Cotswolds Annual Events Guide


Table of Contents

Ultimate Guide of Annual Events in the Cotswolds


*last updated March 2021

You will be able to attend an event in the Cotswolds pretty much any month of the year. To make things easy for you, we have divided the Cotswolds annual events into 4 categories – Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. Once you know the season you’re coming to the Cotswolds, you should be able to find a few events to also be part of.



The Cheltenham Festival


This famous four-day festival at Cheltenham Race Course brings the best jump racing in Britain. The very best horses, trainers, and jockeys go head to head in what is often described as ‘Horse racing’s Olympics’. Racing fans are treated to at least one championship race every day, culminating in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on the last day.

This event is held in March. More details can be found on their website.


The North Cotswold Hunt Point to Point

A highlight of the NCH calendar every year the North Cotswold Hunt Point to Point takes place in the village of Paxford outside Chipping Campden on Easter Monday. A point to point is a form of horseracing over fences for thoroughbred hunting horses and amateur riders. Races are normally run over a minimum of three miles and the courses tend to be laid out on ordinary farmland.

This event is held in April. More details can be found on their website.

Chipping Norton Literary Festival

‘ChipLitFest’ is a four-day (Thursday to Sunday) festival for book lovers of all ages. Set in the hillside market town Chipping Norton, this festival takes place in multiple venues all within a ten-minute walk of each other. This is a real bonus as you dash from one event to another. Details of participating authors and events start appearing in the new year. This event is held in April. More details can be found on their website.


Winchcombe Cotswolds Walking Festival

The walking festival based in the Saxon town of Winchcombe offers a great selection of guided walks over three days, designed for walkers of all abilities. The festival has a buzz with displays, tea, and a chance to meet fellow walkers before and after the walks. The walks program ranges from three to fourteen miles led by knowledgeable local guides. More details can be found on their website

Scuttlebrook Wake, Chipping Campden

Scuttlebrook Wake is held on the first Saturday after Whitsun. Wakes have been held in Chipping Campden since the 12th century. The format has changed since then but it is essentially a celebration of summer and a chance for townsfolk and visitors to come together and have a good time. There is a street procession of the May Queen pulled on her cart by the Campden Morris Men. She is followed by decorated floats and a fancy dress parade.  Entertainment includes maypole dancing, country dancing, and morris dancing. There are traditional fairground attractions too.

More details can be found on their website

Cotswold Olimpick Games, Chipping Campden

These historic games have been held on Dover’s Hill above the town since 1612, three hundred years before the modern Olympic Games began in 1896. It takes place on the Friday before Scuttlebrook Wake – so why not make a weekend of it? The Games take place in the natural amphitheater that is Dover’s Hill and consists of a unique continuation of early rural amateur sporting events. These include races involving wheelbarrows, dustbins, hay bales, slippery running surfaces, and lots of water. The most famous event is Shin Kicking. In fact, this is the home of the Shin Kicking World Championships.
More details can be found on their website.

Stow Horse Fair

The gypsy horse fair has been held in Stow-on-the-Wold in May and October since 1496. Gypsy and Traveller people from all over the country gather in this small Cotswold market town.  Hundreds of horses are paraded and sold – all in one day. It is quite a sight. Originally this was a natural gathering/crossing point for travelers and traders from Wales and the west, from the Midlands and the Thames Valley as well as carriers of salt from Droitwich, fish from the Severn, and iron and charcoal from the Forest of Dean, Stow provided food, shelter, and stabling because it was producing a surplus of farm produce to sell to travelers. The horse fair is one of the biggest gatherings of its kind in England. Many arrive in traditional horse-drawn caravans and the event is popular with photographers, artists, and people who want to enjoy the atmosphere of such a colorful event. More details can be found on their website

Cheltenham Jazz Festival

Cheltenham has become one of the country’s best-loved jazz festivals which attracts over 20,000 music fans every year. It brings together so many genres under the umbrella of jazz. The festival hosts 47 official concerts plus a lively fringe and offers the chance to dip into many different styles of jazz. The festival site in Montpelier Gardens is the perfect place to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy free outdoor music and a selection of food and drink stalls as well as enjoying fun family activities.

More details can be found on their website

Badminton Horse Trials


This takes place on the grounds of Badminton House, the family home of the 12th Duke of Beaufort. It is a five-day top-notch international equestrian event. The cross country day attracts crowds of up to a quarter of a million. Notable past participants have included Princess Anne Princess Royal, her first husband Captain Mark Phillips, and their daughter Zara Tindall.

It takes place in May. Find more details here.

Lechlade Music Festival

A fabulous three-day family-friendly music festival in the beautiful market town of Lechlade-on-Thames. The program of live music and family entertainment with over a hundred bans and performers includes burlesque and comedy. There is a packed program of free workshops for kids and adults that includes circus skills, music, and dance, crafts, and relaxation. The shopping village offers a wide selection of stalls and food. Rides, games, and costumed characters keep the kids entertained. And by the way – kids under 16 go free! Find more details here.

Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling

Held on the Spring Bank Holiday at Cooper’s Hill near Gloucester. Participants race down the 200-yard long hill after a round of Double Gloucester cheese sent rolling down it. It was originally an event for local people but now people from all over the world take part. Due to the steepness and uneven surface of Cooper’s Hill, there are usually a number of injuries each year. The local rugby club and Young Farmers volunteer their services by acting as ‘catchers’ for any who lose their balance and are also on hand to carry down any casualties requiring first aid who do not reach the bottom. It has achieved widespread notoriety and receives much coverage in news and television programs.

Find more details here.

Tetbury Woolsack Races

These races are held on the last bank holiday Monday in May. Contestants demonstrate their strength and fitness while carrying a sack of wool – up and down a hill that reaches a gradient of 1 in 4. Around this, the town celebrates with a street fair complete with street entertainers, local stalls, and amusement rides. Find more details here.



Cheltenham Science Festival


From the Discover Zone, special installations to mind-boggling experiments and groundbreaking discoveries – fascinating discussions on the Festival stage – the Cheltenham Science Festival holds surprises for people of any age. Find more details here.

Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival

Celebrate food and drink over one great weekend in Montpelier Gardens. Enjoy live music, free wine tasting talks, cheese tasting, artisan food producers, along with a myriad of demonstrations from some of the country’s leading chefs. This festival has always provided an astonishing variety of tasty goodies from oatcakes to aphrodisiac quince. Also, the widest range of baked goods, meats, fish, cheeses, jams, chutneys, and much more are on offer. This is the regional food event not to be missed.

You can find more details here.

Wychwood Festival

An annual music festival held at Cheltenham racecourse, it is a three-day family friendly festival which includes workshops, comedy, the Children’s Literature Festival, and a Headphone Disco. Find more details here

Charlbury Beer Festival

The Charlbury Beer Festival not far from Chipping Norton aims to appeal to everyone, from local mums and dads whose kids come to enjoy the children’s entertainment, to serious beer, cider, wine, and gin lovers who visit from as far away as London and the Midlands and even overseas. The day incorporates fifty real ales, a range of ciders and perries, wine, gin, and a great selection of food with live music throughout.

Find more details here.

Broadway Arts Festival

The Cotswolds’ favorite art festival is a biennial celebration of this beautiful Cotswold village’s unique artistic heritage and its enduring relationship with a world-famous colony of American artists and writers who visited and worked here in the late 19th century. The program includes exhibitions, an open art competition, workshops, a marquee on the village green selling a myriad of artists’ supplies and art books. You will also enjoy music and outdoor theatre in this fabulous Cotswold village.

Find more details here.

Bloxham Steam Rally, near Banbury

The Great Bloxham Vintage Vehicle & County Show or Bloxham Steam Rally is one of the biggest and best steam shows in the country. The event features steam engines, tractors, working displays, vintage cars, commercial vehicles, fairground rides, and stalls, and much more. For more details, go here

Hook Norton Beer Festival


Hook Norton Brewery (near Chipping Norton) is at the heart of this family-friendly beer festival with proceeds going to local charities. They offer a great selection of beers as well as ciders, wine, and Pimms. Expect over sixty unique beers from breweries across the region. There will also be an excellent lineup of local bands and artists which adds to the buzz and atmosphere of the festival.

For more details, go here

Cornbury Music Festival

An annual music festival that takes place in Great Tew Park near Chipping Norton. It is one of a kind: an eclectic and eccentric musical carnival – a dynamic summer festival disguised as a country fayre – a lovingly crafted, top-notch, very English open-air party, tailor-made for the whole family. For more details, go here

Barn on the Farm, Over Farm, near Gloucester

“A small festival that continues to break the rules.” It is said to be so much more than a music festival but rather the kind of place where you will be talking to a stranger and have one of those ‘Wait, you like that band too’ moments that all music lovers dream about. It’s a place where artists are treated as one of the family.  Over the last ten years, it’s managed to consistently book some of the biggest names in music just before they break into the mainstream – James Bay, Ed Sheeran, Ben Howard, and George Ezra to name a few. For more details, go here

Cheltenham Music Festival

Established in 1945 this is one of the most prestigious music festivals in the world. The festival makes the most of its Cotswold setting with a program of show-stopping concerts in Cheltenham Town Hall, intimate musical adventures in the Pittville Pump Room, and a feast for the senses in cathedrals, abbeys, and churches across the region. 

For more details, go here

Two Thousand Trees Festival

The multi-award-winning 2000  Trees Festival is a 3 day extravaganza set in the stunning Cotswold Hills at Upcote Farm, Withington near Cheltenham.  You get 3 nights camping and a friendly intimate atmosphere – plus amazing food and locally produced ciders, ales and lagers.  This festival is all about the music – more than 120 of the absolute best new and underground acts from the worlds of rock and indie plus some more established acts to close out the night.

For more details, go here

Tewkesbury Medieval Festival

The largest free medieval re-enactment and fayre in Europe. The battle of Tewkesbury, 1471, was a decisive battle in the Wars of the Roses in England. This battle is re-enacted every year with cannons firing, swords clashing and soldiers marching. Thousands of medieval enthusiasts visit the festival. The battleground is filled with knights in armor, warriors, and townsfolk in medieval dress. Many sleep in traditional tents and cook over open fires eating typical medieval food.

For more details, go here

Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford


The world’s largest military air show, held annually over the third weekend in July. A showcase for the world’s military it has become an important precursor to the Farnborough Airshow a week later. It allows the military aerospace industry to display and present its products outside the commercial pressures of Farnborough. This show typically attracts around 150,000 spectators over the weekend. For more details, go here

Nibley Festival, Wotton under Edge


Nibley is a friendly festival in a stunning Cotswold location. The best music, free entertainment for the kids, stalls, local beer, food from around the world – it’s the recipe for a perfect day. Run entirely by volunteers on a not-for-profit basis, Nibley is a rare festival gem. For more details, go here

The Cotswold Show and Food Festival Cirencester


A wonderful family day outset in the glorious Cotswold countryside. Some call it the “best country show visited in a long time.” Farm animals, dogs, horses, etc – you can take your own dog in with you if you wish. The arena shows and competitions are very exciting to watch – all in keeping with the country theme. The food marquees offer a wide variety of produce – bread, cakes, pies, meats, honey products, and a delicious range of gins. For more details, go here

Wilderness Festival, Cornbury Park


Wilderness is a four-day, boutique, multi-arts, and music festival set amidst the idyllic Cornbury Park, south of Banbury in Oxfordshire. With an eclectic line-up, spanning music and the arts, exquisite feasting and dining experiences, inspiring talks and debates, a dedicated sanctuary to refresh your wellbeing, a family field to entertain the children, two beautiful lakes, and a whole forest ready for you to explore. It is safe to say that Wilderness could be your perfect weekend escape on a beautiful day in August. For more details, go here

The Big Feastival, Kingham

The Big Feastival is a family-friendly festival, combining award-winning street food, Michelin star chefs live on stage with live music from your favorite artists and bands. Not to mention an exciting program of family entertainment all happening on Alex James’ farm in Kingham, just south of Chipping Norton. The Big Feastival really does have something for everyone.

For more details, go here

Fairport’s Cropredy Convention

An annual festival of folk and rock music, headed by the British folk-rock band Fairport Convention held on the edge of Cropredy, a pretty village north of Banbury in Oxfordshire.  The event is held over the second weekend in August from Thursday afternoon to midnight on Saturday. Organized by the Fairport Convention this outdoor extravaganza has been held annually since the 1970s so the audience includes children and grand-children of festival-goers who have been going year after year. There is a strong contingent of younger people each year. This gives the event a uniquely family-friendly atmosphere and a real sense of tradition. First-timers -Cropredy virgins- are given an especially warm welcome.

For more details, go here

Winchcombe Country Show

Winchcombe Country show is held on August Bank Holiday Monday in this picturesque Cotswold town. It is a fantastic day out for all the family. It includes a traditional flower show with many prize-winning exhibits to see, a wide range of entertainment, a variety of dog demonstrations, local foods to sample, and lots of stalls selling local crafts and gifts. Find more details here.

Football in the River, Bourton-on-the-Water

Bourton-on-the-Water is the setting and football is the game but it’s football with a twist. This is six a side with 15 minutes in each direction played knee-deep in a river. The River Windrush, a 3-meter wide babbling brook runs through the center of this iconic Cotswold village (also known as the Venice of the Cotswolds). It is home to one of the Cotswolds’ more bizarre festivals.

