The quintessentially English countryside village of Broadway is one of the prettiest I have had the pleasure of visiting. This guide will give you some ideas of the best things to do in Broadway in the Cotswolds, whether you have the luxury of a long weekend away in the country or are just after a Cotswolds day trip itinerary.
Broadway is wildly popular in the summer months, which if you can, I would try and avoid. This is a dinky place and just not designed to handle the number of people that can flock here, it leads to overcrowding and it just being impossible to visit some places.
I now only go during the quieter seasons and I am unlikely to return during peak times (the summer holidays being the busiest) for this very reason. The weather can be a bit more unpredictable, but I would take that any day of the week over crushing crowds. Plus, the High Street in Broadway is lined with Horse Chestnut trees that look stunning in both the spring and autumn.
Usually I am just there for the day, but recently I had the most cosy winter break staying the The Lygon Arms at the heart of the village, formerly a 600 year old coaching inn and now the most lovely boutique hotel. The streets are lit up with beautiful fairy lights and inside has roaring fires and some very comfy sofas to sink into with a glass of mulled wine.
How to Get to Broadway
The nearest train stations are in Evesham or Moretan-on-Marsh, but you will need to take a taxi from these locations to Broadway as they are both still a 15 minute drive away.
To be honest, unless you are sticking in one location for your trip and/or just there for the day, I would think seriously about bringing your own car or hiring one. This is the countryside and there is a decent driving distance between places and the public transport options are limited, so you run a real risk of knocking up a decent taxi bill.
What to Do in Broadway
Despite it’s diminutive size, there is more to do in Broadway than it would first appear and it is possible to spend a long weekend here without venturing more than a few miles from the High Street.
Top Tip: If you do visit between December and March, be aware that many of the activities I mention below are closed (I have indicated where relevant), so unless you are just looking for a weekend of lie ins, walks and wine (in which case Broadway is a blissful place to choose), maybe come back at a different time.
Broadway Tower & Park
Set within 50 acres of parkland, a visit to Broadway Tower could be the main feature of a Cotswolds day trip in itself. Climb to the viewing platform at the top to take in the sweeping views; this is the second highest point in the Cotswolds and on a clear day you can see across 16 counties!
Take a leisurely walk to the top as each flight of stairs brings you out into different exhibition. The subject of one is William Morris, who used Broadway Tower as a holiday retreat and another is the Royal Observer Corps who used the Tower as a look-out to track enemy planes during the Second World War. The bottom floor houses a gift shop with beautiful, locally made goodies.
It would be hard to visit The Cotswolds and not engage in some walking at some point! For those that fancy something a bit more strenuous than just strolling to the shops, there is a great four mile circular walk from the village, with Broadway Tower being about the half way point. A section of the walk is part of the iconic Cotswolds Way and it takes about 2.5 to 3 hours, not including any stops.
The walk up is steep, but the views are fantastic; there are also some strategically placed benches at various intervals on the way up to admire the scenery (or catch your breath!).
Opening Hours: 10:00am to 5:00pm daily, all year round
Phone: 01386 852 390
Tickets: You can purchase tickets in advance here (recommended in peak times) or purchase on arrival
Need to Know: Dogs are welcome in all outdoor areas only
This is newly opened and actually quite easy to miss unless you know it is there. When you enter Broadway Tower from the road, the track quickly splits into two, the one on the left taking you into the main car park. Take the one on the right and follow the track down for a few minutes until you come across some additional parking; Tower Barn is on your left.
Top Tip: If you can’t face the main café which can resemble scenes straight off a London rush hour train, this is a more elegant option and likely to be much quieter. They also take reservations, something I highly recommend you taking them up on if you plan on visiting in peak season.
Here is the official visitor centre where you can rent ebikes to explore the area or partake in one of their programme of artistic courses. There is also a shop and an espresso bar that serves some superb brunch dishes, an elegant afternoon tea and also plays host to a seasonal supper club.
Opening Hours: 9:30am to 5:00pm daily, all year round
Phone: 01386 572 284
Tickets: Nuclear Bunker Tours are restricted in numbers. Buy your ticket at the tower shop on the day of your visit, at £4.50 per person.
Need to Know: There is no disabled access, children under 10 are not allowed and under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.
