What makes a British staycation so great?

By | Blogs

Staycations are set to be a particularly popular holiday choice in 2021 – and it doesn’t take a genius to work out why. Sadly, Covid has put paid to dreams of far-flung, exotic destinations for most of us.

But the truth is, even before a global pandemic changed the face of the travel industry, we were waxing lyrical about staycationing in UK. There’s just so much to love about a homeland holiday and we have a feeling more people will be converted in the coming months – perhaps choosing to holiday in the UK even after the world has properly opened up again.

Here are just some of the reasons we love a Great British staycation:


You get to swerve the airport drama.

Getting up at silly o’clock, never-ending queues, baggage allowances, lost luggage… not the most relaxing ways to start a holiday! The great thing about staying in the UK is you can choose when you hit the road, you avoid all the stressful airport procedures and your only restriction on luggage is how much room the kids are taking up in the back of the car! Plus, you don’t have to worry about accidentally leaving someone’s passport at the petrol station.



Furry friends are welcome!

We’re a nation of pet lovers, and it can be heart-wrenching to leave your four-legged family members at home while you jet off to sunnier climes. Not to mention the hassle of finding a willing pet-sitter while you’re away.



Here in the UK, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to pet-friendly holiday accommodation, with options up and down the country ranging from hotels to self-catering cottages.


Travelling with kids is less stressful.

We’ve all been that parent: trapped on a plane with a screaming baby or a tantruming toddler and feeling like you have hundreds of disgruntled eyes burning holes in the back of your head. It’s not fun for anyone involved.


Holidaying in the UK means you can travel in your own vehicle and in your own time. While that won’t guarantee you a tantrum-free journey, you won’t feel like you’re under the scrutiny of other passengers and you can make pit stops for fresh air, snacks and distraction as often you need to.



It boosts the UK economy.

Choosing to holiday in the UK means your hard-earned money is going back into our own economy and supporting all kinds of businesses that depend on tourism. Hotels, holiday cottages, pubs, cafes, restaurants, leisure attractions, campsites – the list goes on! And, though we don’t want to dwell too much on the C word, there’s no getting away from the fact that in the post-lockdown world our hospitality industry needs the support more than ever.


You can combine it with seeing friends and family.

Most of us have friends and family around the UK who we don’t get to see very often. Planning a staycation can be a great opportunity to visit or meet up with loved ones en route to your destination. It’s also much easier to invite extended family to join you for some or all of your holiday than it is if you go abroad.



You’ll learn more about our beautiful country.

Stick a pin in a map of the UK and no matter where it lands, you’re sure to find a whole host of options for a holiday to remember. There is so much beauty and history to discover right here under our noses, but everyday life is hectic and it’s not usually possible to cover much ground if you’re limited to weekends alone. A staycation is a brilliant way of getting to know this island we call home.


Staycations in the Cotswolds


Of course, for us the ultimate destination for a Great British staycation is right here in the Cotswolds! Spanning six counties and 790 square miles, this picturesque area boasts charm and history at every turn. The iconic Cotswolds Hills are the region’s best-known landmark, but there is much more to explore besides, including quaint villages, bustling towns, river valleys, woodlands and a heap of family-friendly attractions.

If you’re looking for a base for your holiday in the Cotswolds, you’ll find a selection of country escapes and lakeside lodges here at Watermark. If you’re seeking a rural retreat, you’ll love The Byre at Tiltup, a stunning country house set over two acres in a beautiful hamlet near the charming villages of Southrop and Eastleach. Alternatively, Watermark’s lakeside properties are nestled right in the heart of the Cotswold Water Park: a stunning wetlands landscape made up of 147 lakes spanning 40 square miles of the breathtaking Gloucestershire countryside. The Watermark lakes are home to a collection of luxury lodges and a variety of activities for kids and adults alike. From scenic routes for walking and cycling to fishing, swimming, sailing and wakeboarding, there’s no shortage of things to do.


