From hand-feeding farmyard friends to catching a game at an eco-friendly football stadium, there's plenty to keep families busy in the Stroud district — with all kinds of days out that are suitable for the littlest tots through to older children.
With medieval fortresses, spooky mansions and soft play centres on the list, SoGlos rounds up 13 fantastic family days out to entertain the kids in and around Stroud.
Cattle Country Farm Park
Having been around since 1992, Cattle Country Farm Park has cracked the formula for great family days out. A fun-filled mixture of animal encounters, tractor rides and indoor and outdoor play areas — including a giant climbing net, beach barn and summer splash pool — there's enough to keep little ones busy for the whole day.
There are picnic areas all over the site, not to mention an outstanding café, GRAZE, which serves brunch baps, waffles and delicious lunches. And for even more things to do, check out SoGlos's 9 reasons to visit the Berkeley-based attraction.
Slimbridge Wetland Centre
Families can encounter some incredible wildlife at Slimbridge Wetland Centre, home to everything from the world's rarest goose, the Hawaiian nēnē, to the most poisonous frog on the planet. There's even a friendly otter to meet!
Go on a canoe safari around the wetlands; watch birds fly over your head in the Living Wetland Theatre, before immersing yourself in their habitat at the interconnected Waterscapes Aviary; and make a big splash at Welly Boot Land, Slimbridge's puddle-filled play area.
Dating back to the 12th century, Berkeley Castle is an ancient fortress-turned-visitor attraction. Highlights include the grizzly dungeon where King Edward II was imprisoned and its immaculate grounds, where little explorers can follow a dragon trail and discover a woodland play area.
With regular medieval entertainment, too, you might even catch the jousting or run into King Henry VII and his Tudor companions; while the new Hideout café in the Walled Garden serves light-bites and refreshments for refuelling.
Museum in the Park
Found in Stroud's Stratford Park, Museum in the Park houses a collection of fascinating artefacts from the area's history — covering everything from dinosaur bones to the world's first lawnmower!
Free to enter, the museum has an ever-changing temporary exhibition gallery and a picturesque walled garden; while Stratford Park itself is perfect for blowing off some steam, with 56 acres of green space, an outdoor play area and a miniature railway.
Painswick Rococo Garden
Once a fanciful pleasure garden for gentlefolk, Painswick Rococo Garden is now a quirky visitor attraction, where families can make lots of fun in the great outdoors.
Get lost in the giant maze, with three centres to find; climb, swing and test your balance on the rustic woodland play area; and look out for fairy-tale castles and magical follies. With interactive, seasonal trails to follow throughout the year, too.
Dr Jenner's House
Step inside the home of legendary physician, Edward Jenner, who created the world's very first vaccine. Now a museum dedicated to his life and legacy, Dr Jenner's House tells the story of the pioneering scientist who has saved millions of lives with his concept of vaccination.
Follow in his footsteps around the home, explore the physic garden full of herbs to cure ailments and even visit the rustic summerhouse, used by Dr Jenner as the world’s very first vaccination clinic.
Forest Green Rovers Football Club
Young football fans are sure to have an unforgettable day soaking up the atmosphere at The New Lawn, cheering on Nailsworth-based club, Forest Green Rovers, as they compete in League One matches for the 2022/23 season.
Dubbed the 'world's greenest football club', it's a unique matchday experience, too, with a totally vegan menu to sink your teeth into.
Woodchester Mansion and Park
The mysterious Woodchester Mansion is an unfinished Gothic house, which was eerily abandoned mid-construction in the 1860s. While exploring, keep an eye out for the menagerie of animal carvings and head up to the bat observatory to catch sight of the horseshoe bats roosting.
Enjoy nature walks around the surrounding Woodchester Park, where kids can follow a natural play trail, and grab refreshments from the on-site café.
Purton Ships Graveyard
With 86 ghostly vessels to discover, kids can play pirates and let their imaginations run wild as they explore the inland fleet, which sits alongside a stretch of the River Severn near Berkeley.
Returning to its home on Fennells Farm every year, the legendary Giffords Circus is an unmissable event for families — complete with gravity-defying stunts, incredible acrobatics and side-splitting entertainment from Gloucestershire's favourite clown, Tweedy.
Roll up and experience the magic every spring, when the circus launches its new show at the original big top, before taking it on the road around the Cotswolds. There's a second chance to see its current show, ¡Carpa!, which is making its way back to Fennells Farm for its final leg at the end of September 2022.
Newbrook Farm Equestrian
Home to retired horses from all over the world, with everything from Shetland ponies to majestic Shires making up its herd, Newbrook Farm Equestrian aspires to make horse riding accessible for everyone.
Sat in a valley near Uley, the farm has direct access to some of Gloucestershire's best countryside, where visitors can enjoy off-road hacks for up to two hours. Newbrook also offers bespoke equestrian adventures like bluebell rides in the springtime and unicorn-themed birthday parties, if your child is celebrating.
Packed with play equipment for active children, Go Bananas is a soft play centre on the outskirts of Stroud, with wavy slides, wobbly bridges and ball pit drops to help the kids burn off some of their boundless energy.
Great for rainy days, the indoor play jungle caters for grown-ups with a lovely café, serving snacks and drinks to sip on while the kids play. Or, get stuck in and join them on the soft play!
See if you can strike it lucky at Stroud Bowl, offering tenpin bowling on the top floor of Stroud's Five Valleys shopping centre.
As well as getting competitive on the bowling alley, visitors can bring some pennies and play the classic arcade games, with the venue's swish Bar 300 serving cocktails to make parents' experience even more fun.