What to do in the Cotswolds

Ramsden

Gable Cottage nestles in the tranquil yet vibrant Oxfordshire village of Ramsden on the north-east edge of the Cotswolds.

Enjoying designated conservation area protection, it 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 Cotswold English village, characterised by stone cottages and a traditional 17th Century former coaching inn, The Royal Oak.

The village 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.

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.

Cogges Manor Farm – Witney, Oxfordshire: 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, Oxfordshire: Discover the amazing world of crocodiles with daily feeding, talks and animal handling sessions.

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

Bourton-on-the Water – Gloucestershire: 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.

Chipping Campden – Gloucestershire: A fine example of a Cotswold market town with its long and wide High Street.

Broadway Village – Worcestershire: Another beautiful and historic Cotswold village to explore. You can also take the opportunity to visit Broadway Tower, an iconic Cotswold landmark designed by ‘Capability Brown’.

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.

Our Favourites!

Having lived in the Cotswolds for the past 20 years, we have a few personal favourites which we would like to share with you. We don’t think you will be disappointed with these ‘gems’!

Blenheim Palace not far from Gable Cottage

Blenheim Palace – Woodstock, Oxfordshire: We think this truly is the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds! The birthplace of Winston Churchill, this World Heritage site is a must-see attraction right on your doorstep. The Palace itself is breath-taking and the beautifully laid out gardens and landscaped grounds offer a welcome opportunity to ‘take the air’. There is also a miniature train and Pleasure Gardens for younger visitors to enjoy.

And why not follow up your day out at the Palace with a trip to neighbouring Combe Mill. Once the original sawmill and workshop of the Blenheim Palace Estate, it is now a working industrial museum that is well worth a visit.

Lavender fields in the Cotswolds

Cotswold Lavender – Broadway, Worcestershire: These Cotswold lavender fields are amazing to see and they smell just as wonderful! What makes this experience even more special is the short visitor season as the lavender starts to bloom early June before being harvested towards the end of July. Depending on the weather, the best time to visit is usually early-mid July. The lavender farm also has a cafe and shop selling a wide range of lavender products – from soap to chocolate! Make sure you add this to your list of things to do, but check their website first before visiting to get up to date information on harvesting time.

Birds of Prey in the Cotswolds

Cotswold Falconry Centre – Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire: This is a really good day out for both young and old alike! The centre offers an unforgettable opportunity to get close up and personal with some of the most wonderful birds of prey native to the North Cotswolds. There are daily free-flying demonstrations where you can see these amazing birds in action and hear all about their incredible hunting and catching skills.

And why not complete your trip with a leisurely walk around the adjoining Batsford Arboretum. The arboretum has a wonderful collection of plants and trees from around the world with an emphasis on the Far East. Dogs on leads are also welcome! If younger ones are not that interested in trees, the arboretum also hosts Cotswold Archery where budding archers can try their hand at this thrilling Olympic sport (remember to pre-book for an archery experience). And don’t forget to stop for a cup of tea and slice of cake in the arboretum cafe before heading home.

The Cotswold Distillery – Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire: For something a little bit different, we highly recommend a day trip to this amazing working distillery. Specialising in gin and single malt whiskies, it is the first full-scale distillery in the Cotswolds. Through traditional craft processes and using local ingredients, such as barley and, of course, lavendar from the fields at Cotswold Lavendar , the distillery produces the most wonderful aromatic spirits. Our particular favourite is their Cotswold Dry Gin (a must have for whipping up the perfect Martini!). You can enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour before exploring the Visitor Centre where you can stock up on your favourite tipple. And why not tuck into a light lunch or treat yourself to coffee and cake in their spacious cafe before heading homewards. They are dog friendly too!

Guided Tours

Cotswold Cottages near to your holiday let

Why not let someone else do the organising and book a guided tour with one of the ‘locals’. From pre-designed routes to something a bit more tailored to your interests, why not check out Cotswolds Guided Tours or Best Cotswold Tours for that perfect ‘day out’. No driving – just sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful Cotswolds at your leisure. Various collection points available.

Walking Routes

Walks in the Cotswolds near your holiday cottage

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.

Check out our blog here on Walks in the Cotswolds!

Dog Friendly Walks

Dog friendly walks near your Cotswold holiday cottage

Many of our suggested walking routes are also dog friendly and offer plenty of opportunity for off-lead walks. Dog Friendly Cotswolds and Neve’s Bees will give you a few more ideas of where to go with your furry friends in and around Oxfordshire and don’t forget to check out the The Good Dog Guide as well. Please do remember that Gable Cottage is situated in a rural area so walking routes may include fields with livestock. You can download The Ramblers’ Dog Walking Code here which gives some really helpful advice on how to enjoy safe and happy walks with your dog.

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

Places to eat near Gable Cottage in Oxfordshire

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

Charlbury 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 quintessential 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

Farmers' Markets near your Cotswold Holiday Cottage

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

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

Charlbury Farmers Market:
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