Feeling inspired? Whether you’re a couple craving romantic seclusion or a large family with the kids and dog in tow, start planning your staycation at Watermark today.



Country Escapes in the Cotswolds

By | Blogs

Thought Watermark was all about the lakes?


Think again!


In addition to our beautiful lakeside retreats, we also offer a selection of family-friendly properties in the heart of the Gloucestershire countryside. In the spotlight this month is one of the most recent additions to the Watermark family, The Byre at Tiltup.

About The Byre at Tiltup

This stunning, recently completed barn conversion is set within two acres of picturesque countryside in a small hamlet between the charming Cotswolds villages of Southrop and Eastleach.

As you approach this four-bedroom property, you can’t fail to be blown away by the spectacular scenery of private paddocks, woods and farmland that surround it. Step through the door and the first thing you notice is that every effort has been made to bring that natural splendour inside the property, too. Floor-to-ceiling windows, bifold doors and skylights ensure the whole building is flooded with light.

In this house, every room is a room with a view.

The light and airy feeling continues upstairs, too, thanks to a statement atrium featuring a steel balustrade and a galleried landing beneath an oversized skylight.


Modern luxuries with a planet-friendly focus

Of course, The Byre is complete with all the modern luxuries you’d expect from a Watermark property.

The spacious open-plan living area comprises a kitchen, dining room and lounge set beneath a striking vaulted ceiling. The fully fitted kitchen has a Nespresso machine and Quooker tap, and the décor throughout is a muted and soothing palette of neutrals and greys with accents of natural timber. An app-controlled tunnel fire transforms the living room and adjacent snug into havens of cosiness at the push of a button.

An eco-conscious approach has been taken at every stage of The Byre’s renovations. High-spec insulation ensures maximum energy efficiency, while ground-source underfloor heating provides heating and cooling functionality, ensuring the perfect temperature all year round and typically using 15-40% less energy than traditional radiators. A BIOROCK septic tank provides a sustainable and smart water treatment system, and LED lamps are installed in every room – but with so much natural light flooding the house, there really is minimal need to use them!

The Byre is an ideal setting for those who want to log out of technology and savour a digital detox, but if you prefer to stay connected the property is kitted out with super-fast unlimited broadband, a 55-inch smart TV, an entertainment system and a Sonos sound system.

Restful nights and peaceful mornings

Upstairs, The Byre comfortably sleeps up to eight guests across four bedrooms, two of which have en-suite facilities. The master bedroom benefits from fabulous views across the countryside, and there is no better start to the day than enjoying breakfast on its private balcony with only early-morning birdsong for company.

Al fresco dining

When the weather is fine, The Byre’s terraces make memorable settings for evening drinks or a spot of al fresco dining. If you fancy taking the cooking outside too, you can take advantage of the gas barbecue and the paddock’s firepit. Barbecued sausages and toasted marshmallows are always a winner!

When you don’t feel like cooking at all, you’ll find a choice of pubs and restaurants in Southrop and Eastleach, both of which are within walking distance.

Things to do

You’re never short of things to do in the Cotswolds, and The Byre is a brilliant base for exploring the wider area.

Celebrated as one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds, Burford is just eight miles away and plays host to a range of attractions including the famous Burford Garden Centre, a bustling high street and the Cotswold Wildlife Park.

If walking and water sports are your thing, nearby Lechlade is a must-visit. It’s also renowned locally for its wide selection of artisan coffee shops, where you can enjoy a hot cuppa and homemade cake. Just the ticket after an active day!

Tempted by The Byre at Tiltup? This Cotswolds gem currently has some availability through the summer holidays. Book now to secure your dates!


Winter at Watermark

Experience Winter at Watermark

By | Blogs

If ever there was a Year of the Staycation, 2020 must surely be it. And, let’s face it, with international restrictions still in place and many of us feeling uneasy about travelling outside of the UK, it’s likely to be a while before we’re willing and/or able to venture to far-flung destinations. So why not try a Winter at Watermark?

