The best Cotswolds events to visit in 2023


Each year sees a Cotswolds events calendar packed with everything from world-renowned international gatherings like the Cheltenham Literature Festival and the Cornbury House Horse Trials to major musical and foodie favourites like Alex James’ Big Feastival and the totally free Phoenix Festival.

If you’re planning a visit to Lower Mill Estate this year, you’ll find plenty of inspiration in our guide to the best Cotswolds events to visit in 2023.

Jump to:

August Cotswolds events

The Big Feastival

Foodies rejoice - the Big Feastival is back! Described by Conde Nast Traveller as “Glastonbury but with lots more delicious food”, the tasty festival held on the idyllic farm of Blur bassist Alex James’ brings together good music, good food and good times for the whole family. It promises to be a highlight of all Cotswolds events in 2023.

  • When: 25-27 August 2023
  • Where: Kingham, Oxfordshire, OX7 6UJ

Winchcombe Country Show

Two dogs greeting each other at a dog show

There are few events more wholesome than a country show and the pretty village of Winchcombe is a celebration of traditional rural living in the Cotswolds. Expect all the classics at the Winchcombe Country Show including a car show, falconry displays, morris dancing and of course everybody’s favourite - the dog show.

  • When: 28 August 2023
  • Where: Winchcombe School, Greet Road, Cheltenham, GL54 5LB

The Phoenix Festival

The Cotswolds’ only free festival sees 40 live music acts including Bruno Mars and Michael Jackson tributes put on a show in Cirencester’s Abbey Grounds. An ‘open mic’ slot attracts upcoming talent and a whole host of food stalls tempt taste buds, though many opt to bring their own picnics. There’s plenty to entertain little ones and dogs are welcome too.

  • When: 26-27 August 2023
  • Where: Abbey Grounds Park, 3 Blake Road, Cirencester, GL7 2DA

Bourton-on-the-Water Football in the River

Men playing football in the river at Bourton-in-the-Water

Each August Bank Holiday, thousands of people line the riverbank in Bourton-on-the-Water to watch two teams battle it out in a game of football in the River Windrush. The sporting spectacle has been running for over a hundred years and is one of the most famous Cotswolds events, with players aiming to score as many goals as possible whilst getting the crowd as wet as they can!

  • When: 28 August 2023
  • Where: Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, GL54 2BX

September Cotswolds events

British & Midland Hill Climb Championships

Experience the unrivalled thrill of one of the oldest motorsports in the world at the British and Midland Hill Climb Championships, as over 180 of the UK’s fastest drivers take to the tarmac at speeds of more than 120mph. The Prescott Hill Pre-war motorsport venue offers stunning countryside views while taking in the action on the track.

  • When: 2-3 September 2023
  • Where: Prescott Hill, Gotherington, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL52 9RD

Cornbury House Horse Trials

A jockey riding a horse and jumping over a hurdle

Set against the grand backdrop of Cornbury House, in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside, the Cornbury House Horse Trials sees horses and their riders competing in dressage, cross country and show jumping across this five-day international event. Despite being one of the newest horse trials in the UK, it is already considered one of the most exciting and renowned.

  • When: 6-10 September 2023
  • Where: Cornbury House, Cornbury Park, Charlbury, Chipping Norton, OX7 3EH

October Cotswolds events

Cheltenham Literature Festival

Two people in conversation on stage at the Cheltenham Literature Festival

The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is world-famous and one of the most well-attended Cotswolds events. The 10-day programme combines ticketed events with free family workshops and is known to attract some of the world’s foremost writers and performers to the Regency spa town; David Attenborough and Hilary Clinton are past guests.

  • When: 6-15 October 2023
  • Where: Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 1UL

The Showcase Meeting, Cheltenham

Horses racing at a race course

A day at the races is fun for all the family and The Showcase at Cheltenham kicks off the jump racing season in a roar of thundering hooves and excited spectators. If you’re visiting Lower Mill Estate with multiple generations in tow, the Cotswolds event is the perfect way to spend a day and there is free entry for under 18s.

  • When: 27-28 October 2023
  • Where: Cheltenham Racecourse, Evesham Road, Cheltenham, GL50 4SH

November Cotswolds events

Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum

Westonbirt Arboretum is home to one of the most beautiful and important plant collections in the world and its Enchanted Christmas is one of the most popular events in the Cotswolds each festive season. The gardens - home to 2,500 different plant species from all corners of the globe - are transformed into a winter wonderland each November. Book tickets for the opening weekend and make new memories amidst tens of thousands of sparkling fairy lights and illuminations.

  • When: 24 November – 23 December 2023
  • Where: Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury, GL8 8QS

The Christmas Cotswold Fair

Baubles hanging at a Christmas stall

Previously held at the illustrious Daylesford Farm, this year sees the Christmas Cotswold Fair relocate to a brand new venue at Evenlode Grounds in the heart of the Evenlode Valley. One of many Cotswolds events in 2023 that will leave you feeling full of festive cheer, the fair brings over 225 independent boutiques together. Your ticket also grants you access to workshops from wreath making to cooking, as well as wine tastings and book signings. It’s the epitome of ‘shop independent’ and 10% of profits help support WellChild, the national charity for seriously ill children.

  • When: 6-9 November 2023
  • Where: Evenlode Grounds, Evenlode, Moreton-in-Marsh, GL56 0YS

December Cotswolds events

The Santa Express

It’s full steam ahead towards Christmas and the Santa Express offers a magical ride to the North Pole to meet the big man himself. Children will receive presents from Santa and his elves, while the grown-ups tuck into warm mince pies and mulled wine. If you’re looking at what's on in the Cotswolds during your Christmas visit this year, the Santa Express should be on your list whether you have been naughty or nice!

  • When: 23 November - 23 December
  • Where: Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, The Railway Station, Winchcombe, GL54 5LD

Christmas at Blenheim Palace

Christmas at Blenheim Palace

Festive events at the spectacular Blenheim Palace promise the perfect start to a wonderful family Christmas. This year sees a trio of attractions: a magical after-dark illuminated trail through the grounds of the Palace, a ‘story of Sleeping Beauty’ transformation of the Palace rooms and a Christmas market that will fill the Great Court with wintery wooden chalets. Sleeping Beauty themed afternoon teas will be served in the Orangery too, with tasty treats for princes and princesses of all ages.

  • When: 17 November - 1 January 2024
  • Where: Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, OX20 1PP

Head to the Cotswolds and join in with the fun

Some of the most exciting Cotswolds events of the year are yet to take place and now is the perfect time to start planning your next visit. Take a look at our 2023 Cotswolds breaks and start counting down to days spent making new memories and enjoying everything this beautiful part of the world has to offer.