The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is celebrated the world over for its rolling green hills, bucolic views and creamy-stone villages. Spanning parts of five different counties, there is so much to see and do – especially if you’re travelling with a group of friends.
While we would love to list all the Cotswolds activities for groups, if we did then the list would probably be as long as the 102-mile-long Cotswold Way walking trail itself! So instead, we’ve chosen a few of the best, from exhilarating outdoor pursuits to relaxing indoor activities.
Whether you’re planning a long-awaited family reunion, a trip with your pals or even a hen party or stag do, here are some of the top activities in the Cotswolds to enjoy as a group.
Have a flutter at the races
And they’re off! The Cotswolds is renowned for its horse racing, particularly at Cheltenham Racecourse which hosts The Festival. This prestigious, annual four-day event in March is a staple in the jump season, climaxing with the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Place a bet with your friends and make the most of the atmosphere as you join the crowd in the iconic ‘Cheltenham Roar’!
To make this thrilling group day out in the Cotswolds even more special, why not book an exclusive VIP hospitality visit and fly in by helicopter? And don’t worry if you can’t make this particular sporting spectacle, as horse racing events are abundant throughout the Cotswolds all year round – just check the calendar and book into whatever takes your fancy.
Racecourses in the Cotswolds:
Party hard at a fun-filled festival
When it comes to outdoor activities in the Cotswolds during summer, nothing beats soaking up the sunshine and some chilled beats at a music festival. The Cotswolds has become a venue for some of the country’s biggest festivals, many of which combine music, arts, dance and food.
The Big Feastival and Cornbury are great choices if you’re enjoying a group holiday in the Cotswolds with kids, as they feature fairgrounds, family activities and unrivalled programmes of entertainment. If you’d prefer something a bit more spiritual, the Wilderness Festival offers a spa with wood-fired hot tubs, paddleboard yoga on the lake, and an assortment of wellness activities in the great outdoors.
Music festivals in the Cotswolds:
Get competitive with clay pigeon shooting
Clay pigeon shooting is a favourite pastime in the Cotswolds and is the perfect countryside activity to enjoy as a group. Lock and load, practise your aim and get competitive as you smash some clay amidst a glorious backdrop of velvet hills and woodland.
There are myriad places where you can try clay pigeon shooting in the Cotswolds, many of which can arrange hen party and stag do events too. Best of all, no previous experience is necessary, so you can just turn up and learn some exciting new skills with your mates.
Shooting ranges in the Cotswolds:
Relax on a luxury spa day
Sometimes all you need is some pampering time with your nearest and dearest. Take a break from the more adrenaline-fuelled group activities in the Cotswolds and instead retreat to a luxurious day spa for a much-needed glow up.
There are several spas in the Cotswolds that offer restorative treatments, invigorating therapies, and soothing massages. Take a dip in a bubbling hot tub together with a glass of Champagne, steam your troubles away in the sauna or float yourselves to relaxation in the clear waters of a swimming pool. This is the perfect activity if you're celebrating a milestone birthday and are looking for a way to unwind before the big event.
Day spas in the Cotswolds:
Sample some spirits on a distillery tour
One of the more indulgent yet still educational Cotswolds activities on our list, a guided tour and tasting around one of the region’s award-winning distilleries, vineyards or breweries is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon – made even better when you are part of a large group. After all, who says adventures in the Cotswolds can't extend to the palate too?
Learn more about the craft, witness the distillation in process and then sample the delights. Some places offer hands-on experiences where your group can shake up some cocktails or enjoy gin and whisky blending masterclasses, and don’t miss the chance to pick up a bottle or two at the end of your tour in the shop!
Tours and tastings in the Cotswolds:
Challenge your friends to some water sports
Home to 150 interconnecting lakes, the Cotswold Water Park is a mecca for outdoor activities in Gloucestershire. As well as a labyrinth of walking and cycling trails with endless opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting, some of the more heart-pumping Cotswold Water Park activities include wakeboarding, waterskiing, Ringo rides and paddleboarding adventures.
Or, if you’d rather keep your feet dry, there are lots of land-based activities too such as paintballing, archery, horse riding, aerial adventure and rally driving. There’s even a beach in the summer and a giant AquaVenture inflatable course!
Activity providers at the Cotswold Water Park:
See the sights on an electric bike tour
Gather your group and experience some of the most breathtaking cycling trails in the whole of the UK, without having to worry about climbing off and pushing your bike uphill when the going gets tough!
Electric bike tours offer one of the best ways to see the picture-postcard sights of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – it’s a remarkable, eco-friendly day out that you will all remember. Many companies are offering guided electric bike tours in the Cotswolds, some even combine tours with pub stops or tastings at local breweries.
Electric bike hire in the Cotswolds:
Be prepared with these rainy-day activities in the Cotswolds
Naturally, we want the sun to shine for all our guests during their holiday in the Cotswolds, however, one of the reasons why this region is so green and beautiful is because it does, of course, rain sometimes. It can be just as special on a drizzly day too though, with so many indoor activities to keep you busy. There are boutique shops to explore, decadent afternoon teas to enjoy and a wealth of museums and historic houses to uncover.
If your group has some energy to burn, why not head to a Cotswolds activity centre? Far Peak Climbing Centre in Northleach is the perfect day out for those with a head for heights, offering indoor climbing and bouldering, with a dedicated kids’ climbing area suitable for nippers as young as three.
Indoor activities in the Cotswolds:
Inspiration for your group holiday in the Cotswolds
With so many Cotswolds activities to choose from, your group holiday is sure to be as action-packed or chilled out as you want it to be. If you’re looking for more group activities to inspire your big break, we’ve put together a whole host of guides with great ideas for big holidays and special occasions.
Book a large house in the Cotswolds
If you can’t wait to start exploring this charming destination, have a browse of our collection of large houses in the Cotswolds. From lakeside lodges in the Cotswold Water Park to cosy country cottages nestled among the hills, you’re sure to find the perfect setting for your big group holiday.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.