Cotswold year planner: all you need to know for 2016

Cotswolds year planner

Cotswolds year planner - Credit: Archant

Whether you’re a resident in the beautiful Cotswolds, you’re planning to visit on holiday or you are merely passing by… Be sure to check out this comprehensive guide to the upcoming events in the Cotswolds for 2016.



Gloucester Cajun and Zydeco Festival January 29-31

The joint will be jumping when the festival returns to the Guildhall’s sprung dancefloor for its 23rd year.

Gloucester Guildhall, Eastgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 1NS, tel: 01452 503050



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Festival Trials Day January 30

Considered by many to be the best one-day jump fixture in the UK, you’ll get some pointers as to which horses will be racing at The Festival in March.

Cheltenham Racecourse,





Beginners’ Wildlife Photography, February 6

An introductory session with wildlife photographer Iain Green. £60 per person.

WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, GL2 7BT, tel: 01453 891223



The Gloucestershire Schools Dance Festival Monday, February 8

A great opportunity to watch aspiring hoofers perform on the main stage of Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre. Admission £11.

Tel: 01242 572573,



Folk Three February 12-14

Blending the contemporary with the traditional, the festival line-up includes some of the best talent from the Folk music scene.

Cheltenham Town Hall



Valentine’s Ball February 13

Set in the romantic surroundings of a Georgian manor, this charity event for Youth@Heart will include food, live music and auction – it must be love. Tickets £35.

Eastington Park, Stonehouse, GL10 3RY, tel: 01452 740835,



PuddleJumping Championships February 13-21

Now, who wouldn’t want to have a go at this – the perennial childhood pastime that adults are encouraged to have a go at, too. The ultimate in welly-wearing fun.

WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, GL2 7BT, tel: 01453 891223



Of Mice and Men February 23-27

The classic tale of migrant farm workers, George and Lennie, set in America during the Great Depression. Heart-warming stuff. Tickets £13-£28.

Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, tel: 01242 572573



Bath Literature Festival February 26-March 6

This year celebrating its 21st Birthday with a ‘coming of age’ theme, including appearances from Dom Joly, Vince Cable, Sebastian Faulks, Joan Bakewell, Ben Miller, Celia Imrie and John Suchet.

Tel: 01225 463362,





Tetbury Art Society Roy Baker Memorial Lecture March 2, 2.15pm

The Individual as Artist and Sitter, with speaker Daphne Todd OBE. Tickets £28 each, to include refreshments and cakes.

The Orchard Room, Highgrove House, Tetbury, tel: 01666 840993 and



Chipping Norton Music Festival March 4-19

Making beautiful music in the Oxfordshire town since 1904, this year’s festival includes Ellipsis Wind Ensemble and ‘Gin and Jazz’ with Helen Abbey and Friends. Tickets available from Jaffé & Neale bookshop or via



Mother’s Day Lunch Sunday, March 6

Spoil your mum rotten while enjoying the beautiful sights of Slimbridge’s flamingo flock. Brownie points a-plenty.

WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, GL2 7BT, tel: 01453 891223



Cotswold Hunt Ball Saturday, March 12

Music, cocktails and dancing at this popular charity event.



Bath Half Marathon Sunday, March 13

Go on, tick this one off your bucket list, and raise money for good causes, including Macmillan Cancer Support.

Tel: 01225 422255,



The Festival March 15-18

Culminating on Gold Cup Day on March 18, this Cotswold event surely needs no introduction. You have to experience it at least once!

Cheltenham Racecourse



The Mousetrap March 21-26

The longest-running show in the history of theatre is returning to Cheltenham for its 60th Anniversary. Starring Louise Jameson. Tickets £19-£36.

Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, tel: 01242 572573



Painswick Easter Egg Hunt Saturday, March 26

The annual hunt starts in St Mary’s churchyard at 12 noon.



Coleford Carnival Of Transport March 28

Over 500 vehicles, an autojumble, art exhibition, model railway exhibition and craft show, all in the heart of the Forest of Dean.





Oxford Literary Festival April 2-10

Far too many speakers to mention here, of course (but they include Alan Bennett, Antonia Fraser, Matthew Engel, Caroline Sanderson, Simon Schama, Esther Freud, Jessye Norman and Jancis Robinson).



Andoversford Races Sunday, April 10

For a quintessentially English afternoon’s entertainment, you could do worse than this – the Cotswold point-to-point races event is an enduring fixture in the Gloucestershire sporting calendar and attracts some high profile visitors and competitors.



