Stuck for ideas to get the kids out of the house? SoGlos’s round up of 100 best family things to do in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds to the rescue!
Spanning indoor and outdoor activities, creative, foodie, sporty and historic things to do, not to mention places to meet the animals too.
Priding itself on its strong pastoral system, Rendcomb College in Cirencester is an independent day and boarding school for boys and girls between the ages of three and 18.
Aiming to develop thoughtful, adventurous and academically ambitious young people, the school encourages its students to pursue interests in sport, music, drama and art alongside other aspects of the curriculum. There is a strong focus on the mental wellbeing of its 400 pupils, providing a wide range of after-school activities.
Surrounded by countryside and extensive parkland, Rendcomb College is celebrating its centenary year in 2020 and has recently opened its new sixth form centre, located inside a Grade II listed rectory building. In celebration of its 100-year anniversary, Rendcomb College is the perfect sponsor of 100 things to do as a family in Gloucestershire!
For more information, visit rendcombcollege.org.uk.
With a three-level soft play area aimed at children between the ages of three and 11, Cotswold Clubhouse also has a gymnasium, kids’ fitness classes and a great on-site café for the parents. Check out other soft play areas in Gloucestershire in SoGlos’s top 15 centres.
A free attraction in the centre of the city, The Museum of Gloucester tells the story of Gloucester’s origins as a Roman settlement. With nearly one million objects in its collection of treasures, families can explore the two floors of exhibitions, Roman kitchen playhouse, medieval street and part of the original Roman wall.
The Steam Railway is a great 28 mile round-trip of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, offering stunning views of the Malvern Hills, idyllic villages and spectacular countryside.
Pick up new house plants, get gardening inspiration or simply pop in for a cup of tea and a slice of cake at one of Gloucestershire’s garden centres. From The Fairview Gardener to The Nursery at Miserden, there are lots of lovely garden centres around Gloucestershire.
Whatever the weather, take a train ride through the Forest of Dean on this unique private railway. Pack a picnic and take in the lovely countryside.
From Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham to The Barn Theatre in Cirencester, The Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury to Bacon Theatre at Dean Close School, there’s always a fantastic production going on in Gloucestershire. Round the family up and treat them to a show, pantomime or musical – whatever takes your fancy!
Put your problem-solving skills to the test at Trapped Escape Rooms in Gloucester, as you solve clues and challenges to release yourself from the locked room.
Challenge the family to a game of bowling at Hollywood Bowl in The Brewery Quarter in Cheltenham. With an on-site, American style restaurant, games arcade and pool tables it makes a fantastic activity for rainy days.
Challenge friends and family to a laser combat battle, based on the thrilling ‘live’ version of the best computer war games. Great for adrenaline junkies, the game is suitable for kids aged seven and over.
Let imaginations run wild at Dinky Street in Cheltenham, a play centre with a miniature café, construction room, hair salon and doctor’s surgery. The little ones can play at whatever they want to be when they grow up, and adults can get involved too.
When the weather isn’t great, let the kids run wild at Funky Warehouse in Cheltenham. Kids as young as five can bounce around on trampolines, play in the foam pits and challenge friends at parkour.
Families can challenge each other to a thrilling game at Laster Tag in Gloucester. Hide in the Aztec jungle from the opposition and zap each other to win points for your team. After all, there’s nothing wrong with a little competition.
Perhaps an unlikely spot for a farm shop, Gloucester Services is situated on the M5 between junctions 12 and 11a. Selling lots of local produce, baked goods and foodie gifts, the services also has a café, patisserie, deli, butchers and fishmonger.
With both high street and designer labels offering 70 per cent off all day every day, you can pick up some great bargains at Gloucester Quays. It’s also a popular destination for markets and family events throughout the year.
Visit The House of the Tailor in Gloucester and discover the works of Beatrix Potter. With lots of rare items to see, it’s a fascinating day out for literature lovers.
The ultimate rainy-day activity, a trip to the cinema is a great way to get the kids out of the house for a couple of hours. With “Cineworld Cheltenham”https://www.soglos.com/culture/cinemas/25221/Cineworld-Cheltenham now offering 4DX and VIP screenings, audiences can experience films like never before.
If the kids are bouncing off the walls, take them to climb up them instead. The Warehouse in Gloucester has an indoor climbing wall and bouldering room and is suitable for all ages and abilities.
