Escape to the Cotswolds!

The centre for the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Housed in the Old Prison at Northleach, "Escape to the Cotswolds" is the centre for the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a place where you can find out more about this beautiful landscape and how people have helped shape it over thousands of years.

Through imaginatively designed information panels you can learn about the dinosaurs that first roamed the area, how geology has shaped the landscape, how the wealth of the area came as a result of the 'golden fleece' of the Cotswolds sheep and how so many people have left their own marks in the landscape - from Neolithic burial chambers and Iron Age hill forts, through to roman roads and villas, medieval churches and right up to the present day conservationists who are helping to look after the place for our future generations.


The 'Escape' visitor centre and exhibition is open daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm.  Check out our many events and activities taking place throughout the year - click here.



Housed in the Old Prison, the Cotswold Lion Cafe offers a wide range of delicious home-made and locally sourced lunches, sandwiches, soups and cakes along with speciality teas and coffee.
Opening times are Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 4.30pm.

It is a perfect venue for hiring for your own private event, party or celebration. Our unique Court Room is also available - perfect for a business meeting or similar event.

Contact: Louisa Davison, House Manager on 01451 861563 or email:




Having established an increasingly successful events programme, we are keen to encourage private group bookings throughout the year for prison tours, guided walks, themed talks (wide range of topics available) and demonstrations.  The new Cotswold Lion café and the original courtroom are also available for group meetings, or short courses.

Sample List of talks available:
1.The Jurassic beneath your feet: the Geology, Fossils & Landscape around Northleach.
2.History of Northleach over the past 100 years.
3.Geology and Quarrying in the Cotswolds.
4.The Conservation Work of the Cotswold Wardens.
5.National Trails, National Assets – focusing on the Cotswold Way.
6.Wildflowers of the Cotswolds.
7.Managing Woodllands for Wildlife.
8.Managing Grasslands for Wildlife across the Cotswolds.

Guided Tours and Walks available:
1.Guided Tour of the History of Northleach Old Prison.
2.Guided Tour around the Medieval Town of Northleach – see the visible signs of history from the 13th Century to the present day.
3.Guided Tour of Northleach – one of England’s finest Norman “Planted” Towns. Discover why hundreds of these market towns were set up in England and Wales over a period of 250 years following the Norman Invasion of 1066.
4.Guided Geology & Landscape Trails – see how drainage patterns, settlement patterns and the shape of the landscape reflect the geology beneath our feet. Local routes available, i.e. Northleach to Hampnett return.

Please contact Denise Dane for further details:


Visitors to 'Escape' will also have the opportunity to take a look around the unique Lloyd Baker Rural Life Collection - the largest publicly owned regional collections of agricultural 'bygones' in the country.

Click here to find out more about the collection


LOCATION: Click here to view location on Google Maps.

For further information, please call the Cotswolds Conservation Board on 01451 862000.