Things to do in the area
Farncombe is the perfect gateway to the Cotswolds, whether you’re looking for historic villages and market towns, hills and hiking trails, or a breathtaking natural landscape.
Stroll to Broadway Tower
Farncombe Estate is a stroll away from the second-highest point in the Cotswolds – Broadway Tower was the brainchild of landscaping legend Capability Brown and, on a sunny day, the folly offers breathtaking views over the landscape. The surrounding grounds are great for picnics, and there’s a terrific café on site too.
Browse Burford Garden Company
A 15-acre garden centre first founded in 1975, Burford Garden Company has become one of the most beloved destinations in the neighbourhood. As well as an astonishing selection of lovingly grown plants, there’s a charming art gallery, and the café has been a fixture on the Oxfordshire Restaurant Awards lists year after year.
Row on the River Avon
Stratford is just 25 minutes’ drive from the estate, so as well as overdosing on Shakespeare, you can easily while away an afternoon on the water with a boat trip down the Avon. Pack a picnic to enjoy at the riverside and float your way through the historic town and into the beautiful, countryside that surrounds it.
Gin is definitely the drink of the moment and we’re rather partial to the botanical blends of our local Cotswolds Distillery, not far from the Estate in Stourton. They run regular, pre-booked tours that introduce you to their distilling methods, topped off with a tasting session.
The true Englishman or woman is never deterred by the drizzle. They simply borrow a pair of Muck boots and a brolly from reception and take a puddle-hopping saunter down to Broadway village, pop into a country pub for a spirit-stirring drink, and then head back up to dry off by the fire.
Catch a film
Take a trip to our very own cinema. Featuring a mix of new releases and classic arthouse flicks, a great little spot to hang out in with friends and family, and we'll supply the popcorn!
Tickle a pig
Just eight miles from Dormy House, Countryfile’s Adam Henson runs a rare-breed-focused agriculture centre that’s a masterclass in how to create a great family attraction that’s honest, down-to-earth and fun for everyone. Visitors of all ages have the chance to feed the resident livestock, take tractor tours of the grounds, explore nature trails, and take part in the everyday activities of a working farm.
Go wild in the country
Just outside Evesham in the village of Honeybourne, All Things Wild is home to animals both familiar and exotic, as well as offering soft play, mini golf, bug-hunting expeditions, go-karts and playgrounds galore. Residents include meerkats, marmosets, capybaras and armadillos, but if they alone aren’t enough to delight your little ones, the dinosaur park should do the trick.
Tour the Cotswolds
There’s more to see in the Cotswolds than you could possibly fit into a single trip, but the team at North Cotswold Tours are dab hands at helping you make the most of your time. Their guides are born-and-bred Cotswold folk and their bespoke excursions are tailor-made to match your interests and the time available - architecture, botany, shopping, farming or food that floats your boat.
Ride the rails
There is no better way to explore the countryside than riding the steam and heritage diesel trains of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, which powers along a 26-mile loop of track starting at Toddington, taking in the hills and hamlets of the North Cotswolds en route.
The Cotswold Motoring Museum in Bourton-on-the-Water is a great day out for petrolheads of every age, with a huge collection of vintage and classic cars, motorbikes from throughout the 20th century. It’s also the retirement home of 1990s kids’ TV star Brum.
Browse the boutiques
Shopaholic or not, Bicester Village is a treat. Some of the biggest designer names have outlet boutiques lining the boulevards of Bicester, meaning you can pick up pieces from brands such as Vivienne Westwood Gucci, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Mulberry and more – all for a fraction of the usual price.
Take a punt in Oxford
Head to Magdalen Bridge Boathouse and either hire a chauffeur and sit back and watch the world float by, or pick up a pole and put your own punting panache to the test. The route south down the Cherwell past the botanic gardens and through the Christ Church College Meadows and the Magdalen School rose garden is simply sublime.
Pop to the palace
Around 40 minutes’ drive from Farncombe, Blenheim Palace, makes for a great day out whether you’re interested in architecture, art, or history. The 2,000 acres of gardens feature water terraces, a succession of formal and pleasure gardens, a butterfly house and the famous Malborough Hedge Maze. Dining ranges from coffee and cake to fine dining.
The nerve centre of the upmarket organic-food empire, this farm shop and cookery school stocks an array of fine fresh edibles, with clothes, kitchenware, gifts, garden and spa products on the side. They run cooking classes every day from Wednesday to Sunday and garden workshops in everything from foraging to floristry every weekend.
There’s nowhere better to be than cosied up by the fire in Fish Hotel’s lounges, tucking into a quintessentially English afternoon tea. Home-made sandwiches and quiches, fluffy scones heaped with jam and fresh cream, and a selection fancy cakes… and perhaps a glass of something sparkly to take the edge off the weather.