With regular routes to Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stroud, Tewkesbury and other Gloucestershire locations, catching a Stagecoach West bus makes exploring the county much easier. Without having to find a parking space, families can enjoy a day out without keeping an eye on the parking meter!
During the summer months, what better way to cool off than at a splash pad, pool or paddling spot? Pack up a picnic, throw in some towels and plan the perfect summer’s day out with SoGlos’s 17 splash pads and outdoor pools near Gloucestershire.
Whether you have a four-legged friend or not, there are loads of beautiful walks in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds. From a quick wander around Pittville Park to walking up Cleeve Hill, there are some truly idyllic spots in this county. Get all the inspiration in SoGlos’s 14 of the best places to walk your dog in Gloucestershire.
Find the amazing sculptures along the Forest of Dean trail, starting and ending at Beechenhurst Lodge. The three-and-a-half-mile long route takes visitors through spectacular woodland, with shorter trails also available for the little ones.
Discover the beautiful views at one of the most spectacular tree gardens in the world, Westonbirt Arboretum. With plenty of photo opportunities, and even a trail for the little ones to enjoy, the arboretum is a fantastic way to see the great outdoors in all its glory.
From CountryTastic to the RHS Malvern Spring Festival, the Three Counties Showground in Malvern provides a vibrant programme of events throughout the year. Just a stone’s throw away from Gloucestershire, the events make a fabulous day out. Don’t miss the Royal Three Counties Show in the summer, or the Malvern Autumn Show to see some giant vegetables!
Returning again this year on Friday 19 to Sunday 21 June 2020, Cheltenham Balloon Fiesta at the racecourse will be brightening the sky with amazing display of hot air balloons. For more information, see Cheltenham Balloon Fiesta.
Boasting a whole host of beautiful green spaces, Gloucestershire has plenty of spots for a summer picnic, long walks, children’s activities and sporty events. See SoGlos’s 10 of Gloucestershire’s best public parks to get all the ideas for this weekend’s outing.
Hailes Abbey is a 13th century Cistercian abbey near Winchcombe in Cheltenham. With a small on-site museum, the abbey is open from April to October and is a great spot to let kids’ imaginations run wild.
Set in the gardens of The Old New Inn in Bourton-on-the-Water, the miniature model village is a scaled reconstruction of Bourton. Using Cotswold Stone, the models took four years to complete.
Open from January to November, Painswick Rococo Garden is tucked away in a Cotswold valley and is a beautiful setting to catch winter snowdrops, springtime daffodils, summer wildflowers and autumnal trees. With a nature trail, woodland play area and maze, it’s a great place to take the kids to run off some steam.
Boasting 56 acres of picturesque parkland, Batsford Arboretum offers one of the finest botanical collections in the country. Explore 1,300 different species of trees, shrubs and bamboo and keep an eye out for the family events happening throughout the year.
From the brave to the barmy, there are loads of, let’s say, interesting events happening throughout the year in Gloucestershire. From shin-kicking championships to woolsack racing, cheese rolling to surfing the Severn Bore, check out SoGlos’s wacky events guide to get the lowdown.
Known as The Festival Town, Cheltenham Spa hosts a number of festivals throughout the year. From literature to jazz, science to poetry, there’s always something to look forward to. SoGlos’s festivals guide provides a round-up of all the events happening across Gloucestershire, so you can entertain the family all year round.
Playgrounds are not only brilliant fun for kids but they also give the grown-ups the opportunity to put their feet up! From Sudeley Castle’s adventure playground to Rococo Garden’s rustic play area, SoGlos rounds up 12 of the best children’s playgrounds in Gloucestershire.
In the summer months, stay a night under the stars at one of SoGlos’s 25 of the best camping spots in Gloucestershire. From glamping in an eco-pod to setting up camp in the woods, there are lots of lovely locations to enjoy the great outdoors.
Promising one of the world’s biggest and best air shows, the Royal International Air Tattoo takes place this year on Friday 17 to Sunday 19 July 2020 in Fairford. For more information, see Royal International Air Tattoo.
Over the summer months, families can tackle the huge maze at Elton Farm which, in 2019, was themed in the shape of Disney cartoon characters. Keep an eye out for its special events, including its special Late Night ‘Mazes by Torchlight’.