Memorable holidays don’t always start in an airport lounge. Nestled in the heart of the Cotswold Water Park, just 90 minutes from London, Watermark is a haven of peace and tranquillity that’s easily accessible yet feels delightfully secluded.

Winter is a wonderful time to visit a Watermark lakeside retreat. Arriving for your winter staycation, you’ll feel your worries simply melt away as you take in the stunning Gloucestershire countryside, elegantly manicured grounds and natural beauty that is, quite literally, on your doorstep. The Cotswolds offers an array of attractions to explore, but the wonder of a winter at Watermark is the huge selection of exclusive activities available right here within our lakes.

Family fun is what we do best, and our on-site activities promise to keep everyone entertained, whatever the weather. Our Children’s Activity Park boasts swings, climbing frames and a super-exciting zip wire for thrill seekers of all ages! Older children and teens will love hanging out in our games room, while our youngest guests can burn off some energy in our soft-play room and sporty types can take advantage of our boules court, cricket nets, table-tennis pavilion and football pitch.

Most of our lodges have private decks that give you immediate access to the water, and we offer a variety of water sports for beginners and experts alike. Try your hand at fishing, glide out on a canoe or paddleboard, or have a go at wakeboarding or water-skiing if you like a faster pace. Fancy stretching your legs while taking in the scenery? Our lakeside paths range from a gentle 1.6km to a more challenging 18km and are all fantastic routes for walking or cycling.

However you choose to spend your day, you can look forward to returning to your cosy lodge, which will become your own secret hideaway for the duration of your stay. Hunker down in front of a film, relax with a book or bring out the board games for some good old-fashioned fun! If you enjoy cooking, our fully equipped kitchens provide everything you need to create home-cooked meals, but if you’re planning a complete break from chef’s duties you can order in from one of the nearby businesses that deliver mouth-watering food direct to your lodge. We love Jonathan’s Catering for irresistible meals prepared using the very finest ingredients, and Bibury Trout Farm for fresh trout and locally sourced groceries.

If you’re celebrating an occasion while you’re staying with us, be sure to check out Poulton Hill Estate for small-batch red, white and sparkling wines produced right here in the Cotswolds. And if you’re looking to surprise someone special, local florist Oops a Daisy can deliver beautiful bouquets and handcrafted chocolates.

When the day comes to an end and the kids are tucked up in bed, there is nothing more romantic than cosying up to watch the moon rise and the stars glow above the peaceful lake. You can even arrange your own private hot tub on the deck – the perfect setting for cracking open a bottle of bubbly and raising a glass to a day well spent.

What better way is there to escape the hurries of everyday life this winter? Have a Winter at Watermark!




Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham Festival: Wondrous Week at Watermark

By | Blogs

Only a 35-minute drive from our luxurious holiday homes and lodgesCheltenham Festival – known as the most prestigious National Hunt jump racing event of the year – gathers the world’s top jump jockeys take to their greatest stage at Cheltenham Racecourse to compete for a myriad of prestigious trophies. Running from Tuesday 10th March and culminating with Gold Cup day on Friday 13th March, Cheltenham Festival transforms a day at the races into “Four Days of Extraordinary drama and high emotion, with moments of pure theatre thrown in for good measure.”

With your holiday home-away-from-home not far from the racecourse we take pride in going the extra mile, turning those four race-filled days into your personal Wonderous Week at Watermark. Read on as we outline this electric festival, and show you how Cheltenham Festival and Watermark are a match made in heaven – and we’re not horsing around!

Tuesday 10th March – Champion Day

The famous Cheltenham ‘roar’ will erupt to kick the week off at 1:30PM on the first day of festivities, allowing you to justify a well-deserved and undisturbed lie-in at one of our luxury lodges. With seven races lined up, including the Unibet Champion Hurdle, Champion Day throws you straight into the drama and action. After a day full of excitement, we recommend stopping off in Cirencester and finding a hearty pub dinner before hopping straight to bed as soon as you enter your lovely lodge.