Dr John Cooper Clarke Friday, April 15, 7.30pm

The Punk ‘people’s poet’ is coming to the Shire, with some special guests. Tickets £20.

The Guildhall, Gloucester, GL1 1NS, tel: 01452 503050



Prescott Bike Festival Sunday, April 17

A damn fine day out in an idyllic setting, raising awareness and funds for the Blood Bike charities. Prescott Hill Climb,

Gotherington, Cheltenham, GL52 9RD,



Chipping Norton Literary Festival April 21-24

We love Chip Lit Fest! Four days of literary events for readers, writers and illustrators, young and old. This year’s line-up includes Lauren Child, John Dougherty, Korky Paul, India Knight, and of course our very own Clare Mackintosh.



Cada Antiques Fair April 21-24

The Cotswolds Art & Antiques Dealers’ Association Fair returns to Blenheim for its fifth year. Everything is for sale, with prices ranging from £100 to £100,000.



Wotton Arts Festival April 22-May 1

A varied programme of arts for all, including St George’s Day celebrations with Children’s Dragon Workshop on Saturday, April 25.



British & Midland Championships April 23-24

Featuring some of the most intense and exciting competition in club motorsport.



Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations April 23-24

As Shakespeare famously died on his birthday (or thereabouts), and this year marks 400 years since his death, there are some pretty big celebrations going on, not just in Stratford-upon-Avon, but globally. We’ll be celebrating in his hometown, though, naturally.



Stratford-Upon-Avon Literary Festival April 24-May 1

Celebrating its ninth year, the festival is a heady mix of debate, workshops, talks and educational events.



Tewkesbury Vintage Fair Saturday, April 25

Vintage fever takes over Tewkesbury’s George Watson Hall, bringing vintage clothing, accessories and homeware; live music; dancing; fashion show; and classic cars.




Cheltenham Jazz Festival April 27-May 2

Always a class act, the Jazz Festival is hosted in a tented village in Cheltenham’s Montpellier Gardens and features a Big Top stage, Jazz Arena, and food, drink and market area. Quite simply, wonderful.



Withington Horse Trials April 30-May 1

Sited on a glorious estate deep in the Cotswolds, the trials feature novice, intermediate, advanced and pony championships. Not too shabby.



Hawkwood College Open Day Monday, May 2

With free taster workshops and delicious organic food, discover all that Hawkwood has to offer.

Painswick Old Road, Stroud, GL6 7QW, tel: 01453 759034,



Cheltenham Performing Arts Festival May 3-15

Music, drama and dance combine at this, Cheltenham’s oldest festival.



Chipping Campden Literature Festival May 3-8

This year the festival is celebrating history and Shakespeare 400.



Badminton Horse Trials May 4-8

First held in 1949 and located at the seat of the Duke of Beaufort, Badminton really is the cream of three-day eventing. Nuff said.

Tel: 01454 218375,



RHS Malvern Spring Festival May 5-8

Join Alan Titchmarsh and Mary Berry for gardening, food, drink, shopping, and oh so much more.



Cheltenham Poetry Festival May 6-15

With the likes of Stuart Maconie and our own Peter Wyton appearing, and a theme of ‘Beauty’, this year’s ‘poetry party’ is not to be missed.



Giffords Circus ‘The Painted Wagon Tour’ May 13-September 25

Set up by Nell and Toti Gifford in 2000, with glorious burgundy-painted wagons, lovingly trained animals, handmade costumes, and individuals with oodles of talent, this HAS to be part of your summer-in-the Cotswolds experience.

Tel: 0845 459 7469,



Classics At Prescott Sunday, May 15

This open classic car event is organised by the Rotary Club of Cheltenham Cleeve Vale.



Winchcombe Walking Festival May 20-22

As the first town in the Cotswolds to gain ‘Walkers are Welcome’ status, Winchcombe is deservedly proud of the quality of its walks. Come and celebrate with them at this three-day festival.



Downy Duckling Days May 21-31

All together now… aaah. Go behind the scenes of Slimbridge’s duckery to see how they rear hundreds of birds each year, including the adorable ‘duckling creche’.

WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, GL2 7BT,



Winchcombe Festival of Music and Arts May 23-30

Join in with celebrating the best local bands, singers, artists, poets and writers at this lovely Cotswold town.



Blenheim Palace Food Festival May 28-30

With a festival village featuring British food gifts, artisan cheesemakers, charcuterie, wines and beers, bakers and more, this is a great opportunity to get your foodie on at Blenheim.



