Things to do Around the Rissingtons and Barringtons
Longborough Festival Opera
The village of Longborough in Gloucestershire is the epitome of Cotswolds sleepiness, a vision of pastoral English loveliness in which you might expect the most exciting events of the year to be the charity cricket match or the bring-and-buy sale. It’s not a place where you can imagine the world’s biggest operatic challenges like Wagner’s Ring Cycle being staged until you follow the signs to Longborough Festival Opera, and discover the inspired madness of Martin and Lizzie Graham. A local Glyndbourne, the opera evenings with picnic interval are very popular and ticket reservations should be made as early as possible.
Longborough, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire
Tel : +44 1451 830292
Website : www.lfo.org.uk
Cotswolds Wildlife Park
Cotswold Wildlife Park is set in 160 acres of parkland and gardens around a listed Victorian Manor House and has been open to the public since 1970. The Park is home to a fascinating and varied collection of mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates from all over the world.
10am to 4.30pm (last admissions)
Tel : +44 1993 823006
Website : www.cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk
Cotswolds Farm Park
Home of Rare Breed Conservation, the Cotswolds Farm Park is set high up on the Cotswold Hills in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Their comprehensive collection of over 50 breeding flocks and herds of British rare breed farm animals was established by Joe Henson and his business partner John Neave, in the late 1960’s. Rides and demonstrations allow children and adults to experience parts of farm life and interact with the animals.
10.30am to 5pm (last admissions)
Guiting Power, Gloucestershire
Tel : +44 1451 850307
Website : www.cotswoldfarmpark.co.uk
Cotswolds Falconry Centre
Situated in the old stables of Batsford and now housing up to 100 different birds of prey, this is one of the friendliest and most informative raptor centre’s. The daily flying displays are really fantastic. They last up to an hour and are timed at 11.30am, 1.30pm, 3pm and 4.30pm.
Batsford, nr Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire
Tel : +44 1386 701043
Website : www.cotswold-falconry.co.uk
The park of the old family home of the famous Mitford family, Batsford Arboretum is, today, the most visited arboretum in the country. It is one of the jewels of the Cotswolds and one of the largest private collections of trees and shrubs in the country. Situated next door to the Cotswolds Falconry, Batsford Arboretum is tucked away on a south-facing escarpment of the Cotswold Hills.
9am to 4pm
Batsford, nr Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire
Telephone: +44 1386 701441
Website : www.batsarb.co.uk
Catch a performance at the historic Oxford Playhouse. Built as a repertory theatre in 1938, the Oxford Playhouse was the last new theatre to be constructed before the war. The repertory years meant that actors performed one play in the evenings whilst rehearsing the next during the day-times. The relentless schedule meant that audiences had the opportunity to see actors such as John Gielgud, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Dirk Bogarde perform many roles on the Playhouse stage. Perhaps the most famous production was an Oxford University Dramatic Society’s Dr Faustus in 1966 where alongside the student performers starred Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Other notable student performers over the years have included Rowan Atkinson, Michael Palin and Dudley Moore, and more recently, Emily Mortimer and Emilia Fox. Students who went on to success in other fields included politicians Shirley Williams and Nigel Lawson, director John Schlesinger and writers Alan Bennett and Christopher Hampton.
Website : www.oxfordplayhouse.com
Choral Evensong at the Oxford Colleges
There is sublime Choral Evensong daily in Oxford during term time. Visitors can attend service gratis at one of Oxford's three choral foundation colleges : Christ Church (18:00hrs), Magdalen College (18:00hrs) and New College (18:15hrs). Early arrival is recommended as space does tend to be very limited - especially if you want to sit in choir.
Birdland Park & Gardens
If paddling on the grassy banks of picturesque Bourton on the Water is not
enough entertainment for the younger members of your party, bring them to
Birdland. Discover exotic and rare birds as you explore the Birdland's
gardens and woodland on the banks of the winding River Windrush.
