This page has been designed with you, a Cotswold tourism business and host, in mind. It is about giving you a bit of inspiration and some practical tools to help you promote what this quintessential English part of the country has to offer your customers. And there is much to be gained from telling our visitors all about the area: a recent report indicated that 83% of the businesses surveyed felt that being in the AONB has a positive impact on their businesses! (Assessment of the Economic Value of the Cotswolds AONB, 2013)
Your knowledge: an essential part of the journey
With so much to offer, it comes as no surprise that very few of us can claim to be experts on the Cotswolds. However, the more we know and learn, the more we can inspire our visitors to get the most out of their visit, which is why we’ve come up with various way to help you increase your knowledge:
- Free events organised by us, at the Cotswolds Conservation Board, open to all businesses registered with Our-Land.co.uk
- Our Escape to the Cotswolds website with plenty of information about exploring the area, as well as events and courses
- A quarterly newsletter to keep you up to date with what is news from the Cotswolds AONB.
- The Cotswold Lion newspaper which you can have delivered straight to your door, twice a year.
- The Escape to the Cotswolds visitor centre a the Old Prison, Northleach. Come and visit us and find out so much more about the Cotswolds and its fascinating history, culture, nature and opportunities for exploring. For further details including current opening hours, go to: www.escapetothecotswolds.org.uk/escape
Showcasing the beauty of the Cotswolds AONB
We are only too aware that often pictures speak louder than words, which is why we’ve made a selection of our best images of the Cotswolds AONB available to you, free of charge. Whether you will be using them to build your own website or in promotional materials, please use them to help showcase the beauty of this area. Take a look at our online gallery here: http://cotswoldsaonb.photoshelter.com
Spreading the word...
Together with your own local knowledge and recommendations, help visitors make the most of their stay by providing them with leaflets and maps. We’ve added some key links below. Please feel free to add these to your own website for visitors to print off as they wish, or print them off and have copies available for guests to use.
Getting to & around
It is possible to get to many of the popular towns and villages in the Cotswolds by bus. For more information, our ‘Getting here & around’ page provides route maps and links to all bus services in the Cotswolds. If there is a bus service close to your business, why not link the online timetable to your website to encourage greener travel?
The Explore the Cotswolds by Public Transport Guide and online timetables are an invaluable information resource to traveling around the Cotswolds by bus and train. Produced by the Cotswolds Conservation Board, the guide includes taster walks and cycle rides, attractions and places to visit as well as route maps to help people get around easier.
Cotswolds Discoverer ticket – leave the car behind and explore the Cotswolds by bus and train with either a one-day or a three-day ticket offering unlimited travel. Tickets can be bought at any UK rail station.
Walking in the Cotswolds
Walking is undoubtedly the best way to make the most of the Cotswolds, and admire its natural beauty and picturesque towns and villages and we have a wide range of resources to encourage and inspire visitors to get out and explore the Cotswolds on foot:
- There are a wide range of downloadable circular walks covering all parts of the Cotswolds. These are easy-to-follow routes and often stile-free making them easier to access
- Our free guided walks, led by our voluntary wardens are an ideal way of getting out into the countryside for a couple of hours or longer and learning more about the area. They’re great for visitors too as there is no need to book a place in advance – just turn up at the starting point .
- The famous 102 mile long Cotswold Way National Trail offers some of the Cotswolds’ best scenery. Walk it over a couple of weeks or just download one of the very popular circular walks to provide a taster of the trail – with a refreshment stop along the way of course.
Tasting the Costwolds – making the visitor’s experience even more unique!
- Food & Drink in the Cotswolds
- The Grazing Guide – local food; tried and tested!
- Local produce and Farm Shops on our doorstep
- Weekly Farmers Markets – including the award-winning Stroud farmers’ market, featured in Rick Stein’s Food Heroes, which takes place every Saturday!
For a more sustainable Cotswolds AONB
We are keen to encourage best practice across the Cotswolds AONB and tourism, as one of the main economic drivers in the UK, plays a key part in the implementation of sustainability.
All businesses in the Cotswolds, tourism providers or not, can make a significant contribution towards sustainable tourism in our area. There are also a number of environmental, social and economical advantages of operating sustainably.
Whether you provide accommodation, food outlet, visitor attraction or activity, there is much to be achieved by striving towards the following goals:-
- Good environmental management and marketing – staff awareness and training, monitoring and record keeping
- Promoting environmental efforts on your website, as well as through community and social projects
- Ensuring your business is using energy efficiently (e.g. lighting, heating, insulation and renewable energy use)
- Consuming water efficiently through good maintenance, opting for low-consumption appliances, harvesting rainwater as well as using eco-cleaning products
- Opting for environmentally-friendly goods and services by purchasing products made from recycled materials and promoting local food and drink
- Minimising waste by encouraging the ‘eliminate, reduce, reuse, recycle’ principle
- Promoting local and national public transport services,as well as cycling and walking
- Innovating by introducing best practice actions to increase your business’ sustainability!
Sustainable tourism - showing respect for our environment
- The Cotswolds Conservation Board is the body established to conserve and enhance the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Its website provides information about its role, members, meetings, publications and the Cotswolds AONB Management Plan.
- The Green Tourism Business Scheme provides a wide range of tourism businesses with beneficial environmental advice and auditing.
A warm and helpful welcome – vital to ensuring your visitors have a great stay!
- Walkers Are Welcome - Walkers are Welcome towns and villages are places which have something special to offer walkers. Find out how you can join and benefit from the scheme.
- Welcome to Excellence - the Welcome Host customer service training course helps participants to acquire new customer service and communication skills and improve their knowledge of local facilities and services.