The tradition of football in the river has been around for over seventy years and attracts a number of local teams. Goalposts are set up under the bridges and players brave the cold knee-deep water wearing bright colored football shirts or fancy dress. Hundreds of spectators line the river banks and cheer for their team in a splashy, noisy affair that spills out onto a cheery fete on the village green.

Find more details here.


Moreton Show


The Moreton-in-Marsh Show is a traditional one-day Agricultural and Horse Show held on the first Saturday in September each year. It is one of the largest agricultural shows in the UK and attracts over 20,000 visitors. It provides an exciting and action-packed day of all that is best in British farming and the countryside. You can look at hundreds of beautiful farm animals and watch some of the best horses and riders in competition.

Moreton Show has lots of fun from terrier racing and stunts motorbikes to Tractor Ted and circus skills. There are scores of trade stands selling fantastic country clothing and fabulous gifts. Enjoy celebrating ‘farm to fork’ with delicious British food. At Moreton Show, you will experience the countryside on a day in September!

Find more details here.

Prescott Speed Hill Climb, Cheltenham

Established in 1938 by the Bugatti Owners’ Club it is the place for motorsport in the Cotswolds. It offers spectators a scenic venue to enjoys the British and Midland Hill Climb Championships. This is a two-day event where the top drivers in the country take to Prescott Hills to compete in their vintage Bugatti sports cars.

Find more details here.

Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials


Situated on the grounds of Blenheim Palace, this world-class equestrian event is a great day out for family and friends! There is much to do on all days in addition to the showcase eventing classes, such as complimentary displays and demonstrations, competitions for grassroots riders, a fun ride, and of course a plethora of shops, food outlets, bars, and entertainments, all within the magnificent grounds of Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. This is a September event. Find more details here.

Cheltenham Literature Festival


For book lovers everywhere, The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is the only place to be each autumn. Still leading the way in celebrating the written and spoken word, the Festival presents the best new voices in fiction and poetry alongside literary greats and high-profile speakers. The Festival’s pioneering mix of in-person and on-line events won it a coveted FutureBook 2020; Best Lockdown Event award and its Literature for Schools program inspire a love of books in thousands of school children. It is an October festival. Find more details here.

Batsford Arboretum Autumn Colour Spectacular

Make the most of this amazing time of year by visiting this beautiful arboretum situated on a hillside overlooking Moreton-in-Marsh. Centre stages are the maples and cherries in every hue from flame reds to salmon pinks and sunshine yellows and the liquidambar tree with its multi-colored leaves from deep purple to pale gold. Find more details here.

Stow Horse Fair

The gypsy horse fair has been held in Stow-on-the-Wold in May and October since 1496. Gypsy and Traveller people from all over the country gather in this small Cotswold market town.  Hundreds of horses are paraded and sold – all in one day. It is quite a sight. Originally this was a natural gathering/crossing point for travelers and traders from Wales and the west, from the Midlands and the Thames Valley as well as carriers of salt from Droitwich, fish from the Severn, and iron and charcoal from the Forest of Dean, Stow provided food, shelter, and stabling because it was producing a surplus of farm produce to sell to travelers. The horse fair is one of the biggest gatherings of it kind in England. Many arrive in traditional horse-drawn caravans and the event is popular with photographers, artists, and people who want to enjoy the atmosphere of such a colorful event.

Find more details here.

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum – Autumn Colours


Westonbirt Arboretum is in Gloucestershire not far from Tetbury. It is considered the most important and widely known arboretum in the UK. Spectacular autumn colors can be enjoyed while exploring two different areas throughout the park; the 1.6 mile Silk Wood trail and the 0;75 mile Old Arboretum trail. The highlight is the Japanese maple collection displaying breathtaking autumn tones. Leaves of bright red, yellow, and orange flutter against the brown tree bark, collecting on the ground in piles of vibrant color. It’s an event in October. 

Find more details here.

The November Meeting, Cheltenham Racecourse


The November Meeting is an unmissable three-day meeting at the home of jump racing. A good selection of races and a crowd of smart well-dressed race-goers adds up to a good atmosphere and a chance for a flutter on your favorite horse. It’s on in November, clearly. 

Find more details here.




Sudeley Castle Spectacle of Light, Winchcombe


Explore the beautiful illuminated trail around Sudeley castle’s stunning grounds. Enjoy the wonderful music as you discover each new secret of this magical environment. See the timeless castle, the glorious gardens, and romantic ruins as you stroll around these beautiful grounds. Gaze at the sparkling water features and the flickering field of fire. Light beams, lanterns, and much, much more. Sip festive warmers of spiced mulled apple juice or hot chocolate. Tuck into simple takeaway hot food and delicious doughnuts from the Castle Dungeons. Takes place in December. Find more details here.

