Are you wondering what to wear in the Cotswolds? In this guide we round up the Cotswold dress code and style for villages, luxury hotels and for going on long walks in the countryside.
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But before we get into what to wear in the Cotswolds, we thought it would be useful to round up what actually constitutes the Cotswolds and what to expect from the Cotswolds weather in summer, winter, fall and spring.
What is the Cotswolds?
The Cotswolds is England’s largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) at around 800 square miles. While most of the Cotswolds lies in the counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire but it also has some territory in Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Somerset and Wiltshire.
It incorporates some of England’s most picturesque villages and towns and is an easy day trip to do from London by both car or train.
So what is the best time the Cotswolds, one of England’s most beautiful regions?
Overview of the Weather in The Cotswolds
Weather in the Cotswolds in Summer
Summer is definitely peak season in the Cotswolds. Average temperatures in the Cotswolds in summer tend to hover around 19–22°C and you can expect long daylight hours. HOwever it is still possible to see rain in Summer.
Weather in the Cotswolds in Winter
The Cotswolds in Winter gets average temperatures of 6–8°C and it can be both cold and rainy with December and February being some of the rainiest months to visit.
And if you want to see snow in the Cotswolds you are best to head there in January or February but this is never guaranteed and it is unlikely that you will get a white Christmas in the Cotswolds
Weather in the Cotswolds in Spring and Fall
If you want to avoid crowds and have relatively good temperatures then the shoulder seasons of Spring and Fall are your best bet.
In Fall the temperatures hover between 9–17°C and you will be rewarded with some of the best fall colors in England.
In Spring the temperatures are similar and are a great place to see snowdrops and bluebells in the UK but you are likely to get some rain showers during this time.
So now you know what to expect from the weather in the Cotswolds what is the Cotswolds dress code?
The Cotswolds Dress Code
Like most of the UK and places such as London, the Cotswolds does not have a strict dress code.
The Cotswolds however does have some of the best walking in the UK so you will want to consider what hikes or walk you plan to do and plan your wardrobe accordingly.
Also, the Cotswolds has some of the best restaurants in the UK such as Le Manoir aux Quat’Saison aswell as some very luxury hotels.
If you want to enjoy some of these fine dining restaurants and restaurants then you will need to check the restaurant dress code as these are likely to require smart casual clothing. Some afternoon teas in the UK including in the Cotswolds also sometimes have a dress code too which is worth looking out for.
Generally speaking for the nicer restaurants and hotels in the Cotswolds we recommend sticking with a smart casual outfi.
However if you just plan to eat dinner and lunch in pubs it is unlikely you will find that there is a dress code. Also many pubs in the Cotswolds in particular are used to walkers so you will be able to plan a walk with a stop for lunch without worrying about a change of clothes.
So now you know where to look out for dress codes in the Cotswolds we will turn our attention to what to wear in the Cotswolds by season alongside some outfit inspiration.
What to wear to the Cotswolds in Summer
Summer is peak season in the Cotswolds and you will find a wide array of outfits and styles.
If you plan on doing lots of walking in the Cotswolds in summer we recommend zippable hiking trousers as these can work in cooler weather as well as the hot summer days.
For your tops for walking you can’t go wrong with t shirts and a lightweight sweater or hoodie for those early starts.
However if you don’t plan on doing walking and plan to stick to the Cotswolds villages such as Bourton on the Water, Burford and Chipping Norton you can wear pretty much antyhing you like based on the weather of the day.
Usually in the Cotswolds in the summer I would opt for a Maxi Dress or summer dress with a floral pattern with a denim jacket for when it gets chilly.
But if this is not your style you could opt for lightweight trousers or shorts with a t shirt or blouse and not look out of place.
WE also recommend adding the below to your Cotswolds packing list in Summer
- a compact umbrella – as although not always rainy in the Cotswolds there is always a chance you will get a shower in the Cotswolds.
- pashmina – it doubles up as a good extra layer.
- sunglasses – it can be bright in the English countryside
- Sunhat – although you don’t need a super wide brimmed summer hat, a sun hat is a good idea for the Cotswolds in summer especially if you plan to go out on a walk.
What to wear to the Cotswolds in Winter
The Winter in the Cotswolds can be quite cold.
If you plan on walking in the Cotswolds in Winter then you will need lots of layers. Good walking trousers are good for walking in the Cotswolds, but you will want layers such as a t shirt, hoodie, and waterproof jackets with you for going on long Winter Cotswolds walks.
However if you plan to stick to villages and towns in the Cotswolds then jeans are a great choice. Although you will see all cuts and colors of jeans in the UK, a dark or black pair of skinny jeans is a great choice for the Cotswolds in Winter.
Thick jumpers with an underlayer are perfect for pub lunches, light walks and for strolling around the villages.
If you plan on walking you will want to have a waterproof coat that is good for outdoors activities. However if you plan on visiting one of the higher end Cotswolds establishments then a smart wool coat is a good idea.
I recommend pairing with a nice scarf and winter hat. And if you are visiting at a particularly cold time then you will also want to pack a pair of gloves.
What to wear to the Cotswolds in Spring and Fall
Spring and fall are some of the best times to visit the Cotswolds to avoid the crowds but also have some reasonable weather.
If you plan on walking at this time you will want walking trousers that can zip off to become shorts for warmer weather as well as layers.
It is also worth making sure you pack plenty of waterproof wear as it can get pretty rainy in the Cotswolds shoulder seasons.
Best Shoes for the Cotswolds
Hiking Boots / Sandals
These are only really necessary if you plan on doing long walks. If you plan to stick to the Cotswolds villages then these can definitely be left at home.
For most people visiting the Cotswolds, sneakers are the perfect shoe. When I am just touring Cotswolds villages I usually wear my Converse but any sneaker or runner would be fine.
Boots are the number one shoe for those visiting the Cotswold in Winter or in the shoulder season rainy days.
I like an ankle boot but it is personal preference as to whether you want to wear ankle boots or knee high boots.
As we live on the doorstep of the Cotswolds, I always find it strange how many people wear wellies in the Cotswolds, particularly of the Hunter brand.
Wellie boots are perfect for flat walks that are muddy however locals do not wear wellies in and around the villages as a matter of course.
What Else to Pack for the Cotswolds
- Phone and Batteries
- Reusable Water Bottles
Cotswolds Packing List FAQs
What to wear in the Cotswolds for men?
What to wear for men i the cotswolds for men is largely similar as the packing list for women.
Jeans, jumpers and boots are perfect for men in Winter and the cooler shoulder seasons.
And in summer shorts and t shirts are perfectly acceptable. However in the nicer restaurants you will want a pair of smarter shoes or boots paired with chinos and a long or short sleeved shirt. Jumpers and blazers are a great addition in Winter.
Do I Need Swimwear in the Cotswolds?
One of the questions we get asked a lot is Do you need swimwear in the Cotswolds? And the answer is probably not.
Unless you are staying in some Cotswolds accomodation with a pool then you will not need swimwear.
Even in Bourton on the water where you will see people crossing the water in summer, you won’t need swimwear.
Have you visited The Cotswolds? We would love to hear what you wore in the comments below. Or if you have a question please do leave it below and we will get back to you soon.