markets and seasonal fairs are full of temptations right now. Find everything from sweet treats to jewellery at Winchcombe Christmas Festival (Dec 1, www.winchcombe.co.uk); or Cotswold crafts, food, music and mulled wine at the Christmas Food and Craft Market, the Cotswolds Discovery Centre at The Old Prison, Northleach (Dec 5, www.escapetothecotswolds.org.uk/events). There’s also everything from rural crafts to cakes at Cogges Winter Fayre and Market (Dec 6, www.cogges.org.uk).

5. For the person who has everything

What do you buy the man / woman who has everything? A gift voucher for a Cotswolds Rural Skills course – of course. Not only will they get hands-on to learn something new, fascinating, useful and fulfilling, they’ll be keeping alive traditional crafts that have shaped the Cotswolds. Check out hedgelaying, blacksmithing taster days, dry stone walling, wool weaving and more at www.cotswoldsruralskills.org.uk.

6. Away from it all

Family, friends, food, fun – they’re all fantastic at Christmas. But if you want to escape the hectic hullabaloo for a quick re-balance and re-charge, head up to those high wolds and commons, Cleeve, Minchinhampton, Rodborough, Selsley. Or simply stand and quietly enjoy the bracing panoramic views from Bredon Hill or the Tyndale Monument on Nibley Knoll. Head cleared, now?

7. Silent night

Here’s another sanity-saver: stargazing. And dark, crisp winter skies are ideal. Pausing to look at the moon, the Milky Way galaxy, or spot activity like the Geminid meteor shower (peaks around the night of Dec 13-14) is totally absorbing. Good stargazing sites include behind Cleeve Hill, around Guiting Power, Kilkenny Picnic Site, and the Rollright Stones has Dark Sky Discovery Status as a top spot away from light pollution. Find a stargazing i-calendar / star maps at www.bbc.co.uk/stargazing or join in with your local astronomy group: www.cnaag.com, www.cotswoldas.org.uk, www.bathastronomers.co.uk, www.wasnet.org.uk.

8. All in a good cause

It’s wet, it’s muddy and it will certainly work off the Christmas excesses. The Great Brook Run at Chadlington (Dec 28) takes in field and water on a route that’s just over a mile. Register before 12.15pm, start at 12.30pm, finish... when you can. Proceeds go to charity while many runners go to The Tite Inn where they can warm their frozen toes by the fire, www.greatbrookrun.co.uk.

9. Banish the blues

Fresh air, exercise, companionship – they’re all great for keeping any winter blues at bay. Why not join a friendly walk with the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens? Easy to strenuous, walks cater for all abilities and interests, from Tetbury Time Trail (Dec 6) to St Catherine’s Valley Round (Dec 11). How about the Post-Christmas Freshener to Painswick Beacon (Dec 30) or Breeze Along the Edge ‘wake up call for New Year’ (Jan 3), a level walk designed for all ages, www.escapetothecotswolds.org.uk/walking

10. In with the new

After the last Christmas choc has been scoffed, there are those New Year’s Resolutions to sort out. Could this be the year you cycle yourself fit? With such varied terrain, the Cotswolds is ideal for it. Ease in gently somewhere flat like the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath, upping the ante to mountain biking off road around places like Chedworth and Withington. Lots of route ideas at www.escapetothecotswolds.org.uk/cycling-riding.

Did you enjoy this article? Read 24 reasons to spend Christmas in the Cotswolds

More from Cotswold Life

10:35

“‘Flexitarians’ can do one though, being alleged vegetarians who still can’t resist the sizzling siren song of the bacon sandwich when no-one is looking.” Editor Mike Lowe is attempting to seek reconciliation with those he has annoyed… well, sort of.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:24

Choral carol services and grand instrumental performances, with the backdrop of some of the Cotswolds most picturesque locations, are perfect ways to embrace the festivities. We pick some of the best carol services and concerts to enjoy in the region

Read more
Yesterday, 11:35

“This letting to Oxford nanoSystems is a fantastic example of how we are able to provide first class facilities for growing technology companies at Abingdon Business Park.”

Read more
Yesterday, 11:28

One of the UK’s leading training and education specialists has launched a skills hub in Nuneaton

Read more
Yesterday, 11:19

“The logistics hub is another example of where we have worked in partnership to support skills needs in the area and link our student body with future job opportunities.”

Read more
Yesterday, 11:07

“It was fantastic to see how this project is making a real difference to the lives of young people at risk of social exclusion.”

Read more
Yesterday, 10:57

It has become the 90th store to accept the gift card in Cheltenham

Read more

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Wed, 15:59

From festive light switch-ons and Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas Fayres and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in and around the Cotswolds this season

Read more
Wed, 15:42

Property prices across Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds have risen steadily over the last few years, reflecting the trend across the country. But which area has shown the most dramatic hike in prices recently, and how does your postcode and house type compare with others in the area? You may be surprised to see the results...

Read more
Wed, 11:43

Wine Wednesday’s with Vintopia of Tetbury.

Read more
Wed, 10:37

Festive a la carte menu launches in Grey’s Brasserie from 26th November.

Read more
Wed, 09:31

Cotswold Life readers enjoy a complimentary glass of wine with our compliments when joining us for our Autumn Feast Lunch Offer.

Read more
Tue, 15:01

Harnessing the power of social media, charity awards and dreaming up new projects - it’s all in a day’s work for Gloucestershire children’s charity Pied Piper and its corporate supporters

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search