Birdwatching - Cotswolds Winter Birds
Enjoy the rich birdlife of Slimbridge WWT Centre and the Cotswold Water Park
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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
- High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
- Guidance from a knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, to ensure you get the most from your holiday
- All 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 (premium 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 (9.5km) each day, stopping to enjoy the rich variety of birds.
Fields & Woodlands
This morning we will take a short drive to Sherborne, the site of the BBC Spring waltch. Here we will explore farmland , woods and, 9if not flooded, water meadows. We will hope to see a variety of woodland and farmland birds, including wintering thrushes and flocks of finches, and tits. In the afternoon we'll walk alongside the River Windrush to Bourton, perhaps seeing Kingfisher and Heron on the way. If time permitsvisit the lakes just outside the village looking for water birds.
Slimbridge WWT Centre
Today we visit the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre at Slimbridge, where bird numbers are at their peak counts and the reserve is often looking its most beautiful. Bewick's Swan, Wigeon, Pintail, White-fronted Goose, Barnacle Goose, waders and raptors including Peregrine. If we are lucky we may even see over wintering Bittern and Cranes. The area is well known in attracting a number of rarer migrant birds which we may have the opportunity to see from one of the numerous bird hides. We’ll round off our visit viewing the evening wild swan feed.
The Cotswold Water Park
After a hearty breakfast we head out to the Gateway Visitor Centre before beginning our exploration of the area. We’ll spend the day here, there is much to see. 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.
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 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).
Chris lives in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire and is currently Secretary of Huddersfield Bird Watchers Club. He has been a Walking Leader for HF Holidays since 1999 and has led birdwatching holidays since 2004. He is also a volunteer guide for RSPB at Snettisham and Titchwell in Norfolk.
Chris was very friendly and knowledgeable and my knowledge of the subject is much improved following this holiday. I wouldn't hesitate to go on another holiday led by Chris.
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person