Birdwatching - Cotswolds' Winter Birds
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Meadows & hills
Join us for a winter birding treat as we look out for fieldfare, redwing, waxwing invasions and finch flocks. The area is also a hotbed for over wintering water birds and gulls, as well as offering the possibility of passage migrants. We'll walk up to 6 miles (9.5km) each day. Suitable for any level of experience, with no prior knowledge required.
- Enjoy birdwatching in a small sociable group setting
- Leisurely walks with regular stops to watch birds
- Our expert leader will guide you around the best sites
- Flexible itineraries will take into account prevailing weather conditions and any reported sightings
Great reasons to join us:
- Great value: all prices include Full Board en-suite accommodation, guidance from our expert leader, transport and any entrance fees to birding sites
- Accommodation: enjoy high quality accommodation and excellent food at our Country Houses
- Expert leaders: all our leaders are expert in their field and will ensure that you get the most from your holiday
- Sociability: spend time with like-minded people in a relaxed and friendly environment
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.
Our classic bedrooms offer comfortable accommodation and an en-suite bathroom with bath or shower. They also have TV, hairdryer, and tea and coffee making facilities. Single rooms are available for no extra charge.
You can enjoy extra space or exceptional views plus additional facilities including a towelling robe and complimentary slippers when you upgrade to a premium bedroom. Premium rooms are available at just £10 extra per person per night.
If you are travelling with your family, we have a selection of 3 and 4-bedded family bedrooms. These have all the facilities of our classic rooms plus full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk beds or occasional beds for children.
A limited number of value twin rooms are available at a discount of £8 per person per night and value single rooms with a £5 per night discount. Our value rooms have the same facilities as our classic rooms, but bathroom facilities are nearby rather than en-suite.
All our Country Houses are tailored to the needs of walkers and outdoor enthusiasts and have excellent boot and drying rooms.
In the main house there is a small lounge, an attractive dining room and a cosy bar. The ballroom is a flexible space which can be used as a lounge, for dancing or for a variety of leisure activity holidays.
At the very top of the house is the fascinating observatory: an opportunity to try some star-gazing, or just enjoy the bird’s-eye view.
Free WiFi is available in the public rooms. There is also a range of board games and books.
At the rear of the house there is an attractive walled garden with a large croquet lawn. This is a particularly attractive spot to relax after a day’s walk or activity.
All holidays at our Country Houses are Full Board with all meals included, from dinner on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure.
Start your day with our extensive breakfast. Choose from a wide selection on the cold buffet and/or a full cooked breakfast. Maybe enjoy a lighter option of fruit and yoghurt followed by scrambled egg, go for porridge followed by a full English breakfast, or select something in between.
Choose from our famous self-select picnic lunches - everything you need to keep you going on a day outdoors. Your own choice of sandwiches is prepared to order, and you can add crisps and snacks, fruit, nuts, chocolate bars, sweets and biscuits as you wish.
Our house-based Leisure Activities include an in-house lunch (generally soup, sandwiches etc).
The relaxed dinner is a highlight of any stay at our Country Houses. With tables seating up to 10 and no seating plan, it offers a great opportunity to get to know your fellow guests. There is always a choice of dishes for every course, featuring good British cooking and often local specialities. A vegetarian option is always available.
All our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
Guided Walking: enjoy a glass of wine or local beer in the bar before a talk about the next day's walks. After dinner there will be an activity or entertainment which you will be welcome to join. These vary from week to week but could include a talk on local history from a visiting speaker, a team quiz, or a stroll around Bourton-on-the-Water. Alternatively if you prefer, feel free to just relax in our lounge or bar.
Leisure Activities: many of our Leisure Activities holidays continue into the evening with programmed sessions. Other holidays will have the evenings free, and you will be welcome to join in other social activities that may be happening in the house.
Self-Guided Walking: there may be evening social activities happening in the house during your holiday, and you will be most welcome to join in. However, not all self-guided holidays will have evening activities available – if these are important to you, please check before booking.
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.
Arrival & car parking facilities
- There is a small car park at the front of the house and a larger one at the rear
- 2 disabled parking bays
- The surface of the car park is tarmac, slightly uneven
- Assistance with luggage provided upon request
Main entrance & reception
- The front entrance has 5 steps (each step is 15cm in height) up to it and the back entrance has 3 steps (each step is 4.5cm in height)
- Ramp is available on request. Handrail at the front entrance (height 93cm)
- The office is situated in the front hallway. The hallway is well lit and the width of it is 295cm
Public areas - hall, stairs, landing, corridors etc
- In general, due to the age and layout of the house, most of the rooms are accessed via carpeted hallways & corridors with firedoors and steps in them. Minimum width 73cm
- Hallways and corridors are generally well lit. Staircase to the upper floors is steep and narrow in places
- Portable ramp available
Public areas - sitting room, lounges, lobbies etc
- From the main hallway, there is level access to the lounge, dining room, and ballroom
- The bar is accessed via 1 step of 16cm high, 85cm wide
- The lounge has very good lighting, thick carpet and internet access
- The entrance door into the lounge is a fire door and 93cm in width
- The observatory in on top of the house. The stairs up are steep, each step is 18cm high and 81cm wide. The stairs have handrails and are well lit and thickly carpeted
- The boot room is located near the main entrance and has a coded lock on the door. One step of 8cm in height into the boot room
- The ballroom is located near the bar with one step down (14cm high). The entrance width is 93cm
- Wooden floor, good lighting
- Chairs are 45cm high with arm rests. Tables are 49cm high. Window seats 47cm high. All furniture easily movable
- The painting room is located in the Windrush Cottage (accessed from outside). Minimum entrance width 79cm, minimum corridor width 70cm, one step down of 18cm.
