What is it like to visit the Cotswolds in January?

If you’re planning to visit the UK, or the Cotswolds in January, read our blog post for inspiration!

Although many people like to travel in warmer weather seasons, there are many advantages of winter travel. Perhaps it’s the only time of year you can take a holiday? Perhaps you’re visiting for business, or to visit relatives, and want to make the most of your time?

Whatever the reason, for the first time ever, Go Cotswolds is providing its guided tours of the Cotswolds in January – come and join us!

We love January travel!

As the owners of a tour company, we are very busy in the height of summer so we can’t often get away. Business is much quieter in January, so for several Januaries in a row, we took a vacation.

In previous years we have skied in Austria and Italy, safaried throughout southern Africa, road-tripped around the USA, and ate our way across India (that’s us pictured at the Taj Mahal in 2017!). When our daughter came along, we continued our winter travels, with January 2019 spent in Spain, and January 2020 in Cyprus.

But thanks to “you-know-what”, we were robbed of our January holiday in 2021. This was extra sad because it was the last one time we could’ve taken a January holiday before our daughter started school!

So now, January holidays are out for us. But, the good news is, we are now here in the UK and able to offer tours of the Cotswolds to all you folks planning a winter trip to the UK!

3 things you need to know about visiting the Cotswolds in January

1. It’s quiet in the Cotswolds in January

The village of Bibury - it's quiet in the Cotswolds in January

One of the best reasons to visit the Cotswolds in January is because everyone else will be visiting in the summer!

Yes, January in the Cotswolds is one of the least busy times of year for tourists, so you’ll have all those beautiful Cotswold villages to yourself! Wander the streets of Bibury alone, pick up a January bargain at a Stow-on-the-Wold store without getting into a queue, or admire the countryside at Dover’s Hill without another person spoiling your view.

Our best-selling Cotswolds in a Day tour is often fully booked weeks in advance during the summer months. But in the off-season, we have much better availability, often even at last minute. Come and join us! 

2. It’s cold in the Cotswolds in January

The village of Snowshill - it's cold in the Cotswolds in January, but snow isn't guaranteed

I guess each person’s perception of ‘cold’ is different depending on where you’re from. But what I mean is, January is usually the coldest time of year in the UK. The average temperature in the Cotswolds in January is approximately 1-6°C (around 30-40°F).

If you’re lucky, it might snow – and there is certainly a much greater chance of snow in January than at Christmas-time! (Have I told you before about how I’ve never experienced a White Christmas in England?! It’s true!) But snow in the middle-to-south-west of England is never guaranteed, and is more the exception than the rule!

While it can often be cold, damp and gloomy, the best days in the Cotswolds in January days are cold, crisp and clear. The kind of days where your breath freezes, your cheeks are rosy, and the winter sun casts a golden glow over that gorgeous honey-coloured Cotswold stone.

It’s the perfect weather for wrapping up warm and taking a tour of the beautiful Cotswold villages!

3. It gets dark early in the Cotswolds in January

It gets dark in the Cotswolds in January - but that makes for some beautiful early sunsets!

The other day (early January 2022) I saw a post on Facebook from a confused American. She was watching a live-stream of the pedestrian crossing outside Abbey Road studios in London, made famous by The Beatles. She said, “I’m watching this live stream, and it’s dark. It’s 5.10pm in England… is the footage really live?!”

The answer is yes! In fact, in England at midwinter (around 21st December), the sun rises at around 8.00 in the morning, and sets again around 4.00pm. At the summer solstice in June we get around 9 hours MORE sunlight per day than at midwinter!

So when you’re visiting the Cotswolds in January, don’t forget that the days are very short. We wrap up our Cotswolds tours around 5.00pm, when (in winter) it will already be dark (but don’t worry, it’s quite safe!). The long nights just give you a great excuse to retire early to a cosy pub with a roaring log fire and a glass of something warming.

Ready to book your tour of the Cotswolds in January?

Our best-selling Cotswolds in a Day tours run throughout January and February, with more availability in the spring, summer and autumn months. Private tours for groups of up to 16 people are also available – click here for our ‘off the shelf’ private tours, or here to read about tailor-made day trips!

Just need group transport, without a guide? Then, check out our minibus hire options.

Not quite ready? Sign up to receive our newsletter and we’ll send you our news and offers, so you can keep Go Cotswolds in mind. Sign up here.

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