Bath Music Festival May 20-30

The 68th Bath International Music Festival combines a fine classical programme with the best in contemporary jazz, folk and world.



Gloucester Sea Shanty Festival May 27-29

Gloucester’s second annual festival will have a line-up of around 30 nationally and internationally acclaimed acts performing at various venues around the city, all in aid of Severn Area Rescue Association.



Lechlade Festival May 27-29

Three-day family-friendly music festival in the beautiful market town of Lechlade-onThames.



Common People Festival May 28-29

Do you want to live like common people? Join Chas & Dave, Primal Scream, Public Enemy et al for this two-day metropolitan adventure. South Park, Oxford,





Wychwood Festival June 3-5

Another glorious family-friendly music festival – this one’s held in the grounds of Cheltenham Racecourse and features Kate Rusby, Peter Hook & The Light, From the Jam, and Craig Charles.



Champion Dog Show, Malvern June 9-12

Dogs, of the champion variety.

Tel: 01684 584924,



Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival June 10-12

Food theatre, talks, wine tastings and more at Cheltenham’s Montpellier Gardens.



Cheltenham Science Festival June 7-12

Be inspired and entertained at Cheltenham’s annual celebration of how the world works and how science helps us to understand it.



Forest Live at Westonbirt Arboretum June 17-19

A series of very special events held every summer at the Arboretum. Tel: 03000 680400,



Royal Three Counties Show June 17-19

England’s largest livestock and equine event, with farming village, equine village, food hall and main arena entertainment.



Blenheim Palace Flower Show June 17-19

Featuring show gardens, the Victory Floral Pavilion, gardening talks, floral art marquee, food & drink, and more.



The Ukulele Festival of Great Britain June 17-19

The seventh uke-fanatics’ festival will be held in venues around Cheltenham, with the main event in the Town Hall.



Midsummer Speed Festival June 25-26

Hit the world-famous racetrack for this brilliantly British summertime event.






Cheltenham Cricket Festival Date tbc

Held in the idyllic setting of Cheltenham College, this is one of the most loved events in the Cotswold social calendar.



Ledbury Poetry Festival July 1-10

Expect poets from across the globe, actors performing the great works, plus music, film and family events.

Tel: 01531 636232,



Hanbury Countryside Show Saturday, July 2

Held since 1947, this fantastic summer day out in the Worcestershire countryside celebrates the best of farming, equestrianism and rural life.

Tel: 07876 408814,



Tewkesbury Medieval Festival July 9-10

With thousands of re-enactors, traders and entertainers, Tewkesbury is considered to be not only the largest but also the best free medieval gathering in Europe.



The Cotswold Show July 2-3

Two days of traditional rural skills, falconry, crafts, cookery demonstrations, music, arena attractions and much more in the glorious grounds of Cirencester Park.

Tel: 01285 652007,



Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards Monday, July 4

Highlighting and championing the best in Cotswold food and drink, the prestigious awards are highly valued by all in the industry.

Cheltenham Racecourse,



Cheltenham Music Festival July 1-17

A fortnight of music in the acousticallyglorious surroundings of Cheltenham Town Hall.

Tel: 0844 880 8094,



Royal International Air Tattoo July 8-10

The theme for 2016 is ‘The Next Generation: Inspiring Innovation’ and visitors can expect to see cutting-edge aircraft technology on display both in the air and on the showground.

Tel: 0800 107 1940,



Cornbury Music Festival July 8-10

Charming, civilised, eclectic and very English, Cornbury has become one of the country’s best-loved family-friendly boutique music festivals. The line-up is always exceptional, with this year’s talent including Wilko Johnson, Jamie Cullum and Soul II Soul.

Tel: 0844 338 0000,



Stratford-Upon-Avon Home & Garden Show July 15-17

As 2016 marks the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the show will be embracing the theme in its show gardens, floral displays and more.

Tel: 01789 549199,



Blenheim Palace Battle Proms Picnic Concert Saturday, July 16

An evening of sublime classical music, carefully choreographed Spitfire and cavalry displays, dramatic cannon fire and firework finale. Simply breathtaking. Tel: 01432 355416,



Warwick Folk Festival July 21-24

The line-up this year includes Show of Hands, The Unthanks, Michael McGoldrick and Friends, and Korrontzi.

