Birds, Butterflies & Wildflowers of the Cotswolds
Enjoy leisurely walks in some of the Cotswold’s best Nature Reserves
Code: BNWDFPrint page
Meadows & hills
Combine the wonderful wildflowers and butterflies of the Limestone grasslands with the fabulous varied species of birds that the Cotswolds has to offer. We will take leisurely walks exploring the wildlife on some of the best Nature Reserves in the Cotswolds.
- Each day enjoy a leisurely walk with plenty of stops to see birds and wildlife
- Our expert leader will guide you round the best sites
- Small, sociable groups of up to 15 guests
- A relaxed and informative way of enjoying the great outdoors
- High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
- A full programme of excursions and visits
- Guidance from a knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, to ensure you get the most from your holiday
- All essential transport on a comfortable, good-quality mini-coach or other mode of transport, e.g. boat
- Entrance fees to venues included as part of your holiday’s itinerary
Dating from the Tudor period and of, considerable historic interest, Harrington House mirrors the mellow architectural style of the Cotswolds. Its peaceful atmosphere and proximity to the charming centre of Bourton-on-the-Water make it ideal for those who prefer a less active holiday.
Harrington House has 29 bedrooms. Most are located in the main house, with others in the adjacent cottages.
These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:
These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:
Only an extra £15 per person per night
These rooms truly are the best in the house for extra luxury during your stay. They include:
Only an extra £20 per person per night
Choose Your Room: Our new “Choose Your Room” service is available at our UK country houses, providing the option to choose and confirm a specific room for an extra £30 per room. Supplements to upgrade to 'Better' or 'Best' rooms still apply. The choice of room number must be of the same room type as originally booked and is subject to availability.
At the house
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
Just relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our optional evening activities.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Due to the layout and age of Harrington House, it is not recommended for wheelchair users or anyone with restricted mobility.
Although one bedroom has wheelchair access, the access to the main house has some steps and internally there are some steps to negotiate.
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (better & best rooms from 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea. This is the first occasion when everyone in the country house meets together – an opportunity to meet your leader and fellow guests, and find out more about your holiday.
On our Natural World holidays we spend most of the day outdoors, exploring by mini-coach or on foot, walking up to 6 miles (9½km) each day, with plenty of stops to see birds, wildflowers and wildlife.
Rough Banks and Greystones Farm
After a hearty breakfast we drive to the wildflower- rich Rough Banks Nature Reserve. The Limestone grassland here is a gem of a place to walk and view different species of orchids & butterflies, such as adonis blue, small blue & their larval foodplants horseshoe & kidney vetch. Later today we will walk around Greystones Farm Nature Reserve, just walking distance from Harrington House. Here the traditional neutral hay meadows are alive with insects, we will be on the lookout for birds such as barn owl & kestrel, as well as glorious southern marsh orchids. A glorious day to start our holiday.
Sherborne Estate and Daneway Banks
Armed with out tasty picnic lunches, we set off for the short drive to the Sherborne Estate. The traditional farming and wet meadows here provide an excellent place to view our farmland specialists such as snipe, yellowhammer and corn bunting. Then we’re heading off to Daneway Banks Nature Reserve, a wonderful unimproved grassland. We take a short walk around the reserve enjoying the sight of many different wildflowers such as rock-rose & pyramidal orchid, as well as learning about the large blue butterfly and its amazing life cycle. A glorious finale to our wonderful holiday.
Depart after a leisurely breakfast.
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
What to bring
- Outdoor clothing appropriate to the season, including waterpoofs
- Strong, comfortable footwear with a good tread is essential
- A telescope (if you have one) and binoculars (essential)
- Thermos flask (optional)
- Recommended field guide (optional) - RSPB Birdwatcher’s Pocket Guide or Collins British Wild flower guide (Collins pocket guide)
Discover the Cotswolds
Bourton-on-the-Water is situated at the heart of the Cotswolds, a beautiful area of rolling green hills and attractive stone towns and villages.
Harrington House is located in a quiet street, just 100 metres from the centre of Bourton. This is one of the most popular villages in the Cotswolds, frequently busy with visitors. The River Windrush winds its way through the central village green and is crossed by a series of attractive stone bridges.
Bourton-on-the-Water is a popular destination in its own right with its specialist shops and attractive village green. Local attractions include the motor museum, model village and Birdland wildlife park, all within easy walking distance.
The village has a good range of facilities including a small supermarket, post office, newsagent, pubs and bank.
During your stay at Harrington House you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
The mellow market town of Chipping Campden, about 30 minutes' drive north of Bourton-on-the-Water, is one of the most visited towns in the Cotswolds.
Hidcote Manor Gardens
Owned by the National Trust, Hidcote is a small manor house with an exceptional garden designed in the Arts and Crafts style. Around 35 minutes' north from Bourton-on-the-Water. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hidcote
Considered as one of the most beautiful villages in Britain it is easy to see why so many visitors are attracted to Broadway. Don’t let this put you off; Broadway is still worth a visit. To get away from the crowds, consider a walk to Broadway Tower for stunning views of the Vale of Evesham. Around 30 minutes' drive from Bourton.
Famous for its Shakespeare connections, Stratford is an attractive town spanning the River Avon. Of particular interest are the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Shakespeare Birthplace Museum. Around 40 minutes' drive from Bourton. www.rsc.org.uk or www.shakespeare.org.uk
Blenheim Palace is one of the grandest and best-known stately homes in Britain. It sits in extensive parkland and is also famous as the ancestral home of Winston Churchill. www.blenheimpalace.com
The fine Regency spa town of Cheltenham has an excellent range of shops and facilities. Cheltenham is around 25 minutes' drive from Bourton, and can also be reached by an hourly local bus.
The Cathedral city of Gloucester is about 35 minutes' drive to the west of Bourton. The fine Norman cathedral is well worth visiting, as is the National Waterways Museum. www.gloucestercathedral.org.uk or www.canalrivertrust.org.uk
Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway
Ride the steam railway through attractive Cotswold countryside from Cheltenham to Toddington about 30 minutes' drive from Bourton. Now restored, this was once the Great Western main line to Birmingham. www.gwsr.com
The famous university city of Oxford is about an hour’s drive from Bourton-on-the-Water. You may wish to stroll through the historic colleges or visit the Ashmolean Museum. www.ashmolean.org
Hidcote Gardens image ©National Trust Images/Jonathan Buckley
Travel to Bourton-on-the-Water
Our address is: Harrington House, Sherborne Street, Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, GL54 2BY
The nearest railway station is Moreton-in-Marsh. However, the nearest mainline station is at Cheltenham Spa which may be more convenient. For train times and route planning by train visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or phone 03457 48 49 50.
From Moreton-in-Marsh station a taxi takes approximately 20 minutes and costs £21 if pre-booked. From Cheltenham Spa station a taxi takes around 30 minutes and costs £40 if pre-booked. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Harrington House Manager.
From Moreton-in-Marsh station catch the 801 bus to Bourton-on-the-Water,from where it is a short walk to our Country House. Alight next to the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Shop. Cross the road to the war memorial and continue across the bridge. Follow this road for 150 metres until the road forks. Harrington House is on the left.
From the A429 take the road into the centre of Bourton-on-the-Water. At the war memorial by the village green, turn into Sherborne Street. Cross the narrow bridge and continue for approximately 100yds. Just before the road forks, Harrington House is on the left. Look out for our sign. A car park is available in the grounds with free parking.
Travelling from overseas
For most guests, travelling to London Heathrow airport is the most convenient option.
From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. From here there are direct trains to Moreton-in-Marsh. It's a relatively straightforward journey - just over 2 hours. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
From Moreton-in-Marsh you can travel on to Bourton-on-the-Water by bus or taxi (see above).
Pete’s enthusiasm for the Natural World and working on wildlife volunteering projects led him to become a Countryside Ranger, close to the Peak District National Park. He is responsible for a local nature reserve, important for a range of different species and is experienced in managing habitats for wildlife. Pete enjoys sharing his experiences and knowledge with people from all backgrounds.
Pete was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We were able to go at a reasonable pace but still have plenty of time to view sightings and to make it a relaxing holiday.