From indoor discovery centres and family flicks, to trampoline centres and adventure parks, find 26 of the best places to take the kids in Gloucestershire when it’s raining and pouring.
Those searching for more adult activities to keep boredom at bay during the downpour should check out SoGlos’s 30 things for grown-ups to do in Gloucestershire when it rains for plenty more inspiration.
Take cover from the rain and broaden your little one’s horizons with a visit to one of Gloucestershire's many museums. Go on the prowl for dinosaurs at The Museum of Gloucester, experience life as a Roman at Cirencester's Corinium Museum, and learn more about local servicemen from the last 300 years at Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum.
Shelter from the gloomy weather with a heart-warming family flick. Cineworld Gloucester and Cineworld Cheltenham offer Movies for Juniors screenings, starting from £2.50 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 £4, while Gloucester Guildhall's cinema also regularly shows films suitable for kids – with well-priced tickets and deals.
Take shelter from the rain on board the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, which operates steam and heritage diesel trains between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway.
Ask for a copy of the free children’s quiz at the station booking office and look out for themed seasonal events that take place throughout the year, including Easter fun, Halloween extravaganzas, Santa Specials and more.
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 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.
Leisure at Cheltenham has lots to offer littles one, including a main pool, a teaching pool, and a diving pool, along with the fun-filled Splash Pad – an indoor aquatic play zone that for children up to the age of eight.
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-seeking children should jump at the chance to visit one of Europe’s largest indoor 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.
Located at The Brewery Quarter, Cheltenham, Mr Mulligan's Lost World Golf is the perfect activity for a rainy day, with two 18-hole adventure courses to choose from.
Kids will love making their way through the course and testing their putting skills on the different obstacles. There’s also an on-site café that has a kids’ menu, along with serving burgers, sharing platters and more.
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.
The Forester’s Cottage and Victorian School Room allow children to step back in time to experience life in the 19th century. And, if it happens to brighten up while you’re there, don’t miss exploring The Gruffalo Trail.
Located on the outskirts of Bourton-on-the-Water, Cotswold Clubhouse is a fun-filled soft play centre with plenty to entertain children up to the age of 11.
In addition to a separate space for under threes, the indoor play area has a reading nook with lots of books to capture little one’s imaginations, while the on-site café has a varied menu for both adults and children. Find more places to go in our round up of Gloucestershire's soft play centres.
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.
There’s plenty of under-cover activities for families to enjoy without getting soaked in a sudden downpour at Cotswold Farm Park.
Children will love meeting the cuddly bunnies and cute chicks in the sheltered Experience Barn, while there are also regular demonstrations in the Animal Barn, including the chance to bottle feed lambs and goats. There’s also an indoor Adventure Barn, a tractor school for drivers-in-training, a soft play area, and an on-site café.
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 head to Dick Whittington Park in Longhope to take advantage of its indoor attractions.
Children can burn off energy in the large soft play activity area, on the trampolines, and whizzing down 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.
Funky Warehouse offers hours of indoor entertainment at its trampoline park in Cheltenham. The main park has 28 trampolines where you can perfect your bouncing, while there’s also fun foam pit, battle beam and Ninja Warrior challenge.
There are dedicated toddler trampolining sessions on weekdays, while there’s also a soft play area that designed for under-fives.
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 head to 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.
The covered hides at Slimbridge Wetland Centre have comfy chairs, binoculars, and a telescope, making them perfect for watching the birds in the warm and dry. If the rain descends, children are sure to have heaps of fun splashing around in outdoor wet playground, Welly Boot Land.
Dry 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.
Adults and children alike will enjoy discovering more about the history of Sudeley Castle and Gardens on a rainy day. Learn about its royal connection and discover the 20 treasures of Sudeley as you explore the Tudor castle, with the season running from March to December.
Berkeley Castle, which is open from April till the end of October, has plenty to entertain children, including the opportunity to try on period costumes and play king, queen, prince or princess, and a Butterfly House.
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.
Take a trip to the world’s first museum and art gallery dedicated to works of art inspired by nature, Nature in Art, located on the outskirts of Gloucester and providing a host of indoor fun.
The family-friendly attraction offers a number of hands-on activities to make sure that youngsters are entertained, including themed handling boxes in the exhibition rooms, as well as brass rubbing, while the café is perfect for refuelling.
By Kathryn Godfrey
Tuesday 12 February 2019
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