Glos, GL54 2BN
Tel: +44 1451 820480 ( between 10am – 4pm )
Places to EatThere is no shortage of wonderful restaurants in the area
Places to eat
The Feathered Nest is a beautifully-situated inn with the most fabulous views and a highly rated restaurant run with warmth and charm.
Nether Westcote, Oxfordshire
Tel : +44 1993 833030
On the Bamford family estate, Daylesford has become the premier luxury farm and lifestyle shop in the country. All their food comes straight from their own farms, market garden, bakery and creamery. Daysleford also sources from artisan suppliers who share their commitment to quality and sustainability. There is a very good walk in restaurant, garden shop, clothes shop and spa!
9am to 5pm
Daylesford Farmshop, Daylesford, Gloucestershire
Tel : +44 1608 731703 (for spa bookings)
Chef/proprietor Emily Watkins who trained with Heston Blumenthal, changes the short menu daily to accommodate the abundant seasonal and local produce. Daily deliveries from local fruit farms, small holdings and game estates, as well as foraged fungi and sea vegetables, all arrive to be transformed into fresh modern British dishes. Don’t be surprised if the menu at the end of the evening has somewhat evolved from the opening menu as dishes are replaced with even more seasonal produce! The service can be a bit slow so it is best to be early!
Kingham, nr Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire,
Tel: +44 1608 658327
The King’s Head Inn at Bledingtonis a privately-owned Cotswolds inn dating back to the 16th century, when it was originally built as a cider house. The King’s Head believes in wholesome, hearty and traditional English food, served with a touch of flair and a spark of imagination. There are some very popular mainstays while the specials board, is used to provide the opportunity for experimenting with newer dishes. Owners Nicola and Archie Orr-Ewing personally oversee the management with great charm and verve.
The Green, Bledington, Oxfordshire,
Tel : +44 1608 658365
The Swan Inn could not be more ideally situated. The bubbling Windrush runs alongside the inn at the edge of the idyllic Cotswold village of Swinbrook and its striking church with the 17th Century Fettiplace Monuments and some of the famous Mitford family’s graves. Owned by the Duchess of Devonshire, the Inn is now run by Archie and Nicola Orr-Ewing, who aim to balance good food, without becoming too distracted or pretentious. It is a friendly place which ranks high amongst the local inns. The Swan has previously been named by the Good Pub Guide as Oxfordshire County Dining Pub of the Year. A good place to stop for a bite on the way down from London or the airports.
Swinbrook, nr Burford, Oxfordshire,
Tel : +44 1993 823339
Nestled in the heart of one of England’s prettiest villages, the New Inn at Coln St Aldwyns offers excellent food and service, and a retreat from the pace of daily life. This charming, unspoilt Gloucestershire village was recently ranked the 7th most desirable in the country by Country Life magazine, and The New Inn is the jewel in its crown. Take a walk along the tranquil Coln river before/after lunch.
Coln St Aldwyns, nr Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Tel : +44 844 8153434
There is a simple honesty to the cooking of chef Peter Robinson that you will not find easily elsewhere. Offal is proudly served at this restaurant where good locally sourced ingredients are the emphasis.
7 Park St, Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham GL54 1AQ
Tel: +44 1451 831700
The most ravishingly beautiful pub in the area, the Wild Rabbit’s food is like it’s setting - a combination of tradition heart and tend-setting quality and style.
Church St, Kingham, Chipping Norton OX7 6YA
Tel: +44 1608 658389
A winner of AA’s Pub of the Year, The Porch House is apparently England’s oldest pub. The retro yet modern food served has won fans near and far.
Digbeth St, Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham GL54 1BN
Tel: +44 1451 870048
Standing for the monarch who rules all, the lawyer who pleads for all, the priest who prays for all, the soldier who fights for all and the peasant who works for all, this is a charming, old-style Cotswolds inn with lovely menus featuring lots of elegant twists on classics.
