Where can tourists find discounted art supplies for outdoor sketching in the Cotswolds?

The picturesque landscapes of the Cotswolds, with its honey-coloured stone cottages, quaint market towns and rolling hills, are a paradise for artists. As a tourist planning to indulge in some outdoor sketching during your trip to this verdant region, you might be wondering where to find art supplies at discounted rates. Fret not, this article delves into the best places to procure high-quality, reasonably priced art materials in the Cotswolds.

Visit Local Art Supply Stores

First and foremost, the local art supply stores scattered across different towns in the Cotswolds are treasure troves for artists. These stores often carry a wide range of art materials, from sketchbooks and pencils to paints and brushes.

One such store is the Artists' Supply Emporium located in Bourton-on-the-Water. This store offers an array of discounted sketching supplies renowned for their quality. Another store worth mentioning is the Fine Art Warehouse in Stow-on-the-Wold. Here, you can find professional-grade materials at competitive prices. The staff at these local stores are generally knowledgeable about art supplies, and they can guide you to make the right purchases based on your needs and budget.

Check out Art Festivals and Fairs

Art festivals and fairs are a frequent occurrence in the Cotswolds. They not only showcase the talents of local and visiting artists but also provide an opportunity to buy art supplies at discounted rates.

The Cotswold Art Festival, held annually in Cirencester, is one such event. The festival hosts stalls from various art suppliers, offering their products at discounted prices. Similarly, the Cheltenham Illustration Fair is another event where you can score great deals on art materials. Remember to keep an eye out for these events during your visit.

Explore Online Platforms

While the charm of physical stores is undeniable, don't underestimate the power of online platforms when it comes to finding discounted art supplies. Several online retailers deliver to the Cotswolds, and their competitive pricing can often beat store prices.

One reliable online destination is Artscape - they offer a comprehensive range of art supplies at discounted prices, and their fast shipping ensures you don't have to wait long for your supplies to arrive. Another option is The Art Store Online, which boasts an extensive catalogue of art materials suitable for both beginners and professionals.

Shop at Charity Shops

Charity shops in the Cotswolds are often overlooked for art supplies but they can be a gold mine for discounted items. These shops often have donations of unused art supplies, and the proceeds from your purchases go towards a good cause.

Charity shops like the Cotswold Charity Shop in Moreton-in-Marsh and The Thrift Shop in Chipping Campden often have a section dedicated to art and craft supplies. While the stock can be unpredictable, the thrill of finding a bargain makes the hunt worthwhile.

Opt for Art Supply Subscriptions

Last but not least, art supply subscriptions can be a cost-effective way to procure your sketching supplies. These services deliver a curated selection of art materials to your doorstep each month at a discounted price.

SketchBox and ArtSnacks are two such subscription services. They offer a variety of plans to suit different budgets and needs, and their products are of high quality. You can have these boxes delivered to your accommodation in the Cotswolds, ensuring a fresh supply of materials for your outdoor sketching sessions.

In summary, your artistic endeavours in the Cotswolds need not be hampered by the daunting task of finding affordable, high-quality art supplies. Whether you prefer rummaging through physical stores, exploring online platforms, attending art festivals, trying your luck at charity shops, or subscribing to monthly art boxes, there's a solution for everyone. Just remember, it's not the price tag of your materials, but the passion and creativity within you that truly brings your art to life.

Participate in Sketchbook Journeys and Challenges

Experiencing the Cotswolds as an artist can be much more than just a journey. It can be a sketch challenge that pushes your creative boundaries, and what better than the picturesque landscapes of the Cotswolds to stimulate your artistic senses? Participating in sketchbook journeys and challenges can be an exhilarating way to explore the region artistically while managing to find discounted art supplies.

Sketchbook Journeys Italy, France Sketchbook, and Journeys Ireland are popular art challenges tourists often embark on. These challenges run across multiple days, often known as "Challenge Days", where artists are encouraged to sketch a particular theme or scene each day. As a participant, you may receive sketchbook supplies, including pencils, paints, and brushes, at discounted rates.

Moreover, special events like Day Sketch, Week Day, and August Day challenges also provide opportunities to source discounted art materials. These events are not restricted to a specific month, though; you could find a July Sketchbook challenge or a September Day challenge, among others.

Don't forget December, as December Christmas is an annual event where you can purchase art supplies at reduced prices. Participating in these challenges not only enhances your sketching skills but also offers opportunities to secure great deals on art supplies.

Seasonal Discounts and Offers

Timing your visit can play a crucial role in getting discounted art supplies in the Cotswolds. Retailers often provide seasonal discounts, especially during the summer and winter holidays.

For instance, there might be a sale during the June Sketches period when the tourist influx is high, and stores are looking to clear their inventory. Similarly, February, with February Sketchbook sales, is another season when art suppliers offer great deals.

The end of summer, around August Day, is another time when you might find discounted rates as stores prepare for the new school year's supplies. Also, keep an eye out for July Sketchbook offers during the height of summer.

Seasonal sales are usually a win-win for both tourists and local businesses. While tourists get high-quality supplies at discounted rates, local businesses manage to attract more customers and boost their sales.


Whether you're sketching the rolling hills of the Cotswolds on a sunny June Sketches day, or capturing the festive spirit of December Christmas, or participating in a Sketch Challenge day, finding discounted art supplies in the Cotswolds need not be a daunting task.

Your sketchbook journeys in Cotswolds can be both enjoyable and economical. You just need to explore the local art supply stores, check out art festivals and fairs, browse through online platforms, shop at charity shops, opt for art supply subscriptions, participate in sketchbook journeys and challenges, and take advantage of seasonal offers.

Regardless of whether it's a sunny day in Italy, a rainy day in Ireland, or a chilly day in France, your passion for art can find its expression anywhere. Remember, it's the artist's vision that counts, not the price of the materials. As they say, creativity knows no bounds. So, pick up your sketchbook, loosen up your artistic spirit, and start sketching! Remember, every day is a sketchbook day in the Cotswolds.

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