The call of the countryside is pretty strong – once you feel the need to head out and enjoy the great outdoors, there’s not much you can do to satisfy that besides booking one of our beautiful cottages in the Cotswolds (or a similarly lush part of the UK) and diving right in. Luckily, you’ve probably got a few friends who feel exactly the same, so if you’re heading off for a luxury group holiday why not check out our list of activities that’ll make your next break the most memorable one yet. From ghost tours to brewing to a little wilderness living, there’s bound to be something perfect for you and your friends!
1. Aim high with Prescott Shooting
PULL! The cry before a clay disc is launched into the air is the cue for you to scan the skies for your target. It’s a harmless, fun way of experiencing a classic country sport, using shotguns to explode the clay pigeons into a plume of smoke. Prescott Shooting offer safety lessons, equipment and mini-competitions, as well as other target sports such as archery and air rifle shooting. Spark your competitive spirit and enjoy the friendly rivalry as you test your marksmanship (prizes are offered as part of the packages). Prescott also operate game drives for beginners, where you can learn every element of a drive and end your day with a classy post-shoot dinner.
Book: Call 01242 650 254
Location: Pinnock Wood Farm Nr Winchcombe Cheltenham Glos GL54 5AX
2. Take a cycling tour with Cotswolds Adventures
Seeing the Cotswolds on two wheels allows you to go off the beaten track to places you may never otherwise discover. Each expedition is tailored to your interests, so you can spend a morning cycling through fields of lavender or visiting oddly named villages like Upper Slaughter and Guiting Power. Book a private tour with your group and embark on an energetic exploration of the woods and rivers of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, stopping to take photos of the spectacular landscapes. The route is not set, so expect the unexpected as you begin your journey, possibly finding ruined churches, lively festivals or fairytale villages along the way.
Book: Online at Cotswolds Adventures
Location: 23 Old Hospital Lawn Stroud, Gloucestershire The Cotswolds, GL5 4GA
3. Explore hidden villages with Secret Cottage
Secret Cottage is the brainchild of Becky, a Cotswolds resident who lives in the titular, thatched-roofed farmhouse. She opens up her home as the base for exploring the region’s delights. Gather your friends and step aboard her minibus for a personalised tour of the stately homes, farms, elegant gardens and English wildlife of the Cotswolds. Lunch buffets and other refreshments are served in Becky’s house, a 500-year old listed cottage which exudes a cosy, old-world atmosphere. These tours are one of the most flexible ways of exploring the countryside. The local guides will also give you insider tips and information on dining and on exploring the region.
Book: Online at Cotswold Tourism Tours
Location: New Rd, Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 0AS
4. Scare yourself silly on one of Bill Spectre’s Ghost Trails
Bill Spectre’s name hints at his affinity with the paranormal – something that will become increasingly apparent as he takes you around the haunted sights of Oxford, Stratford-Upon-Avon and the villages of the Cotswolds. Arrange for your group to take one of his guided tours and an atmospheric evening is guaranteed; even the most scoffing sceptics might have a change of heart as they hear Bill’s supernatural tales. Of course, whether the ghost of Fair Rosamund appears or not is almost irrelevant because a fun evening is guaranteed either way – Bill’s storytelling skills are legendary and you’ll get to see some interesting sights after dark.
Book: Email firstname.lastname@example.org / Call 0794 104 1811.
Location: Oxford Castle, Oxford OX1 1AY
5. Hunt for treasure with Pedego Electric Bikes
Electric bikes allow you to go further with less exertion, so you can see more of the countryside with less effort – a win-win! Pedego put a twist on the typical sightseeing expedition, however, by adding a treasure hunting element to increase group camaraderie during your cycling excursion. On this self-guided course, you and your friends will follow a 40-kilometre route through the countryside, solving clues along the way. Not only will you have fun as you follow the trail, but you’ll be cycling through some of the prettiest parts of the region as you do so. So even if you’re rubbish at solving the puzzles, you can always console yourself with the stunning scenery.
Book: Online at Pedego Europe
Location: Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 2BX, UK
6. Learn traditional crafts at New Brewery Arts
In the heart of Cirencester, local artists share their secrets with visitors to New Brewery Arts. The classes here are small enough that the tutors can give time and attention to each participant as they attempt to hone their skills. The centre offers one-off workshops on skills like pinhole photography, fabric origami and lino printing, so that visitors can create something truly unique to take home with them. There are drawing and painting classes, as well as family events, traditional weaving classes and sculpting lessons. If your own creations don’t turn out as planned, never fear; just pick up some souvenirs made by the talented pros in the on-site shop instead.
Book: Call 01285 657181.
Location: Brewery Court, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 1JH
7. Test your survival skills with Hands On Bushcraft
Gather your group for a wilderness expedition that will show you how to survive away from the home comforts you know and love. Hands On Bushcraft run courses that cover a variety of skills, from foraging to fire-starting (without the aid of matches or lighters, of course). On one of their experience days, you can learn to build a shelter, scour the undergrowth for food and cook without a kitchen. The experts teaching you will be well-versed in the ways of the woods, and able to carve weapons and whittle cutlery with very little equipment. Ready to leave the modern world behind (at least temporarily)? Then delve deep into the landscape of the Cotswolds on these courses, which are perfect for groups seeking a bit of adventure.
Book: Online at Hands On Bushcraft
Location: 5 Egypt, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, GL6 0AE
Don’t forget that our concierge team is on hand to answer any questions, help arrange activities and ensure you get the luxury accommodation that’s right for you and your friends. And how about a bit more inspiration for your Cotswolds holiday? Sit back and enjoy more travel inspiration with more things to do in the UK. We also have a roundup of the best family-friendly activities in the Cotswolds and our selection of the top 10 foodie experiences in the region!