Family fun in the Cotswolds

Jennifer Richardson's take on Southwest England's simple pleasures

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Jennifer Richardson

Jennifer Richardson
HomeAway travel expert

Family fun in the CotswoldsWith its gentle landscapes, picturesque villages and antique store-laden market towns, the Cotswolds are an ideal romantic weekend getaway. The adult palate is well catered to, from character pubs and fine dining establishments to luxury spas. But don’t be fooled: hidden in these rolling hills are plenty of activities that will keep both parents and children delighted.

Two obvious choices for a family outing are Birdland Park & Gardens in Bourton-on-the-Water, and the Cotswold Water Park just south of Cirencester. The region is also awash with National Trust properties: Lodge Park, Hidcote Gardens, and Snowshill Manor are three favourites that sometimes offer special family-themed days. Then there are the seasonal, one-off events with cross-generation appeal, including Gifford Circus, the Cotswold Show in Cirencester, and good old village fêtes. But one of the pleasures of visiting the Cotswolds is feeling like you’ve gone back in time to a simpler era; each of the activities below was hand-picked for its unique ability to evoke the experience of rural life.



Our guide to the good life


Cotswold Farm Park Cotswold Farm Park

Regular viewers of Country File will already be familiar with Adam Henson and his Gloucestershire farm. In addition to being a working farm, the park is home to rare breed farm animals like Gloucester Old Spot pigs. Children get the chance to interact with smaller animals and learn about activities like hatchery and milking. View Cheltenham rentals



Bibury Trout Farm Bibury Trout Farm

It’s hard to think of a more scenic spot for fishing than the fifteen acres in the Coln Valley that make up the Bibury Trout Farm. The Catch Your Own fishery is open weekends from March through to October, but the farm itself is open year-round with opportunities to feed the trout and see them graded before they are moved to stock rivers and ponds. There’s also a play area, grounds to wander around, and, in case your fishing is less than successful, a shop where you can pick up a supply of fresh and smoked trout.

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Roman Villa Roman Villa

The Cotswolds’ Roman lineage is on full display at the Chedworth Roman Villa, hidden deep in a valley beside the Chedworth Woods. You’ll find fragments of splendid mosaics and astounding feats of engineering amongst the villa’s ruins, but, to really bring the experience to life, choose a day when the villa puts on one of its live gladiatorial demonstrations. In case of rain, a visit to the Corinium Museum in the nearby market town of Cirencester is a good alternative.

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Gloucestershire - Warwickshire Railway Gloucestershire - Warwickshire Railway

This volunteer-run steam railway courses for twenty-five miles between Laverton and Cheltenham, taking you through some of the Cotswolds’ most stunning scenery. It’s a worthy activity on its own, especially if you pause at Toddington Station to enjoy the children’s play area and Flag and Whistle Tea Room. You can also use it as a creative way to get to Cheltenham Racecourse, which, in addition to horse racing, hosts events from car boot sales to concerts. Check the railway’s online calendar for special events, which have previously included Thomas the Tank Engine, Halloween and Christmas-themed outings.

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Hit the footpaths Hit the footpaths

Easily the most rewarding and economical activity in the Cotswolds is a walk along one of the many public footpaths. Equip yourself with an Ordnance Survey map and venture out on your own or, if you’re with small kids, you may enjoy some of the shorter walks around the Sherborne Estate, all of which start at Ewe Pen Barn. The estate overlooks a scene of particular bucolic bliss above the Sherborne Brook. Nearby, in Great Barrington, is the Fox Inn, which has a pleasant outdoor area that’s ideal for kids.

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Beach Holiday Villas in Spain

Apartment/ flat - Marbella

(Text automatically translated) Very good situado.Precios estancia.Gran Discount for terrazaEn the heart of Marbella. Ideal for seniors outside of July and August. Magnificent to spend the rest of the year. Handy for clean, spacious, cheerful and ...

A paradise in Betlem

Sunny house with sea and mountain, in the Bay of Alcudia, very quiet area on the coast of the natural reserve of Parque de Levante in the house and the garden you can see the sea and the sunset. From the house you have walking access to many coves...

Holiday house in Cudillero, Asturias (Spain). Exclusive house, 500 metres away

The house has an independent kitchen, a large living-dining room, bathrooms, four double bedrooms and one single bedroom. All the bedrooms are totally fitted with furniture, lamps, linen, and there is a TV and a comfortable sofa in two of them. Th...

High Specification Townhouse only 1km from Terra Miica

Large, fully equipped & well-furnished townhouse in an exclusive gated community on the prestigious Sierra Cortina development. Each bedroom has its own bathroom, & the double sofa-bed in the lounge has a separate shower room. The house easily acc...

Air Conditioned Townhouse on El Portil Golf Course Minutes From Stunning Beach

Casa 60 is a 3 bedroomed town house nestled amongst the 11,000 hectares of municipal pine forest and the Natural Park of Marismas del Piedras. Situated next to the third hole on the par 71, 18 hole Nuevo Portil Golf Course overlooking 2 swimming p...
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