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The Cotswold Olimpicks at Dover’s Hill

Natural amphitheatre at Dover's Hill, Gloucestershire
Natural amphitheatre at Dover's Hill | © National Trust Images/Kate Groome

Every year, on the first Friday after the Spring Bank Holiday, Dover's Hill echoes with the shouts and cheers of competitors and spectators as the Robert Dover's Cotswold Olimpicks games are celebrated. Find out what to expect at the day of events and where to head for further information.

A traditional tournament

The Cotswold Olimpicks games is a unique continuation of early rural sporting events dating back centuries, combining informal amateur sporting events for competitors with general entertainment and activities for visitors.

The games begin with the traditional marching of bands and the firing of cannons.

Rustic activities like tug-of-war, running and wrestling are all hotly contested for.


The most prestigious and fiercely competed for event is undoubtedly the annual shin-kicking tournament, which dates back to the early 17th century.

Contestants hold each other by the shoulder and try to kick each other’s shins and force their opponent to the ground. The ‘Stickler’, or judge, has to make sure that shins are kicked before a fall can count.

Kickers wear traditional white smocks that would have been worn by local shepherds, and are allowed to protect their shins with straw.

A noisy finale

The evening is brought to a spectacular end with the lighting of a fire, the setting off of fireworks and a torch-lit procession into the town of Chipping Campden.

Finally, there is dancing in the square until the small hours for the more energetic revellers.

For further information on Robert Dover's Cotswold Olimpicks games, visit the official website at

The next games are scheduled for Friday 3 June 2022.

Close up of the Memorial Topograph at Dover's Hill, Gloucestershire

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Spring lambs lying on the grass at Dover's Hill, Gloucestershire

Things to do at Dover's Hill 

Take in the expansive views from the top of Dover's Hill, spot birds and see Roman remains, all within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.