From indoor discovery centres and family flicks, to trampoline centres and adventure parks, find some of the best places to take the kids in Gloucestershire when it’s raining and pouring, in this hot list sponsored by Airborne Trampoline Park.
For more information visit airbornetrampolinepark.com directly.
Meanwhile, Gloucestershire grown-ups searching for more adult activities to keep boredom at bay during the downpour, check out SoGlos’s 30 things for grown-ups to do in Gloucestershire when it rains for plenty more inspiration.
Children will be jumping for joy despite the gloomy weather with a visit to Airborne Trampoline Park in Cheltenham. From testing your speed on a Ninja Run and tackling the obstacle course, to sinking some hoops, active kiddies can jump to their heart’s content in the impressive arena of trampolines.
Dress up like a Roman soldier, enjoy hands-on exhibitions, and go on the prowl for dinosaurs at The Museum of Gloucester, or explore a Victorian classroom at Gloucester Life Museum, which offers plenty to keep nippers occupied whatever the weather. Corinium Museum in Cirencester offers a rare chance to experience life as a Roman, while Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum provides a fascinating insight into local servicemen from the last 300 years.
Meanwhile, The Wilson in Cheltenham includes a stay and play area, trails and a family-friendly café too. Kids can get their hands wet, play dress up, and climb aboard boats at the The National Waterways Museum Gloucester. Not to mention a trip to Nature in Art, the world’s first museum and art gallery dedicated to works of art inspired by nature.
Shelter from the gloomy weather with a heart-warming family flick. Cineworld Gloucester and Cineworld Cheltenham offer Movies for Juniors screenings, starting from £2 per person, and spanning animated favourites to live action spectacles. The cinema at Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury regularly shows family films, Sherborne Cinema offers a unique setting and brilliant value with tickets from £3.50, while Gloucester Guildhall's cinema also regularly shows films suitable for kids – with well-priced tickets and deals.
Catch bubbles from the famous Fish Clock at Regent Arcade Shopping Centre in Cheltenham, which is also home to an independent toy shop, dedicated kids’ hair salon and sweet treats galore from Millie’s Cookies and Auntie Anne’s pretzels.
Little ones will enjoy the chance to be zoomed around in the car-shaped ‘turbo tots’ buggies at Gloucester Quays, the leisure and retail destination at Gloucester Docks, while there are plenty of places to shop, eat and relax at The Eastgate Shopping Centre.
An attraction as enchanting as its name, Gloucestershire’s largest indoor soft play area, Magicland in Cirencester spans a whopping 13,000 square feet, filled with slides, cannons, ball rivers, log ramps, a five-a-side football pitch, and – for kiddies who have tired themselves out – a story corner. The venue is also home to a dedicated area for under fours; and a separate one for babies under 18 months, complete with bouncers, mirrors and a bouncing buttercup.
Kids can splash and get wet – but not from the rain – at one of Gloucestershire’s many family-friendly swimming pools. Whether you want to dive into Leisure at Cheltenham, Brockworth Sports Centre, Cotswold Leisure Bourton-on-the-Water, Cotswold Leisure Chipping Campden, Cotswold Leisure Cirencester and Stratford Park Leisure Centre, as well as Dursley Pool, GL1, and Wotton-under-Edge Pool.
Cattle Country Adventure Park may be known for its field of trampolines, assault courses and other outdoor activities, but there’s plenty to do when it pours down too. Indoors, youngsters can have buckets of fun racing down giant slides, scrambling through assault courses, causing havoc in the ball pit and even building sandcastles in the giant, covered sand area.
Escape from the drizzle underground, with a visit to Clearwell Caves in the Forest of Dean. Hear the miners’ stories, explore nine impressive caverns, and soak up the atmospheric displays, with plenty to keep young visitors enthralled.
Adrenaline-seekers should jump at the chance to visit one of Europe’s largest skateparks right on their doorstep in Gloucestershire. Providing a shelter from the storms and an area to practice bunnyhop, double-peg, and flip and grind skills, Rush in Stroud describes itself as five parks in one, with a one-of-a-kind street section; park section; bowl section; practice area with a Resi jump box; and a foam pit.
Green fingered locals can visit gardeners’ haven, Blooms Garden Centre, near Haresfield, perusing the displays whilst energetic youngsters have fun at the indoor soft play area, which boasts slides and ball pools – relaxing afterwards at the family-friendly restaurant which serves up refreshments and hot and cold food.
Dressing up and indoor activity trails promise hours of entertainment at the Dean Heritage Centre, which offers five on-site galleries exploring the history of the Forest of Dean from the Ice Age to the present day, while the Forester’s Cottage and Victorian School Room allow children to step back in time to experience life in the 19th century.