- The chairs are 44cm high, tables 49cm. All furniture is easily movable
- Well lit room with a rug in the middle of vinyl tile floor
- The public toilets are located down the hallway, just off the main reception area. There are two steps up, each 19cm high
- The width of the main door is 74cm, the cubicle doors are 58cm. Ladies toilet height is 38cm and the gents is 37cm. Both have a tiled floor. Sink is 90cm high
Dining room & bar
- The dining room is located off the main hallway. The door width is 96cm
- Five movable tables, all 70cm high and all chairs are 46cm high with no arm rests
- The dining room is well lit and has thick carpet
- Breakfast service is self service cold buffet with assistance available, if required. Table service for hot meals
- The bar is also located off the main hallway. The door width is 85cm. One step, 16cm high
- The chairs are 47cm high, some with arms. The bar counter is 108cm high
Bedrooms & sleeping areas
- Room 30 is the room best suited for anyone requiring wheelchair access. The room is located on the ground floor of Jubilee Cottage
- The entrance is 80cm wide
- The room is carpeted and has 2 single beds (each 58cm high), 1 sofa bed, 2 bedside tables, a dresser, a wardrobe and 2 chairs
- The room is 431cm wide
- The entrance to the en-suite bathroom is 82cm. Non-slip flooring
- Walk-in shower with a shower curtain
- The sink is 79cm high with a lever tap. Mirror and shaver light
- Height of the toilet is 40cm
- The rest of the rooms are a mixture of singles, twins and doubles. Bedrooms are located in the main house (1st and 2nd floor), the annex, Windrush (ground and 1st floor) and Jubilee Cottage (ground and 1st floor)
- Most of the rooms are en-suite, three basic single bedrooms only have a sink in the rooms and they share two bathrooms along the corridor
Grounds and gardens
The garden at the back of the house is flat and pebbled with seating available
- 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
Friday: Arrival day
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards. Please join us for afternoon tea. All guests are invited – we’ll introduce your leader and welcome you to your holiday.
Saturday: Cotswold Water Park
We will head to the Gateway Information Centre before beginning our exploration of the site. Made up of over 150 lakes, formed by old gravel workings, this area attracts in excess of 20,000 over wintering water birds and over 21,000 wintering gulls. On the lakes and in the surrounding fields we will hope to see Red Crested Pochard, Goldeneye, Smew, Goldcrest, Redwing, Field Fare, Cetti’s Warbler and some of the less seen variety of Gulls. Literally anything can turn up here.
Sunday: Chedworth Woods Nature Reserve, Bibury Meadows & Cotswold Falconry Centre
In the morning we’ll walk through the woods and nature reserve, looking for woodland birds such as Tree Creeper, Woodpeckers, Nuthatch and maybe an early calling Chiffchaff. Around lunchtime we’ll take in the attractive village of Bibury and take a short walk through the water meadows alongside the River Coln, hoping to see Herons and Little Egret. We will round the day off with a visit to the Cotswold Falconry Centre where we can get up close and personal with a variety of Raptors.
Monday: Free day
A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House.
Tuesday: Severn Valley safari
Today we will visit a number of sites within the valley of the River Severn. Sites may include Ashleworth Ham, Combe Hill Canal and Meadows, Tewkesbury Ham and the Mythe. Our exact itinerary will be governed by recent bird sightings and water levels. A large number of wildfowl can usually be seen in winter, including Wigeon, Teal and Mallard, along with smaller numbers of Pintail, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Goldeneye, Great-Crested and Little Grebe, as well as Bewick swans and occasionally Whooper swans.
Wednesday: Fields & Woodlands
This morning we will head to Chipping Camden and walk from there to Hidcote Manor. We will pass through rolling landscape and wooded areas reflecting the diversity of birds in the area. We’ll hope to see a variety of Raptors, Wheatears, flocks of Finches, Chats and possibly (if we are very lucky) Ringed Ouzel on its winter passage. After lunch we will head back to Bourton on the Water and walk from there alongside the River Windrush. We would hope to see Kingfisher, Heron and a variety of field and woodland birds.
Thursday: Slimbridge WWT Centre
Today we’ll visit Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre. Bird numbers are at their peak counts and the reserve is typically looking at its most beautiful. We’ll hope to see Bewick's Swan, Wigeon, Pintail, White-fronted Goose, Barnacle Goose, perhaps Egyptian Goose, Teal, Shoveler, Lapwing, Kestrel Buzzard and Peregrine. If we’re lucky we may see over wintering Bittern and Cranes. The area is well known in attracting a number of rarer migrant birds which we may spot from one of the many bird hides. On our return journey we’ll have a short stop as dusk settles to look for Short Eared Owls and Barn Owls.
Friday: 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 waterproofs.
- Strong, comfortable footwear with a good tread is essential.
- A telescope (if you have one) and binoculars (essential).
- Thermos flask (optional)
- Recommended field guide - The New Mitchell Beazley Birdwatcher’s 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 general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
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 £42 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. Follow this road for 150yds, crossing the river and passing the motor museum until the road forks. Harrington House is on the left before the fork. 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).
John Parkinson has had a life-long interest in the Natural World and spent a lot of time during his formative years in a rural environment, spending as much time as was possible outside with nature, camping amongst it, photographing it or observing it as closely as possible. He is an active member of his local Wildlife Trust and can be found in his spare time wandering around local nature reserves, binoculars around his neck and camera in hand. He welcomes this opportunity to pass on his enthusiasm for birdlife and hopes you will join him on the holiday.
Dates & Prices
|24 Feb 2017||BNWBW - Cotswold's Winter Birds - Bourton-on-the-Water||7||£839.00||Book Now|
Prices are per person
- Premium single room: £15 per night
- Premium twin/double room: £10 per person per night
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person