Wednesday 24 July 2019

12 ways to enjoy the great outdoors this summer

Get out and enjoy the great Gloucestershire outdoors with our top picks this summer.

From gorgeous gardens to outdoor adventures, there’s some incredible activities right on our doorstep.

SoGlos has rounded up a range of amazing destinations to enjoy this summer, for some glorious days out exploring the great Gloucestershire outdoors.

About the sponsor


Art Unbound is a fabulous summer festival showcasing contemporary sculptures from 18 established and emerging British sculptors. Taking place at the country’s only surviving Rococo garden, Painswick Rococo Garden is a stunning space made up of beautiful trees, plants and unusual buildings, originally designed to host intimate garden parties.

Alongside a range of talks and sculpture workshops, there’s also the chance to learn more about improving your painting and drawing skills from a diverse range of fabulous artists.

For more information see rococogarden.org.uk directly.


1. Visit Art Unbound at Painswick Rococo Garden


Originally designed in the 1740s as a venue for hosting garden parties and entertaining guests, this theatrical garden is the only remaining one of its kind in England.

Created in a hidden valley, the venue combines steep paths with stunning views and fanciful garden buildings to explore.

As well as being the ideal spot to explore with your camera, it’s a gorgeous backdrop for some family photos; challenge your party to find the centre of the unusual maze; or pop into the on-site café for a delicious slice of cake and a freshly ground cup of coffee.

What’s more, from Sunday 26 May through to Sunday 8 September 2019, the venue plays host to a contemporary sculpture exhibition as part of Art Unbound.


2. Gloucester Narrowboats


If you’ve ever dreamed of setting sail in open waters and captaining your own vessel, it’s time to give the team at Gloucester Narrowboats a call, where you can hire one of their fantastic boats, suitable for up to 10 people.

Offering single day trips, or short holiday breaks, the boats set sail from Slimbridge.

Even complete beginners will be able to sail down the Gloucester Sharpness Canal as experts introduce you to the boats, advise on routes, and highlight the best pub stops along the way.


3. Pedal a Bike Away


Offering everything you could need for exploring the Forest of Dean on two wheels, Pedal a Bike Away is a shop, café and hire centre based in Cannop Valley.

The centre has a range of leisure and mountain bikes available for hire, as well as a massive choice of clothing and accessories to buy.

If you’re new to mountain biking, Pedal a Bike Away also hosts coaching days on an individual and group basis, teaching you everything you’ll need to know to start safely exploring the ups and downs of the stunning Forest of Dean.


4. Land Rover Experience Eastnor


Offering an exhilarating day out within a dramatic setting, Land Rover Experience Eastnor allows visitors to get behind the wheel and drive around the 5,000-acre Eastnor Estate, promising an exciting journey with gorgeous views along the way.

Guests can expect diverse terrain across 66 miles in this thrilling motoring attraction. There’s a number of packages available to suit all abilities, ranging from tasters and full-day beginner’s courses, through to more intense experiences for those who know their way around rugged terrain.


5. Llama trekking


Load up your llama with your camera and picnic, and take it on a trip to remember in the Forest of Dean!

Operated by Servernwye Llama Trekking, visitors are welcome to take a llama, camel, donkey or mule on their trip, and some locations even have barbeques so you can stop off to cook your own lunch.

If you’re looking for something a bit more romantic, the firm also hosts fully prepared evening meals in the centre of the forest, with food and wine all carried by the llamas.


6. Walk the Cotswold Way


With more than 100 miles of walking, The Cotswold Way is a stunning national trail rote from Chipping Campden to Bath.

Promising beautiful views across the Cotswold escarpment and more than a few lovely pubs along the way, the walk can be completed in sections, with some circular routes taking around a day to complete.

The famous long-distance walk has been loved by ramblers for many years, and takes in a number of picturesque villages and historic sites along the way.

In total, it takes between seven and 10 days to complete the Cotswold Way.


7. AquaVenture at Cotswold Water Park


A great day out for those who love being active and don’t mind getting a bit wet, Gloucestershire’s answer to Total Wipeout is based at Cotswold Country Park and Beach.

Known as the Aquaventure, It’s the largest course of its type in the area, and can accommodate up to 80 people per hour.

There are 20 obstacles to overcome, with buoyancy aids included in the ticket cost, and wetsuits available for hire on chillier days!


8. Cotswolds Riding


Just outside of Broadway in the Cotswold village of Stanton, visitors to Cotswold Riding can take in some of the finest views in the county, on horseback, in an activity known as hacking.

Operated by Jill Carenza, Cotswold Riding has more than 50 well-trained horses and ponies available for all abilities.

Guests can take on countryside rides in groups or privately, or take part in private riding lessons at the equestrian centre.


9. Canoe the Wye


Explore the River Wye with a trip downstream in a canoe.

Visitors can head to Canoe the Wye’s base in Symonds Yat, where you’ll be given all the equipment you need to complete your river adventure.

Guests are then driven upstream and dropped off, leaving the adventure down to you, as you paddle back to base downstream.


10. Stand Up Paddle boarding in Gloucester


There’s plenty of ways to enjoy Gloucestershire’s waterways, from boat or on foot, but if you’re the type of person who likes to really get involved, why not try stand up paddle boarding!

Local firm, Stand Up Paddle boarding Gloucester can give you all the skills and equipment you need to take in the historic Gloucester docks, while paddling along on what is essentially a huge surfboard along the River Severn.

Led by an instructor, this exciting activity is said to be ‘the fastest growing water sport in the world’, organisers claim it’s very easy to pick up. Although beginners’ sessions are available if you’re not sure if paddle boarding is for you!


11. Far Peak Climbing


Home to a 15-meter outdoor climbing tower, low ropes course and cycle hire facilities, Far Peak Climbing centre in Northleach is a great place to enjoy the glorious Gloucestershire outdoors in summer.

There are also brilliant facilities for kids, so it’s a perfect day out for the whole family, with a café and deli on site, too.

If the weather isn’t ideal on your day of choice, Far Peak also boasts an indoor climbing and bouldering centre suitable for novice and expert climbers.


12. Cannop Ponds


A popular picnic spot, Cannop Ponds is a large flat area of grass next to the stunning ponds in the Forest of Dean.

An ideal destination on a sunny day, the area is home to lots of ducks and dragonflies. It’s also great for paddling, building dams and cooling off.

The venue is located near to the forest’s family cycle trail, and is just a short walk from Beechenhurst’s sculpture trail.


By Melissa Hamblett

© SoGlos
Friday 07 June 2019

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