100 things to do as a family in Gloucestershire

SoGlos rounds up a whopping 100 ideas for family days out in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds, to keep those calendars busy for months to come.

By Zoe Gater  |  Published
With 100 things to choose from, check out SoGloss definitive list of family things to do in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds.
With 100 things to choose from, check out SoGlos’s definitive list of family things to do in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds.
In partnership with Everyman Theatre  |  everymantheatre.org.uk
Everyman Theatre

Situated in the heart of Cheltenham, the Everyman Theatre is undoubtedly one of Gloucestershire’s finest entertainment venues, hosting a diverse line-up of drama, dance, comedy and music events – not to mention the annual pantomime.

Everyman Theatre

Stuck for ideas to get the kids out of the house? SoGlos’s round up of 100 of the best family things to do in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds to the rescue!

Spanning indoor and outdoor activities; creative, foodie and sporty things to do; and historic venues to visit; not to mention places to meet animals, this definitive list is packed with inspiration for fun family activities to try all year round.

Indoor activities in Gloucestershire

Go to the theatre in Gloucestershire

With a selection of incredible entertainment hubs across the county, such as Cheltenham’s much-loved and iconic Everyman Theatre, there’s always a fantastic production on stage for the family to enjoy. Round your nearest and dearest up and treat them to a show, pantomime or musical — whatever takes your fancy! 

Visit the Museum of Gloucester

A free attraction in the centre of the city, the Museum of Gloucester tells the story of Gloucester’s origins as a Roman settlement. With nearly one million objects in its collection of treasures, from dinosaur bones and human skulls to the famous Birdlip Mirror, families can explore two floors of exhibitions, a Roman kitchen playhouse, medieval street and part of the original Roman wall.

Ride on a steam train in Gloucestershire

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway is a great 28 mile round-trip of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, offering stunning views of the Malvern Hills, idyllic villages and spectacular countryside; while the Forest of Dean boasts two heritage railway lines – Dean Forest Railway and Perrygrove Railway — offering picturesque rides through the forest.

Go bowling in Gloucestershire

Kids driving you spare? With Hollywood Bowl at The Brewery Quarter in Cheltenham and Stroud Bowl at the Five Valleys Shopping Centre, challenge the kids to get a strike on a fun, family day out.

Visit a garden centre in Gloucestershire

Pick up new house plants, get gardening inspiration or simply pop in for a cup of tea and a slice of cake at one of Gloucestershire’s garden centres. From The Fairview Gardener near Gloucester to Trioscape in the Forest of Dean, there are lots of lovely garden centres around Gloucestershire.

Go to a soft play centre in Gloucestershire

Offering farmyard-themed soft play fun, as well as disco tots sessions and laser tag, The Play Farm in Cheltenham is loads of fun for little ones; while Cotswold Clubhouse in Bourton-on-the-Water has a three-level soft play area aimed at children between the ages of three and 11, a gymnasium, kids’ fitness classes and a great on-site cafe for the parents.

Take in an art gallery in Gloucestershire

Culture-loving families can have a serene day out at one of Gloucestershire’s galleries. Take in a plethora of art inspired by the natural world at Nature in Art in Gloucester, or head to the Wilson Art Gallery and Museum in Cheltenham, to browse its collection and enjoy coffee and cake at its brand-new arts cafe.

Work against the clock at an escape room in Gloucestershire

From Trapped Escape Rooms in Gloucester to Escape Hunt at Cheltenham’s Brewery Quarter, put your problem-solving skills to the test as you crack the clues and take on mind-bending challenges to release yourself from a locked room.

Try your hand at axe throwing in Gloucestershire

Ideal for older kids aged 12 and above, axe throwing gives participants a chance to unleash their inner warrior as they try to hit the bullseye. Eat Sleep Axe in Cheltenham and Axe Play in Gloucester both offer this fun activity to anyone who’s brave enough to try it!

Visit Dinky Street in Cheltenham

Let imaginations run wild at Cheltenham’s Dinky Street, a play centre with a miniature cafe, construction room, hair salon and doctor’s surgery. Little ones can play at whatever they want to be when they grow up, and adults can get involved too.

Battle each other at Laser Tag in Gloucester

Families can challenge each other to a thrilling game of Laser Tag at JDR Karting in Gloucester. Test your precision and zap each other to win points for your team, with this high-octane activity suitable for children aged six and up.

Run wild at Funky Warehouse in Cheltenham

When the weather isn’t great, let the kids run wild at Funky Warehouse in Cheltenham. Kids as young as five can bounce around on trampolines, play in the foam pits and challenge friends at parkour.

Take a road trip to Gloucester Services

Perhaps an unlikely spot for a farm shop, Gloucester Services is situated on the M5 between junctions 12 and 11a. Selling lots of local produce, baked goods and foodie gifts, the services also has a cafe, patisserie, deli, butchers and fishmonger — plus play areas for the little ones!

Go shopping at Gloucester Quays

With both high street and designer labels offering up to 70 per cent off retail prices all day every day, families can pick up some great bargains at Gloucester Quays. Home to a cinema and plenty of places to eat, it also hosts the monthly Orchard Street Market for a spot of alfresco shopping, too.

Visit The House of the Tailor of Gloucester

Pay a visit to The House of the Tailor of Gloucester on one of the city’s prettiest streets and discover the works of Beatrix Potter. With lots of rare items to see, it’s a fascinating place to visit for literature lovers.

See a movie in Gloucestershire

The ultimate rainy-day activity, a trip to the cinema is a great way to get the kids out of the house for a couple of hours — with multiplex cinemas like Cineworld Cheltenham at The Brewery Quarter, Cineworld Gloucester at Gloucester Quays and VUE Cinema at Stroud’s Five Valleys, as well as independently-run venues like Sherborne Cinema in Gloucester and the Palace Theatre in Cinderford.

Reach new heights at The Warehouse Climbing Centre in Gloucester

If the kids are bouncing off the walls, take them to climb up them instead. The Warehouse in Gloucester has an indoor climbing wall and bouldering room and is suitable for all ages and abilities.

Take a trip on a Stagecoach bus

With regular routes to Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stroud, Tewkesbury and other Gloucestershire locations, catching a Stagecoach West bus makes exploring the county much easier. Without having to find a parking space, families can enjoy a day out without keeping an eye on the parking meter!

Outdoor activities in Gloucestershire

Visit the best splash pads in Gloucestershire

During the summer months, what better way to cool off than at a splash pad, outdoor pool or paddling spot? Pack up a picnic, throw in some towels and plan the perfect summer’s day out with SoGlos’s 17 splash pads and outdoor pools near Gloucestershire.

Take the dog on a Gloucestershire countryside walk

A fabulous family activity whether you have a four-legged friend or not, there are loads of beautiful walks in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds. From a quick wander around Pittville Park, trekking up Cleeve Hill to taking on the Cotswold Way, there are some truly idyllic spots in this county. Get all the inspiration with SoGlos’s 14 of the best places to walk your dog in Gloucestershire.

Spot spectacular sculptures in Gloucestershire

Find the amazing sculptures along the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, starting and ending at Beechenhurst, with the four-and-a-half-mile long route taking visitors through the forest to see art installations inspired by the natural environment — with shorter trails also available for little legs. Or head to Cotswold Sculpture Park in Somerford Keynes to wander around the unique outdoor gallery and explore its collection of spectacular sculptures.

Explore a Gloucestershire arboretum

Discover beautiful views and rare plants at some of the most spectacular tree gardens in the world, right here in Gloucestershire. At Westonbirt Arboretum in Tetbury, climb up into the canopy on the STIHL Treetop Walkway, try and spot the Gruffalo out in the woods and learn all about the rare tree species Westonbirt helps to preserve; or take a trip to Batsford Arboretum in Moreton-in-Marsh to see fiery Japanese maples and blushing pink cherries, as well as one of the UK’s first comprehensive collections of bamboo.

Go to a show at Three Counties Showground

From CountryTastic to the RHS Malvern Spring Festival, the Three Counties Showground just across the border in Malvern provides a vibrant programme of events throughout the year. Just a stone’s throw away from Gloucestershire, the events make a fabulous day out. Don’t miss the Royal Three Counties Show in the summer, or the Malvern Autumn Show to see some giant vegetables!

Go to the beach in Gloucestershire

Cotswold Country Park near Cirencester is home to the biggest inland paddling beach in the country, complete with real sand. Plus, with everything from its inflatable AquaVenture attraction to stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and pedalos, it makes for a wonderful family day out by the water.

Wander around a Gloucestershire park

Boasting a whole host of beautiful green spaces, Gloucestershire has plenty of spots for a summer picnic, a long walk, children’s activities and sporty events. See SoGlos’s pick of 10 of Gloucestershire’s best public parks to get some ideas for your next outing.

Enjoy outdoor theatre in Gloucestershire

With everything from spectacular stately homes to glorious greenery providing the backdrop for alfresco theatre performances, Gloucestershire is an ideal place to catch a show out in the open air. See SoGlos’s round-up of 10 glorious Gloucestershire locations to enjoy outdoor theatre for some inspiration.

Feel like a giant at Bourton Model Village

Set in the gardens of The Old New Inn in Bourton-on-the-Water, the Model Village is a scaled reconstruction of Bourton. Made using Cotswold Stone, the models took four years to complete – and will make visiting families feel like they’re in Gulliver’s Travels!

See the colourful flowers at Painswick Rococo Garden

Open from January to November, Painswick Rococo Garden is tucked away in a Cotswold valley and is a beautiful setting to catch winter snowdrops, springtime daffodils, summer wildflowers and autumnal trees. With a nature trail, woodland play area and maze, it’s a great place to take the kids to run off some steam, too.

Spot Gloucestershire’s iconic filming destinations

Gloucestershire is famous on both the big and small screen, with everything from BBC series to Hollywood blockbusters filmed in the county. One of the most iconic spots is Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean, which Star Wars fans will recognise as the location for Rey and Kylo Ren’s epic lightsaber fight in The Force Awakens. Discover more iconic movie and television filming locations in Gloucestershire in SoGlos’s hot list.

Go to a wacky event in Gloucestershire

From the brave to the barmy, there are loads of, let’s just say, interesting events happening throughout the year in Gloucestershire. From shin-kicking championships to woolsack racing, cheese rolling to surfing the Severn Bore, check out 11 of the craziest events in the county to get the lowdown.

Go to a festival in Gloucestershire

From the world-famous Cheltenham Jazz, Science, Music and Literature Festivals, one of the coolest music festivals in the UK, 2000Trees, to epic food and family festival the Big Feastival and so many more, pack your camping gear and take the family for a weekend of fun. Check out SoGlos’s 20 unmissable Gloucestershire festivals for more inspiration.

Burn off some energy at one of Gloucestershire’s playgrounds

Playgrounds are not only brilliant fun for kids, but they also give grown-ups the opportunity to relax and enjoy the great outdoors, too! From Slimbridge’s splash-tastic Welly Boot Land to Rococo Garden’s rustic forest play area, see SoGlos’s pick of 12 of the best children’s playgrounds in Gloucestershire to visit with your brood.

Take a sustainable staycation in Gloucestershire

During the summer, outdoorsy families will love spending a few nights under the stars at one of SoGlos’s 15 places for sustainable staycations and eco retreats in Gloucestershire. From glamping in an eco-pod to setting up camp in the woods, there are lots of lovely locations to enjoy the great outdoors — and reduce your impact on the environment, too.

See incredible aerial displays at the Royal International Air Tattoo

Promising one of the world’s biggest and best air shows, the Royal International Air Tattoo takes place at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire each year. Expect awe-inspiring aerobatic displays, flyovers from aircraft of all shapes and sizes and plenty of fun to be had back down on the ground as well.

Get lost in Elton Farm Maize Maze

Over the summer months, families can tackle the Maize Mazes at Elton Farm which has a new theme each year — with previous iterations including Disney cartoon characters, Super Mario and even Hogwarts! Keep an eye out for its special events, including its special late night ‘Mazes by Torchlight’.

Go for a picnic in Gloucestershire

Whether you’re looking for panoramic views, a riverside setting or stunning gardens, pack your picnic basket and get inspired with SoGlos’s 16 of the best picnic spots in Gloucestershire — featuring lots of lovely places, including Rodborough Common, Lower Slaughter and Robinswood Hill Country Park.

Stroll around Tewkesbury Nature Reserve

Go for a walk around Tewkesbury Nature Reserve and meet swans, herons, butterflies and other wildlife along your way. A great way to get the kids out to get some fresh air on a lovely warm day.

Experience the magic of Giffords Circus in Gloucestershire

Touring Gloucestershire and beyond every summer, the spectacular Giffords Circus is a magical tradition for local families. A riot of colour and comedy, its shows include spectacular stunts spanning aerial and acrobatics, beautiful horses and comic capers from everyone’s favourite, Tweedy the Clown — all hosted under its big top that pitches up at destinations across the county, from Sudeley Castle to Daylesford.

