Wednesday 19 June 2019

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, sponsored by The Cheltenham Trust, is jam packed with inspirational ideas to set you up for a fun-filled school holiday.

For more information about what’s going on across The Cheltenham Trust’s four venues, visit directly.

1. Be wowed at The Wilson

The Wilson in Cheltenham’s new World of Wonders Gallery offers 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 27 to Sunday 29 July 2018, 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

A post shared by Cafe Rene (@cafereneglos) on

A week packed with blues music, food, drink, and local talent, the ever-popular Rhythm and Blues Festival will return to Café Rene Monday 23 to Sunday 29 July 2018.

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. Celebrate summer at a garden party

Promising free fun for all ages, The Greenway will host a Wedding Fest and Garden Party on Sunday 12 August 2018. Highlights include a barbecue, live music and kids’ entertainment.

8. Visit a summer street market

The Faddle Fair in Coleford features over 25 stalls, street food, kids entertainment and live music on Sunday 26 August 2018, 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 new 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 Robinswood Hill Country Park

On Tuesday 31 July and Tuesday 14 August 2018, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust will host Summer Fun Days at Robinswood Hill Country Park, featuring nature-themed family activities and crafts.

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 Mischief Makers, inspired by The Beano which celebrates its 80th anniversary. Running in libraries from Saturday 14 July to Saturday 8 September 2018, children can sign up and receive a colourful collector’s map of Beanotown to record their reading journey.

14. Go wild at Greystones

Let the little monsters Go Wild at Greystones on Sunday 12 August 2018, 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

A post shared by SoGlos (@soglos) on

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.

16. Spot the hares

Featuring around 100 fluffy friends, the Cotswolds AONB Hare Trail reaches as far as Stratford-upon-Avon and Bath, to the Forest of Dean and Oxford, promising heaps of hunting fun for eagle-eyed youngsters.

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 4 August 2018, 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

A post shared by @museuminthepark on

Featuring outdoor toys and games; a Busy Bee Trail; and a Museum Butterfly Hunt, Museum in the Park in Stroud welcomes visitors for some Drop In Family Fun between Saturday 21 July and Monday 27 August 2018, promising heaps of hunting fun and old fashioned games.

21. Listen to the sound of music

Head to The Maytime Inn for some free live music entertainment this summer. Featuring Jessica Rhodes on Sunday 5 August; Matt & Lavinia on Sunday 19 August; and Sam Jones on Sunday 2 September 2018, the sessions are perfect for a relaxed afternoon within a glorious Cotswold setting.

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. Hunt for wildlife

On Thursday 26 July 2018, Sherborne Park Bioblitz offers some outdoor fun for families. All ages are invited to take themselves on a self-guided walk around a route not usually open to the public, and discover the many mammals, birds and mini-beasts that the site has to offer.

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

A post shared by SoGlos (@soglos) on

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. Have a play day

Hosted by Play Gloucestershire, children and their families can head to Cirencester on Monday 13 August 2018 for a Free Play Day, offering the chance to enjoy active play, den building, arts and crafts, and sport.

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

Happy families can head to Cirencester on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 August 2018 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 on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 August 2018; 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 Retro Festival returns to the city on Saturday 25 August 2018; 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 which 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

On Tuesday 21 August 2018, head to St Michaels Park in Cirencester for a Free Play Day. Children will be kept entertained with activities such as active play, den building, arts and crafts, and sport.

37. Gain confidence and get a certificate

Children can become a Cycle Superstar at Beechenhurst Lodge, where there will be a designated family cycling area. Open ever Tuesday and Thursday between 26 July and 23 August 2018, kids can ride within a safe space, and download a free certificate from The Forestry Commission should they complete all of the mini challenges.

38. Play in the Abbey Grounds

On Thursday 30 August 2018, join Play Gloucestershire for some exciting activities in Cirencester; kids can enjoy highlights such as active play, den building, arts and crafts, and sport.

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 21 July to Sunday 2 September 2018, 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 Cirencester’s Baunton Lane Playing Fields on Thursday 23 August 2018, there will be 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.

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 three star waves on Sunday 12 August, Monday 13, and Tuesday 14 August 2018.

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 26 August 2018, 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

A post shared by parkrun UK (@parkrunuk) on

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 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.

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 27 August 2018. 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

A post shared by Over Farm (@overfarmmarket) on

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!

© SoGlos
Monday 23 July 2018

More hot lists you might like...

Mansions, lodges and cottages; here are six extravagant Airbnb homes in Gloucestershire.

6 unbelievably extravagant Airbnb homes in Gloucestershire

Whether you’re looking for a weekend away from the kids or your very own staycation, SoGlos has found some of the most extravagant...

Check out 28 of Gloucestershire’s best beer gardens, featuring The Outdoor Inn.

28 of the best beer gardens in Gloucestershire

From riverside views and rural backdrops to outdoor play areas for the little ones, SoGlos raises a glass to 28 of the best...

Feast your eyes on 14 restaurants that need to go onto your bucket list!

14 Gloucestershire restaurants to put on your foodie bucket list

SoGlos is celebrating Gloucestershire’s thriving restaurant scene, with 14 essential places foodies will want to add to their...

Check out SoGlos’s 17 cheap student night out ideas in Gloucestershire.

17 value venues for a budget student night in Gloucestershire

Save your loan, and head to SoGlos’s 17 value venues for one of the cheapest student nights out in Gloucestershire.

FestivALL is inspiring people to be more inclusive this July.

30 ways to be more inclusive

Inspired by FestivALL, which encourages and celebrates positivity and inclusion, SoGlos has rounded up 30 ways you can become...

Unmissable highlights