Wednesday 11th March – Ladies Day

Infamous for its tens of thousands of fashionable festival-goers, Ladies Day opens the doors to those who want to show off head turning raceday outfits, adding a splash of colour to Cheltenham Racecourse. Although ladies and their outfits are the stars of the show, don’t forget to pay a visit to The Park, a new addition to the already variety-filled festival, that gives you the opportunity to enjoy a bite of street food whilst dancing to live music performances throughout the day. Travel light and party safe in the knowledge that your remaining outfits are quietly awaiting your return at our secure lakeside premises.

Thursday 12th March – St. Patrick’s Day

Traditional Irish folk music, celebrating the Emerald Isle, and two hugely competitive races – the Ryanair Chase and Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle – make St. Patrick’s Day at Cheltenham an unmissable event. Make sure your outfit lets you horse around and jig to the day’s fantastic music lineup, including performances by The Lucky 15’s, Taylor & The Mason, and All Folked Up. Even if you have no Irish blood, you’ll be overwhelmed with the Irish spirit and sense of community.

Friday 13th March – Gold Cup Day

An absolute must-do on any sports fan’s bucket list, the Gold Cup Day is the crème da la crème of jump racing, and marks the finale of Cheltenham Festival. You’ll be one of over 70,000 attendees witnessing the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup – a highly sought after trophy that only the best of the best compete for. With 22 fences over 3 miles 2½ furlongs (5,294m), this seven minute stamina sapping race is the blue riband of jump racing and is presented on a world stage. There’s no better place to be than live at the racecourse to experience the unforgettable atmosphere.

With home just around the corner, there’s no better way to spend Cheltenham Festival than coupling it with a private, peaceful, and perfect stay at one of our holiday homes. Get in touch if you have any questions about our holiday homes, and begin booking your Wonderous Week at Watermark.


Christmas in the Cotswolds

Watermark Wanderers: Christmas in the Cotswolds

By | Blogs

Whether you’ve just set foot inside one of our luxurious properties for a Christmas in the Cotswolds, or have invested in one of our award-winning holiday properties, we know how difficult it can be to find the exit after becoming acquainted with your home away from home.

With clearwater sailing, serene fishing, and a competitive game of tennis sitting just outside your front door, you’ll struggle to find a reason to stray too far from our water park. But there is so much more to do in the local area, and it’s all just a hop, skip and a jump away from your private haven.

Watermark Wanderers is a series of blog posts that helps you explore all things Cotswolds and beyond as you enjoy the peace of a lake getaway. In this edition, we’ll be wandering into a Winter Wonderland, and discovering the festivities all over the Cotswolds. From Christmas markets to illuminated castles, the Cotswolds offers thousands of classic Christmas card camera captures, with the authentic winter spirit to go with them!

Festive Food in a Pub

It’s hard to choose your favourite homely eaterie when The Cotswolds is laden with traditional British pubs that serve mouth-watering festive grub. If you’re looking for a nearby nook that serves all the trimmings, The Potting Shed Pub is a swift fifteen minute drive away, and is renowned for its cosy atmosphere, locally sourced ingredients, and exquisite Christmas Menu. Or, if you’re looking to break the norm to enjoy a very festive steak(!), Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa prepares delectable delights, and is a quick 30 minute drive away. Don’t forget to book first!

Sudeley Castle’s “Spectacle of Light”

Unmissable if you’re dazzled by the utterly dazzling, Sudeley Castle’s “Spectacle of Light” event leads you on an irradiated adventure through its grounds. With light displays strewn across the castle, gardens, and ruins, you’ll find it hard to hide the twinkle in your eye. 2019’s theme is Peter Pan, so be prepared to lose yourself in J. M. Barrie’s unforgettable tale, told in a way you could have never imagined.