Go fruit picking in Gloucestershire

For a wholesome family activity during the summer months, SoGlos has handpicked 5 places to go fruit picking in Gloucestershire from Primrose Vale in Cheltenham to Hayles Fruit Farm in Winchcombe, where you can soak up the sunshine and take home juicy strawberries and raspberries to rustle up some delicious recipes.

Set sail on a narrowboat

Starting from its base at Saul Junction Marina, Gloucester Narrowboats gives families the chance to sail down the Gloucester Sharpness canal in a classic narrowboat, stopping off at interesting sites as you go.

Go rowing at Pittville Park

The Boathouse at Pittville Park in Cheltenham has boats for hire for families and groups of up to five people. Row around Pittville Lake on a lovely summer’s day before tucking into an ice cream from the cafe.

Hire a bike in the Forest of Dean

Cycle to your heart’s content through the lush woodlands of the Forest of Dean, with the family-friendly cycle trail taking explorers all over the forest from its starting point at the Forest of Dean Cycle Centre. Pedalabikeaway offers both full and half day bike hire, too — so pack up a picnic and get pedalling!

Creative things to do in Gloucestershire

Try your hand at crafting at New Brewery Arts

Cirencester’s New Brewery Arts hosts a variety of craft workshops throughout the year, from one-day courses on everything from macramé to modern calligraphy, to longer courses aimed at mastering skills like watercolour, pottery and portraiture. It also offers a fantastic range of kid’s classes, from sculpture to sewing — as well as artists studios, free exhibitions and a cafe to explore.

Cook up a storm at Harts Barn Cookery School in Longhope

Pick up some new skills, and some tasty treats too, at Harts Barn Cookery School in Longhope. With classes suitable for all levels and abilities, the cookery school has an impressive range of hands-on cooking courses, workshops, supper clubs and events to get involved in.

Learn to play the harp in Stroud

Stroud-based Hands On Harps teaches music fans how to play this beautiful instrument at its relaxed, accessible sessions. Suitable for absolute beginners, you can learn a tune in your first lesson. No musical experience is necessary, you don’t need to be able to read music, and it will even provide the harp for you!

Get stuck in at Dixie Dot Crafts in Gloucester

Offering craft workshops for both adults and children, everyone can get stuck in with pottery painting, crochet, needle felting and mosaics — whatever takes your fancy — at Gloucester’s Dixie Dot Crafts.

Paint your own pottery in Cheltenham

Cheltenham’s Paint It Yourself Pottery Company gives arty visitors a chance to design and paint their own pottery masterpieces. A great creative activity for kids, Paint It Yourself Pottery also offers parties for adults and children.

Create something unique at Taurus Crafts in Lydney

Holding regular exhibitions, arts and crafts workshops and fascinating classes, Taurus Crafts provides families with a crafty day out — offering weekend and half-term activities for children, too.

Sporty things to do in Gloucestershire

Take to the skies on a trapeze in Cheltenham

Based at Cheltenham’s Pittville Park, All Bars Flying Trapeze offers brave participants a chance to fly on its full size, bar-to-bar outdoor rig — with professional instructors to teach you the ropes.

Go to a Gloucestershire skate park

Families that know their ollies from their kickflips can get an adrenaline rush from one of the county’s skate parts in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Stroud. Grind the rails, try out some tricks or master the half pipe on a skateboard, scooter or even a BMX.

Hit the slopes in Gloucester

With the longest dry ski slope in England, as well as a freestyle slope and fun park, nursery slope and dedicated tubing slope, skiers and snowboarders in Gloucestershire don’t need to wait for winter to get their adrenaline fix. Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre is open all year round and offers lessons, recreational sessions and summer holiday activities.

Beat the wall at Ninja Warrior in Gloucester

The first adventure park of its kind in Gloucestershire, Ninja Warrior UK Gloucester is modelled on the ITV game show. Tackle obstacles, climb walls and unleash your inner ninja — if you dare!

Test your putting skills at adventure golf in Cheltenham

Challenge the family to a game of adventure golf at Mr Mulligan’s at Cheltenham’s Brewery Quarter. With two themed courses testing even the most accomplished pitch and putter, it’s a fun day out for all ages.

Go for a swim at a Gloucestershire lido

If the weather is playing ball, make a splash in one of Gloucestershire’s outdoor swimming spots — with a heated 50-metre pool at Sandford Parks Lido in Cheltenham, a 50-metre spring-fed pool in Stroud’s Stratford Park and the 38-metre Bathurst Pool in Lydney.

Cheer on the Cherry and Whites in Gloucester

With a brilliant match-day atmosphere, a family trip to cheer on the Cherry and Whites makes for a fantastic day out whether you’re an avid rugby fan or not, with nail-biting rugby matches taking place at Kingsholm Stadium, the home of Gloucester Rugby throughout the season, which runs from around September to May each year.

Try one of the world’s fastest-growing sports in Cheltenham

Known for excellent tennis facilities, East Glos Club in Cheltenham is also the home of padel — a fun, fast-paced sport similar to tennis that’s ideal to play as a family or group. East Glos Club offers pay and play padel sessions for the local community, as well as discounted memberships when you join with your children, for more serious players.

Swing from the treetops in the Forest of Dean

Unleash your inner Tarzan at Go Ape in the Forest of Dean, with activity centres at Beechenhurst and Mallards Pike. Swing from ropes, wobble over treetop bridges, clamber over obstacles and whizz down zip wires, with courses suitable for children as young as four — or keep your feet on the ground and go for a forest Segway session instead.

Cycle the best bike trails in Gloucestershire

What better way to get the kids out the house than with a good old family bike ride? Head to one of SoGlos’s 11 places to get on your bike in Gloucestershire — from serene circuits around Cannop Ponds and Cotswold Water Park, to challenging options like the Verderers Trail in the Forest of Dean and FlyUp 417 near Gloucester, for more advanced riders.

Get competitive on the go kart track in Gloucester

If the family like an action-packed day out, JDR Karting in Gloucester is just the ticket. Boasting a National Karting Association approved track, it also has a junior track for children aged between four and 12-years-old. On your marks, get set, go!

Take to the water with paddle boarding in Gloucestershire

With wonderful waterways all over Gloucestershire, have a go at stand-up paddleboarding at Cotswold Water Park, Gloucester Docks, Croft Farm Waterpark in Tewkesbury or Stroud’s canals — providing an ideal way to see the county’s sights from a new perspective.

Spend a day at Cheltenham races

One of the most iconic days out in Gloucestershire is a day at the races at the prestigious Cheltenham Racecourse. Whether on a crisp October day, a spring evening in May, or at The Festival™ in March, take the family for a thrilling day out. Plus, kids go free at lots of race meets!

Visit the world’s greenest football club

Football fans won’t want to miss paying a visit to the world’s greenest football club, Forest Green Rovers. As well as being in the League Two Champions for 2021-22, the eco-conscious club plays at the world’s greenest stadium, which is powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, on a pitch that’s irrigated using rainwater and mowed by solar-powered ‘mow-bots’ — with a match-day menu that’s all vegan, as well as healthy and delicious.

Historic things to do in Gloucestershire

Walk in the footsteps of royalty in Winchcombe

A firm favourite for a family day out, Sudeley Castle sits in an impressive 1,200-acre estate and boasts 10 award-winning gardens to explore. The home of Henry VIII’s last wife, Queen Katherine Parr, history enthusiasts can visit her tomb in St Mary’s Church within the grounds, while little ones can burn off some of their boundless energy on the fantastic outdoor adventure playground and assault course.

See the birthplace of composer Gustav Holst

Located just outside of Cheltenham town centre in the leafy suburb of Pittville, music fans can visit the Holst Victorian House to see the place where the famous composer was born, as well as the piano on which he wrote his inimitable The Planets suite.

See King Edward II’s cell at Berkeley Castle

A fascinating day out for all ages, visitors to the imposing Berkeley Castle can see the cell where King Edward II was murdered – perfect for fans of Horrible Histories! There’s plenty more to see inside the castle, plus families can go on a dragon hunt and explore the glorious gardens outside — with regular activities from jousting to outdoor theatre to taking place, too.

Go ghost-hunting at Woodchester Mansion

The spectacularly spooky Woodchester Mansion is supposedly one of Gloucestershire’s most haunted locations — but even if you don’t believe in things that go bump in the night, it has a fascinating backstory. During its construction, the workmen building it downed tools never to return, leaving the beautiful building unfinished to this day. As well as admiring its unique architecture, with quirky features like fireplaces in the middle of walls, Woodchester Mansion is also one of Gloucestershire’s famous filming locations.

Discover the history of the Forest of Dean

Learn all about the history of the Forest of Dean at Dean Heritage Centre in Soudley. With five galleries exploring everything from pre-historic times to World War II, kids can enjoy the Victorian school classroom, the replica free mine and demonstrations such as chainsaw carving and traditional charcoal burning.

Admire Gloucestershire’s most famous landmark

Known all over the world for its stunning architecture — and for providing the setting for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies – Gloucester Cathedral is a spectacular family day out. From admiring the beautiful building itself, which includes one of the world’s largest stained-glass windows, families can spot gargoyles, play medieval games and enjoy fun activities in the interactive Tribune Gallery, before tucking into afternoon tea at The Monk’s Kitchen next door.

See vintage cars at Cotswold Motoring Museum

Offering a fascinating journey through 20th century transport history, Cotswold Motoring Museum in Bourton-on-the-Water takes visitors back in time. A top tourist attraction in Gloucestershire, it’s a great day out for car-mad kids.

Explore Stroud’s Museum in the Park

Set in the grounds of Stratford Park in Stroud, Museum in the Park showcases a range of exhibitions including everything from dinosaur bones and ancient coins found in the area, to fine art — with a glorious garden to explore, too.

Explore the enchanting Eastnor Castle

Steeped in history, Eastnor Castle is nestled just over the Herefordshire border and dates back to the 19th century. The castle is open to visitors on selected dates from Easter until the end of September, offering the chance to discover its amazing interiors, adventure playground, knight’s maze, junior assault course and woodland play area.

Visit a Victorian police station and gaol in Tetbury

Complete with a replica courtroom, Tetbury Police Museum is housed in the village’s original police office and cells. Explore the former police sergeant’s home and exhibits for a unique day out.

Go to battle at Tewkesbury Medieval Festival

Held annually in July, Tewkesbury Medieval Festival gives families the chance to witness the re-enactment of the Battle of Tewkesbury. With feasts to feed an army, exhibitions and period games, it’s a fabulous family day out for history enthusiasts.

See how the Romans lived in Cirencester

As the second largest town in Roman Britain, Corinium — now known as Cirencester — has a rich history. Its award-winning Corinium Museum takes visitors on a journey back through time, giving them a chance to experience life as a Roman, marvel at impressive mosaics and explore a Roman garden. As one of the biggest Roman amphitheatres in Great Britain, Cirencester Amphitheatre, situated on the outskirts of the Cotswold town, is a must-visit too.

Go underground at Clearwell Caves

With impressive underground caverns, Clearwell Caves in the Forest of Dean displays some of the country’s oldest mine workings. Discover the historic stories of the freeminers, uncover magnificent caves and explore a hidden world.

See a replica of Britain’s first jet in Gloucester

Home to a replica of Britain’s first jet aircraft, the Gloster E.28/39, the Jet Age Museum is a fascinating and free day out for families. Learn more about its aircraft and even go on a cockpit tour of a 1950s fighter jet or bomber.

Visit the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum

Located at Gloucester’s historic docks, the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum tells the story of local servicemen from the last 300 years — spanning the Napoleonic Wars; the First and Second World Wars; the Korean War; right up to modern day conflicts — with interactive exhibits to discover.

Spot the sunken boats at Purton Ships’ Graveyard

Named one of the UK’s most unusual museums, Purton Ships’ Graveyard is a collection of over 86 ships beached on the banks of the River Severn, some dating as far back as 1909 — with the unique attraction providing a fascinating day out for families and maritime enthusiasts.

Visit a historic colliery in Coleford

Go underground at Hopewell Colliery and explore the mine workings on a guided tour. See what life is like under the Forest of Dean and hear fascinating stories about the history of the mine.

Discover Gloucester’s maritime history

The National Waterways Museum explores the rich history of Britain’s canals and rivers, with an apt location at Gloucester Docks — one of the most inland ports in the UK. It also offers boat trips along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal from Easter to October each year.

Foodie things to do in Gloucestershire

Go for brunch in Gloucestershire

Whether it’s a stack of American-style pancakes dripping with maple syrup, a sophisticated eggs Benedict or a good old fashioned full English breakfast, there are plenty of fantastic brunch spots in Gloucestershire to choose from — not to mention boozy and bottomless brunches, for when you haven’t got the kids in tow!

Tuck into a traditional Sunday roast in Gloucestershire

Fans of fluffy roasties, succulent meats, incredible Yorkshire puds and lashings of rich gravy are spoilt for choice in the county. Head out on a weekend walk and finish up at one of SoGlos’s pick of Sunday lunch hotspots in Gloucestershire for a traditional family dinner to refuel.

