From cracking days out and fun family activities at newly-reopened attractions, through to energetic sports and some unmissable special events – SoGlos’s guide to the summer holidays in Gloucestershire in 2020 is guaranteed to make the six-week school break fly by.
The summer holidays might be a little different in July and August 2020, with social distancing measures in place and prebooking required at many attractions, but there’s plenty of family fun to be had none the less…
Cheltenham Ladies’ College is a prestigious independent school welcoming boarders and day girls to its diverse community.
The school has been educating girls for over 160 years, and while it achieves excellent exam results, it also provides a place where girls can pursue their own passions from sports to the arts, with an impressive co-curricular programme.
For more information, visit cheltladiescollege.org.
Take a day trip to Oxford on the new Stagecoach West 853 bus service from Cheltenham.
With the new Stagecoach West bus route, travel from Cheltenham directly to Oxford city centre, stopping at picturesque Cotswold villages on the way.
The bus arrives at Oxford St Giles, which is ideally placed to explore the historic Oxford Castle; soak up the culture at one of Oxford University’s many museums, like the Ashmolean with everything from ancient Egyptian mummies to contemporary art; pick up some tasty treats from the Covered Market; or feed the kids’ imaginations at the Story Museum.
Anyone who’s not a fan of eye spy can enjoy the free WiFi on many Stagecoach West bus services while en route to your destination. Plus the handy app makes planning journeys simple.
An 853 Dayrider Gold ticket costs £10 for adults and £7 for children and allows unlimited travel between Cheltenham and Oxford, and on other Stagecoach buses in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, on the day of purchase.
Tickets can be bought using cash or contactless on the bus, or on the Stagecoach app.
For more information, visit stagecoachbus.com.
Situated a short distance from Moreton-in-Marsh, Batsford Arboretum is open daily throughout the summer holidays.
This summer holidays, kiddies can hunt for creepy crawlies hidden all around the arboretum with the Big Batsford Bug Hunt, running until Sunday 6 September 2020. Costing an additional £2.50 per child, a map is provided for little ones to make a note of each critter’s secret hiding place – with a prize up for grabs at the end!
The children’s trail is a perfect way for families to explore the Cotswold arboretum’s stunning grounds. Soak up the sunshine and enjoy the scenery while keeping the kids amused as they discover Batsford’s natural wonders.
No daytrip to Batsford Arboretum is complete without a lunchtime visit to the Garden Terrace Café. A trio of cooked lunchtime options, as well as salads and sandwiches, is available – with everything freshly-made on the premises each day. And the selection of cakes is stunning.
Batsford Arboretum is open daily from 10am to 4pm. Standard admission to Batsford Arboretum costs £8.10 for adults and £3.15 for children aged four to 16, with under 4s free of charge. Family tickets are also available for £18.15. Tickets can be bought on arrival or booked online in advance.
Cotswold Clubhouse in Bourton-on-the-Water is running activity camps for children aged five to 11-years-old, every Tuesday to Thursday, from Tuesday 21 July 2020 until the end of the school summer holidays.
Energetic kids can enjoy a fun-filled day at Cotswold Clubhouse, with a range of activities on offer, including arts and crafts, team games and exclusive access to Cotswold Clubhouse soft play area.
Children can also take part in gymnastics, including floor and beam work, to build balance, agility and flexibility while having plenty of active fun at the same time.
Ideal for working parents, Cotswold Clubhouse offers early drop-off and late collection at its summer activity camps. Children can spend the extra time enjoying the soft play area with their specified coach on hand to take care of them.
Cotswold Clubhouse activity camps run from 10am to 3.15pm every Tuesday to Thursday during the school summer holidays. It costs £25 per child, per day, with early drop off and late collection available at an additional cost of £5 per hour.
Cotswold Farm Park in Guiting Power is open daily during the summer holidays, with pre-booked arrival time slots starting from 9.30am.
Families can come and meet a whole lot of adorable animals at the home of Gloucestershire’s famous farmer, Adam Henson, while learning plenty about them too.
See baby chicks in the discovery barn; learn all about the farm’s rare breed animals; go on a wildlife walk; take a test drive at Tractor School and let loose in the woodland adventure play area.
If you want to extend your farmyard experience beyond a daytrip, Cotswold Farm Park has a range of luxurious wooden lodges, glamping tents, camping pods, as well as traditional tent and caravan pitches, for families to stay in – each including free entry into the farm park throughout your stay.
