Autumn Around Broadway
There’s usually a day in September when a certain crispness in the air first gives an indication that autumn is on the way. It’s not necessarily unwelcome — autumn is one of the best times of year to be in the Cotswold hills. There’s the promise of cheery pubs with log fires, harvest ‘done’ for the farmers, and walks to favourite places to enjoy autumn colour.
There’s something about the combination of russet leaf colour with our honey-coloured Cotswold limestone buildings that sets the heart racing. So, all in all it’s an excellent time to be in Broadway.
With these hints and tips, you can make the most of your stay during the autumn in the Cotswolds;
As one of the largest private collections of trees and shrubs in the UK, Batsford Arboretum becomes a spectacle of autumnal beauty. The Japanese maples, acers, and liquidambars come alive with a riot of leaf colour; ranging from deep butter yellow to orange reds and crimsons, as well as an abundance of berries, making it a paradise for photographers.
Tip: It’s a good idea to book tickets in advance in autumn. With a Broadway base, you’ll be well located to get there early and beat the crowds.
Bourton on the Water
Bourton is often a little too busy in the summer months, but it really regains its full charm in the autumn. The village is famous for its small bridges crossing the slow-flowing Windrush River, rendered even more photogenic by the reflections of fiery red and gold leaves on the water.
Tip. Leave the car in Bourton and take the walk to nearby Lower Slaughter to get close up to nature.
Hidcote Manor Garden (National Trust)
This renowned ‘Arts and Crafts’ garden becomes a haven of colour during the autumn season. The carefully designed outdoor ‘rooms’ showcase a diverse collection of plants, which combine with longer view framed by trees and hedges that make up an Cotswold autumn palette that is truly memorable.
Tip: Combine Hidcote with a visit to Chipping Campden
The Cotswolds area has two major arboreta. Batsford, in the north Cotswolds, is already on our list (see above). You might also head south to Westonbirt, the National Arboretum, as part of a full day tour from The Broadway Hotel.
Westonbirt has an extraordinary variety of tree species in autumn — over 2500 from around the world. Visitors can explore, based on circular walks from the visitor centre. The highlight in autumn is Westonbirt’s Treetop Walkway, which gives a unique perspective of the tree canopy.
Tip: Book ahead!
Broadway Hotel to Broadway Tower Walk
This four mile circular walk is a real delight in autumn, leading up from the village High Street to our favourite local landmark. You’ll be rewarded with views of tree studded fields and hedgerows (and the cafe at the top). Best of all? It's downhill all the way back. Take a visit to St Eadburgha’s church on your way back, the original 11th Century parish church of Broadway, which still retains its ancient medieval features.
Tip: the route is described here
Bourton House Garden
Not all autumn colour is tree colour! This Adam Frost-endorsed garden has made late-season planting something of a speciality and stays open on certain midweek days through to the end of October. You can enjoy colourful late season displays and follow their free guide to walk through a seven-acre field which has groups of specimen trees, planted around 10 years ago.
Tip: The entrance to Bourton House Garden is almost opposite Batsford Arboretum. Sounds like a perfect day out to us…
Sherborne Park Estate
This National Trust estate is one of those places that is probably visited more by locals than visitors. It really comes into its own in autumn, with a one hour dog-friendly circular walk that leads past a very beautiful beech avenue. The Common Beech is pretty much ‘the’ Cotswold tree, you’ll see it all over the area, but rarely assembled together quite as magnificently as here. Look out for deer too.
Nearby Northleach has a reliable wine bar and cafe. The village was the main location for the BBC’s This Country comedy.
A trip to Sherborne could be combined with Bourton on the Water or Stow-on-the-Wold for a happy day exploring along the Roman Fosse Way
Tip: Take a few pound coins for the car park.
It’s great to be outside when there’s a slight nip in the air. Somehow, it’s even better when there’s a cosy hotel to come home to. Here at The Broadway Hotel we prepare for autumn in our own way too — from lighting the fire to adding several slightly heartier dishes to our menu. In the bar, the team change the cocktail menu to keep it seasonal too.
Many of our guests discover Cotswold Distillery products for the first time in our bar. The gin is very acceptable and Cotswold Distillery whisky is picking up some serious attention as one of the very best in Britain. If you’re intrigued, we’d recommend a visit to the distillery in autumn where, amongst other things, you can try their autumnal Hedgerow Gin and see where it’s made.
Tip: Don’t drink and drive. The distillery offers a terrific tour, with a goodie bag for the driver!
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway
With a station in Broadway, GWSR’s heritage rail trips are a special delight in autumn. The route to Cheltenham just happens to pass through some of the very best countryside for autumn colour. You’ll see the Cotswolds in a new way from the train.
Tip: Steam and Diesel enthusiasts might like to plan a visit around the time of The GWSR Autumn Showcase event (28th and 29th October, 2023). It’s the grand finale of their operational season, with a busy timetable of steam and diesels in action and with their GWSR workshops open.
The Broadway Hotel is always a busy place during Cheltenham Races. The hotel is well booked and locals pop in to celebrate a win in the Jockey Bar, or for a coffee (or something stronger) before setting off for the day.
The 2023/24 season begins with The Showcase on Friday the 27th and Saturday the 28th October. This is followed by the aptly named November Meeting, which offers three days of racing between the 17th and 19th.
Expect a few Gold Cup pointers from the course and a lively Guinness Village and Shopping Village experience off the course.
Tip: Don’t rely on our tips!
Autumn in the Cotswolds is a great time to book a stay at our hotel, or one of our Broadway cottages. Weekends are the busiest time, but a two or three night midweek stay puts bags of Cotswold charm within easy reach, whether you’re a walker, a nature lover, photographer or simply love exploring our village galleries and antique shops. We can promise you a spectacular backdrop for your autumn escape.
Autumn Short Breaks
A great time of year to be here - keep an eye on our ‘Offers’ page for mid-week breaks.