Cotswolds discovery centre opens its doors for new season

This weekend, 'Escape to the Cotswolds', the first discovery centre for the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will open its doors for the summer season.

The new centre which was launched last July by the Cotswolds Conservation Board attracted in excess of 2,000 people during its first three months and is set to welcome even more visitors this year, keen to discover the fascinating story of the Cotswolds.

Through a series of imaginatively designed information panels, visitors can learn about the history, geology, landscape, people and nature of the area as well as be inspired to explore the Cotswolds further using the extensive network of public rights of way including the popular Cotswold Way National Trail. This year, a number of new activities will be taking place at the centre including taster days in blacksmithing, local history exhibition, a guided walk and a children's Easter egg hunt.

The centre, open from 1 April, Wednesdays to Sundays through to 31 October, is housed in the 18th century Old Prison in Northleach and allows visitors easy access to view the Lloyd Baker rural life collection. Blades Café is also conveniently situated next door.

Nicola Greaves, information and interpretation officer for the Cotswolds Conservation Board said: "Escape to the Cotswolds will open this weekend giving visitors the chance to find out more about the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and why it is one of the country's most important and much loved protected landscapes. We are looking forward to building on the experience of our first season last year and welcoming even more visitors through our doors."

Admission to the centre is free however donations are welcome.


Notes to editors:

  • Escape to the Cotswolds is open Wednesdays to Sundays, 10am to 4pm.
  • The centre is situated on the A429 Fosse Way at Northleach.
  • The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation with 37 members, 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by Government.
  • The Government has designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks as our finest countryside and they are recognised as being of national importance. With its rolling hills and valleys the Cotswolds is the second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
  • The Cotswolds AONB is the largest of the family of 46 AONBs in the UK. For further details: