Preparing your Cotswold holiday cottage for winter is crucial to ensure the comfort and safety of your guests during the colder months. Here are 10 steps to help you get your cottage ready for winter:

1. Inspect and service the heating system:

Have your heating system professionally inspected and serviced to ensure it’s in good working order and bleed any radiators to ensure warmth in every room. At this time of year it is also vital you have a plan in place to keep the property warm between guests. Switching to a lower, but constant, temperature on the thermostat can help reduce the risk of burst pies and damp from forming.

2. Check insulation:

Make sure your Cotswold holiday cottage is well insulated to retain heat and keep the cold out. Inspect doors and windows for drafts and weatherstrip or seal gaps as needed.

3. Ensure sufficient lighting:

As winter days are shorter, make sure there is adequate outdoor and indoor lighting to ensure safety and comfort for your guests. It is also worth checking any timers to ensure they come on early enough during the winter.

Image of Manor House in twighlight showing the outdoor lighting

4. Outdoor maintenance:

Clean gutters and downspouts to prevent blockages. Trim overhanging branches that could damage the cottage during heavy snow or ice.  

If your Cotswold holiday cottage has outside space, store or cover outdoor furniture, grills, and other equipment that may be damaged by winter weather. 

5. Prevent Wooden Window Damage

To safeguard traditional wooden windows from rot, focus on addressing the issue of dampness, often caused by condensation. You should ensure you regularly check the sealant and repaint all external windows to prevent damage to the woodwork from water ingress and general damp. You may also want to consider placing a small dehumidifier on window ledges during the winter to prevent condensation and dampness build-up. 

6. Check and clean chimneys:

If your Cotswold holiday cottage has a chimney, you will need an annual chimney sweep so that it is professionally inspected and cleaned to prevent fire hazards. They will also make sure the damper is functioning correctly and you will need to ensure you retain the chimney sweep certificate.

Chimney sweep in action, sweeping a chimney from the fireplace

7. Winterise pipes:

Prevent frozen pipes by insulating exposed pipes and using heat tape where necessary. Make sure your guests know how to avoid freezing pipes.

8. Maintaining security:

You may want to consider installing a burglar alarm – or if you have one in place already, book an annual service. It could also be worthwhile letting a trusted neighbour know if you have any regular empty periods. Finally ensure all of your door and window locks are robust and do not seize up with any ice or rust caused by the winter weather. 

9. Stock essential supplies:

You could consider providing your guests with extra blankets, swapping to warmer bedding, and ensure you have a shovel and some pathway salt for snow and ice removal from any pathways. 

10. Regular winter checks

With all of these additional checks and measures in place your Cotswold holiday cottage will likely be set for a secure winter season. One last thing to consider is ensuring your property is checked regularly over the winter period – regardless of whether it is fully booked or has short empty periods. 


Remember that winter guests may have different expectations and needs compared to those staying in the summer, so it’s important to provide them with a cosy and safe environment. Taking these steps will help ensure that your holiday cottage rental is winter-ready and can provide a welcoming experience for your guests.