An overview of...

The Games

Robert Dover’s Cotswold Olimpick Games is a celebration of the original games held here first in 1612. Over time the games have evolved, but the spirit remains the same. Their political importance has long disappeared, but they are proof that Britain’s modern Olympic history began before the Civil War, in the time of Shakespeare, long before de Coubertin’s 1896 revival.

The Games


The media’s favourite (for some strange reason!). It’s one of the sports which took place in 1612, and we’re still doing it to this day. You will be pleased to know that although we’ve made it a bit safer since those days – soft shoes are to be used, and we allow the use of straw to pad shins. If you fancy being a media ‘star’, you’d should read our separate page on shin-kicking first. Entry is free and registration takes place on the night.

The Games

Champion of the Hill

One of the traditional events at the Games, this precursor to modern events like the pentathlon involves individual competitors competing in 4 separate events (in the lower arena). These are: Static Jump (jumping as far as possible from a standstill), Spurning the Barre (an old English version of the Scottish tossing the caber), Hammer Throw and Putting the Shot. The combined total for all four events decides the winner. Entries for this event open at 6.30pm on the night of the Games. Entry is open to all adults over 16.

The Games

Championship of the Hill

The traditional team challenges of ancient rural Games, updated for the 21st century. Teams of 6 people compete against each other in a series of ever-more-frantic (and ever-wetter) games. The games vary from year to year, but typically have an ‘It’s a Knockout’ feel and can include relays involving wheelbarrows, dustbins, hay bales, slippery running surfaces and lots of water. There is only space for six teams so don’t forget to register early on the night.

The Games

Tug O' War

Arguably the most famous and widely played of the traditional rural sports, (and former Olympic sport), still taken very seriously. Teams of 8 people pit their strength against each other in a series of ‘pulls’ culminating in the final in front of Dover’s Castle in the Lower Arena. There is space for six teams so don’t forget to register early on the night. Did you know Chipping Campden’s first Olympian (before our amazing Matt Gotrel won gold in Rio) was Fred Merriman, part of a police tug o war team.


Running Races

Possibly the most beautiful short cross-country course in England! The course is entirely across country and spans the whole of Dover’s Hill. With more and more runners competing each year, this event is a fabulous way to start the games and a great opportunity for friends and family to compete together or individually. Register on your arrival at the games to bag your place in the race.