There is a hidden nuclear bunker in the grounds, a relic from the Cold War. This is the one part of the park I haven’t visited, but you can purchase tickets to descend the ladder and step back in time courtesy of a forty five minute guided tour.
Opening Hours: 10:00am to 4:30pm on weekends and bank holidays between May and October
Phone: 01386 852 390
Tickets: Nuclear Bunker Tours are restricted in numbers. Buy your ticket at the Tower shop on the day of your visit, at £4.50 per person
Need to Know: There is no disabled access, children under 10 are not allowed and under 16s must be accompanied by an adult
Morris & Brown Café
This café is the hub of the whole park, with benches overlooking the countryside to enjoy in the summer and and a cosy vibe inside when it’s chillier (I love the huge embedded fire in the wall).
The food is good here (and reasonably priced) with a range of the classic café staples such as sandwiches, paninis and soups, as well as options such as the rather delicious, and very generous, Smoked Fish Platter.
I have been here many times and have yet to see it below 80% capacity and usually there is a queue for tables. There is no table service, you go up to the counter to order, so it can descend into total chaos very easily with people table hovering (also very off putting when you’re trying to eat) and no one operating a first come first serve basis for allocation tables.
The staff are lovely, but clearing tables is low on their list of priorities (there isn’t an area you take your own plates back), which results in crockery being stacked up on every imaginable surface (and even the floor) as people try to sit at tables. Unsurprisingly, since I’ve discovered the espresso bar at the Tower Barn, my preference is to eat there.
Opening Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm daily
Contact: 01386 852 945
Need to Know: Dogs are welcome in the outdoor seating areas
Take the left fork just after the entrance for parking. There is daily parking fee of £6 or four hours for £3. In the peak season it can become impossible find a space, leading some people to try and park on the narrow road that leads here. This is not actually allowed and can cause great difficulty to those trying the drive along it (particularly the tractors).
Address: Broadway Tower, Middle Hill, WR12 7LB
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Broadway Museum & Art Gallery
The Broadway Museum & Art Gallery is located on the High Street and has lots of local exhibits focussing on the history of the village of Broadway through the centuries. There is also a gift shop and a second hand bookshop, both of which are free to enter (there is a charge to enter the museum).
Address: Tudor House, 64-65 High Street, Broadway, WR12 7DP
Opening Hours: Ever changing and seasonal. Check the official website for up to date information.
Phone: 01386 859 047
Tickets: Can be purchased on arrival
Snowshill Manor and Garden
Snowshill Manor and Garden is a National Trust site consisting of a historic Manor House, an English country garden, café, shop and second hand book store. The Manor itself was once owned by Charles Wade, the famous collector and the lavish interiors are filled with an eclectic (and at times, downright weird) mix of collectibles, if that’s the right word.
Like many National Trust properties, entrance to the Manor is on a timed ticket, the cost of which is included in the entrance fee. Make sure you book your slot as soon as you arrive, as you can often find the next few tours are booked up already. The timed entry includes access to the Manor, the Priest’s House and the Turquoise cellar. I really appreciate the entry numbers being capped, it means you get to enjoy wandering around without the crowds, which also helps preserve what your are seeing.
There is also a model village on display through the summer and lots of events running throughout the year, visiting Snowshill is a great Cotswolds day out!
Address: Snowshill, Near Broadway, Gloucestershire, WR12 7JU
Opening Hours: Different parts are open at different times, but the core hours are 11:30am – 4:30pm
Phone: 01386 852 410
Tickets: Bought on arrival, up to date prices can be found here
Need to Know: Assistance dogs only
National Trust properties are on the expensive side for one time entry, so consider purchasing an annual membership, if you will use it! It is one of my favourite purchases for encouraging me to take day trips and UK staycations.
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway
Painstakingly rebuilt after it was demolished in 1963, Broadway station is now operational again, but rather than receiving high speed trains from London, has a steam and heritage diesel train!
The line stops at a total of six stations on the 14 mile restored tracks between Broadway and Cheltenham Racecourse, with some superb views across the Cotswolds countryside.
As well as just riding the train, there run lots of themed events and also offer a driver’s experience!
Address: GWSR Broadway Station, Station Road, Broadway, WR12 7DF
Opening Hours: Closed for some parts of the year, check the timetable.
Contact: 01242 621 405
Tickets: Prices can be found here, follow the guidance for whether to book in advance.
Need to Know: Dogs on leads are allowed both in the train station and on the train, but not in the buffet cart or carpeted areas. Be aware that parking can be tricky, see here for instructions. Alternatively, it is just a 15 minute walk from Broadway village.
This company is quite close to my heart; I love lavender and have bought a lot from them over the years from the staple lavender soap to their culinary products; unusually, lavender panacotta is my favourite ever dessert! They even supplied some of the favours for my beautiful Cotswolds wedding in Lower Slaughter back in 2018.
Apart from their wonderful shop (which also take online orders), Cotswolds Lavender also have a tea room with an wonderful assortment treats, lavender flavours optional! The highlight though is walking through the glorious lavender fields on a summers day, heaven in every way.
Address: Hill Barn Farm Snowshill, Broadway, WR12 7JY
Opening Hours: 10:00am to 5:00pm everyday between mid June and the beginning of August, check their website for up to date information
Contact: 01386 854 821
Tickets: Access to the shop and tea rooms is free, but there is a fee to access the fields
Need to Know: The shop is also closed except the the dates specified, online orders are taken all year round. Dogs on leads are allowed in the fields, shop and outdoor areas of the tea rooms
Shops in Broadway
Just take a wander, Broadway is not a huge place and I have spent many an enjoyable afternoon wandering around the local shops and stopping for coffees and wines in between!
Some of my favourite Broadway shops are are The Cotswolds Chocolate Company which actually supplied the complimentary in room chocolates at my gorgeous wedding venue, Slaughters Manor. I am always tempted by a bar of my absolute favourite here, dark chocolate with salted caramel.
Across the road is Sue Parkinson, a boutique that I always intend on taking a “quick look” and before I know it the labyrinth of rooms containing clothing, jewellery, beauty products and homeware have sucked me in and I am standing at the till with my credit card in hand.
For a bit of Ye Old England, head to Hamiltons, an all too rare, traditional sweet shop located in a covered courtyard just off the High Street. Stop in for your sugar fix in any form it could ever take.
Restaurants in Broadway in The Cotswolds
If you are looking for a relaxing long weekend filled with wine and fantastic food in front of log fires, this place has you covered! From fine dining to cafés, it has excellent variety for whatever you fancy.
Cafés, Tea Rooms & Delis
I love a little café in the Cotswolds, they are mostly independent and each have their own character. These are my favourites in Broadway, just because they offer something a little different, but there are several others that are also worthy of popping in for coffee and cake,
This has to be number one for me, Broadway Deli is a little Aladdin’s Cave of foodie goodness; they have a superb fresh produce display, a chilled deli section with the most amazing array of cheeses, salads and picnic goodies (I had an the most amazing sweet potato scotch egg) and a large range of other products from gorgeous salad dressing to condiments I never knew I needed in my kitchen.
It carries on upstairs where the selection gets a bit more eclectic, with items such tea towels, egg cups and other various homeware bits and bobs, all balanced precariously on rickety tables.
Out the back is a tea room serving breakfast and lunch that opens up onto a beautiful garden. I’ve been lucky enough to eat here before on a lovely hot summer’s day (highly recommended, especially if you can order the hot summer’s day as well!).
It is located right in the middle of the High Street and has a fairly eye catching window display, you won’t miss it.
Address: 32 High Street, Broadway, WR12 7DT
Opening Times: 8:00am to 4:00pm, daily
Phone: 01386 306 670
Need to Know: Reservations not required for parties under 8 people
Number 32 Café & Bar
Right next to the Lygon Arms hotel, this is a lovely little café that also does takeaway. Their breakfast and brunch options are superb and for a little bit of New York in Broadway (!) try their bagel menu.
As well as an indoor seating menu, they have a small outdoor area on the pavement, perfect for people watching.
Address: 32 High Street, Broadway, WR12 7DT
Opening Times: 8:00am to 4:00pm, daily
Phone: 01386 306 670
Need to Know: Reservations not required for parties under 8 people
Bonus Suggestion: Lygon Wine Bar
Not a café, but it would be remiss of me not to mention this place, it is the epitome of the infamous Cotswolds charm, best enjoyed on on a cold winter’s day, preferably after a bracing walk.
The flagstone floors and huge roaring fires is the perfect atmosphere to enjoy some exceptional wines and Italian tapas; try the calamari, tuna tartare (one of my favourites anyway and utterly amazing here) and the butternut and sage arancini.
I have enjoyed a couple of blissfully peaceful afternoons with my husband here, time spectacularly well spent in my opinion.
Address: The Lygon Wine Bar, High Street, WR12 7DU
Opening Times: 10:30am to 10:00pm, daily
Phone: 01386 852 255
Need to Know: A “discretionary” 12.5% service charge is added to the bill. In my experience, the service is ok, but not of the quality worthy of the automatic application of this.
Restaurants in Broadway
There are few restaurants in Broadway, but luckily they are on the whole of excellent quality, even if staying for a week, it wouldn’t get repetitive.
The Lygon Bar & Grill
The restaurant attached to the Lygon Arms is rather grand; the high arched ceiling has beautiful stag chandeliers hanging from it, leather banquettes line the walls and of course it wouldn’t be the countryside without a whopper of a fireplace in the middle of it all. You can enjoy any meal of the day here and for a special treat, try the afternoon tea which can either be taken here, out in the gardens or explore the labyrinth of lounges in the adjoining Lygon Arms to find a cosy corner to settle down in.
If coming for dinner, don’t miss the bar hidden away at the back of the restaurant. With it’s speak easy vibe and imaginative cocktails (my favourite is the lemon and basil martini), it’s a great place to set yourself up for a wonderful evening ahead.
The Lygon Bar & Grill is equally welcome of hotel or outside guests, I have been fortunate to be both; but if I’m being completely honest, while this restaurant has it merits, the food is decidedly average, but with higher than average prices. You can read my full review of the hotel and restaurant here for more information on this.
Address: The Lygon Arms, High Street, WR12 7DU
Opening Times: 07:00am to 9:30pm, daily
Phone: 01386 852 255
Need to Know: A “discretionary” 12.5% service charge is added to the bill. As per my previous comment regarding the Lygon Wine Bar, the service I have experienced is not worthy of this charge.
The double AA rosette restaurant attached to the Broadway Hotel has very much a casual atmosphere, but don’t let that fool you, the dishes on their mostly British menu are both elegant and creative and the service is among the best I have come across. Our waiter also knew his stuff on both the menu and what wine we should choose from their extensive wine list to go with our food; as despite wine being one of my favourite things in life, I know surprisingly little about it.
My trio of lamb was so well put together I didn’t talk the entire way through and was so good in fact, I felt compelled to try dessert, a warm dark chocolate and sea salt fondant with iced tonic bean mousse and praline tuile. I am not a massive dessert person (savoury over sweet every day of the week!) but I did manage half of this before I just was to incredibly full to continue. All in all, a lovely evening and probably my pick to return to.
For a more “British country pub” vibe, try The Jockey, the other eatery at the Broadway Hotel serving a more casual menu that runs all day. Conversely, they also have a fairly exotic cocktail list with options such as Popcorn Tini with salted caramel vodka, cream, milk, popcorn syrup and popcorn and a Fresh to Death with cucumber, rum, lime, absinthe and cucumber syrup.
Address: The Green, Cotswold Way, WR12 7AA
Opening Times: 12:00pm – 3:00pm and 7:00pm to 9:30pm, daily
Phone: 01386 852 401
Need to Know: A 10% discretionary service charge was added to the bill, but everything about our experience here was truly excellent.
Russell’s of Broadway
This is the one place I have yet to try in here, so I can’t give you much of a personal opinion about it. I fully plan to visit Russell’s the next time I spend an evening in Broadway as this double AA rosette, family run restaurant has an excellent reputation.
It serves a superb looking, modern British menu made with locally sourced produce. For celebrations, there is a private dining room, as well as the bright and airy restaurant, formally the show room of the famed Gordon Russell’s furniture. In addition to the à la carte menu, a traditional roast is served for Sunday lunch and a set menu option for lunches the all other days of the week and dinners Monday to Thursday.
Address: 20 High St, WR12 7DT
Opening Times: 12:00pm – 2:15pm and 6:00pm to 9:15pm, daily
Phone: 01386 853 555
Hotels in Broadway in The Cotswolds
Broadway has several great places to lay your head for the night. Although I have only personally stayed at the Lygon Arms, I know my luxury hotels and the selection below are the ones I would stay at in a heartbeat and know enough about to be comfortable recommending.
