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Spring Events in the Cotswolds

The following events occur throughout the spring months. Other events occur on specific dates and these are found below. We can also arrange tailor made tours and private day tours of the Cotswolds and surrounding areas. Please contact us using the form at the bottom of the page if you would like more information about availability.

Events that occur throughout the Spring:

Events on specific dates

Select the tours you are interested in by clicking the checkbox next to the title & fill out your details at the bottom of the page and we'll contact you with more information.

Walk the Thames in Springtime

River view

Date: March-May 09

Venue: Cirencester to London

Details: See Britain’s liquid history-from the Cotswolds to London

The Thames is one of the world’s best known waterways. It rises near Roman Cirencester in the heart of the Cotswolds and enters the sea east of London. Along the way, it passes through beautiful countryside, the dreaming spires of Oxford, as well as historic Windsor, and upscale Henley-on-Thames, before entering London. The total length is almost 190 miles, but we can cut that into bite-size portions and customize the walk for the area you would like to see. Spring is a beautiful season in England and you can watch the country come alive as you walk beside this historic river.

Thankfully our ancestors provided many pubs and hotels along the way, and we have special ones we would recommend to you. We will also provide experienced naturalists, and historian, if you wish to explain in more depth what you will see each day. Walk 5 miles a day or 20, we guarantee the Thames will entertain you for every mile.

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Dance like you have never danced before!

Dates: Spring 2009

Venue: All over the Cotswolds

Details: Although Britain has exported many national sports, this may not be one of them! But it is a surviving slice of ancient village life that flourishes today. The best way to see this unique dance is from outside a pub in a village square. We will provide an experienced ‘Morris Man’ to explain the niceties of the dance, and if you are feeling brave, you can have a chance to join them afterwards for a dance! Morris dancing can be found in many parts of England but it is in the Cotswold that it is particularly associated and where it can be seen at its most developed. This form of English folk dance can be traced back to the 13th century, but many think it goes back to an even earlier pre-Christian time. It is a part of ritual dancing found throughout most of Europe and particularly with Moorish dancing from Spain. From Moorish, we get Morris.

It is an outdoor dance performed by men wearing costumes consisting of white shirt and trousers, and a hat adorned with flowers and ribbon. Garters are worn around the legs and these have bells attached. Handkerchiefs or sticks are used in the dance, and fiddle or concertina provides the music. The dance often illustrates a legend or a rural activity such as sowing and harvesting and the bells and handkerchiefs are to ward of evil spirits and to ensure fertility of the crops for the coming year. In the Cotswolds the dance is usually performed by six men known as a side and includes a fool or sometimes a beast. In the north of England the style is different, a side could include eight or more with the men wearing clogs and swinging colored slings. Most Cotswold villages had their own individual dances and tunes but by the 1880s, the tradition began to die out.

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Horseback Mountain

Period: April and May

Location: The Heart of the Cotswolds

Length of Stay: 1 Day

Details: Many Cotswold people would tell you that the finest way to see the beauty of the area is on horseback. As you ‘hack’ through the leafy lanes and experience the tranquillity that can only come through such a natural experience., through countryside almost unchanged for hundreds of years. We will make sure you are properly kitted out, and find you a horse which matches your experience, and then accompany you on your ride. Our guide will explain sites of interest on your way, or, if you wish, simply guide you and allow to enjoy the peaceful unhurried beauty. Stop in the middle of nowhere for a gourmet picnic, or call in to a traditional Cotswold Inn – the choice is yours! On return to your hotel, you will be handed a disc containing photos of your ride. You will have experienced the beauty of the Cotswolds as few tourists do, and will end your day feeling refreshed and restored!

Privileges: Accompanied by local guide. Gourmet picnic on request.

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Life in Roman Corinium

Dates: April

Find out what it was like to be a Roman living in Cirencester 2,000 years ago in this fun, hands on family workshop. What clothes did the Romans wear? What were their homes like? How did they live?

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Paint and Picnic at Prinknash

Cotswold Garden

Dates: April – September

Details: Prinknash (pronounced Prin-nich) Bird and Deer Park is set in a wooded valley at the centre of a monastic estate between the impressive new Abbey to the North and the old Abbey, once the hunting lodge of the Abbots of Gloucester and King Henry VIII. The park has an unusually relaxed atmosphere, it is different from many other Bird Parks in that the landscape has been designed as an 18th century park with traditional follies enhanced by beautiful birds and animals. On entering the Park over 50 peacocks and waterfowl welcome you as you walk towards the Love Bird Aviary and the Golden Wood full of golden pheasants leading to the haunted 'Monks' Fish pond' teeming with large fish. Leaving the wood your attention is quickly drawn to the lovely two storey Tudor Wendy House by the lake. A joy for the children who play at being adults, while adults sit and watch wishing they were children.

