Discover a truly authentic Christmas this year in Our Land
Our Land is a new tourism initiative that aims to encourage people to reconnect with their landscapes and promotes sustainable businesses.
The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is part of the Our Land initiative, working closely with the six other AONBs and two National Parks in South East England to help promote greener tourism.
As part of this initiative, Our Land are keen to remind people that there is still plenty to enjoy in the AONB outside the summer months and particularly at this time of year when there is a treasure trove of undiscovered Christmas gems to experience, which can be found at www.our-land.co.uk. Whether it’s buying handmade gifts, star-gazing or exploring the frosty English landscape on a post-Christmas healthy walk, the Our Land website is packed with inspiring ideas to help ensure the Christmas planning and aftermath is as much fun as the day itself.
A selection of things to do in the Cotswolds AONB this Christmas:
Enjoy festive late-night shopping
Where: Broadway, 2 Dec; Bourton on the Water, 2 Dec; Winchcombe, 6 Dec
There are many opportunities to enjoy a late night shopping trip to one of our charming Cotswold towns and search for gifts with a difference.
On 2 December, Broadway hosts festivities for all the family including carol singers, swing band, horse & carriage rides, street entertainers, hog roast, mulled wine, roast chestnuts and much, much more! Also on 2 December, Bourton on the Water will hold its annual Christmas late night shopping extravaganza! Shops will be open till 9pm and there will be plenty to entertain with the lighting of the Christmas Tree in the river at 6 pm, children’s roundabout, Punch & Judy, Father Christmas and much more.
The Walkers are Welcome town of Winchcombe will be holding its traditional Christmas festival on 6 December, with a variety of market stalls, entertainment and Father Christmas. An adaptation of a traditional Winchcombe Mummer’s Play with a seasonal theme will be acted out on the streets during the evening and Happenstance Border Morris will be celebrating Christmas in dance.
Make your own natural Christmas decorations
Where: Prema Arts Centre, Uley, near Dursley (www.prema.org.uk)
Go on a festive foray of seasonal crafts with Ellen Winter from the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and learn how to make beautiful, natural decorations for the home, including wreaths, stars and angels. Pre-booking required: Tel 01453 860703
Buy a home-grown Christmas tree
Where: Westonbirt Arboretum (www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt)
Choose a real, home-grown Christmas tree this year from sustainably managed forests. You can also pick up a Christmas wreath and some locally grown mistletoe.
While you’re there: explore the magical illuminated trail route through the Old Arboretum, meet Santa in the wonderful winter wonderland and browse an array of festive gifts and fare.
Where to see the stars this Christmas
Where: Kilkenny Picnic Site, Gloucestershire (www.gloucestershire.gov.uk)
One of the best viewpoints in the Cotswolds that is far enough away from neighbouring towns and cities to make for great star-gazing.
While you’re there: enjoy a hearty, home cooked meal, using locally sourced ingredients, at the nearby Frogmill Hotel.
Help shed the Christmas calories
Where: Overbury, Worcestershire (www.escapetothecotswolds.org.uk)
Starting from Overbury Church, this 4-mile guided walk with our Cotswold Voluntary Wardens on 28 December will help blow away some of the Christmas over-indulgence.
While you’re there: take an extended walk to the top of nearby Bredon Hill. This National Nature Reserve and Iron Age Hill Fort commands far-reaching views and contains many trees which are over 300 years old.
Recharge after Christmas...
Recover from the chaos of the festive period by escaping for a weekend in one of England’s protected landscapes, offering over 650,000 hectares of stunning countryside, coast, parks and gardens. Visit www.our-land.co.uk for inspiration on how to make the most of winter in the South East.
Notes to editors:
- ‘Our Land’ unites and celebrates the nine protected landscapes of the region. The area consists of two National Parks and seven Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB): the Chilterns, Cotswolds, High Weald, Isle of Wight, Kent Downs, New Forest, North Wessex Downs, South Downs and the Surrey Hills
- The Our Land website is packed with information to help people find out more about what the South East has to offer, arrange visits, book short breaks and holidays and encourage people to discover and experience what’s on offer.
- Our Land aims to cut air travel and create more sustainable communities in the countryside, through encouraging green tourism.
- Our Land is funded by £1 million from the Rural Development Programme for England, funded by the EU. The site is built and managed by responsibletravel.com.
About the Cotswolds AONB
- 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.
- The Cotswolds is the second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. 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: www.aonb.org.uk