Cotswold Farm Park is open from 9.30am every day throughout the summer holidays. Tickets cost from £15 for adults, £14.50 for children aged four to 15-years old, £10 for toddlers aged two to three-years-old, while under twos are free of charge. All visitors need to book in advance and select a time slot when booking tickets.
Cotswold Wildlife Park in Burford is open daily throughout the summer holidays.
With lions, zebra, giraffes, rhinos, penguins and meerkats to name just a few of its residents, animal lovers are thoroughly spoilt for choice with 260 different species to see at Cotswold Wildlife Park.
Brimming with space for families to enjoy a socially distanced day out, children will also enjoy exploring the adventure play area with its own ‘Skymaze’ – interconnecting treehouses with jungle bridges and slides – as well as slides, zip wire, sand pit and swings.
Adding even more ‘wow’ to your Cotswold Wildlife Park day out, Cotswold Falconry will also be showing off a variety of birds of prey, from majestic eagles to fluffy owls, who will soar and swoop above the park in exciting demonstrations, happening twice a day every Saturday and Sunday, at 1pm and 3.30pm.
Cotswold Wildlife Park is open from 10am until 6pm every day. Tickets cost £14.40 for adults and £9.90 for children aged three to 16 years old, with children under three free of charge. Tickets must be booked online before midnight the day before visiting the park.
Forestry England’s sites at Beechenhurst, Cannop Ponds, Mallards Pike Lake and Symonds Yat Rock in the Forest of Dean.
The summer holidays are the perfect time to explore the range of Forestry England sites in the Forest of Dean – with the unmissable sculpture trail at Beechenhurst and the family cycle trail at Cannop Ponds, both perfect for active families.
There are picture-perfect picnic spots and a host of gorgeous walks to go on at Mallards Pike Lake. Plus, while the Forest of Dean is full of wildlife all year round, April to September is the ideal time to spot Peregrine falcons nesting at Symonds Yat Rock.
If you’re planning on visiting the Forest of Dean regularly, you can buy a Forestry England annual membership for £35 – which not only supports local forests, but has benefits including free parking and a range of local and national discounts, including 15 per cent off at Go Ape.
Beechenhurst, Cannop Ponds, Mallards Pike and Symonds Yat Forestry England sites are open from 8am to 9pm daily during July 2020 and August 2020. Walking and cycle trails are open and cafes are offering takeaway only. Entry to the forest is free but parking charges apply and visitors are encouraged to come back another time if the car parks are particularly busy.
Both located in the Forest of Dean, Go Ape’s Treetop Adventure course for explorers of all ages is at Beechenhurst, while the more daring Treetop Challenge and exhilarating Segway Experience can be found at Mallards Pike.
From cruising through the Forest of Dean on an electric powered Segway to swinging through its ancient treetops, families of all ages can enjoy an adrenaline-fuelled day of adventure at Go Ape, this summer.
Take on the ultimate high ropes challenge at Mallards Pike with stirrups and rope ladders swinging 15-metres above the forest ground, suitable for children over 10 and at least 1.4 metres tall. Meanwhile, all ages can unleash their inner-adventurer at Beechenhurst, where the smaller course finishes with an epic double zip wire.
Explorers who prefer to keep their feet firmly on the ground can still have an exciting experience, exploring the wonders of the Forest of Dean on an all-terrain Segway. With deer and wild boar to spot roaming the woodland, it’s an experience not to be missed!
Tickets for the Treetop Adventure at Beechenhurst cost £19. Adult tickets for the Treetop Challenge at Mallards Pike are £33, with tickets for under-15s costing £25. Segway tickets cost £35. To ensure customer safety, Go Ape has limited session sizes. Advanced booking is required.
The Gruffalo Trail at the Dean Heritage Centre is open Thursdays to Sundays, from 10am until 3pm, throughout the summer holidays.
Deep in the woods around the Dean Heritage Centre in Soudley, a Gruffalo is lurking! Follow the Gruffalo Trail to find carved characters from the hugely popular books hidden amongst the trees, then once you’ve found them all, head to the woodland play area to let off some steam.
There are five acres of land to explore at Dean Heritage Centre, with the Gruffalo Trail just one of the walking trails.
Pick up a takeaway picnic basket at Dean Heritage Centre coffee shop, with options including afternoon tea, traditional Ploughman’s lunch and a kid’s picnic box, then head to the Mill Pond to enjoy your lunch while watching the wildlife.
