Travel trends for this year are showing that many of us will holiday in the UK and take multi-generational family trips. With children, parents and grandparents all travelling together, it’s difficult to keep everyone happy when it comes to activities and things to do. However, the Cotswolds is the ideal destination for such a trip! With wildlife parks, heritage railways, museums, and even hidden bunkers to discover, here are our top 5 Cotswolds activities for families to whet everyone’s appetite for adventure!
Cotswold Water Park
Nestled in the heart of the Gloucestershire and Wiltshire countryside, Cotswolds Water Park encompasses 42 square miles and is home to around 180 lakes. The conservation area is a significant zone for wildlife and bird watching and home to a variety of activities which everyone can enjoy. Families can enjoy water-based paddle boarding experiences, sailing, kayaking or wakeboarding or remain on dry land with archery, angling, cycling and paintballing on offer. Wooden chalets, holiday parks and luxury hotels can be found lakeside and there are pretty Cotswolds villages with traditional pubs and bistros serving delicious food and craft ales nearby.
Heritage Railway Trips
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire heritage railway operates steam and diesel train rides between Broadway and Cheltenham Racecourse, traversing some of the most idyllic scenery in the Cotswolds. A round trip is just 28 miles, but visitors with an All-day Rover ticket can hop on and off at places of interest on route. There are themed days throughout the year where visitors can enjoy the Cotswolds Festival of Steam, Murder/Mystery trips and Fish & Chip dinners on the train. Young children are catered for too with ‘Teddy Bear Tuesdays’ allowing their furry companions to travel on the train with them!
Cotswolds Wildlife Park & Gardens
Cotswolds Wildlife Park & Gardens in Burford will appeal to all ages. Set amongst 160 acres of stunning parkland, animal enthusiasts can get up close to a whole host of wildlife species. With a new Giraffe Walkway, a Madagascar enclosure and over 130 species of exotic birdlife, there’s plenty to discover and learn from the park’s dedicated keepers. The park is divided into quarters, therefore easy to navigate, so when you have visited all the wildlife of the animal kingdom, head for the Victorian Manor to explore the plant kingdom – acres of landscaped gardens often referred to as a ‘Theatre with Plants’.
Cotswolds Motor Museum
Motor enthusiasts will relish a trip to the Cotswolds Motor Museum in the charming riverside town of Bourton-on-the-Water. Visitors can travel through the 20th century to explore the history of motoring and browse large collections of signage, memorabilia, and toys. The museum features iconic classic cars, motorcycles, retro bicycles and even 1970s style caravans! Children’s TV car ‘Brum’ is displayed here, and you can spend time in an authentic Blacksmith’s workshop where many engineering tools for the motoring trade were originally made.
Broadway Tower & Bunker Tour
Discover local history and connect with nature at Broadway Tower & Park spread across 50-acres of Cotswolds parkland. One highlight is Broadway Tower, a dramatic look-out with turrets, balconies and even the odd gargoyle or too. It was the brainchild of famed landscaper Capability Brown who designed it along with architect James Wyatt over 200 years ago. If you climb to the top, you can see several counties and herds of red deer roaming freely on the estate. It offers incredible photo opportunities for keen photographers; however it is not the only focal point of the park.
When you’ve explored the highest peaks, venture below ground into an authentic Cold War bunker. The former monitoring station has been carefully restored so that visitors can gain a true perspective of what life would be like living underground. When you’ve finished with the historical sites, hire an e-bike and follow winding woodland trails with family members, stopping for refreshments and a picnic on route.
There are many more family-friendly activities in the Cotswolds including farmyard visits, falconry classes, nature trails and palace tours. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks!