The best time to visit the Cotswolds with a dog

There really is no bad time to visit the Cotswolds with your dog. This idyllic Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which stretches from Worcestershire in the north to the edges of Wiltshire and Somerset in the south, has appeal year-round. With cosy pubs to hole up in over winter and plenty of trails for walking when the weather’s on your side in spring or summer. Picking the best time to visit the Cotswolds will depend on what you want from your dog-friendly holiday, of course, so here’s our guide to the Cotswolds through the seasons.

Written by Lottie Gross

5-minute read

Springtime in the Cotswolds

Best for: fabulous floral displays

Spring is the most optimistic time of year to visit the Cotswolds. Little lambs can be seen bounding around the farm fields and the greenery is finally returning to the trees throughout its ancient woodland areas. But most enchanting for dog owners is walking through the many bluebell woods throughout the region. Badbury Clump in Oxfordshire has some of the finest bluebell carpets, with the iridescent little flowers coating the ground beneath a copse of ancient beech trees where the dog can roam off lead. Just south of Cheltenham, Leckhampton Hill is also an excellent spot for bluebells, while the villages of Lower and Upper Slaughter have wonderful daffodil displays.

Dog-friendly summer holidays in the Cotswolds

Best for: outdoor family fun

There’s no beating around the bush here: summer in the Cotswolds is busy. It’s this time of year that families from around the UK and abroad come to the region for hazy summer days among the green hills and leafy river banks. There are ample adventures to be had as a family with a dog here, so if you’ve got kids of any age, it’s a brilliant time to explore the family and dog-friendly attractions, from the Cotswold Wildlife Park to the tiny Model Village at Bourton-on-the-Water. If you don’t have kids, but still want the best of the weather in the summer, head to lesser-known Cotswolds highlights, such as handsome Witney in Oxfordshire or pretty market town Corsham in Wiltshire.

Autumn with dogs in the Cotswolds

Best for: long walks with sepia views

Autumn is by far the most beguiling time to visit the Cotswolds. As the trees turn from green to red, yellow, orange and brown, the entire region takes on an amber glow – especially after a light rain when those golden Cotswold stone cottages really shine. This is a great time to get out on the trails before it gets too muddy in winter, so consider taking on part of the Cotswold Way, a 164km hiking trail, or explore the likes of the Blenheim Palace Estate or Westonbirt Arboretum.

Dog-friendly Cotswolds in winter

Best for: spectacular sunrises and sunsets

While the early bird catches the worm, the early dog catches the best sunrises in the Cotswolds in winter. As the days get shorter, opportunities for sunrise and sunset spotting become easier to find. For early risers, a walk around the Sherborne Estate (dogs on leads as there’s livestock) is magical at dawn – you might even spot a hunting barn owl. For sunsets, head up to the likes of Cleeve Hill or Broadway Hill to watch the landscape turn orange in the evening light. Of course, the best way to end any day is in one of the Cotswolds’ cosiest dog-friendly pubs, where roaring fires and real ales are ample reward.

Written by Lottie Gross

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