Bath Christmas Market

Christmas in the Cotswolds

Combining wonderment, winter treats, and wondrous stalls, strolling through Bath Christmas Market forces you to reminisce about homemade mince pies and the waft of fresh-out-the-oven gingerbread. Overlooked by the architectural masterpiece that is Bath Abbey, you’ll find it difficult to turn a corner without your jaw hitting the floor – and what better way to close it with a variety of locally baked, tasty winter treats.

Warming Winter Walks

After all that Christmas Market food, what better way to burn those calories than to admire the very best scenery the Cotswolds has to offer. Pack your warmest gloves and don your thickest coat as you set off on a chilly, yet peaceful amble in some of the most beautiful public parks the country has to offer. Two of our favourite hiking trails are Broadway Tower (30 miles from your front door) and Cotswolds AONB (only 15 miles up the road). Make sure to check the opening times before setting off on a superbly memorable mosey.

What are your favourite activities and sights in and around The Cotswolds during Christmas? Do you think we’ve missed something that absolutely has to be included on your Watermark winter itinerary? Get in touch to let us know what you think, tag us in an Instagram post at @watermarkcotswolds, or Tweet us at @watermarkclub.

Watermark Wanderers

Watermark Wanderers: Cirencester

By | Blogs

Watermark Wanderers is a series of blog posts that helps you explore all things Cotswolds and beyond as you enjoy the peace of a lake getaway. In this edition, we’ll be wandering the streets of Cirencester, the Cotswolds largest market town which is simultaneously bustling and tranquil, with the centre situated only six miles from your porch. Why book a flight when there’s so much to see in your own back garden?

Whether you’ve just set foot inside one of our luxurious properties for a magnificent weekend getaway, or have invested in one of our award-winning holiday properties, we know how difficult it can be to find the exit after becoming acquainted with your home away from home.

With clearwater sailing, serene fishing, and a competitive game of tennis sitting just outside your front door, you’ll struggle to find a reason to stray too far from our water park. But there is so much more to do in the local area, and it’s all just a hop, skip and a jump away from your private haven. Follow Watermark Wanderers for more information.

Cirencester Town Centre

‘Quintessential’ is an overused word when it comes to describing something as English as warm beers and cricket – but there truly is no better adjective to use when referring to Cirencester town centre. The charm of discovering homemade goods at the Charter Market in the shadow of the 12th century parish church is too English for words. Any words outside “quintessentially British” that is.

Church of St. John the Baptist

Acting as Cirencester’s centrepiece, the Church of St. John the Baptist has stood proudly for over 800 years. Combining an architecturally unique zig-zagging upper balcony, and a hallmark open-plan Gothic interior, the church is the first thing you’ll see when arriving to the town centre, and is the first thing you’ll want to explore.

Corinium Museum

Cirencester was once an important Roman settlement so it’s no surprise that hundreds of Roman artefacts have been discovered at the site of Corinium over the years, and displayed in the Corinium Museum. From incredible floor and wall mosaic displays, to more recent medieval sculptures, the Corinium Museum oozes history and teaches you more than a thing or two about Gloucestershire’s fascinating past.

Cirencester Park – Bathurst Estate

If you’re looking to escape the business of the town centre, Cirencester Park lends its 3000 acres to allow visitors to mentally tune out and temporarily forget responsibility. The park offers a perfectly peaceful environment for picnics on a clear skied day, wonderful walks for some spontaneous mental meditation, and long paths for breezy bike rides. Time it right and you could be a spectator of the Cirencester Park Polo Club enjoying a sportsmanlike game of their favourite English pastime.

What are your favourite activities and sights in and around Cirencester? Do you think we’ve missed something that absolutely has to be included on your Watermark itinerary? Get in touch to let us know what you think, tag us in an Instagram post at @watermarkcotswolds, or Tweet us at @watermarkclub.

summer at Watermark

A day with Watermark this summer

By | Blogs

If you’re wondering what a summer at Watermark has to offer you, read on! Here you will discover what a typical day spent in the Cotswolds could look like – packed full of family fun and delicious food, Watermark has plenty of options to make sure this summer is spent doing what you love.