You’ll also find that most hotels in Broadway are dog friendly; all are in the list below except Buckland Manor, which I believe allows assistance dogs only.
Several of the recommendations below feature on my favourite luxury hotel booking website, Mr & Mrs Smith, a selection of the most beautifully curated hotels.
I book with them wherever possible as they also offer a price match guarantee and £50 credit for your next booking if you find any of their properties cheaper on another site.
They also offer a Mr & Mrs Smith “Extra” on arrival for each booking; the ones for the hotels below range from half bottles of champagne, scented candles and handmade hot water bottles to take home.
The Lygon Arms
This is the kind of hotel best enjoyed in the winter; a 600 year old converted coaching house with period features, huge fires and sofas that you won’t be able to hoist yourself out of. We were here between Christmas and New Year and this place had all the seasonal magic, a sprinkling of snow would have made it even more perfect.
A couple of miles from Broadway on top of a hill lies 400 acres of privately owned countryside heaven, Farncombe Estate. Within the grounds it has three boutique hotels, which in ascending order or luxury are, The Fish Hotel, Dormy House and Foxhill Manor.
The Fish Hotel
The Fish Hotel is the most informal hotel of the three and is set up for adventure. A recent addition has been the extension of the hotel into the grounds in the form of “huts” and the amazing looking treehouses set out into the woodlands (this hotel is particularly good for kids).
I have had my eye on a weekend away in the Boaty McBoatface hut which has access to an island in the middle of your own private lake that you can have alfresco picnics on with your very own paddleboat for transportation!
The outdoor spa bath, seating area and cinema also float my boat (!) and when it all gets to much, you can snuggle up on the sofa inside with your log burning fire.
Their main restaurant specialises in seafood and is aptly named “Hook”, with some of my favourite dishes being the crab risotto with lime leaf and ginger and the hand dived scallops, cured fennel sausage, almond cream and apple (I could go on for a while here).
I love to eat lunch here out on the sun filled terrace after a walk around one of the estate’s many walking trails with the dogs, or when it’s a bit colder, inside the light filled garden room.
The winner of 2017 Hotel of Year by Small Luxury Hotels, you won’t struggle to see why from the minute you pull up in the driveway. The service is intuitive here and the setting cosy, stylish and inviting. Come to Dormy House if you love a good spa, this one has more awards that I can count and a blissful pool lined with candles.
They also have several excellent restaurants (a couple of which I have tried myself) for you to chose between, from tiny MO for a seven course tasting menu that welcomes a maximum of 12 people per sitting, to The Potting Shed country pub and the Back Garden for fine dining from locally sourced produce.
Don’t miss their superb afternoon tea, best combined with a relaxing afternoon in the spa….
The best of the best, Foxhill Manor only has eight bedrooms and can also be hired out for exclusive use. Every picture I have seen of the bedrooms makes me want to drop everything and run there immediately; this is the kind of place you go for a blissful, peaceful and the most luxuriously exclusive weekend.
While in my eyes not as good (I may have quite a strong emotional connection there!), there are lots of similarities; small boutique hotel, English country garden and fabulous food (the restaurant has three AA rosettes). Just to add to the list of accretions, Buckland Manor is also a Relais & Châteaux featured property, the final seal of approval that this is indeed a fabulous property to stay at.
I have both visited and stayed at several hotels in their group and loved it every time, they do a really great job of creating an intimate, relaxed and luxurious atmosphere.
I love the luxury of a hotel, but sometimes renting a place to yourself holds a lot more appeal, especially when travelling as a family or larger group. To have your own little slice of Cotswolds heaven that could be straight out of the movie The Holiday, consider hiring a cottage for total bucolic bliss.
Final Thoughts: Things to Do in Broadway
For that quintessentially English countryside experience, The Cotswolds delivered in spades and Broadway is arguably their poster child (of one of maybe!).
A day trip to Broadway is wonderful, but for the full experience, choose one of their excellent boutique hotels and make a weekend of it, you may just return to real life the most relaxed and refreshed you have ever felt.
– There is a wonderful selection of Cotswolds hotels on my favourite hotel booking website, Mr & Mrs Smith.
– You can also view & book accommodation in Broadway with Booking.com, Agoda or Hotels.com.
– You can check out my full list of tried, tested and recommended Travel Resources here.