Broadway Late Night Christmas Shopping

If you tend to leave your Christmas shopping to the last minute you might want to start earlier and visit Broadway on the last Friday in November and the first Friday in December when the shops remain open until 8.30 in the evening. With lots of independent retailers in the village enticing you with a wide range of lovely and unique gifts, you are bound to find the right gift for family or friends. The atmosphere is great, with fairy lights lining the high street and festive shop window displays transforming the village into a wonderfully traditional Christmas scene. Live music and street entertainers add to the fun.

See more details here.

Cheltenham Christmas Market

Cheltenham’s ever-popular Christmas Market in the Promenade offers tasty treats, warming drinks, and exciting gifts. The town center sparkles with Christmas lights. Golden baubles hang from the trees and gold powder-coated holly, reindeer, stars, and harps adorn the lamp posts in neighboring streets. A beautiful Christmas tree stands proud at the Montpelier roundabout. See more details here.

Cirencester Christmas Market


This is a fantastic Christmas market set to the festive backdrop of the Christmas lights, Christmas trees, and live music and carols from local community groups. It provides a unique and festive Christmas shopping experience with a wide selection of high-quality traders and craftsmen. Highlights at the market also include delicious locally prepared food, beautiful crafts, and gifts. It takes place in December, of course.  See more details here.

Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum

Westonbirt Arboretum is in Gloucestershire not far from Tetbury. It is considered the most important and widely known arboretum in the UK. Discover the trees of Westonbirt Arboretum in a whole new light along the Christmas illuminated trail. December is a very busy month for Father Christmas and his elves … making and delivering toys to children all over the world. Not an easy task from a single workshop at the North Pole. Rumour has it that he has other workshops or Poles around the globe and that his West Pole is located here among the trees of Westonbirt. Set out on an adventure through the trees to find it and experience mesmerizing light displays and stunning spectacles along the way. Meet the elves that help Father Christmas,  come across talking trees and make your way through the Candy Cane Forest on your way to the West Pole – you may catch a glimpse of a very special guest from the North Pole.

See more details here.

New Year’s Day Racing, Cheltenham Racecourse


Historically on New Year’s Day, the town heads to the racecourse to start the year the only way they know-how with a spot of horse racing and clearing their heads from the night before. Known as ‘Cheltenham’s Big Day Out’ the event consists of family fun entertainment, live music, world-class hospitality in a variety of restaurants – under 18s go free. See more details here.

Painswick Rococo Garden – Carpet of Snowdrops


Over five million snowdrops carpet the wooded areas of the garden. No one knows how they got there but their number and natural beauty at this time of year make them one of Gloucestershire’s must-see events. There are fifteen varieties with the most famous being Galanthus “Atkinsii”, a particularly tall and handsome snowdrop. It was discovered here in the 1800s by Janes Atkins who lived in one of the estate cottages. The main collection of snowdrops is in the Snowdrop Grove, with more modern varieties above the maze. See more details here.

Colesbourne Gardens – Snowdrop Open Days


The premier garden for snowdrops is situated a little way south of Cheltenham. It comprises around ten acres of formal snowdrop walks around the house and lake with further parkland and an arboretum to explore further afield. St James’ Church is always open and most weekends during the season there will be bells ringing out along the valley as visiting campanologists come to make beautiful sounds synonymous with the rural setting. This happens in February when the snowdrops are in bloom. See more details here.

Cheltenham Folk Festival

Cheltenham Folk Festival is a winter festival featuring both national and local folk artists held across multiple venues in Cheltenham but mainly based in Cheltenham Town Hall. The festival has been running for more than fifteen years and is still going strong. Expect Morris dancing, gigs, workshops. See more details here.

Newark Park Snowdrops near Wotton under Edge


Every year in February and early March at Newark Park, a National Trust property, there are beautiful displays of snowdrops and aconites. Not only this but there are breath-taking views and beautiful scenery. Follow the paths down to the boating house or take some of the longer walks within the estate. Did you know that Galanthus means milk flower? These lovely flowers are the first to appear in the New Year. Did you know that soldiers were so enchanted by snowdrops that they brought them back from the Crimean War battlefields to plant in their gardens? Snowdrop collecting has become very popular with some snowdrop bulbs selling for over £600. There are many varieties of snowdrops and there are around 100 varieties at Newark Park. It takes place in February. See more details here.

This concludes our extremely long but detailed list of Cotswolds events, divided into seasons. Whether you want to visit in Spring or Autumn, you know exactly what’s happening around that time. We hope it’s of great help to you and enjoy the beautiful Cotswolds countryside!


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