We love Tetbury… Here’s why we think you will too

(Last Updated On: 23rd April 2020)

Arguably one of the most stylish of all of the market towns in the Cotswolds is Tetbury, a historic wool town with a rich history dating back over 1300 years. A firm favourite amongst Royals (Prince Charles’ Highgrove Estate can be found on the outskirts of the town), it’s easy to see why from the moment you arrive; honey-coloured limestone buildings line the streets, inviting cafés and restaurants sit on every corner and there’s a thriving independent retail scene, with plenty of hidden boutiques, delicious delis and antique havens to discover.

Known as the southern gateway to the Cotswolds, Tetbury’s rich heritage is evident in the historic landmarks which remain throughout the town, free to explore at your leisure. Regular events are held throughout the year in the town, including its very own Wacky Races (May Day) and the famous Woolsack Races; one of the area’s more unusual traditions which involves participants lugging 65lb woolsacks up and down the town’s hilly streets. The town holds a regular market under the Market House (see photo below) and has over 25 antique shops, including Top Banana Antiques Mall. It’s also a hub of independent retailers including the Highgrove Shop, Domestic Science, Veloton, Vinotopia, French Grey and Treacle George – providing a unique shopping experience.

Tetbury Market House

With plenty on offer to keep you entertained in Tetbury you may not want to leave, although we strongly recommend visiting some of the fantastic attractions on offer on the outskirts of the town and a little further afield. Of particular note is the National Arboretum at Westonbirt, a nature-lovers paradise boasting around 18,000 spectacular trees and shrubs, as well as Beaufort Polo club; a must-visit for equine enthusiasts and those in search of a quintessential Cotswolds day out at the polo.

Sightseeing & Activities

You can’t miss it, right in the centre of town, but make sure you visit the Grade I listed Market House, the centuries-old trade hub of the town, which still holds markets in the town on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin and St Mary Magdalen, dating back to 1777, also boasts one of the tallest and most elegant spires in the UK, whilst The Police Museum in the Old Court House houses the Alex R Nichols Collection of Handcuffs and Other Restraints alongside other policing memorabilia from across Gloucestershire. Lovers of all things yesteryear will also be well catered for in the town thanks to its selection of over 25 antique shops, with a plethora of hidden treasures certain to be found by the keen-eyed. Be sure to check out the Chipping Steps, too, the centuries-old cobbled street steps climbing from lower Tetbury to the market house on the town square.

Chipping Steps, Tetbury Photo © Chris Allen (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Nearby, there’s plenty on offer to keep all ages happy. Head to the National Arboretum at Westonbirt for a deep breath of fresh air, followed by a trip to Chavenage House, a historic Elizabethan manor house which has welcomed countless TV and film sets over the years, for a slice of culture. Prince Charles’ renowned Highgrove House and Gardens sits just outside of the town in the hamlet of Doughton, with regular garden tours running between March -September; well worth a visit for the green-fingered. Cirencester is also just a 20-minute drive away for those who want to explore another of the Cotswolds’ most popular towns.

For Kids… Little & Big

Cotswold Water Park

(20-minute drive from Tetbury)

An adventure paradise for all ages to enjoy, Cotswold Water Park is an extensive wetland area where a host of outdoor activities such as sailing, rowing, horse riding, shooting and even a purpose-built beach will keep all ages entertained, no matter what the weather.

Chavenage House

(7-minute drive from Tetbury)

You may recognise this unique Elizabethan manor house thanks to its on-screen popularity, with the likes of Poldark, the acclaimed Wolf Hall and BBC’s Lark Rise to Candleford all having been filmed here. Built in 1383, just two families have owned Chavenage since Tudor times, making this a fascinating family home with relics dating back to the 17thCentury.

Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park

(45-minute drive from Tetbury)

Adam Henson

Sitting in the heart of the Cotswolds, Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park has a long-standing reputation as a fun-filled day out where visitors of all ages can interact closely with animals to learn all there is to know about farming. As the home of rare breed conservation, visitors can meet over 50 flocks and herds of farm animals, including Gloucestershire Old Spot Pigs and Highland Cattle. The Touch and Demonstration Barns can be enjoyed year-round thanks to their protection from the elements, with a fantastic Adventure Playground on offer for when the weather is behaving. The on-site restaurant, serving seasonal food and Adam’s own beer, is a hit with the adults. 

Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens

(45-minute drive from Tetbury)

Stroll around the park and get eye-to-eye with giraffes, watch rhinos graze on the Manor House lawns, walk with lemurs, ride on the train or explore the adventure playground; you won’t run out of things to see and do!

Time To Relax

Calcot Manor SpaCalcot Spa at Calcot Manor

(8-minute drive from Tetbury)

Arguably one of the finest spas in the south-west, Calcot Spa offers all you need for a day of R&R with more than a slice of luxury. Housed at the luxurious Calcot Manor hotel, Calcot Spa boasts a beautiful outdoor hot tub with roaring fire pit, a large indoor pool, tranquil relaxation areas and an extensive treatment menu. We can assure you you’ll want to spend the day here… and probably won’t want to leave!

Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa

(12-minute drive from Tetbury)

The Aquarius Spa at Whatley Manor is a place to reset and recharge, with an indoor/outdoor hydrotherapy pool, heated stone recliners, salt scrub showers and thermal suite, plus a pampering menu of treatments to enjoy. There’s even a gym, should you want to energise before unwinding. 

The Vaulted Spa at the Kings Head Hotel

(20-minute drive from Tetbury)

This unique subterranean spa can be found in the vaults of the boutique Kings Head Hotel, just off the town’s main Market Square. With four treatment rooms, a relaxation room and thermal suite complete with hot tub, infra-red sauna, steam room and experience shower, this is the ideal spot to unwind away from the hubbub of the town centre. Indulge with one of the spa’s pampering treatments, with everything from therapeutic massages and beautifying facials on offer. 

For Nature Lovers

Westonbirt ArboretumWestonbirt Arboretum

(10-minute drive from Tetbury)

This spectacular 600-acre arboretum offers nature lovers of all ages a memorable day-out destination whatever the weather. Filled with over 15,000 trees from around the world, visitors can keep eyes peeled for specific species using the Arboretum’s Tree Spotter’s Guide, wander amidst the treetops on the award-winning STIHL Treetop Walkway or head off on one of the guided walks. Visitors in Autumn are in for a particular treat, as the trees put on an incredible leaf-changing display which carpets the area in red and golden hues.

Highgrove Gardens

(5-minute drive from Tetbury)

The spectacular gardens of Prince Charles’ own Highgrove Estate are open to the public between March and September, making it the perfect opportunity to discover the spectacular gardens which His Royal Highness has worked passionately to create over the past 30+ years. The gardens themselves are a series of interlinked spaces, each with their own character and purpose, bursting to life with a stunning display of colours throughout the seasons. After exploring the gardens, be sure to head to The Orchard Restaurant for a bite to eat, offering up delicious daily dishes created using the finest in organic ingredients.

The Bathurst Estate & Cirencester Park

(20-minute drive from Tetbury)

This historic 3,000-acre estate owned by the Bathurst Family boasts a beautiful 19thCentury parkland designed by Alexander Pope, which the general public are free to enjoy at their leisure. Accessible via entrance gates on Cecily Hill, little ones will love stretching their legs here, whilst older visitors will enjoy taking in the stunning landscapes. Dogs are welcome, too, just take care to stick to the designated walking areas.

Walking

Useful Links:

Cotswolds.com– www.cotswolds.com/dbimgs/Tetbury_Weekend_Walk.pdf

Cotswolds AONB-www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk/visiting-and-exploring/walking

There are plenty of walks in and around Tetbury to suit all ages and abilities, from historic strolls past the town’s most famous landmarks, to rural rambles across the town’s surrounding Cotswold landscapes. For those in search of a gentle amble that takes in the town’s key areas of interest, the Tetbury Ups and Downs walk is perfect: a 1.75 mile stroll through the town, venturing through its narrow historic streets passed the Market Hall, Parish Church, merchant’s houses and craftsmen’s cottages.  For those in search of more of a challenge, the Westonbirt Arboretum Walk with Stilesis ideal. A 4.75 mile route, this pleasant circular walk starts in the village of Leighterton (approximately 3 miles from Tetbury), taking you through farmland to the main drive of Silk Wood in the Arboretum; a fantastic way to couple a visit to the Arboretum with exploring the surrounding countryside.

Events

Woolsack FestivalTetbury Woolsack Festival (May)

Every year, the second May Bank Holiday plays host to Tetbury’s iconic Woolsack Races; an unusual local festival dating back to the 17thCentury, which sees runners tackle Tetbury’s steepest hill (Gumstool Hill) with a very heavy woolsack on their back. With plenty of merriment, fun and food on offer throughout the event, as well as the spectacle itself, it’s a fantastic sight to behold if you’re lucky enough to be in the area at the time.