Whether you’re looking for panoramic views, a riverside setting or stunning gardens, get the best ideas with SoGlos’s 16 of the best picnic spots in Gloucestesthire. There are lots of lovely places, including Rodborough Common, Cotswold Country Park and Beach and Robinswood Hill Country Park.
Go for a walk around Tewkesbury Nature Reserve and meet swans, herons, butterflies and other wildlife along your way. A great way to get the kids out to get some fresh air, visit the nature reserve on a lovely summer’s day.
With so many beautiful spots in the county, why not visit the best Gloucestershire has to offer on a mini break to the likes of the Forest of Dean, Stow-on-the-Wold or Cirencester? From log cabin stays to glamping, there’s lots of family holidays to be had not far from home.
Discover 18 iconic movie and television filming locations in Gloucestershire – from Gloucester Cathedral’s Harry Potter claim to fame, to _This Country_’s home in Cirencester, spot the famous destinations throughout the county.
From Primrose Vale to Hayles Fruit Farm, SoGlos has selected five places to go fruit picking in and around Gloucestershire with 5 places to go fruit picking in Gloucestershire this summer. Embrace the great outdoors, soak up the sunshine and rustle up some delicious recipes.
Alternatively, if you fancy taking the family a little further afield, there are many attractions just outside of Gloucestershire. Get all the ideas with SoGlos’s 16 amazing attractions within an hour’s drive of Gloucestershire. From Bath to Longleat, Swindon to Oxford, there’s plenty to do around the area.
Starting from its base in Slimbridge, Gloucester Narrowboats gives families the chance to sail down the Gloucester-Sharpness canal in a classic narrowboat, stopping off at interesting sites as you go.
Pick up some new skills, and some tasty treats too, at Harts Barn Cookery School in Longhope. Adhering to all levels and abilities, the cookery school has an impressive range of hands-on cooking courses, workshops, supper clubs and events to get involved in.
Offering craft workshops for both adults and children, everyone can get stuck in with pottery painting, crochet or mosaic – whatever takes your fancy.
Pick your pottery before designing and painting your masterpiece. A great creative activity for kids, Paint It Yourself Pottery also offers parties for adults and children.
Holding regular exhibitions, arts and crafts workshops and fascinating classes, Taurus Crafts provides families with a crafty day out with its weekend and half-term activities for children.
With special children’s workshops, Waitrose in Cheltenham offers cookery courses for all ages. With all equipment provided, you’ll even get to take your creations home.
The first museum in the world dedicated to works of art inspired by nature, Nature in Art has an impressive collection by more than 600 artists. Explore the sculpture garden, visit the café and let the little ones run off some steam at the indoor and outdoor activity areas.
There are lots of other sporty activities for children in Gloucestershire, from Cotswold Clubhouse’s gymnastics classes to Ninja Warrior in Gloucester, windsurfing at Croft Farm to fencing at Cotswold Fencing Club.
One of the largest indoor parks in the world, Rush Skatepark in Stroud is great for adrenaline junkies to get their skating fix. Beginner sessions are great for kids as young as five to have a go.
Cycle to your heart’s content through the beautiful setting of the Forest of Dean. Pedalabikeaway offers both full and half day bike hire, so pack up a picnic and get pedalling!
Try out a new water sport at Croft Farm Waterpark, offering stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing and more.
The first Adventure Park of its kind in Gloucestershire and the south, Ninja Warrior is modelled on the ITV game show. Tackle obstacles, climb walls and unleash your inner ninja.
Challenge the family to a game of mini golf at Mr Mulligan’s Lost World, located in The Brewery Quarter in Cheltenham. With themed rooms and obstacles to tackle, it’s a fun day out for all ages.
If the weather is playing ball, take the family for a day at Sandford Parks Lido in Cheltenham. With an on-site café and heated outdoor swimming resort great for splashing about in the sun.
Cheer on the Cherry and Whites at a nail-biting rugby match at Kingsholm Stadium in Gloucester. With a brilliant match-day atmosphere, it makes for a fantastic family day out.
Known for excellent tennis facilities, East Glos Club offers something for all levels of ability. Get a discounted membership when you join with your children and challenge the kids to a friendly game of tennis!
Unleash your inner Tarzan at Go Ape in the Forest of Dean, swinging from ropes, wobbling over treetop bridges and climbing over obstacles. Children as young as four can get stuck in too, with a special course for little ones.
