What to do in the Cotswolds

Ramsden

Nestling on the north-east edge of the Cotswolds, Ramsden is a tranquil yet vibrant Oxfordshire village.

It was first recorded as a village within the Royal Hunting Forest of Wychwood in 1146, and now enjoys the protection of being designated a conservation area. Ramsden is the perfect base from which to explore the almost 800 square miles that denote the Cotswolds region, including the five counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.

Ramsden, meaning ‘wild garlic valley’, is a fine example of a ‘chocolate box’ English village, characterized by stone cottages and a traditional 17th Century former coaching inn, The Royal Oak, serving local beer around a warming log fire.

The village also hosts an annual Summer Fete and Christmas Market as well as a biennial Open Garden Day, offering plenty of opportunity to embrace local village life. Yet, while its peaceful beauty and charm presents a welcome break from the flurry of city life, Ramsden is only a short drive to the lively Cotswold market towns of Witney and Chipping Norton. These boast a variety of high street shops, restaurants and pubs as well as a Cineworld cinema and leisure centre in Witney and a very popular local theatre and arthouse cinema in Chipping Norton.

There is a regular bus service from Witney to Oxford or use Park and Ride should you wish to visit Oxford, the ‘city of dreaming spires’. You are also only a stone’s throw away from Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill and a World Heritage site which is well worth a visit. Ramden’s neighbouring village of Finstock has a convenient village shop and Post Office while a little further away the mainline train station at Oxford Parkway offers the possibility of a day trip to London.  

All in all, Ramsden gives you the perfect opportunity to unwind and enjoy the glorious beauty of the Oxfordshire rolling hills, yet still feel part of a well connected and modern Cotswold community.

More about Ramsden as a conservation area can be found here. Do also take a look at the Ramsden village website for more information about the village itself, forthcoming events and local amenities.

Further afield

There is so much to do in and around the beautiful Cotswolds village of Ramsden that we couldn’t list everything here, so we hope that the following suggestions will give you just a glimpse of the many highlights that await you (both young, old and in between)  during your stay with us at Gable Cottage.

Blenheim Palace – Woodstock: Visit the birthplace of Winston Churchill followed by a trip to the neighbouring Combe Mill. Once the original sawmill and workshop of the Blenheim Palace Estate and now a working industrial museum.

Cogges Manor Farm – Witney: A restored 13th Century Manor House with farm, gardens and animals. Used as a film location for Downton Abbey, Colette and many more period productions

Crocodiles of the World – Brize Norton: Discover the amazing world of crocodiles with daily feeding, talks and animal handling sessions.

Cotswold Wildlife Park – Burford: See the penguins being fed and meet many more exciting animals.

Bourton-on-the Water: Also known as ‘The Venice of the Cotwolds’, this is one of the prettiest villages in England with traditional tea rooms and the only Grade II listed model village in the UK.

Cotswold Falconry Centre – Moreton-in-Marsh: Enjoy a free-flying demonstration of birds of prey followed by a leisurely walk around the adjoining Batsford Arboretum.

Oxford Castle and Prison – Oxford: Costume character guides take you on a fascinating tour of the castle and prison.

Oxford Colleges – Oxford: Explore the ‘dreaming spires of Oxford’ on a guided walking tour of the city.

Museum of Natural History – Oxford: See the enormous T Rex skeleton and the many amazing curiosities of human existence housed in the adjoining Pitt Rivers Museum.

Waddesdon Manor – Buckinghamshire: Built for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in the 1870s, this National Trust property is home to an outstanding collection of paintings and sculpture. Not to be missed!

And don’t forget the possibility of a day trip to London from the mainline train station at Oxford Parkway.

Walking Routes

As an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the Cotswolds offers a wide range of walks including three local circular walks around Ramsden and its neighbouring villages which form part of The Wychwood Way. You can find out more about local Wychwood Way walks here. The Oxfordshire Cotswolds, in particular, offers a number of interesting and varied walks suitable for all ages and abilities.

The Cotswold Way National Trail , a 102 mile long route starting from Chipping Camden in Gloucestershire offers something a bit more challenging

If you’re still looking for inspiration on where to go and what to do then dip in here for some more ideas. The Cotswold Discovery Trail also offers treasure trail packs for fun days out around the Cotswolds. And do check Cotswolds.com and Visit South East England for other great ideas on days out and things to do.

Places to eat after your day out

The Royal Oak, High Street, Ramsden, OX7 3AU
(just around the corner from Gable Cottage – it couldn’t be nearer! Dog friendly.)

Hilltop Garden Centre, Witney Road, Ramsden OX7 3AS
(ideal for a quick lunch and also has a soft play centre)

The Plough, The Bottom, Finstock OX7 2BY
(a lovely traditional thatched 18th century pub offering local ales and a seasonal menu. The welcome here is second to none! Dog friendly.)

The Lamb Inn, Steep Hill, Leafield Road, Crawley OX29 9TP
(another quintessentail 18th century Oxfordshire pub with an outdoor pizza oven and beer garden for those sunny evenings! Roaring fire in the winter months – what more could you want. Dog friendly.)

The Bird in Hand, Whiteoak Green, Witney OX29 9XP
(a beautiful 17th century inn with lots of period charm. They do a lovely steak and have a great selection of wines to choose from. Definitely worth dropping in!)

The Hand and Shears, Church Hanborough, Witney OX29 8AB
(a traditional village inn dating back to the 17th century serving delicious home-cooked and locally sourced food. Very handy for stopping off after a trip to Blenheim Palace. One of our favourite places to eat! Dog friendly.)

The George and Dragon, Main Road, Long Hanborough, Witney OX29 8JX
(another beautiful Cotswold thatched period inn with a large enclosed garden – perfect for families. Their pie night every Thursday is not to be missed! Dog friendly.)

The Cotswolds market towns of Charlbury, Chipping Norton and Witney also offer a wide variety of restaurants and pubs to choose from. One of our favourite restaurants in Chipping Norton is Whistlers, 9 Middle Row, Chipping Norton, OX7 5NH .

Farmers’ Markets

If you prefer to do some home cooking during your stay then do visit one of the nearby Farmers’ Markets.

You will find a wide range of locally produced products including jams, pickles, seasonal organic vegetables, traditionally made pork sausages, local pork and lamb as well as delicious cakes and pastries.

Seasonal food direct from the farm to you!

Witney:
4th Friday of the month
8.30am – 1.30pm
Market Place OX28 6AG

Chipping Norton:
3rd Saturday of the month
8:30am – 1:30pm
Market Place OX7 5NA

Charlbury:
2nd Saturday of the month (March / June / September / December)
9am – 1pm
Playing Close OX7 3RJ

So you know you are buying quality local produce, all producers and products must follow these guidelines:

Locally produced – either a county boundary or a radius of 30 – 50 miles
Principle producer – stallholder must be directly involved in production Primary produce – produce must be grown, reared or caught within a defined local area
Secondary produce – produce must be brewed, pickled, baked, smoked or processed using ingredients from a defined local area