50 free things to do in the summer holidays in Gloucestershire

Don't miss SoGlos's 50 FREE ideas for keeping the kids entertained in and around Gloucestershire this summer holidays. From free festivals and city farms to boat trips and beach parties! How many will you tick off...

SoGlos has handpicked 50 free and fun things to do in and around Gloucestershire this summer holidays.

From adventure playgrounds and friendly animals, to family festivals and the chance to meet sporting heroes, SoGlos’s hot list is jam packed with inspirational ideas to set you up for a fun-filled school holiday. How many will you tick off…

Plus, for free things to do in Gloucestershire all year round, see SoGlos’s 26 free things to do in Gloucestershire.

1. Let the little monkeys go wild at Gloucestershire’s best playgrounds

Let the little ones burn off some steam and get some fresh air at one of Gloucestershire's best children's playgrounds, many of which are completely free, offering the chance to let loose on tyre swings, climb castle turrets, whizz along zip wires and zoom down slides – whilst the parents can get some rest!

2. Hear Bands in the Park in Cheltenham

Taking place across Cheltenham on selected dates throughout the summer, Bands in the Park includes a series of outdoor concerts arranged by The Cheltenham Trust, at Montpellier Gardens, Pittville Park and the secret Skillicorne Gardens.

3. Tuck in at Gloucester Quays Food Festival

From Friday 28 to Sunday 30 July 2017, Gloucester Quays Food Festival returns for three days of tasty treats, family fun, and great entertainment, with guests including Bake Off winner, Candice Brown.

4. Boogie on down to some blues at Cafe Rene

A week packed with blues music, food, drink, and local talent, the ever-popular Rhythm and Blues Festival will return to Café Rene from Monday 24 to Sunday 30 July 2017.

5. Soak up the sculptures in the Forest of Dean

Children can burn off some energy along the four-mile Sculpture Trail in the Forest of Dean, with plenty of impressive woodland-inspired sculptures to see along the way. Meanwhile, the fantastic play area and picnic site at Beechenhurst Lodge, the trail’s start point, allows kiddies to play in the fresh air.

6. Get into the spirit at Coleford Music Festival

The family-friendly Coleford Music Festival will return for another summer showcase on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 July 2017, offering a weekend of live performances, children’s entertainment, street food, and workshops.

7. Feast on food and enjoy the Brewery Quarter Summer Jam music

Summer Jam at The Brewery Quarter returns on Saturday 5 to Sunday 6 August 2017 for two days of free fun, with local talent, fun competitions, and delicious food and drink.

8. Be mindful with the family at The Isbourne

The Isbourne in Cheltenham is inviting families for an enjoyable and insightful experience at its Family Wellbeing Fun Day on Sunday 6 August 2017, with highlights including a yoga taster, crystal treasure hunt and a mindfulness walk.

9. Have fun at Gloucester Cathedral

On Thursday afternoons during the school holidays, take the little nippers along to Gloucester Cathedral, which will host weekly Family Fun Activities, with something different on offer each week.

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10. Have fun in the sun at Robinswood Hill Country Park

On Wednesday 9 and Thursday 24 August 2017, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust will host Summer Fun Days at Robinswood Hill Country Park with a range of nature-themed activities and crafts, while offering the chance for visitors to stretch their legs in the glorious greenery.

11. Soak up the sunshine at Cotswold Water Park

With more than 40 square miles to explore, even the most energetic children will be tired after a day spent discovering the wonders of Cotswold Water Park – with footpaths and cycle paths boasting lovely lake views, picturesque picnic spots for a welcome break, and the chance to spot some wildlife at the bird hides.

12. Get lost in a book with the Gloucestershire Libraries Summer Reading Challenge

Once again set to inspire a love of literature amongst little ones, Gloucestershire libraries will set up for the annual Summer Reading Challenge. There are great rewards for children who take part, including a free ticket for the Dinosaur exhibition at the Museum of Gloucester, not to mention heaps of free, fictional fun which promises to keep kiddies entertained.

13. Go wild at Greystones

Let the little monsters go wild at Greystones on Sunday 13 August 2017, with the chance to enjoy activities based around wildlife, archaeology and farming; children can take a dip in the river, try their hand at archery and much more.

14. Roll out the picnic blanket in Gloucestershire

With plenty of picturesque picnic spots in the county, summer is the perfect time to pack up a picnic. From Cannop Ponds and Rodborough Common, to Pittville Park and Stratford Park – to name just a few – discover the best picnic spots in Gloucestershire for delicious inspiration.

15. Spot the pigs on the Royal Three Counties Old Spots Trail

Join in the fun during this summer’s Royal Three Counties Old Spots Trail, hunting high and low for the sculptures, with 20 in Gloucester, and 20 in the county to find.

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16. Be wowed by the fireworks at Gloucester Park

A dazzlingly good night for the whole family, the Fireworks Spectacular display is set to light up Gloucester Park on Saturday 5 August 2017, promising amazing entertainment for all ages.

17. Get pedalling in the Forest of Dean

Hop on your bike and head to the sign-posted Family Cycle Trail in the Forest of Dean, a picturesque route along the old Severn and Wye railway line, starting from Cannop Valley and with plenty of picnic spots along the way.

18. Pounce on Pittville Park’s play area

Kiddies can go wild at Cheltenham’s most exciting outdoor play area, Pittville Park, which provides haven for little ones with fun facilities galore, not to mention its aviary which is home to a host of fluffy and feathered friends!

19. Unleash your inner Indiana Jones in Stroud

Budding archaeologists can test their skills at Stroud’s Museum in the Park, which will host a Drop-in Family Fun Day on Friday 28 July 2017, offering the chance to take part in mini digs and to make a bronze age beaker.

20. Enjoy tea and tales at St Mary de Crypt

On selected Tuesdays during the holidays, county children can enjoy an afternoon of enjoyable entertainment with Chloe of the Midnight Storytellers, who will host family Tea and Tales sessions at St Mary de Crypt, telling fun-filled stories.

21. Pick some summer berries across Gloucestershire

Offering buckets of tasty fun in the great outdoors, head to one of the best places in Gloucestershire to go fruit picking – you will have to pay for the fruits of your labour though, of course!

22. Go barking mad at Paws in the Park

A fun-filled day for families and their four-legged friends, Paws in the Park will return to Cheltenham on Sunday 6 August 2017. With plenty of pet-related stalls; a novelty dog show; and more, the summer event is sure to have tails wagging.

23. Feed some hungry ducks

Cannop Ponds, Mallards Pike, Pittville Park and Stratford Park are just some of the places in Gloucestershire where happy families can scatter some seeds to delight the resident ducks – a timeless, and free, activity which is sure to amuse little ones.

24. Become a tourist in your own county

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With An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty all around us, we might take the Cotswolds for granted. But there are plenty of quintessential delights to discover on the doorstep and we have found the best reasons to visit the Cotswolds – whether you want to soak up the sights, go for a ramble or snap the perfect Instagram!

25. Head to the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal Festival

A highlight on the summer events calendar year after year, the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal Festival is set to make its anticipated return from Saturday 19 to Sunday 20 August 2017. Offering two days of waterside fun complete with live music, good food and stalls, there’s something free and fun for all ages.

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26. Fly to Hogwarts or wander into Wonderland

Film fans can unleash their inner Spielberg and hunt down some famous filming locations in Gloucestershire. Whether it's walking in the footsteps of Harry, Hermione and Ron at Gloucester Cathedral, or soaking up scenes from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland at Gloucester Docks, some of the county’s film spots are free to visit.

27. Count the trees in Painswick

Get in some counting practice in Painswick trying to count all of St Mary’s famous yew trees. Little ones can have hunting fun by weaving their way through the maze of trees, working from one to 99 – and making sure not to miss any on the way!

28. Celebrate summer at a Cotswolds family festival

Happy families can head to Cirencester on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 August 2017 for family-friendly event, Phoenix Festival, which aside from showcasing live performances, will offer plenty more entertainment and activities for all ages.

29. Hunt for hidden geocaches across Gloucestershire

Take part in the world’s largest treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Register at geocaching.com, search for secret caches in the area, and discover what’s hidden right on your doorstep. With hundreds of treasures dispersed across the county, locals could be finding anything from amazing artefacts to fascinating mementos – or if you’re out of luck, maybe just a pair of old socks!

30. Head to the city farm in Gloucester

Offering an escape from the hustle and bustle of Gloucester, St James City Farm invites county children to meet its menagerie of domestic and farmyard animals, promising hands-on experiences and the chance to get up close and personal with the friendly residents.

31. Go retro in Gloucester city centre

Travel back in time when Gloucester Retro Festival returns to the city on Saturday 26 August 2017, with highlights including live music, vintage fancy dress, old school entertainment, and much more.

32. Put a shrimp on the barbie across Gloucestershire

With a number of great places in Gloucestershire to enjoy a barbecue, families can cook up a storm in the sunshine. And SoGlos has even lent a helping hand with our tasty round up of ingredients for a sizzling summer soiree.

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33. Step into Beatrix Potter’s world in Gloucester

There’s the chance to step inside the wonderful world of Beatrix Potter at quaint attraction the House of the Tailor of Gloucester which is home to rare displays and memorabilia, set within the same building which inspired the author’s magical tale.

