Exploring the beauties of the Cotswolds but unsure on the things to do with your kids? The Cotswolds has some beautiful attractions to visit on a rainy day, from grand palaces to ancient Cathedrals. There are also numerous pretty tea shops to take shelter in, in picture-perfect villages, or if all else fails there is always soft play! The Cotswolds is certainly England’s largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covering nearly 800 square miles. Spreading over five counties – Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, and Worcestershire. Therefore, there is so much for families to explore here. From woodland walks and wetlands to a string of pretty villages like Bourton-on-the-Water, Chipping Campden and Stow-on-the-Wold.
Let’s explore all the best things to do with kids in The Cotswolds:
1. Burford Garden Company
First of all, this popular garden centre is so much more than somewhere to buy your plants. And it’s gained a loyal following amongst local parents as one of the best wet weather activities for children. Explore the beautiful gift shop, located in one of the nursery’s original glasshouses which sells chic home interiors, high quality kids clothes and local farm produce.
Then there’s the art gallery, food hall and acclaimed cafe to discover. Last but not least, don’t miss ‘Little Burford’ – a children’s emporium selling an amazing array of handmade toys, gifts clothes and accessories.
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 9am – 6pm. Sunday 11am – 5pm.
2. Far Peak Climbing Centre
Visiting an indoor climbing centre is a great indoor activity for all ages, and Far Peak even has an area suitable for little ones as young as three. Specifically centred to test your kids agility, strength and nerves.
They also offer lots of additional activities during the holidays such as abseiling, archery and bow and arrow making.
Opening Hours: Opening hours vary, check the website for up to date information
3. Gloucester Cathedral
The city of Gloucester lies on the edge of the Cotswolds and its famous Cathedral is one of the UK’s most impressive. Originating from around 678 AD, it has been remodelled and restored throughout the centuries. Now visitors can see some amazing examples of varying architecture. Its Romanesque Great Nave and fan vaulted Cloisters are particularly impressive and important.
In addition, the huge site will take at least an hour or two to explore. And there are several child friendly activities such as an Interactive Exhibition, a Family Trail, as well as seasonal events throughout the year.
Opening Hours: Recommended visitor times vary, check the website for more information
4. Corinium Museum
Trace the history of the Cotswolds through locally-found Roman remains at this fascinating museum. Corinium (the old name for Cirencester) was the second largest city in Roman Britain, so you can expect to find a fair few treasures here! Kids will love the hands-on exhibits including tombstones and sculpture, and learning all about the daily life of Romans.
There are indeed loads of family focused events on too, including ‘Revolting Romans’ ‘Mini Mosaics’ and ‘Dinosaur Paint and Collage’.
Address: Park Street, Cirencester GL7 2BX
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 10am – 5pm. Sundays 2pm – 5pm
5. Rugrats & Halfpints
Providing sensory and soft play for babies, toddlers and pre-teens, Rugrats & Halfpints is the perfect rainy day activity for little ones. There are now two sites to visit, one in Banbury and one in Cirencester, both are very popular with local families. On one hand, the older kids can also enjoy ball pits, log ramps and slides. On the other hand, young ones will love the less boisterous baby and toddler area and imaginative story corner.
Opening Hours: Open daily 9:30 am – 6 pm
More things to do with your kids in Cotswolds?
6. Slimbridge Wetland Centre
First, this wetland wildlife reserve is above all, one of the area’s most popular family attractions. For instance, you can meet ducks, flamingos and otters. Secondly, splash about in Welly Boot Land and scale the heights of the Adventure Playground. Hire a canoe and paddle your way around the safari trail. Spotting wildlife as you go, or head to the South Lake Discovery Hide for bird watching.
To sum up, there are a great range of kids activities all throughout the year. From talks to workshops, and in addition, indoor soft play, if the weather turns bad.
Address: Newgrounds Lane, Gloucester GL2 7BT
Opening Hours: Open daily 9:30am – 5pm
7. Cotswold Country Park and Beach
Bet you didn’t think you could find a beach in the middle of the Cotswolds?! This lakeside shore is fantastic fun for kids. Really popular on sunny days. In addition, kids will love the swan pedalos, electric boats, SUP’s and kayaks, or simply just paddling in the lake. If you prefer to stay on dry land there is consequently a mini golf and a go kart track. After all that activity, you’ll need to refuel – choose from a pizzeria, lakeside cafe , beach shack, or gelato store.
Opening Hours: Open daily 10am – 5pm, from April to November.
8. Cotswold Farm Park
The home of farmer Adam Henson (from the BBC’s Countryfile) is certainly a wonderful place to spend the day, receiving rave reviews from parents for its hand-on activities. Farm tours, tractor rides, bottle feeding lambs and handling ducklings are just a few of the pastimes. There’s also a campsite here, including glamping tents with a few home comforts, if you don’t fancy giving up electricity and a proper bed!
Address: Guiting Power, Cheltenham GL54 5FL
Opening Hours: Open daily 9:30 am – 5pm from February to November.
9. Blenheim Palace
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must visit if you are in the Oxfordshire area of The Cotswolds. The birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is a stunning example of Baroque architecture which boasts ornate interiors and magnificent grounds. The 2,000 acre estate encompasses formal gardens, a butterfly house, a miniature train ride and the Marlborough Maze.
In addition, Blenheim plays host to numerous events throughout the year. Including an Easter Egg hunt, flower shows, concerts and food festivals.
Address: Woodstock OX20 1PP
Opening Hours: Opening times vary, check the website for more info.
10. Fairytale Farm
A heady mix of fairy tale characters, animals and an adventure playground, as a result children will simply love Fairytale Farm. Best suited to younger ones, there’s six zones including an enchanted walk, indoor model village, ‘mouse town’ and new for 2019, Snow White Garden. Where else can you meet mermaids, rabbits, sleeping beauty and alpacas in one day?
Opening Hours: Open daily 10am – 5pm
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