Family time in the beautiful Cotswolds
The Cotswolds are famous for the honey-coloured villages, towns and cities surrounded by gently rolling countryside. Around every picturesque corner it seems there’s something to see or do that’ll be loved by adults, little ones – and everyone in between.
Meet rhinos, giraffes and a host of other magnificent beasts at the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens. There are frequent keeper talks, a tree house adventure playground, a petting area and loads more. You can even choo-choo your way round the park on the miniature railway. At Cotswold Farm Park, you can learn about rare breed conservation and meet over 50 herds and flocks of beautiful farm animals – all lovingly curated by BBC Countryfile’s Adam Henson.
If it’s medieval merriment you’re after, Berkeley Castle has it all – towers, turrets, battlements, dungeons, hands-on archery shows and demonstrations – and dressing-up opportunities for all ages. Or fast-forward a few centuries to Blenheim Palace; the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and surely one of the grandest of all the grand English country houses. Adjoining the Blenheim estate, the pretty village of Woodstock has more than its fair share of excellent family-friendly pubs and cafés.
The Cotswold Motoring Museum at Bourton on the Water is a treasure trove of vintage vehicles of all kinds to delight car enthusiasts and mini petrol heads. There’s also a magical collection of toys and very impressive gift shop.
When it comes to big and bustling destinations, the wondrous city of Bath offers a wealth of history that children love – especially the working Roman Baths, complete with costumed actors and archaeological treasures. The city of Bristol is only a few miles down the road, where you can visit Brunel’s iron ship, the SS Great Britain, or cross his herculean Clifton Suspension Bridge. There’s also the famous Bristol Zoo Gardens, the magnificent cathedral – and more family-friendly restaurants than you could shake a logoed balloon on a stick at.
For more things to do in the local area, recommended by the staff at De Vere Cotswold Water Park themselves, have a look at our companion guide.