While the Dean Heritage Centre museum and indoor exhibits are currently closed, The Gruffalo Trail is open Thursday to Sunday from 10am until 3pm. Tickets cost £3 each for entry to the Gruffalo Trail and the playground and children under three-years-old are free of charge.
Berkeley Castle, near Stroud, is open Sundays to Wednesdays during the summer holidays.
Berkeley Castle has a fascinating history going back to the 12th century. Take a trip back in time exploring The Keep, which still features damage from a siege in the 1700s; see the dungeon where King Edward II was imprisoned; before heading out to the terrace gardens with views over Berkeley Vale.
Outdoors, Berkeley Castle is also home to a children’s Dragon Trail and a woodland play area. With stunning gardens that are home to rare plants, trees and shrubs; a rose walk; bowling lawn; and a lily pond, which used to be a swimming pool.
After you’ve worked up an appetite exploring, head to Berkeley Castle’s café for a selection of tasty takeaway treats – with an ice cream parlour providing sweet treats for those who have been on best behaviour! There are also plenty of picnic tables, if you’ve brought your own banquets.
Berkeley Castle is open Sunday to Wednesday throughout the school summer holidays. The morning session runs from 11am to 1.30pm and the afternoon session is from 2pm to 4.30pm. Tickets cost £14 for adults, £7 for children aged three to 16 years old and entry is free for children under three years old. All tickets must be booked online in advance.
Cattle Country Adventure Farm Park in Berkeley, near Stroud, is open from Wednesday to Sunday each week during the school holidays.
From making friends with its farmyard animals (including Gloucester Old Spot pigs and Cotswold sheep) to running wild and free in the many outdoor play areas, families can enjoy a fun filled day out at Cattle Country Adventure Farm Park during the school holidays.
There’s also chance for all ages to play a round of mini golf, conquer The Kids’ Berkeley Castle, and work up an appetite in the adventure playground, before stopping off at the GRAZE café for some tasty local treats.
Cattle Country’s animal experience centre gives children the opportunity to see lots of cute animals, including piglets, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and even the park’s resident alpaca!
Cattle Country Adventure Farm Park is open for two timed sessions – from 10am to 1pm, and 2pm to 5pm – Wednesday to Sunday each week. All tickets must be booked online in advance.
Painswick Rococo Garden is situated in Painswick, near Stroud, and is open Thursdays to Sundays during the summer holidays.
Painswick Rococo Garden is a unique 18th-century pleasure garden full of secret wonders – with a fabulous maze to explore, magical fairy tale castle to find hidden in a woodland glade, and a play area surrounded by trees to tackle.
With plenty of space to roam, Painswick Rococo Garden is a great place for parents and children to nurture their sense of adventure in the great outdoors during the summer holidays.
Kids can have egg-stra fun at Painswick Rococo Garden this summer holiday, with the brand-new Family Summer Trail. Running from Thursday 23 July to Sunday 30 August 2020, watch the little ones play detective as they hunt for clues around the garden to solve the mystery of the unidentified egg and its missing hatchling.
Painswick Rococo Garden is open Thursdays to Sundays, from 10am to 3pm. Tickets cost £9 for adults and £4.10 for children between the ages of 4 and 16, with under fours free of charge. Family tickets cost £22.95. Advanced booking is required.
Eastnor Castle, near Ledbury, is open every Wednesday to Sunday throughout the school holidays.
Explore the impressive Eastnor Castle, with its stately Great Hall and Gothic Drawing Room, take in stunning views from the Octagon Saloon and even see the Medieval knight’s helmet in the Red Hall.
Then head outdoors to Eastnor Castle’s vast grounds, where tree climbing, leaf kicking and stick collecting is all enthusiastically encouraged. There’s also an adventure playground and junior obstacle course for the kids to tackle. And chance to take a stroll around the arboretum and lakeside walking trails, before heading to the Castle Tea Room for a pit stop.
For a picture-perfect moment, head to the far side of the lake and look out for the gilded photo frame. Hop inside for a family snap with Eastnor Castle and the lake perfectly positioned behind.
Eastnor Castle is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10.30am until 5.30pm throughout the summer holidays. It will also be open on the bank holiday on Monday 31 August 2020. Tickets cost £12.50 for adults and £7.50 for children aged three to 15 years old. Capacity is limited so visitors are encouraged to book online to guarantee entry.
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