Tetbury Wacky Races (May)

May really is a time for frivolity of every kind in Tetbury. Described as a thrilling annual soapbox event, the Wacky Races sees adrenaline junkies from far and wide battle it out around the town’s hairpin bends in their very own soapbox creations. With prizes on offer, this is fantastic fun for all the family.

Badminton Horse Trials (May)

(20-minute drive from Tetbury)

Every year in May, one of the biggest events in the world’s equestrian calendar comes to the spectacular Badminton Estate for three days of thrilling competitions, amazing horse displays and over 500 stands dedicated to food, drink and country pursuits. A great day out for all ages, dogs are welcome to come along, too. Keep your eyes peeled for a royal or two, known to frequent the horse trials every year.

Royal International Air Tattoo (July)Royal International Air Tatoo

(30-minute drive from Tetbury)

Every year in July, the skies above Fairford come alive with the world-renowned Air Tattoo; arguably one of the greatest airshows in the world. Drawing in over 185,000 people every year, The Air Tattoo welcomes over 300 aircraft from 30 nations around the world, with a thrilling programme of flying air displays taking place over the course of the event. An absolute must-visit for flying fans and adrenaline-junkies, with plenty on offer to keep others entertained, too.

Gatcombe Horse Trials (August)

(12-minute drive from Tetbury)

Another for the horse-lovers among us, August plays host to the annual Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, HRH The Princess Royal’s personal home. Watch riders test their mettle in many different events over the course of the weekend, discover the fantastic food and shopping village or be sure to be enthralled with the equestrian entertainment on offer in the main ring. Again, dogs are welcome too, making this a fantastic option for the whole family.

Tetbury Music Festival (Autumn)

A celebration of everything from classic to contemporary music, the Tetbury Music Festival offers a wonderful programme of concerts, talks and interviews throughout the town every year; the perfect antidote to the nights drawing in. Be sure to visit the website for details of what’s on and how to get tickets.

For Bigger Kids

Minchinhampton Old CourseMinchinhampton Golf Club

(11-minute drive from Tetbury)

Boasting no fewer than three courses, Minchinhampton is one of the finest golf courses in the Cotswolds, including two Championship courses and the original ‘old course’. Renowned for their immaculate presentation and excellent drainage, all three courses are open to visitors year-round, with tee bookings available to be made two weeks in advance by calling the dedicated Tee Bookings Line (found on website). Proper golf attire must be worn, along with golf shoes and socks.

Cirencester Golf Club

(20-minute drive from Tetbury)

A year-round, 18-hole course with a rich 125-year history, offering a fantastic day on the course for members and visitors alike. Designed by James Braid, this mature course boasts spectacular views towards Cirencester and the Marlborough Downs and is suitable for all grades of golfer. There’s also a driving range and short-game practice area, with buggy hire available.

Stroud Brewery

(20-minute drive from Tetbury)

The result of owner Greg Pilley’s dedication to his vision to create a sustainable, organic beer which actively contributes to its local community, Stroud Brewery has gone from strength to strength since its conception in 2006. Now a thriving brewery with a fantastic selection of organic craft beers, the Brewery itself boasts its own bar, shop and offers Brewery Tours; the perfect day out for beer enthusiasts.

Eating Out

Tetbury and its surrounding towns and villages have a fantastic selection of eateries. Here’s where we recommend trying:

Bakeries & Snacks

Café 53

A hidden gem in the heart of Tetbury, Café 53 is a small but perfectly formed garden café serving up freshly-prepared breakfasts, locally-sourced lunches and tasty homemade cakes. Well worth a visit no matter what the time of day, the café also runs popular late-night ‘open mic and jam’ nights on the last Thursday of every month, with a specially-created menu served up alongside, cocktails, beers and live music. At: 53 Long Street, Tetbury

The Blue Zucchini Brasserie

A fun, quirky café on Church Street, with great coffee, freshly-baked breakfasts, brunches, lunches and homemade cakes. At: 7-9 Church St, Tetbury

Lyndseys

A relaxed café that’s great for families, serving up homemade cakes and scones, a hearty breakfast and lunch selection and a lovely sheltered courtyard garden. At 19 Church Street, Tetbury

Lunch & Dinner

Quayles Cornerhouse

A fantastic café-bistro with an upmarket vibe, offering a refined selection of freshly made dishes for breakfast, lunch and popular tapas evenings, running every Thursday and Friday. At: 1 Long St, Tetbury.