What better way to get the kids out the house than with a good old family bike ride? Pack up a picnic and head to one of SoGlos’s top 11 places to get on your bike in Gloucestershire. From Cannop Ponds to Beechenhurst, there are some lovely countryside views to take in.
If the family like an action-packed day out, JDR Karting in Gloucester is just the ticket. Boasting a National Karting Association approved track, it also has a junior track for children aged between four and 12 years-old. On your marks, get set, go!
SUP Gloucester runs stand-up paddle boarding trips around Gloucester Docks. With family sessions available, try something new with a group lesson.
Bounce around at Airborne for a fun-filled day out. With a Ninja Run, battle beam and LED reaction wall, put your skills to the test.
One of the most iconic days out in Gloucestershire is to go for a day at the races at Cheltenham’s prestigious racecourse. Whether on a crisp October day, spring evening in May, or at The Festival™ presented by Magners in March, take the family for a thrilling day out. Plus, kids go free at lots of race meets!
The Boathouse at Pittville Park in Cheltenham has boats for hire, for families and groups of up to five people. Row around Pittville Lake on a lovely summer’s day before tucking into an ice cream from the café.
A firm favourite for a family day out, Sudeley Castle sits in an impressive 1,200-acre estate and boasts 10 award-winning gardens to explore. There’s always something going on over the summer months and, with a fantastic outdoor adventure playground and assault course, the little ones can burn off some of their boundless energy.
Situated in a beautiful Tudor house, Tewkesbury Museum showcases a plethora of collections, including specimens from 5,000 years ago. From Roman remains to an old fairground model, there’s plenty to explore.
A fascinating day out for all ages, Berkeley Castle makes a great summer activity for the kids. With various children’s activities happening throughout the holidays, families can go on a dragon hunt, visit a butterfly house, and explore the glorious gardens.
Learn all about the history of the Forest of Dean at Dean Heritage Centre, with five galleries exploring everything from pre-historic times to World War II. Kids can enjoy the Victorian School Classroom, The Free Mine and demonstrations such as chainsaw carving and charcoal burning.
Hosting a series of family-friendly events such as festivals, plays and live music, through to more traditional worship, workshops and historic tours, Gloucester Cathedral is a hive of activity all year-round.
Offering a fascinating journey through 20th century transport history, Cotswold Motoring Museum in Bourton-on-the-Water takes visitors back in time. As one of the top tourist attractions in Gloucestershire, it’s a great day out for car-mad kids.
Set in the grounds of Stratford Park in Stroud, Museum in the Park showcases a range of exhibitions and has a busy calendar of events for families. Learn more about the collection, from dinosaur bones to coins found in the area, fine art to archaeology before exploring the garden.
Steeped in history, Eastnor Castle is nestled in the Malvern Hills and dates back to the 19th century. The castle is open to visitors on selected dates from Eater until the end of September, offering the chance to discover its amazing interiors. Kids are welcome too, with an adventure playground, a knight’s maze, junior assault course and woodland play area.
Complete with a replica courtroom, Tetbury Police Museum is housed in the village’s original police office and cells. Explore the former police sergeant’s home and exhibits for a unique day out.
A popular, family-friendly heritage railway, Dean Forest Railway in the Forest of Dean gives visitors the chance to explore the countryside before visiting the fascinating railway museum.
Held annually in July, Tewkesbury Medieval Festival gives families the chance to witness the re-enactment of the Battle of Tewkesbury. With feasts to feed an army, exhibitions and period-based games, it’s a wonderfully quirky event.
Journey back through time to the prehistoric era and discover the rich history of the second largest town in Roman Britain, Cirencester. The award-winning museum offers the chance to experience life as a Roman, marvel at impressive mosaics and explore a Roman garden. There are also hands-on activities and interactive displays.
With impressive underground caverns, Clearwell Caves display some of the country’s oldest mine workings. Discover the historic stories of the freeminers, uncover magnificent caves and explore the hidden world.
Home to a replica of Britain’s first jet aircraft, the Gloster E.28/39, Jet Age Museum is a fascinating day out for families. Learn more about its aircraft and even go on a cockpit tour of a 1950s fighter jet or bomber.
Go underground at Hopewell Colliery and explore the mine workings on a guided tour. See what life is like under the Forest of Dean, and hear fascinating stories about the history of the mine.