34. Find the Art Cart at The Wilson

Offering free general admission, The Wilson in Cheltenham offers plenty to see, and its Art Cart is perfect for keeping little ones entertained. Stationed around the museum, kids can find free activities, colouring sheets and activity trails on an interactive visit.

35. Go down the rabbit hole in Bourton-on-the-Water

From Friday 18 to Monday 21 August 2017, world-renowned artist Rodney Matthews will host his delightful display, Alice in Wonderland and other tales in Bourton-on-the-Water, transporting visitors from Wonderland to Neverland and Middle Earth.

36. Head to a family fun day

On Saturday 26 August 2017, SoGlos’s charity of the year, Allsorts, will host a Family Fun Day at Stratford Park Leisure Centre, complete with children’s crafts, music, bouncy castles and circus skills, making for a thoroughly enjoyable day out.

37. Hot foot it to the Stroud Fringe

Offering a weekend of family-friendly fun from Friday 25 to Sunday 27 August 2017, Stroud Fringe Festival will return to light up the town with something to entertain all ages, including creative children’s workshops and sensational street entertainment, not to mention live music and great food and drink.

38. Build a sandcastle in Evesham

A trip just beyond the border is worth it when there’s a beach waiting, which is exactly the case at The Valley in Evesham. From Saturday 22 July to Sunday 3 September 2017, The Beach will see more than 50 tonnes of golden sand perfect for playing and building sand castles to your heart’s content.

39. Wander around a famous farmers’ market

One of the biggest, busiest and most popular farmers’ markets in the UK, Stroud Farmers’ Market boasts a plethora of interesting stalls every Saturday from 9am, selling a variety of treats for hungry children to sink their teeth into. Meanwhile, SoGlos has rounded up 14 must-visit farmers' markets in Gloucestershire too.

40. Make a big splash when it rains

If the unpredictable Great British weather leads to downpours, don the raincoats and wellies and see who can make the biggest splash by jumping in muddy puddles. See SoGlos’s popular 26 fun places to take the kids when it rains in Gloucestershire for more wet weather inspiration.

41. Catch a Severn Bore wave

Amaze the children, and yourself, with a trip to see natural wonder The Severn Bore, which is predicted to make three star waves Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 August 2017 and is sure to draw spectators to Gloucestershire in their thousands.

42. Feed some farmyard friends at Over Farm

A working farm just outside of Gloucester, Over Farm Market is home to a number of resident animals including donkeys, goats and horses, waiting to meet and greet visitors – and more importantly, to be fed!

43. Head to The Suffolks

The Suffolks Street Fair returns to the Cheltenham for another fun-filled and free showcase on Sunday 27 August 2017, boasting music, street entertainment, and a children’s area with face painting, mini rides and plenty of inflatables to mess around with.

44. Run wild at Cheltenham’s Junior Parkrun

Suitable for youngsters aged four to 14, Junior Parkrun takes places every Sunday morning at The Park, Cheltenham, inviting young runners to embark on the 2km route and have fun too. Run entirely on grass, the free weekly event is marshalled, with the whole course visible from the starting area.

45. Play with the rabbits at Primrose Vale

Whether you want to pick-your-own strawberries, go on a tractor ride, or simply relax outside with a coffee, Primrose Vale offers a brilliant outdoor space for the kids to get friendly with the pet rabbits, and have buckets of fun digging in the sandpit and playing on the swings.

46. Make a splash in Evesham

A hop, skip and jump over the Gloucestershire border, Abbey Park in Evesham is a haven for local little ones and with its impressive play area, spanning a trampoline, basket swing, climbing units and a huge sandpit – with the star attraction the water play fountains, which is perfect for cooling off during a hot summer’s day.

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47. Make a splash at Bourton Football in the River

Budding Beckhams can enjoy watching a sensational, splashing sporting match when Football in the River kicks off on Monday 28 August 2017. Spectators can settle on the riverbank to watch the game, but a word of warning – the front row will definitely get wet!

48. Step back through history along The Tewkesbury Battle Trail

Follow in the footsteps of 15th century soldiers during an excursion along The Battle Trail in Tewkesbury, a waymarked route that leads through the key battle areas. A battle trail leaflet is available from the Tourist Information Centre.

49. We’re all going on a scavenger hunt

Promising hours of exploring fun, the internet is full of free and printable scavenger hunts, offering the chance to hunt high and low in the great outdoors, around the house, or on long journeys.

50. Have a summer beach party with Gloucester Rugby

Pack a bucket and spade and head to the Gloucester Rugby Beach Weekender, a three-day celebration taking place from Saturday 26 to Monday 28 August 2017 at Gloucester Quays. Live music, friendly tournaments, food, and appearances from Cherry and White heroes are all on the cards.

© SoGlos
Wednesday 26 July 2017

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