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The Cotswolds and South Central England

THE COTSWOLDS & SOUTH CENTRAL ENGLAND

Barely two hours west of London, the gentle hills and stone-built villages of the Cotswolds spread for almost 100 miles from Chipping Camden to Bath, an area of small hamlets, quirky traditions, interesting food and an overwhelming sense of rural timelessness. Honey-coloured Cotswold stone distinguishes low-key communities such as Painswick, its church still marked by Civil War canon-fire, Bourton-on-the-Water, regularly voted one of England’s prettiest villages, and Guiting Power further north, surrounded by woods and pleasant country walks.

In fact, almost all Cotswold villages boast peaceful circular walking routes and interesting old pubs, reflecting the area’s time-capsule appeal; but there’s much grandeur, too. Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, spreads over 2,100 parkland acres at the eastern edge, and Sudeley Castle, once home of Katherine Parr, wife of Henry VIII, is now home to an extraordinary garden. More than 30 nationally-important gardens offer a blaze of colour over much of the Cotswolds, many such as Hidcote near Chipping Camden, run by the National Trust.

Cheltenham is the thriving main town, famous for horse racing, Regency architecture and also for a series of intriguing festivals celebrating literature, science, music, food, and more. Longborough Festival Opera at Moreton-in-the-Marsh extends the area’s musical appeal, and food in its most natural form can be examined in personal detail at Cotswolds Farm Park near Guiting Power, also at many farmers’ markets all over the region. The Cotswolds famously produces over 100 types of cheese, much fruit, and the tasty Gloucestershire Old Spot pig.

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December

Winchcombe Christmas Festival
Winchcombe Christmas Festival

A series of new Yuletide events in the town.

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February

Oxford International Art Fair
Oxford International Art Fair

Giving Art Collectors and Art Enthusiast a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy directly from the artist that has travelled all the way to Oxford. (photo - VisitEngland/NewcastleGateshead Initiative)

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Slimbridge Festival of Birds
Slimbridge Festival of Birds

Slimbridge Wetland Centre in the Stroud area of Gloucestershire is not only home to the world’s largest collection of swans, geese and ducks, but it is also the only place in the UK where you can see all six species of flamingo.

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March

Cheltenham Racecourse The Festival (Gold Cup Week)
Cheltenham Racecourse The Festival (Gold Cup Week)

The Festival is the embodiment of everything that is great about Cheltenham. It is four days of atmosphere, anticipation and action, played out on a beautiful sporting arena that has no equal.

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April

Cheltenham International Jazz Festival
Cheltenham International Jazz Festival

Taking place in hosted in a tented festival village in Cheltenham’s Montpellier Gardens, the Jazz Festival features a Big Top, Jazz Arena, Beyond the Band tent with jazz cinema, and a great range of food and drink options, as well as a market area.

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Folk Weekend, Oxford
Folk Weekend, Oxford

Oxford's celebration of all things folky.

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May

Abingdon Air & Country Show
Abingdon Air & Country Show

A celebration of aviation and all things country. (photo - VisitEngland/Marketing Gloucester)

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Salisbury Arts Festival
Salisbury Arts Festival

A Two-week multi-arts festival (VisitEngland/VisitDerby/Matthew Jones Photography)

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Stratford-upon-Avon Food Festival
Stratford-upon-Avon Food Festival

Food and horse racing. (photo ©VisitEngland/Marketing Gloucester)

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June

Chadlington Beer Festival
Chadlington Beer Festival

A celebration of local beers. (photo - VisitEngland/Isle of Wight Festival Isle of Wight Festival)

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Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival
Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival

Showcasing the very best of local and national food producers

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Sherstonfest “The South Cotswolds Cider, Music and Fine Food Festival”
Sherstonfest “The South Cotswolds Cider, Music and Fine Food Festival”

The best of contemporary British music and traditional English. (photo ©VisitEngland/Marketing Gloucester)

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July

Annual Cotswold Show at Cirencester Park
Annual Cotswold Show at Cirencester Park

A showcase of all things Cotswolds. (photo ©VisitEngland/Marketing Gloucester)

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Tewkesbury Medieval Festival
Tewkesbury Medieval Festival

Tewkesbury Medieval Festival has been the high spot of Tewkesbury’s summer since 1984. It is now widely regarded as the largest free medieval gathering of its kind in Europe, and attracts re-enactors, traders and entertainers, and visitors from all over the world. (photo - VisitEngland/NewcastleGateshead Initiative)

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Three Choirs Festival
Three Choirs Festival

The Three Choirs Festival, held annually since the early eighteenth century and rotating between the three great cathedral cities of Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford, is one of the world’s oldest classical music festivals. (photo ©VisitEngland/Marketing Gloucester)

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Warwick Folk Festival
Warwick Folk Festival

The very best in traditional and contemporary folk arts.

photo - VisitEngland/VisitDerby/Matthew Jones Photography)

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September

Salisbury Food and Drinks Festival
Salisbury Food and Drinks Festival

Salisbury Food & Drink Festival is a fantastic week of foodie events, gourmet produce and family fun. (photo - VisitEngland/VisitPortsmouth)

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October

Tetbury Musical Festival
Tetbury Musical Festival

Bringing leading instrumentalists and singers to Tetbury. (photo ©VisitEngland/Isle of Wight Festival Isle of Wight Festival)

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