Tel: 01926 776438,



Guiting Festival July 22-31

A wonderfully diverse offering of classical, jazz and folk music, to include Joanna MacGregor, Cotswold Male Voice Choir, Urban Folk Quartet, and Djangologie.



Three Choirs Festival July 23-30

This year it’s the turn of Gloucester to host this wonderful choral festival. The theme for 2016 is looking to the future, with new generations of composers, musicians, singers and audiences, and the exciting introduction of a Festival Village.



Womad Festival July 28-31

The ‘World of Music, Arts and Dance’ was founded in 1980 by Peter Gabriel and other influential people in the music business, and has to be one of the most cosmopolitan festivals out there.

Charlton Park, Malmesbury,



Opera Brava July 29-30

Imagine the joy of an evening’s picnic in the Cotswolds with world-class opera being performed while you’re sipping chilled Prosecco and grazing on sandwiches with the crusts cut off…






Wilderness Festival August 4-7

Featuring music, feasting, mystery, merriment, and the magic that can only be found at this particular boutique festival. Wild and wonderful.

Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire,



Festival Of British Eventing August 5-7

Incorporating the British Open, Intermediate and Novice Championships, as well as the ‘Amateur’ Championship contested over a new cross-country track.

Gatcombe Park,



NAF Hartpury Horse Trials August 10-14

The NAF Five-Star International Hartpury Horse Trials set in the lovely surroundings of Hartpury College.



Lakefest August 11-14

Celebrating its fifth year of musical magic at a new, rather special location.

Eastnor Castle,



Severn Bore Safari Saturday, August 20, 8am

If you live in Gloucestershire, experiencing the river’s tidal wave is a must. Head out along the estuary to watch the bore go by and the tide come in, with an experienced wildlife guide. £19.95 per person, to include tea/coffee and full English breakfast.

Email or call 01453 891223.



The Big Feastival August 26-28

Alex James’s and Jamie Oliver’s muso/ foodie mash-up. Alex James’s Farm,

Kingham, Oxfordshire,



Berkeley Show Bank Holiday Monday, August 29

Featuring the Berkeley Hunt Parade of Hounds, heavy horses, scurry races, WI section, and trade stands.



Football in the River Bank Holiday Monday, August 29

Pure Cotswold madness. Two teams of six from Rovers Football Club play a 30-minute match in the River Windrush… and why not. Bourton-on-the-Water.






Tetbury Food & Drink Festival Tbc

Traditionally kicking off with the Gloucester Old Spot Appreciation Society dinner, this foodie festival does things a little differently.



Salon Privé September 1-3

Super cars, luxury cars, classic cars, mega cars… it could only be Salon Privé. Blenheim Palace,



Moreton-In-Marsh Show September 3

Food, farming, fashion, fun? Yes. But oh, so much more besides.



British & Midland Championships September August 3-4

Speed hill climbing at its very best.



Heritage Open Days September 8-11

If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind those ancient, locked doors, this nationwide series events is just for you. Simply glorious.



Blenheim Palace Horse Trials September 8-11

Annual three-day eventing in the grounds of the Palace.



Jane Austen Festival September 9-18

A fabulous festival celebrating all things Austen, in the city of Bath.



Newent Onion Fayre September 10

Live music, street entertainment, crafts, fairground rides… and onions. Lots and lots of onions.



Leamington Food & Drink Festival September 10-11

Food festival, kids’ cookery school, barbecue masterclasses and all-round foodie heaven.



Frampton Country Fair Sunday, September 11

Set on and around Frampton on Severn’s famous green, the fair features main, heavy horse and countryside rings, as well as lakeside sports.



Blenheim Palace Festival of Literature, Music and Film September 22-25

Featuring a range of authors, speakers and special guests.



Malvern Autumn Show September 24-25

A glorious celebration of autumn colour at this RHS event.






Cheltenham Literature Festival October 7-16

If Carling did literature festivals… well, you know the rest.





The Contemporary Arts Fair Discover:Gather:Give, 5-6 November

An exciting curated Arts Fair promoting the best quality local artists and artisans to showcase unique and original pieces of art, ceramics, jewellery, woodwork, illustrations, glasswork and so much more....

Stratford-upon-Avon Town Hall.  contact for info



Worcester Victorian Christmas Fayre November 24-27

Chestnuts, mulled wine, traditional rides, stalls… all you need to celebrate Christmas, Victorian-style.






Enchanted Christmas Tbc

All tickets for this magical winter wonderland sold out ridiculously early in 2015, so might be an idea to start making plans for 2016 now…