Whether you decide to make the most of your self-catering amenities and eat al-fresco by the lake, or choose to dine out, the most important meal of the day deserves to be done in style to set you up for a day of adventures. Amongst the various cafés and coffee shops around the Cotswold area, The Gateway Café provides an excellent freshly cooked breakfast, with Avocado on Toast, Buttermilk Pancakes and their classic ‘Big Breakfast’ with local Kelmscott Smoked Back Bacon – you won’t be disappointed.


The Cotswold Water Park has a beautiful selection of walking routes so that you and the family can explore the countryside together. Ranging from a relaxed 1.6km walk on Route 1 to an impressive 18km on walk/ cycle Route 6, you can decide which intensity suits you, and embrace the glorious summertime rays.


It’s time to refuel, and there are plenty of excellent local options, from pubs and restaurants to delis and farm shops:

The Lakeside Brasserie can be found on Spring Lake, and is the ideal spot to sit and unwind next to the water. If you’re lucky enough to be around on a Sunday afternoon, you could dig into one of their succulent home-cooked roasts. Delicious.

If picnics are your thing, you must make a stop at Jesse Smith Farm Shop and Coffee House for artisanal fare and fresh, local produce. The Organic Farm Shop has a lovely café, and is well worth a visit.

The Potting Shed Pub is a short drive away, and home to the best pub lunch around, with a creative, seasonal menu championing British food. We recommend booking in advance!

Afternoon activities

Now, your afternoon plans could take two very different routes, depending on how tired you are from the morning walk…

Totally chill out. Crack open a bottle of wine, fire up the BBQ and lounge on your private deck. A cosy Summer’s evening spent underneath a blanket could be just the thing.

Get wet! For the thrill seekers there are a great range of water sports available. The Lakeside Ski and Wake welcomes beginners and experts alike.

If you’re in the mood to step out, there are plenty of superb restaurants to try in Gloucester and Cirencester.

Watermark’s luxury lodges

What to do in the Cotswolds when the weather isn’t on our side

By | Blogs

When visiting Watermark’s luxury lodges this summer, you may be expecting a getaway jam-packed with the various fun and thrilling outdoor activities that are readily available. Wake boarding, Paddle boarding, Cycling or a 9-hole round of golf. What more could you ask for? But this isn’t always possible with the stringent hold of mother nature, causing an imagined sunny break to suddenly twist into a wet weekend.

However, don’t let this rain on your parade. Watermark have 100% got you covered. Not only do the lodges provide a beautiful interior, fit with everything you would need to completely relax and unwind within the natural surroundings of the Cotswolds, the indoor activities at Watermark and the surrounding area can also provide a fun-filled getaway:

Get your skates on in Swindon: Only a 22-minute drive from Watermark, Link Centre provides a fantastic escape from the rain with their ice arena. This centre is noted to attract people from all over the south west, providing those damp days an exhilarating frosty spin. Whether you’re a beginner or an ice-skating pro, Swindon’s rink provides all people the chance to brush up on their skating skills.

Splash around at Cricklade: Splashing in the water isn’t restricted to Watermark’s outdoor lake activities – Cricklade Leisure Centre can also provide fun for all the family. With family swim sessions only costing £12 and fun & float activities running every weekend, there’s no stop to what joy both parents and children can experience. Of course, for the dare devils amongst us who would still like to splash about during the outdoor water sports, be our guest, but if indoor water activities are more suited for you, then Cricklade Leisure Centre may be the answer.

The De Vere, Spa6: Watermark’s neighbouring luxury spa also provides an idyllic way to dodge the rainy weather and unwind by taking advantage of the various spa facilities. Amongst the steam rooms and relaxation suites, Spa6 also provides a variety of beauty treatments and men’s grooming – but if you’re wanting to truly embody the rural feel of the Cotswolds, the ancient Rasul Therapy will guarantee to maximise your experience. And to make sure you get the best from Spa6, this June a special two for £50 offer is running Monday to Thursday, that includes access to various spa treatments and the choice of lunch or afternoon tea. You won’t want to miss out.

