12 lovely family days out in Gloucestershire

From narrowboat cruises to dog sledding, SoGlos reveals 12 of the loveliest family friendly days out in Gloucestershire.

With outdoor attractions finally reopening and days out firmly back on families’ agendas, there’s a wealth of days out to catch up on in Gloucestershire.

From swinging through trees in the Forest of Dean to meeting alpacas in the Cotswolds, SoGlos has handpicked 12 lovely days out in the county for some fun family memories to treasure.


About the sponsor – Cheltenham College Preparatory School

Welcoming children aged three to 13, Cheltenham Prep is a co-educational independent school that delivers an enriching education through engaging lessons, varied extracurricular activities and inspirational teaching staff.

As well as outstanding facilities and small class sizes, students and their families benefit from resources like wrap-around childcare for Reception pupils. There’s also the option to board at the school from the age of seven onwards.

For more information, visit cheltenhamcollege.org/the-prep.


1. Family days out at Cotswold Farm Park

Animal-mad children will have the time of their lives at Cotswold Farm Park in Guiting Power, meeting little lambs, horses, cattle and winning over greedy goats with animal snacks.

There are plenty of opportunities for outdoor play, too, including giant bouncing pillows, sand pits and pedal tractors – keeping adventurous kids entertained all day long. Indoor attractions and barns are expected to reopen from Monday 17 May 2021.


2. Family days out at Go Ape

With two sites in the beautiful Forest of Dean, thrill-seeking families can unleash their inner-Tarzan at Go Ape, swinging through the treetops towards an exhilarating zip line finish.

New for 2021, the Treetop Adventure Plus course at Beechenhurst has higher platforms and extra wobbly crossings to challenge the most adventurous kids. While families can set off together on a Segway safari at the Mallards Pike site.


3. Family days out at Cattle Country Farm Park

Home to one of the best adventure playgrounds in the county, complete with a giant castle to explore, Cattle Country Farm Park in Berkeley promises a great day out for all the family.

From feeding the friendly residents to spotting fluffy new arrivals, it’s sure to be a hit with animal lovers of all ages. Meanwhile, its fantastic indoor play barns will reopen from Monday 17 May 2021.


4. Family days out at 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.

While the 15th century castle is closed until Monday 17 May 2021, families can 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.


5. Family days out at Cotswold Alpacas

From the steep slopes of the Andes to the rolling Gloucestershire countryside, families have a unique chance to meet and walk some of the herd at Cotswold Alpacas.

Situated on a 12-acre family-run farm in Cowley, between Cheltenham and Cirencester, the memorable day out is perfect for animal lovers of all ages – giving families the chance to learn more about these gentle creatures.


6. Family days out with Gloucester Narrowboats

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

Starting from Saul Junction Marina in Frampton on Severn, stop off at sites that pique your interest on your way to Gloucester and beyond; and don’t worry if you’re a complete beginner, you’ll get a comprehensive induction before taking to the canals.


7. Family days out at Dean Heritage Centre

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

With a range of interactive exhibitions, including a Victorian school and a replica of a traditional coal mine, plus playground, Gruffalo trail and five acres of woodland to explore, the centre promises an exciting day out. Its museum is expected to reopen on Monday 17 May 2021.


8. Family days out at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway

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

Railfan families can hop on at Toddington and enjoy a round-robin trip in style, as the vintage train chugs through picturesque locations including Broadway, Hailes Abbey and Winchcombe.


9. Family days out at Puzzlewood

Take a scenic stroll 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.


10. Family days out at Arctic Quest

Bringing the excitement of sled dog trekking to Tewkesbury, Arctic Quest gives dog lovers the chance to have an animal experience like no other – but be warned, it’s not for the fainthearted!

Suitable for families with older children and catering for all abilities, enjoy spending time with the beautiful huskies as you run with the pack and experience the thrill of mushing here in Gloucestershire.


11. Family days out at SUP Gloucester

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

Starting at the Lower Lode Inn, SUP Gloucester offers private family lessons which can be tailored to suit everyone’s needs, as well as day trips down the Sharpness Canal and onto the River Severn, if you’re feeling adventurous.


12. Family days out at Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre

Perfect for pony lovers, Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre in Bourton-on-the-Water is home to a herd of good-natured horses, offering scenic rides in the Cotswolds for families of all abilities.

Those who have ridden before can enjoy a circular hack through the picturesque villages of Lower and Upper Slaughter, with gentle, guided rides for beginners. Ideal for little ones or more cautious adults, there’s also the chance to go on a river ride.


For more information about Cheltenham College Preparatory School, visit cheltenhamcollege.org/the-prep.


By Annabel Lammas

© SoGlos
Wednesday 21 April 2021

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