Friday 29 May 2020

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 play days and 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 through to family festivals and exciting trails, SoGlos’s hot list is jam packed with inspirational ideas to set you up for a fun-filled school holiday.

1. Be wowed at The Wilson

The Wilson Art Gallery in Cheltenham hosts the World of Wonders Gallery offering free interactive and inclusive fun for youngsters and their fellow adventurers. Open daily, the WOW! Gallery allows kids to touch, play, sing and dance, with plenty to amaze visitors and get imaginations running wild.

Offering a great trip for families, kids can meet a penguin in a tunnel, find a boneshaker in the sky and watch rabbits jump mid-leap – all allowing for some summer holiday fun, whatever the weather!

2. Let the little monkeys go wild

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!

3. Blow off the cobwebs

From the fantastic Forest of Dean to riverside paths, a wonderful walk amongst wildlife allows fun for the whole family, not to mention the perfect opportunity to get active in the great outdoors. And there’s a whole host of beautiful walks to enjoy in Gloucestershire.

4. Party in the Cotswolds

From Friday 26 to Sunday 28 July 2019, The Maytime Inn's Anniversary Party is the place to be; offering a whole weekend of live music along with a sizzling barbecue. There’s also pop-up dog photography and painting for kids.

5. Boogie on down to some blues at Cafe Rene

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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 29 July to Sunday 4 August 2019.

6. 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.

7. Get space savvy at the Museum of Gloucester

Promising free fun for all ages, the Museum of Gloucester will host a Moon Exhibition from Saturday 29 June to Saturday 21 September 2019. Highlights include dressing up in space costumes, moon-themed storytelling and lunar rock handling.

8. Visit a summer street market

The Faddle Fair in Coleford features over 25 stalls, street food, kids entertainment and live music on Sunday 25 August 2019, making it a great day for the whole family to enjoy.

9. Celebrate the best of Cheltenham

Cheltenham is home to a host of iconic buildings, gardens and streets, from Pittville Pump Room to the Promenade. Why not celebrate the stunning sights by wandering through town, snapping some pics and picking your favourite places as you go?

10. Dress up and make your own gargoyle

Gloucester Cathedral's Tribune Gallery exhibition offers free, hands-on fun for children. Open daily, the interactive exhibition gives youngsters the chance to dress up, make a gruesome gargoyle and have fun in the Whispering Gallery.

11. Have fun in the sun at Crickley Hill

On Sunday 21 July 2019, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust will host Go Wild! At Crickley Hill which features nature-themed family activities from archery to welly wanging.

12. 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.

13. 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. This year’s theme is Space Chase, inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. Running in libraries from Saturday 13 July 2019, children can join the space family to find books taken by naughty aliens.

14. Go wild at Greystones

Let the little monsters Go Wild at Greystones on Sunday 4 August 2019, with the chance to enjoy activities based around wildlife; children can take a dip in the river, try their hand at archery and more.

15. Roll out the picnic blanket in Gloucestershire

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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 some inspiration.

16. Enjoy a family day at Stratford Park Leisure Centre

Featuring bouncy castles, music, circus skills and much more, the Allsorts Family Fun Day is taking place at Stratford Park Leisure Centre, promising heaps of summer fun for youngsters of all abilities.

17. 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 27 July 2019, promising amazing entertainment for all ages.

18. 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.

19. 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!

20. Drop in for some family fun

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Featuring outdoor toys and games; a Busy Bee Trail; and a Butterfly Walk, Museum in the Park in Stroud welcomes visitors for some Drop In Family Fun between Sunday 21 July and Saturday 31 August 2019, promising heaps of hunting fun and old fashioned games.

21. Listen to the sound of music

Enjoy some free live music entertainment at The Plough Inn’s Cider Festival in Prestbury this summer. Featuring over 40 different types of cider, a gin bar and barbeque, as well as great entertainment with street and belly dancers, the festival is perfect for a relaxed summer afternoon.

22. 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!

23. Follow an activity trail

Beechenhurst in the Forest of Dean has a Zog activity trail offering outdoor fun for families. All ages are invited to take themselves on a self-guided walk, learning the story of Zog, an endearing dragon on a mission to win a gold star at school.

24. Feed some hungry ducks

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

25. 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!

26. Brunch and bounce

Children and their families can head to Gloucester Cathedral on Saturday 10 August 2019 for Brunch and Bounce, offering the chance to enjoy bouncy castles and arts and crafts activities, whilst parents can relax with coffee and pastries.

27. 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.

28. Celebrate summer at a Cotswolds family festival

Families can head to Cirencester on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August 2019 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, 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. 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!

31. Head to the city farm in Gloucester

Offering an escape from the hustle and bustle of Gloucester, St James City Farm invites the county’s 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.

32. Jam it out in Cheltenham

Returning for another anticipated year, The Brewery Quarter welcomes all ages to its Summer Jam from Friday 2 to Sunday 4 August 2019; featuring arts and craft stalls, street food stalls and brilliant live music entertainment. This event has all the ingredients for a great time in Cheltenham.

33. Go retro in Gloucester city centre

Travel back in time when Gloucester Goes Retro returns to the city on Saturday 24 August 2019; Westgate, Northgate, Eastgate and Southgate Streets will all be themed around different eras, with highlights including live music, vintage fancy dress, historical vehicles and more.

34. 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 that inspired the author’s magical tale.

35. 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.

36. Go play in Cirencester

Head to The Thistle Patch in Chesterton in Cirencester for a Free Play Day run by Play Gloucestershire, with their August timetable being released soon. Children will be kept entertained with activities such as active play, den building, arts and crafts, and sport. For more information, call 01452 505548.

37. Gain confidence and get a certificate

Children can become a Cycle Superstar with The Forestry Commission. Download the Cycle Superstar Challenge from their website to record your progress as you build confidence while learning to ride in the forest! Once you’ve completed all of the mini challenges, you can download a free certificate.

38. Play in Bredon Playing Field

Join Play Gloucestershire for some exciting activities in Bredon; kids can enjoy highlights such as active play, den building, arts and crafts, and sport. With the August timetable releasing soon, call 01452 505548 for more information.

39. 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 20 July to Saturday 31 August 2019, The Beach returns, offering tonnes of golden sand perfect for playing and building sand castles to your heart’s content.

40. 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 morning, 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.

41. Have fun with Play Gloucestershire

Taking place in Bourton on the Water’s Melville Playing Space, try a Free Play Day for children to enjoy. Promising to keep boredom at bay, kids can enjoy activities such as arts and crafts, den building and sport. Play Gloucestershire are yet to release their August timetable, but for more information, call 01452 505548.

42. 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 a four star wave on Saturday 31 August 2019.

43. 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.

44. Head to The Suffolks

The Suffolks Sunday Market takes place in Cheltenham on Sunday 28 July and Sunday 25 August 2019, featuring delicious food and drink, as well as an array of stalls selling everything from vintage goods to arts and crafts.

45. Run wild at Cheltenham’s Junior Parkrun

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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.

46. Play 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.

47. 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 are perfect for cooling off during a hot summer’s day.

48. 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 26 August 2019. Spectators can settle on the riverbank to watch the game, but a word of warning – the front row will definitely get wet!

49. 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.

50. Feed some farmyard friends at Over Farm

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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!

By Caitlin Tilley

© SoGlos
Friday 19 July 2019

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