As one of the biggest Roman amphitheatres in Great Britain, Cirencester Amphitheatre is situated on the outskirts of the Cotswold town. With a fascinating history, make sure to visit the Corinium Museum to find out more about the site.
Not all families have little kiddies to cater for, so why not treat your parents, sister, brother, cousin – or whoever! – to a tasty brunch at one of SoGlos’s top brunch spots in Gloucestershire? From breakfast buffets to waffles, pancakes to full English breakfasts, there are plenty of delicious options.
What better way to finish a walk than with a hearty Sunday lunch? Fill up on all the roast potatoes, Yorkshire puds and gravy you could ask for. See SoGlos’s Sunday lunch guide to discover all the best spots in Gloucestershire.
Whether it’s for a celebration or just to satisfy that sugary craving, visit one of Gloucestershire’s best sugar-fix destinations. From unicorn hot chocolates to melting chocolate bombes, freakshakes to pastries, treat the family to something sweet.
From seasonal fruit and veg to unique condiments, local cheeses to homemade cakes, pick up some delicious produce at one of SoGlos’s top 14 Gloucestershire’s farmer’s markets.
Selling quality, locally-grown produce, Over Farm in Gloucester hosts regular events throughout the year, as well as fun trailer rides around the farm. Open seven days a week, the farm shop is a great place to pick up delicious fruit, veg, meat and cheese – all for a hearty homemade meal!
The artisan ice cream producer, Wholly Cow, produces gelato using milk from cows reared at the Hobbs family farm in Gloucestershire. Meet the cows as you enjoy your ice cream, which comes in a variety of ever-changing flavours, from orange zest to blackberry ripple, sea salt caramel to raspberry rose.
From the retro, American-style diner Smokey Joe’s in Cheltenham to Latin-themed restaurant Galgos Latino in Stroud, there are lots of quirky dining spots in Gloucestershire that offer something a bit different.
As the Cotswolds’ first waffle house, He Says She Waffles in Cirencester serves up freshly baked sweet and savoury waffles with scrumptious toppings. From M&Ms to brownies, banoffee to marshmallows, it’s every sweet tooth’s dream.
Home to the world’s largest collection of swans, geese and ducks, as well as all six species of flamingo, Slimbridge Wetland Centre offers visitors of all ages the chance to enjoy amazing wildlife up-close.
The home of Countryfile presenter, Adam Henson, Cotswold Farm Park is open between February to December for families to come and meet all the farmyard animals. From baby chicks and lambs to cows and goats, the farm is also home to a great adventure barn, bouncy floor pillows, a wildlife walk, maze and play areas.
See eagles, hawks, owls, falcons and vultures at The International Centre for Birds of Prey. It’s a popular day out for all ages.
No matter the weather, families are promised a brilliant time at All Things Wild. Home to a variety of animals, play areas and a roaring good dinosaur experience, the nature centre makes a wonderful day out for all ages.
Get a break from the hustle and bustle of the city centre with a trip to St James City Farm in Tredworth. Say hi to the farm animals and even get involved in a practical farm experience.
Say hello to crocs from across the globe at Crocodiles of the World and discover fascinating facts about the different species. Watch them feed, listen to talks and even get up close and personal with snakes!
Horse fans can enjoy a hack through the Cotswolds, exploring beautiful countryside and woodland. Whether novice or experienced riders, families can choose a trail to suit their abilities.
With an animal experience centre home to all the cute furry friends, indoor and outdoor play areas, a mini golf course, splash pool, trampolines and assault courses, Cattle Country Adventure Farm Park is the ultimate family activity day out.
Explore the wildlife park and its inhabitants this weekend, from giant tortoises to penguins, meerkats to giraffes, there are plenty of new friends to make.
Home to more than 500 birds, take the family to Birdland Park and Gardens to see the penguins, parrots, hornbills and more. In the woodland, discover dinosaurs as you wander through the Jurassic Journey area.
For something a bit different to your average day out, why not take some llamas out and about on a walk through the Forest of Dean? Let the friendly animals carry your picnic as you enjoy the scenery.
See exotic butterflies close-up at Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo, where you can learn about every stage of their lifecycle from caterpillar to butterfly.
For more information about the hot list sponsor, Rendcomb College, visit rendcombcollege.org.uk. Happy 100 years, Rendcomb College!
By Amy Wright
Wednesday 12 February 2020
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