We’ll provide a picnic for you as you meander around this lovely park, which sits on the edge of the Cotswold escarpment, overlooking the Seven Vale and the Black Mountains beyond. This is an artist’s paradise. Whether you are a complete beginner or experienced painter, we can provide with an easel, stool and paints. The view and the peace will come from Prinknash itself. If you’ve ever wondered how time can slow down so quickly, this is an excellent way to find out, as you capture the view on canvas.

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The Original Power Breakfast

Dates: April-October

Venue: Chatcombe Shooting School

Details: Traditional country pursuits in the Cotswolds embrace huntin’ shootin’ and fishin’. At Chatcombe, we can arrange for you to have a taste of the shooting side after a tasty breakfast. We’ll collect you from your hotel and drive you to the Chatcombe Estate situated high in the Cotswolds, amid mature, undulating woodland. We will arrange for you to have the appropriate clothing, including wet weather gear if appropriate. In this lovely country setting, enjoy a full English Breakfast before being taught the necessary safety procedures. Then you will be allowed to shoot . The terrain and targets are ideally suited to both Game and Clay Pigeon Shooters whether they are experienced shooters or absolute beginners. Chatcombe Estate combines the essence of the most exciting shooting available. And you may fire at targets which simulate every form of British game bird - Driven Pheasants from ninety feet to over one hundred feet, Crossing Pigeons, Driven Partridges and Snipe.

By prior arrangement you may also receive teaching on fly casting, archery and enjoy gun dog demonstrations. But be warned - at the end of the day, you will have start to feel thoroughly English, and may even begin to enjoy warm beer and start to develop an interest in Cricket! And don’t forget the words of one of England’s finest playwrights – P G Wodehouse: ‘The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun.

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Have fun at the Castle

Sudeley Castle

Dates: April – October, by appointment

Venue: Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe

Details: 1000 years ago you would have been imprisoned for this! Sudeley Castle, once the home of Katherine Parr, sits in beautiful gardens in this most charming part of the Cotswolds. It also owns 1200 acres of neighboring land, including terrain ideal for some off-road adventure. If you spend time during the year looking after your car, and keeping it free of mud, well, now’s the time to let your hair down!

We will provide qualified instructors and hardy vehicles as you navigate the slopes and mud-filled gullies in the shadow of Sudeley. At the end of your drive, allow your adrenalin to subside over a leisurely lunch in nearby Winchcombe, before returning to the Castle for a guided tour of the apartments in the afternoon. (If you left your window open during the drive, we will provide somewhere to shower and change.) This way, you will get adventure and culture in the same day. Can life get much better than this? At the end of the afternoon, you will be handed digital photographs of your 4x4 escapade, although you may not be easily recognized behind a mud-splattered windscreen!

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Murder at the Manor

Manor House

Dates: April – October, by appointment

Venue: The Cotswolds

Details:After a game of tennis, or croquet, maybe, on the lawn, you dress for dinner. The setting is a quintessential Cotswold Manor House, owned by the same family for generations. Over a delicious dinner with the owners in their wood-paneled dining room, something extraordinary happens – one of your fellow diners takes a sip of the ’83 Sancerre, and promptly dies at the table, after a suitably theatrical scream!

This is the setting for our murder mystery play, in which you play a crucial part. Fortunately, there is a detective on hand to examine the clues, and interrogate the guests. With a complex and twisting plot, the truth begins to emerge. And eventually the ‘suspects’ are assembled in the library for the denouement! It will be so convincing, you may even suspect you may have been responsible for the victim’s demise. If you can guess, before hand, the identity of the murderer, you will receive a bottle of Dom Perignon and a TCE gift certificate. And when you finally have to make your way to the bedroom in the manor, we will ensure your room has a strong lock on it!

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Up Up and Away!

Hot Air Balloon

Period: May


Length of Stay: 1 Day

Details: On this memorable day, you will discover why the Cotswold Hills are described as ‘rolling’. A bird’s eye perspective is always interesting but we’re not talking glancing out of an aircraft window. Instead you will glide silently over Cotswold Hills and villages watching the world slowly unfurl below you. Nothing quite compares to the serenity of ballooning. Gaze down over the fields, hedgerows and villages, dappled in soft evening sunlight or tranquil early morning light. Bask in the magical silence as you float high above the ground and then drop low enough to skim the hedgerows and treetops. It's a perfect way to take fabulous pictures - and a treat to remember for many years. After helping to inflate the balloon, you'll take off for an hour's flight and see the world below sliding slowly by. Enjoy a traditional champagne toast, and receive a flight certificate signed by your pilot and Sir Richard Branson.

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Polo - Sport of the Kings

Date: Regular matches through April/May/June.

Venue: Cirencester Park Polo Club

Polo is possibly the oldest ball game in the world. Now you can enjoy it at the oldest Polo Club in Britain – Cirencester Park. In the glorious setting of the Park, part of the estate of Lord Bathurst, you can enjoy watching young men and women battle it out on horseback. This is one of the most popular sports enjoyed by British royalty, and demands precision riding, fitness, stamina and plenty of courage. TCE will supply you with appropriate transport, and provide a choice of venues in nearby Cirencester for a delicious lunch, accompanied by an expert in the sport who will explain the history of the sport and how the game works. You will then be driven to the Park, where we will have reserved a good viewing point. Most games begin at 3, and so we will provide afternoon tea. As you sip tea, and soak up the atmosphere in this special place, you will enjoy watching one of the world’s oldest sports being played before you.

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Events occuring on specific dates:

Oxford Shakespeare Festival

Date: 21st-26th April

Venue: Wadham College, Oxford

Details: Wadham College with its beautiful historic grounds provides an idyllic setting for two of Shakespeare’s most popular plays - Henry V and As You Like It. Henry V is Shakespeare's most powerful, popular and compelling history play and As You Like It his wittiest and best-loved romantic comedy. These productions are performed in beautiful Elizabethan costumes by a cast of seventeen of Britain’s finest professional Shakespearian actors. The shows will include live music, gripping action, exciting sword fights and hilarious comedy all set in the stunning natural surroundings that Shakespeare intended for his plays. A magical open-air festival of love, laughter and amorous adventure, performed by a company that continues to delight audiences and critics alike.

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A Nightingale Symphony

Cotswold Water Park

Date: Weds April 23 at 8 am and 7.30pm
Sun April 27 at 7.30pm
Weds April 30 at 7.30pm

Location: Cotswold Water Park

Details: Join an enthusiastic team of experts to discover the delights of the elusive nightingale around the Cotswold Water Park. Numbers of this enigmatic and incomparable songster are declining around the UK, yet more than half of Gloucestershire’s nightingale population reside in the Cotswold Water Park. At over 140 acres, the Water Park is the UK’s biggest, and hosts almost any water sport you can think of, including scuba diving, windsurfing, dinghy sailing and power boating.

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Secret Tour of Snowshill Manor

Date: 23rd April 10.30-12

Snowshill's secret passages feature on this tour of the parts of the Manor not open to the public. It is rare to see behind the scenes of such a lovely example of a Cotswold manor house. Snowshill is often referred to as The treasure house of the Cotswolds. Once described as 'a house for the evening hours, surely the loveliest spell of the day', Snowshill Manor is a typical, traditional Cotswold house, built of golden yellow local stone and set on a hillside above the Vale of Evesham. The Manor holds one of the most remarkable collections that the National Trust maintains and is surrounded by an intriguing and intimate garden.

The manor of Snowshill was owned by Winchcombe Abbey from 821 until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539. It then passed to the Crown, and was given as a gift to Katherine Parr, wife to King Henry VIII. Since then, many alterations and additions have been made by the house's many owners and tenants. The main part of the current house dates from around 1500. It was altered and extended in the 17th century, and the south front displays classical details of c1720.

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Cirencester Beer Festival

Date: 24th-27th April

Venue: Royal Agricultural College

Details: Britains’ most famous Agricultural College hosts this delicious event on the outskirts of Roman Cirencester, a charming town often called the Capital of the Cotswolds. A showcase for locally-brewed ales, this event will explain to the North American visitor exactly why the British love warm beer!

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Cheltenham Jazz Festival

Date: 28th April – 4th May

Details: This festival is one of the most prestigious celebrations of jazz in the country, covering so many different facets of the genre. You can hear jazz legends and young guns, club nights and jazz standards, big bands and soloists, from funk to fusion, Latin to soul, hip-hop and... the experience is yours to choose! The incomparable Eartha Kitt drops by for her only UK festival appearance. Cleo Laine and John Dankworth celebrate their 80th birthdays with some classic jazz standards. Jools Holland front woman Ruby Turner offers her inimitable signature of soul and when you’re ready to groove, Imelda May dares you to resist.

Take a journey with Courtney Pine inspired by the virtuoso Sidney Bechet, then discover the legends of the future with our Jerwood Jazz Generation featuring Soweto Kinch, saxophone ace Iain Ballamy and post-punk band leader Pete Wareham. The festival takes place in a rich mix of venues from Cheltenham’s new 2000 - seater Centaur auditorium and elegant Pittville Pump Room to pubs and clubs throughout this fine Regency town.

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Badminton Horse Trials

Date: 1st-4th May

Details: Set in the grounds of Badminton House, the present home of the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort, this international 4 – day event is a must-see for those who love country sports. Previous winners of this tough course, involving dressage, showjumping and cross-country include the Princess Royal, Princess Anne. This year’s competition is expected to be especially tough as competitors are using this as a test for the Olympic Games in 2012.

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Bath International Flower Show

Dates: 3rd-5th May

Time: 10am-6pm

This established show, now in its 22nd year, is held over the May Bank Holiday weekend in the beautiful surroundings of the Royal Victoria Park. The inaugural Bath Flower Show was commissioned to celebrate the centenary of the Botanical Gardens (in 1987), a stone's throw away from the showground, and well worth a visit for its beauty and peace. The Show’s appeal is not just to the gardener. Nobody could fail to be impressed by the quality and sheer beauty of the Floral Art Marquee display by members of the area’s Floral Art Clubs.

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Hunter Chase Evening at the Cheltenham Racecourse

Date: 7th May

Time 3.30pm – 8.30pm

Details: Cheltenham Racecourse is world-famous both for the quality of it’s horse-racing, culminating in the 4-day Gold Cup race meeting in March, and its magnificent setting cupped in a bowl under the Cotswold escarpment. This race meeting is described as like the course’s end of term party, giving the amateur jockeys a chance to take centre stage on the racecourse. Off the track, the party continues long after the last race, with live entertainment in the Centaur and an outstanding atmosphere throughout the evening. Once this evening is over it will only be five short months before we are welcoming you back to racing here at Cheltenham in October 2009! This gives the racegoer a chance to see Cheltenham at its most relaxed and informal, and yet still with excellent racing.

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Stow Fair

Date: 14th May

Venue: Stow-on-the-Wold

A quite unique horse fair that is held twice a year only in and around Stow-on-the-Wold, and whose origins lie almost 700 years ago. Reference is sometimes made to the 'Stow Charter Fair'. A Charter granted in the 14th Century, allows the Lord of the Manor of Stow to hold two fairs annually. Originally these would have been medieval hiring fairs. They continued into the early part of the 20th Century and became recognised horse fairs, attracting Travellers to Stow. The Charter Fair has not been held for many years, but Travellers have continued to come to Stow to hold their own fairs, of which trading in horses, horse drawn vehicles etc forms a part. This gathering has become known as Stow Fair and Travellers begin to arrive days, sometimes weeks in advance in lay bys and verges in the surrounding parishes. Stow-on-the-Wold lies at the heart of the Cotswolds and contains some fine antique and craft shops and is a short distance from Bourton-on-the –Water and the Slaughters.

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Cheese Rolling Ceremony

Date: 26th May

Time: 12.30

Venue: Cooper’s Hill, Brockworth

Details: This is a wonderful opportunity to watch (and please don’t take part in) a splendid example of British lunacy! Competitors have to run down a hill (in some places with a 1:2 and even 1:1 gradient) in pursuit of an 8lb Cotswold cheese. It’s an old sport, enormously dangerous (though most injuries are minor) and great fun to watch. The winner of this old but extreme sport wins…..the cheese. In the War, wooden cheese had to be used because of food rationing, but now, we are back with a delicious local cheese, although with a few dents in!

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Robert Dover's Olimpik Games

Date: 30th May

Time: 7.30pm

Forget the Olympics (for now), and try the Cotswold version. It’s easier to get to, does not involve queuing, and is completely daft! In 1612, Robert Dover started our very own version, which means, when London hosts the Olympics in 2012, our own games will be 400 years old! Dover’s Hill, above Chipping Campden and overlooking the Vale of Evesham, is a beautiful plateau commanding extensive views from the plains of the Avon and the Severn to the foothills of the Welsh mountains. Owned by the National Trust, it provides an ideal setting for open air games. Each year, on the traditional date of Friday after Spring Bank Holiday the hill echoes with the shouts and cheers of competitors and spectators as Robert Dover’s Cotswold ‘Olimpick’ Games are celebrated. Bands march, cannon fire, rustic activities and wrestling take place, and the evening is brought to a close with fireworks and a torchlight procession into Campden followed by dancing in the square.

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