Wyvern Theatre and Arts Centre: if jazzing up a peaceful stay in the Cotswolds is more your style, then from the 26th of June Rhythm of The Dance is taking Swindon by storm. This event promises an evening full of Irish dance prowess, bursting with colour and energy to truly transport you from everyday life. But, if Irish dancing isn’t for you, there are many other events running through the entire summer period at the Wyvern Theatre and Arts Centre. Shows like the Rock of Ages, running from the 8th to the 13th of July and Rob Beckett’s hilarious Work in Progress on the 27th of June, guarantee that there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

When the rain comes crashing down you may rightly question your decision to visit Watermark’s luxury lodges. But do not fear, this list of both fun and relaxing indoor activities will ensure that your stay in the Cotswolds is as idyllic as possible. Don’t just take our word for it, come see for yourself.

easter at watermark

Easter adventures at Watermark

By | Blogs

Easter at Watermark is fast approaching and the lure of a lakeside lodge has never been more appealing. Relax, recharge and reinvent how holidays should be spent; have Easter at Watermark. Watch the sun rise and set over tranquil waters and take time to enjoy experiencing how it truly feels to escape. It’s not chocolate that you crave or the sweet seduction of sugar this time of year, it’s stopping what’s expected and being open to spontaneity. And staying with us guarantees exactly that.

No two days are the same when you’re living the lakeside life. From water sports and long wild walks to toasting bubbles within the thermal springs of your private and picturesque hot tub, you choose the pace as well as the activities. Fresh air is the tonic to your wellbeing. And with so many exciting outdoor events surrounding us this season, you’ll be sure to re-set your mojo and soak it all in:

Cheltenham Festival: Hear the roars of an adrenalin-fuelled crowd as hooves pound the ground before you. You’ll soon understand why there’s no festival quite like Cheltenham. Feel the hairs rise on the back of your neck and your nerves tingle as the thundering thoroughbreds gallop to the finish line. The pinnacle jump racing event of the year boasts four days of extraordinary racing from 12-15th March as well as live music, boutique shopping and an unrivalled atmosphere.  Take advantage of some top racing tips before your flutter at the festival preview evening on Sunday March 10th from some of Cheltenham’s champions. Bringing a little friendly rivalry to the forefront Oli Bell and Nathan Murphy captain a panel of racing enthusiasts including trainer Paul Nicholls, Irish football legend Kevin Kilbane, Gold Cup-winning Jockey Richard Johnson, Niall Quinn and Kate Harrington for an evening promising banter in abundance.

Easter Wonderland at Blenheim Palace: For an Easter egg hunt with a difference – try finding your bounty at Blenheim. A four-day celebration of family fun promises giant 8ft decorated eggs hidden amongst the Pleasure Gardens. And that’s not all – find the special ‘Blenheim Egg’ and you could have a chance of winning an Easter surprise.

Cheese Rolling: Ancient traditions arouse curiosity and this one is no exception. Believed to have originated as a way to distinguish grazing rights on common land, cheese rolling is now officially an extreme sport. Attracting competitors and spectators worldwide the atmosphere alone is something to be experienced. Cheese rolling at Cooper’s Hill in Brockworth takes place on May 27th 2019 and a new King of Cooper’s Hill will be crowned. Watch the stampede of runners chase a 9lb Double Gloucester cheese (travelling at 70mph) down the hill. The winner is the first runner to the bottom – the prize is the cheese and instant Cotswolds’ fame.

Cheltenham Jazz Festival: From 1-6 May there’ll be jazz cats worldwide coming to the Cotswolds. Join them and jam while enjoying international jazz icons from Jamie Cullum to Charenee Wade. Boasting Gregory Porter as artistic curator this is a festival of high acclaim. With free outdoor music in Cheltenham’s Montpellier Gardens, let the sweet sounds of the sax soothe your soul – surrounded by food, drink and the company you choose.