With dedicated playzones for babies, toddlers and juniors, the ever-popular Play Farm at The Brewery in Cheltenham only gets busier as the weather gets drearier, so arrive at opening time to avoid crowds. The indoor soft play centre is perfect for under 12s, and gives parents a welcome break as they relax with a hot drink from the café.
Gloucestershire boasts a number of fantastic theatres where families can hide away in comfort during the rainy days – whether it’s a matinee at Everyman Theatre, a live cinema screening at Roses Theatre, a pantomime at Bacon Theatre, or a musical at The Playhouse, parents can take their pick of performances to keep kiddies happy.
Eagle-eyed youngsters can discover which of Gloucester Cathedral's cloisters doubled as the corridors of Hogwarts during Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and The Half Blood Prince, and have heaps of fun in the magical Whispering Gallery – being careful not to whisper any guarded secrets, because they definitely won’t be kept quiet.
See SoGlos’s hot list for more filming locations in Gloucestershire, with a number of indoor hot-spots.
With cuddly bunnies, cute chicks, and giddy goats all waiting to meet friendly children in Cotswold Farm Park’s sheltered Touch Barn, in addition to regular animal demonstrations, a tractor school for drivers-in-training, and an on-site café, there’s plenty of under-cover activities for families to enjoy without getting soaked in a sudden downpour.
Children with a need for speed, aged between four and 11, can whiz round the smaller track at JDR Karting in Gloucester on safe, electric karts – and not worry about splashing any pedestrians, while older children can also drive up a storm and race to the finish line.
Aviation enthusiasts old and young will be fascinated at Gloucester’s Jet Age Museum, which is home to an impressive exhibition, which includes a replica of Britain’s first jet aircraft, the Gloster E.28/39.
When it’s wet outside, you’ll want to skip the sandpit, rickety bridge and pets corner, and instead head to Dick Whittington Farm Park's indoor attractions, including a large soft play activity area; trampolines; restaurant with toys; and mega slides, which are sure to entertain until the rain passes over.
Whether it’s striking out on the bowling lanes, playing video games, or getting competitive at air hockey, Stroud Bowl, Tenpin in Gloucester and Hollywood Bowl Cheltenham provide a fun and safe haven away from the wind and rain, offering great eat and play deals too. Bowling with little ones? Ask for a ramp to help them take aim, and gutter guards too.
Families can get creative with some pottery painting fun, visiting one of three places in Gloucestershire, including The Paint It Yourself Pottery Company in Cheltenham, The Paint Pot in Tewkesbury and Pick a Pot and Paint in Cirencester. All offer pint-sized Picassos the opportunity to create their own mug or plate masterpieces, with the chance to immortalise tiny footprint or handprints proving popular with parents too.
Escape the elements and step into this transformed Victorian Warehouse in Gloucester, where you’ll discover an impressive indoor climbing venue with a bouldering floor and Kids’ Zone. Far Peak in Northleach also offers hours of indoor climbing and bouldering, with a dedicated kids’ climbing area suitable for nippers as young as three.
Put trigger fingers to the test at Laser Tag Gloucester, situated at Gloucester’s popular JDR Karting Arena – the Aliens vs Predators theme multi-floor arena complete with amazing props promises an exciting experience and even allows skilled shooters to take aim at their opponents through the floor.
If the rain descends on Slimbridge Wetland Centre, children are sure to have heaps of fun splashing around in outdoor wet playground, Welly Boot Land, drying off afterwards in the indoor Discovery Centre – where kiddies can dress up, have fun at the amphibian-themed soft play area, and get up close and personal with some friendly amphibians and learn some fascinating facts at the Toad Hall talks.
Providing hours of educational entertainment, the county’s libraries offer the chance to get lost in a good book or enjoy time on the computers, while storytelling, book clubs, craft sessions, poetry workshops, baby bounce, rhyme time and much more will keep little ones of all ages busy – and learning – without them even realising! Check SoGlos’s directory of Gloucestershire libraries to find your nearest one.
With a peaceful café for grown-ups to relax, Go Bananas in Ebley, near Stroud also offers plenty of exciting activities for little and big kids alike – whiz down the wavy slide; cause chaos in the ball pool; dare to cross the wobbly bridge; and jump the star burst clouds.
Open from mid-February to mid-December, Cotswold Motoring Museum in Bourton-on-the-Water is the home of super-hero television star, Brum. Meanwhile, visitors of all generations will enjoy the attraction’s impressive toy collection, which includes everything from pedal cars and model aeroplanes, to jigsaws and board games.
By Kathryn Godfrey
Wednesday 05 April 2017
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