Filkins, Lechlade GL7 3JQ
Tel: +44 1367 860875
Towns & MarketsThere are many notable towns to visit
Towns & Markets
Stow on the Wold
Together with Bourton-on-the-Water and Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold is a market town amongst the best known of the small Cotswolds towns. It stands exposed on a 700 feet high hill at a junction of seven major roads, including the Roman Fosse Way. At the height of the Cotswold wool industry the town was famous for it's huge annual fairs where as many as 20,000 sheep were sold at one time. The vast Market Square testifies to the town’s former importance. At one end stands the ancient cross, and at the other the town stocks, shaded by an old elm tree. Around the square the visitor is faced with an elegant array of Cotswold town houses. Stow has many antique shops, art galleries, tea shops and shops carrying a variety of gifts and crafts which are generally of no use at all to people who live around the area. But these tourist shops support a local community clearly keen on it’s food and there is a fabulous butcher, good delicatessens and pretty decent restaurants. Scotts of Stow carries a wide array of household and outdoor items. Mangan and Webb has an excellent selection of typically English country fashion and riding gear, and the kitchen shop next door has the most fabulous range of discount gadgets. A few doors down, Lambournes is one of the best butchers in the area and restaurants like the King’s Inn and The Eagle and Child are popular.
Burford, one of England's prettiest small medieval towns voted one of the best places to live in the world. The town’s history dates back 900 years to a granting of a charter to local merchants to hold their own markets. The current tradespeople of Burford continue the long tradition of good service and the supply of excellent luxury and essential goods to both residents and visitors. The main street is packed with charming little boutiques and specialist shops. With its long history of hospitality, beautiful Cotswold architecture, exclusive shops and galleries and St John the Baptist is a magnificent church (“a paragon of the English Parish Church”) of almost cathedral like proportions, Burford is not to be missed. There is also a Maison Blanc café for snacks and coffee and numerous restaurants and hotels along the main road.
Walk to Swinbrook and its own striking church along the banks of the Windrush that should not be missed. The resting place of some of the renowned Mitford family, as well as home to the unique marble Fettiplace Monument, St Mary the Virgin in Swinbrook is a gem of a small country church well worth a special visit.
You could also visit the nearby Lodge Park and Sherborne Estate - a rare 17th-century grandstand built for civil war politician, John Dutton as a grandstand to watch deer coursing in his 4000 acre Cotswold country estate. The park is surrounded by water meadows - which are a unique example of 18th Century faming methods and is today, home to otters, voles and various wading birds.
Outlet shopping par excellence and a special trip many make from London for just the day.
50 Pingle Drive, Bicester, Oxfordshire
Tel: +44 1869 323200
Website : www.bicestervillage.com
There are many, many things to do in Oxford, not least just walking around the city and marveling at the dreaming spires of the various colleges, the Sheldonian Theatre, the Radcliffe Camera, the Bodleian and underground stacks servicing all the various other libraries. Walk down to the Botanic Gardens and on to the Christchurch Meadows and watch the university rowing teams train. With kid in tow, you can stop in the Covered Market for sustenance or an ice cream. You can eat or stay at the two better new hotels – the Old Parsonage and the Old Bank. The museums are also fantastic. Don’t miss the recently rejuvenated Ashmolean Museum (and its well-reviewed restaurant) and the Pitt Rivers Museum with its shrunken heads and other ethnographic collections. And if you’d like to try your hand at punting, drive up to the Cherwell Boathouse for some exercise on the river, followed by a good lunch.
Website : www.oxfordcityguide.com
Tue - Sun 10am to 6pm
Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2PH; Tel : +44 1865 278000
Website : www.ashmolean.org
Dining Room : Open: Tues – Sat; Tel : +44 1865 553823
Pitt Rivers Museum
Tue – Sun 10am to 4.30pm
Enter through the Oxford University Museum Natural History (OUMNH)
Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PW; Tel : +44 1865 270927
Mon – Sat 10am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 4.30pm
Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3AZ; Tel: +44 1865 277299
Bodleian Library- guided tours only, no children under 11 years of age
Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG; Tel: +44 1865 277224
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