Surfing on the Severn: Here’s a date the thrill-seekers amongst you will already have marked on your calendar. March 22nd 2019. The first of three five-star bores heading to the River Severn, promising a swell for surfers and spectators alike. With waves set to reach heights of 10m plus, this natural phenomenon always attracts a crowd. Now a world-famous event it sees surfers across the globe head inland and upstream for an alternative adrenalin-fuelled adventure.

Whether you’re looking for family-fun, musical enlightenment, fast-paced adrenalin action or the safety of being a spectator, there’s something for everyone this Easter at Watermark. And there’s your home from home waiting for you with us at Watermark. We’re the Cotswold’s best-kept secret…stay with us once and you’ll want to keep us that way.

February half term

Welcome to the best five days of February

By | Blogs

Welcome to the place where time stands still. With us. At Watermark. Planning your February half-term holiday couldn’t be easier. Put your hand on your heart and you’ll hear the Cotswolds calling. It’s time to celebrate the start of Spring. It’s time to try new experiences. To take a break from the cold morning commute, stressful school run and from being who people expect you to be. Time to relax and unwind. Time to turn off your phone without asking permission. To disconnect* from the digital world and connect to those who are most important. Time to walk barefoot. To taste the frost on your face/lips. Time to dip your toes. To get muddy. Get wet. Feel wild and refreshed. Time to wander.

Pause and clock-off from the 9-5 and take time. Quality time. On your own schedule with your loved ones in our luxurious lakeside lodges. Discover new half-term adventures in the great outdoors and pick the pace that suits your personalities. From introverts to adrenalin junkies there’s something for all the family. Feel-good family time in the fresh air. February is the month of love and you’ll feel it in the air at Watermark – watching your family make memories with us:

Cycling: bring your bikes or hire ours. Whether you fancy a relaxing ride around the country lanes and lakes or an adrenalin-fuelled off-road adventure, you’ll be spoilt for choice from Salisbury to Cirencester.

Horse riding: feel the air in your lungs on a crisp morning hack on horseback. From novice to experienced rider, the Cotswold countryside is yours to walk, trot or canter.



Children’s activities: choose from our outdoors activity park with zipwire, swings and climbing frame or our children’s playroom with cushioned floor and soft mats for toddlers through to gymnasts. Not forgetting our games room for teenagers and big kids, complete with pool tables, consoles and cyber-escapism.

Sports: From table tennis, boules and football to wakeboarding, fishing, sailing and golf – racket sports to water sports – there’s something for everyone, exclusively to our lodges, seasonally and all year round.

Photography: capture the views, wildlife and water via your lens. Or visit Wallsworth Hall and marvel at the ‘Nature in Art  photography exhibition, from the world’s most prestigious wildlife photography competition from London’s Natural History Museum. Showcasing over 100 images of intimate animal portraits, atmospheric landscapes and revolutionary photojournalism.

Lambing live: Take a walk in the fields and see the bouncing baby lambs or visit Cotswolds Farm Park for lambing live from 16-28th February. Try bottle-feeding the lambs and goat kids or let your own kids loose in the soft play. Climb aboard the tractor safari for a trip around the farm and meet a few familiar faces along the way.

Pack your wellies: The South West puddle jumping championships takes place at Slimbridge on 18-24th February. Style your splash in the perfect puddle and practice lakeside in advance.

Of course, this list doesn’t cover everything. Inspired by your surroundings, the artists amongst you may wish to write, draw or paint from the comfort of your lakeside living room. Or maybe you’d prefer to feed the ducks from your private jetty or relax in the hot tub with a glass of bubbly after bedtime. It’s your time and your choice.

However you spend your stay, one week is never enough. You’ll want to return again and again. We recommend staying with us to experience every season…then pick your favourite month – starting with February half term.

Half-term? Turn your question mark into Watermark.

*(of course, there’s Wi-Fi for those who don’t remember life without it)