Saturday 25 May 2019

11 exciting family days out in Gloucestershire

From narrowboat cruises to exploring castles fit for royalty, discover our list of family-friendly days out in this hotlist sponsored by Cotswold Farm Park.

Gloucestershire is home to a whole heap of amazing family attractions and along with family-favourite Cotswold Farm Park, SoGlos has handpicked the county’s most exciting family days out.

From unleashing your inner Tarzan to woodland walks, find something to satisfy every member of the family with our hotlist.

About the sponsor- Cotswold Farm Park

Set up in 1971 to protect rare breeds of farm animal, Cotswold Farm Park was the world’s first park of its kind. Now run by Countryfile favourite Adam Henson, it offers families the ultimate countryside experience in stunning Cotswold surroundings.

After months of renovations, the park has recently reopened to reveal its new and improved Visitor Centre on the site of the farm’s old livestock barn. Free to enter, The Ox Shed is home to an expanded 130-seat restaurant, Rare Breed bar and farm shop.

For more information, visit directly.

1. Cotswold Farm Park

At Cotswold Farm Park, animal-mad children can meet, cuddle and feed over 50 animal species, including cattle, goats, pigs, sheep, rabbits, poultry and horses; and watch farming demonstrations including live lambing, milking and shearing.

With plenty of play areas, including the indoor Adventure Barn and outdoor Adventure Playground, there’s even giant bouncy giant pillow, sand pits and a Tractor School, providing plenty to keep the kids entertained all day long.

2. Gloucester Narrowboats

Get the whole family together and pack a picnic as you enjoy a leisurely cruise, Rosie and Jim style, down the Gloucester-Sharpness canal, with narrowboat hire from Gloucester Narrowboats.

Starting from the family-run business’ base in Slimbridge, stop off at sites that pique your interest on your way to Gloucester; and don’t worry if you’re a complete beginner, you’ll get a comprehensive induction before taking to the canals.

3. Dean Heritage Centre

Step back in time and learn all about the history and heritage of the Forest of Dean with a fab family day out at Dean Heritage Centre.

With a range of interactive exhibitions, including a Victorian School and a replica of a traditional coal mine, plus playground, craft activities and five acres of woodland to explore, the centre is a perfect day out come rain or shine.

4. Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway

Providing a novel experience with great views of the Cotswold countryside, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway is a 14-mile-long heritage railway operated entirely by volunteers.

Buy an All-Day Rover Ticket and hop on and off the train to explore picturesque destinations including Broadway, Toddington, Hayles Abbey, Winchcombe and Gotherington.

5. Puzzlewood

Take a picturesque walk through ancient woodland and explore secret caves, twisty paths and cool rock formations at Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean.

Said to be the inspiration for Tolkien’s Middle Earth, the magical, mythical-looking woodland has been used as a filming location for fantasy-series’ including Merlin, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Doctor Who.

6. Sudeley Castle and Gardens

Kids can pretend to be king or queen of the castle at Sudeley – once a royal residence that can be linked to a number of English monarchs including Richard III, Henry VIII, Lady Jane Grey and Charles I.

Explore the 15th century castle, take a walk across its 10 manicured gardens, and let the kids loose on the estate’s immense adventure playground, complete with fort, adventure trail and zip wire.

7. Clearwell Caves

Head deep underground and follow in the footsteps of some of TV’s favourite characters at Clearwell Caves, used as a filming location by the likes of Doctor Who, Merlin and The Chronicles of Narnia.

The result of over 4,500 years of mining activity, the hidden world underneath the Forest of Dean is just as spectacular as the greenery above, and you and your family are bound to be ‘ore-inspired’ by the sight and stories of the 230-acre cave network.

8. Go Ape

With two sites in the beautiful Forest of Dean, adventure-loving families can explore the treetops and learn how to swing through the trees like Tarzan- just don’t look down!

Why not make a day of it and follow the walking and cycling routes into the Forest of Dean from both centres, or hire Segways at Mallards Pike and mountain bikes at Beechenhurst Lodge.

9. Bourton-on-the-Water

Widely known as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’, Bourton-on-the-Water offers families a fun day dipping their toes in the River Windrush and exploring the village’s picturesque high street.

Children can also meet Brum at the Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection, pretend to be a giant at the grade II-listed Model Village and feed the penguins at Birdland.

10. Batsford Arboretum

Complete with beautiful views of the Evenlode Valley, Batsford Arboretum is home to the country’s largest private collection of trees and shrubs and is a beautiful sight all year around.

There is lots to keep the kids entertained across the arboretum’s 56 acres, including a children’s trail, aviary and play area – which is also adjacent to the Garden Terrace for adults to enjoy tea and cake, while the kids play.

11. SUP Gloucester

Stand up and see the historic Gloucester Docks from a new angle, all while having a go at stand up paddleboarding, the world’s fastest-growing water sport.

SUP Gloucester also offers full day trips down the Sharpness Canal and onto the River Severn, complete with riverbank lunch and trip to a Cotswold country pub.

By Alex Boulton

© SoGlos
Monday 29 April 2019

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