Shop for fresh produce at a Gloucestershire farmer’s market

From seasonal fruit and veg to unique condiments, local cheeses and homemade cakes — not to mention a diverse variety of tasty street food to tuck into — pick up some delicious produce at one of Gloucestershire’s 14 must-visit farmer’s markets.

Catch a fish at Bibury Trout Farm

Giving families the chance to catch and cook their own lunch, Bibury Trout Farm is a wholesome day out for foodie families. It’s suitable for little ones and absolute beginners and it’s open from March to October each year.

Indulge in freshly made gelato in Gloucestershire

Artisan ice cream producer and SGGLA winner, Wholly Gelato, produces gelato using milk from cows reared at its family farm in Gloucestershire. Visitors can meet the cows as they enjoy their ice cream, which comes in a variety of ever-changing flavours, including chocolate orange, blackberry ripple, sea salt caramel and Biscoff.

Try something different in Gloucestershire

From lunch at the retro, memorabilia-filled American-style diner Smokey Joe’s in Cheltenham to taco Tuesday at Latin-themed restaurant Galgos Latino in Stroud, there are lots of quirky dining spots in Gloucestershire that offer something a bit different for fun-loving families.

Visit a Gloucestershire food festival

As well as the abundance of music and cultural festivals taking place in Gloucestershire, the county is awash with fantastic food festivals during the year too. From the Stroud Festival of Food and Drink in spring; the free Gloucester Quays Food Festival which brings celebrity chefs and artisan producers to the city in summer; the annual Cotswold Show and Food Festival that takes over Cirencester Park in July; and the Forest Showcase Food Festival in autumn, there’s plenty for foodie families to get their teeth into.

Eat your way around the world in Cheltenham

Adventurous families can enjoy a taste of the world without ever leaving Cheltenham, with SoGlos rounding up 14 international restaurants you have to try – from the SGGLA-winning Sri Lankan eatery The Coconut Tree in St Paul’s to super stylish sushi restaurant KIBOU in Regent Arcade.

Meet the animals in Gloucestershire

Meet the nenes at Slimbridge Wetland Centre

WWT founder Sir Peter Scott started the world’s first captive breeding programme of Hawaiian nenes — the world’s rarest goose — at Slimbridge Wetland Centre in the 1950s, with the award-winning attraction now home to a thriving colony of the much-loved birds. Wildlife lovers can meet a whole host of wetland animals at the centre including swans, ducks, flamingos and an otter; as well as seeing eggs hatch at the duckery, enjoying flying demonstrations at the Living Wetland Theatre and spotting colourful amphibians at Toad Hall.

Learn about rare breed farm animals in the Cotswolds

Home of TV presenter, Adam Henson, Cotswold Farm Park in Guiting Power is a fantastic attraction where families can meet all manner of farmyard animals, from baby chicks and lambs to rare breed cows, pigs and goats. The farm is also home to an adventure barn, bouncy floor pillows, a wildlife walk, maze and play areas, too.

Come eye to eye with giraffes at Cotswold Wildlife Park

Cotswold Wildlife Park in Burford is a wild day out, with the expansive wildlife park being home to exotic animals including Asiatic lions, Chapman’s zebra, southern white rhinos, Egyptian fruit bats, red pandas, meerkats and giant tortoises. Visitors can even come face to face with the park’s popular giraffes on the elevated walkway next to their enclosure.

Smile at crocodiles in the Cotswolds

Say hello to crocs from across the globe at Crocodiles of the World and discover fascinating facts about the different species. Watch them feed, listen to talks and even get up close and personal with snakes!

Visit the county’s only urban farm in Gloucester

Get a break from the hustle and bustle of the city centre with a trip to St James City Farm in Tredworth. Say hi to the farm animals and even get involved in a practical farm experience, without trekking out to the countryside.

Go horse riding in the Cotswolds

Horse fans can enjoy a hack through the Cotswolds, exploring beautiful countryside and woodland, with Cotswold Trail Riding Centre in Brookthorpe offering experiences for novices and experienced riders, with trails to suit their abilities.

Make some furry friends at Cattle Country Adventure Farm Park

With an animal experience centre home to the cutest furry friends, indoor play barns and outdoor play areas that include bouncy pillows, a mini golf course and splash pool, Cattle Country Farm Park in Berkeley is the ultimate family day out for animal-loving little ones.