The Royal Oak Tetbury

A classic Cotswolds inn with delicious organic food and a great selection of real ales, The Royal Oak offers a changing seasonal menu, themed food evenings and even a vegan menu. At: 1 Cirencester Road, Tetbury

The Close Hotel Restaurant

A beautiful hotel with an excellent restaurant that’s perfect for special occasions. The menu changes with the seasons and offers a wide choice, catering to all tastes. At: Long Street, Tetbury

The Priory Inn

An inn with a pub and restaurant, offering up freshly-cooked dishes using locally sourced ingredients; 90% of which have been sourced from within a 30-mile radius of Tetbury itself. A good option for relaxed eating out, with everything from wood-fired pizzas and gourmet burgers, to steaks and hearty salads on the menu. At: London Road, Tetbury

The Snooty Fox

One of Tetbury’s most iconic establishments, The Snooty Fox is a must-visit when you’re in town. The bar and restaurant offers all-day dining options, from breakfast and afternoon tea right through to dinner, with a strong focus on locally-sourced ingredients. At: Market Place, Tetbury

Cat and Custard Pot Inn

A charming English country pub with a refined take on pub grub classics, offering a seasonally-changing menu of light bites, specialty burgers, gastro-pub staples and meats from the grill. At: The Street, Shipton Moyne, Nr. Tetbury (8-minute drive from Tetbury)

The Trouble House

Situated a short drive out of town on the road to Cirencester is the iconic Trouble House. Well worth a visit at any time of day thanks to all-day dining options, menu highlights range from delicious homemade cakes, to charcuterie boards, elegant mains and tasty salads. Evening meals are served on Friday and Saturday nights. At: London Rd, Tetbury (5-minute drive from Tetbury)

The Potting Shed Pub

A fantastic pub with a distinctly rustic-chic feel, The Potting Shed can be found in the pretty village of Crudwell just a short drive from Tetbury. Menus are creative, British and very much focussed on showcasing the best of the season’s produce, offering hearty classics and more refined mains. Cocktails here are also well worth the visit. At: Crudwell, Wiltshire SN16 9EW (12-minute drive from Tetbury)

The Rectory Hotel

Sitting just over the road from The Potting Shed is its refined big sister; a hotel restaurant with an excellent reputation thanks to its highly-acclaimed chef team. Here, expect more elegant, upmarket dining, described as classic food with a contemporary edge. A definite to visit for a special dining occasion. At: Crudwell, Wiltshire SN16 9EP (12-minute drive from Tetbury)

The Wild Duck Inn

A member of the renowned Lucky Onion group of hotels and restaurants, The Wild Duck at Ewen boasts an enviable reputation for its refined take on classic pub grub. Head there for a memorable feast for lunch, dinner or just for a picturesque drink, finding out why Tatler named it as one of its Best of British. At Ewen, Cirencester GL7 6BY (20-minute drive from Tetbury)

The Gumstool Inn

Pub food, but not as you know it… The Gumstool offers up gastropub dining as elegant as the hotel in which it sits, making it a great place to head to experience the luxury of Calcot Manor without too many airs and graces. If you do want a more elegant treat, then the restaurant at Calcot Manor is also excellent. At: Calcot Manor, Near Tetbury GL8 8YJ (8-minute drive from Tetbury)

Rattlebone Inn

A favourite amongst royals who frequent the area, The Rattlebone Inn offers great food daily from lunch through to dinner, with a lighter snack and sandwich menu along with a la carte dining. At: Church Street, Sherston, Malmesbury SN16 0LR (12-minute drive from Tetbury)

Takeaways & Late Dining

Tetbury Fish & Chips

A highly-recommended fish & chip takeaway in the heart of the town. At: 6 Chipping St, Tetbury

The Bengal Lancer

Traditional Indian restaurant offering a menu of authentic classics, available to eat-in or take away. At: 11 Market Pl, Tetbury

Stargazy Fish Bar

Another classic fish and chips offering in the heart of the town, with options to dine in or take away and a focus on sustainability. At: Priory Inn, London Rd, Tetbury

 

If this guide has enticed you to come to stay in Tetbury, or nearby, visit our Tetbury holiday property page to book a holiday.

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