Meet England’s only colony of King Penguins in Bourton-on-the-Water

Home to more than 500 birds, Birdland Park and Gardens in Bourton-on-the-Water is also the place to see England’s only colony of King Penguins, including Spike, the penguin crowned the world's most popular! There are also flamingos, parrots, hornbills and pelicans to make friends with — plus in the woodland, discover dinosaurs as you wander through the Jurassic Journey area.

Go llama trekking in the Forest of Dean

For something a bit different to your average animal-themed day out, take some llamas out on a trek through the Forest of Dean. Let the friendly animals carry your picnic as you enjoy the scenery, with Severnwye Llama Trekking in Lydney and Briery Hill Llamas in Newent both offering llama trekking experiences in the forest.

See birds of prey in flight at Cotswold Falconry Centre

See falcons, eagles, owls and hawks swooping through the skies at Cotswold Falconry Centre in Moreton-in-Marsh. With daily flying displays and over 150 birds to see, the attraction also offers experiences with its birds of prey, giving participants a chance to get up close to the beautiful birds and even have them fly to your hand.

Walk among exotic butterflies in the Wye Valley

Get up-close to exotic butterflies at Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo in Symonds Yat, where visitors can learn about every stage of their lifecycle from caterpillar to butterfly — and discover the 30 indigenous butterfly species that call the hills around Symonds Yat home.

Gloucestershire Family Bucket List

If you've worked your way through this list and still need some more inspiration, tick off all the brilliant activities featured in the Gloucestershire Family Bucket List. This special list includes ideas to keep all ages occupied throughout the year, encompassing stunning places to visit, action-packed experiences and more!

Visit Gloucestershire Cotswold Farm Park Gloucester Quays New Brewery Arts The Roses Theatre Slimbridge Wetland Centre The Museum of Gloucester The Brewery Quarter Five Valleys Shopping Centre Westonbirt Arboretum Gloucester Cathedral Sudeley Castle and Gardens Dean Heritage Centre Cheltenham Racecourse Painswick Rococo Garden Eastnor Castle Batsford Arboretum Cattle Country Farm Park The Fairview Gardener Nature in Art Berkeley Castle East Glos Club Go Ape Forest of Dean Clearwell Caves Trioscape Garden Centre The Royal International Air Tattoo Puzzlewood Sherborne Cinema JDR Karting Cotswold Water Park Stagecoach West Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway Dean Forest Railway & Museum Perrygrove Railway Hollywood Bowl Stroud Bowl The Play Farm Cotswold Clubhouse The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum Trapped Escape Rooms Escape Hunt Eat Sleep Axe Dinky Street Funky Warehouse Gloucester Services The House of the Tailor of Gloucester Cineworld Vue Cinema The Palace Theatre Cinderford The Warehouse Cotswold Sculpture Park Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail Three Counties Showground Cotswold Country Park and Beach The Old New Inn Bourton Model Village Elton Farm Maize Mazes Giffords Circus Primrose Vale Farm Shop Hayles Fruit Farm Gloucester Narrowboats The Boathouse Cafe Pedalabikeaway Harts Barn Cookery School Dixie Dot Crafts The Paint It Yourself Pottery Company Taurus Crafts All Bars Flying Trapeze Club Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre Mr Mulligans Lost World Golf Sandford Parks Lido Stratford Park Leisure Centre Bathurst Pool Gloucester Rugby Forestry England Forest of Dean Flyup 417 Bike Park Gloucester Docks Croft Farm Water Park Forest Green Rovers Football Club Holst Victorian House Cotswold Motoring Museum Museum in the Park Tetbury Police Museum Hailes Abbey Corinium Museum Jet Age Museum Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum Purton Ships’ Graveyard Hopewell Colliery Bibury Trout Farm Smokey Joe's Galgos Latino The Coconut Tree KIBOU Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens Crocodiles of the World St James City Farm Cotswold Trail Riding Centre Birdland Park and Gardens Severnwye Llama Trekking Briery Hill Llamas Cotswold Falconry Centre Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo Cotswold Way Big Feastival Cleeve Hill Pittville Park Gloucester and Sharpness Canal Wholly Gelato Robinswood Hill Country Park Warehouse Climbing Centre Symonds Yat Severn Bore Tewkesbury Medieval Festival Tewkesbury Nature Reserve Ninja Warrior UK Gloucester Woodchester Mansion and Park Adam Henson Tweedy the Clown

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