When the sun shines, Gloucestershire is a glorious place to boost your vitamin D, boasting outdoor attractions, prime paddling spots and plenty of scenic sites to indulge in a picnic.
Seek out a sunny day activity that the whole family will enjoy this summer, with SoGlos sharing 26 places to take the kids on a warm day in Gloucestershire. Don’t forget the sun cream!
1. Dean Heritage Centre in the Forest of Dean
With five acres to explore, unearth the history of the Forest of Dean at Dean Heritage Centre – ideal for family days out in the sunshine, with many interactive outdoor exhibits and woodland trails to discover.
Wander through the trees hunting for the famous Gruffalo, find the replica Forester’s Cottage and make a beeline for the Mill Pond, where little ones can spot the ducks and refuel with a picnic.
2. Cotswold Country Park and Beach
A trip to the beach is a must when the sun is shining – and while it’s not technically by the seaside, Cotswold Country Park and Beach offers the UK’s biggest inland shore for families to catch some rays.
While the grown-ups top up their tan, kids will love building sandcastles, splashing about in the lagoon and, if they’re brave enough, tackling the inflatable AquaVenture course.
3. Slimbridge Wetland Centre near Stroud
Explore Slimbridge’s extraordinary wetlands in the sunshine, brimming with wildlife just waiting to be discovered. Little ones will love roaming the walkways, spotting colourful flamingos and buzzy dragonflies, as well as getting up close to the world’s rarest goose – the Hawaiian nene.
Other sunny day activities include paddling through the wetlands on the Canoe Safari trail and, of course, cooling off with a splash about in Welly Boot Land.
4. Sandford Parks Lido in Cheltenham
Paradise on a hot day, Sandford Parks Lido promises fun for the whole family, boasting a heated 50m outdoor pool, plus sunbathing spots and an on-site café.
Family-friendly open swim sessions give all ages the chance to splash about in the main pool, while the children’s pool is a great option for families with babies and younger children, suitable for kids up to eight-years-old.
5. Cattle Country Farm Park in Berkeley
Complete with a boating lake and summer splash pool, Cattle Country Farm Park is the perfect place to cool the kids down on a sunny day – with ride-on tractors, bouncing pillows and an epic adventure playground to keep them entertained for hours on end.
As a bonus, families visiting in August can try their hand at the maize maze and wander through the sunny sunflower field for photo opportunities galore.
6. Wenchford in the Forest of Dean
Something of a hidden gem deep in the Forest of Dean, Wenchford offers plenty of places to paddle on a hot summer’s day, with Blackpool Brook winding through the site. Kids can go crazy in the water and, with a canopy of oak trees overhead, it makes a great shady spot to stop for a waterside picnic, too.
7. Bathurst Pool in Lydney
Dubbed one of the county’s ‘best-kept secrets’, Bathurst Pool offers open-air swimming in the Forest of Dean district during the summer months. With 38 metres to practice your lengths, keen swimmers can get a good workout in, while little ones can take a dunk underwater and play with inflatables.
Best of all, poolside picnics are welcome, so families can make a day of it – or stock up on snacks and ice cream from the on-site shop.
8. Westonbirt Arboretum near Tetbury
Spend a sunny day discovering all Westonbirt Arboretum has to offer, from rare trees and natural play areas to Gruffalo sculptures hidden in the woodland.
Little ones will never be short of entertainment, with the arboretum playing host to different seasonal events and interactive trails throughout the year, while adults will relish soaking up the sun from the STIHL Tree Top Walkway.
9. Cotswold Lavender near Broadway
Bringing Insta-worthy summer colour to the Cotswolds, the vibrant purple fields at Cotswold Lavender are well worth a visit on a sunny day – welcoming visitors to walk and picnic among the blooms on selected dates every summer.
As well as acres of fragrant lavender, families can discover colourful wildflower meadows and meander along the brand-new Beechwood Trail, offering woodland adventures for little visitors.
10. Pittville Park in Cheltenham
When the sun is out, kids can have hours of fun at Pittville Park; climbing over obstacles and running around in the children’s play area, scooting at the skate park, or saying hello to the birds in the aviaries. There are also areas of shaded woodland to explore and the chance to hire a boat and enjoy the weather from the lake.
11. Cotswold Farm Park in Guiting Power
Let the kids loose at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park, with two brilliant bouncy pillows, pedal tractors and plenty of swings, sandpits, slides and opportunities for outdoor play.
Pick up some animal snacks and meet the resident animals along the Rare Breeds Trail, leading you through the farmyard around the paddocks, or ramble along the Wildlife Walk – with outdoor undercover seating and takeaway food served across the site, too.
12. Beechenhurst in the Forest of Dean
Discover the meaning of outdoor adventure at Beechenhurst, home to the Forest of Dean’s famous Sculpture Trail, Go Ape’s exciting Treetop Adventure and the interactive Superworm activity trail.
With an on-site café, picnic benches and even barbecues to hire, families can make the most of a sunny day at this fun-filled woodland destination – which also has a recently revamped playground that features a fun zip line and basket swing.
13. Over Farm in Gloucester
From picking your own strawberries to feeding greedy goats, there’s lots to do on a sunny trip to Over Farm – including tractor rides around the farm!
With some brand-new features for 2022, get competitive on the mini golf course and run wild on the adventure play areas, Barnyard and Scrapyard; and don’t forget to pick up some artisan treats from Over Farm Market before you leave.
14. Painswick Rococo Garden near Stroud
Escape to Gloucestershire’s unique historical attraction, Painswick Rococo Garden for a day of adventure in the 18th century pleasure park.
Families will love exploring the characterful gardens and completing the children’s trails – with little ones also able to let off some steam at the rustic play area, compete to find the centre of the maze and marvel at the magical follies.
15. Cirencester Open Air Pool
Ideal for a sunny day out with the kids, the 28m Cirencester Open Air Pool is complete with a sunbathing patio and additional paddling zone – perfect for little swimmers. The historic attraction can be found on the edge of Cirencester Park.
16. Batsford Arboretum near Moreton-in-Marsh
A botanical wonderland in the heart of the Cotswolds, there’s something for the whole family at Batsford Arboretum. Make the most of the good weather, following the children’s trail through the trees, or treat yourself to a delicious lunch on the café’s sun-soaked terrace.
While it’s often busy in the summer months, Bourton-on-the-Water is popular for good reason, offering the perfect place for a paddle in the River Windrush and plenty of family-friendly attractions to enjoy on a sunny day.
18. Symonds Yat Rock
One of the area’s most spectacular viewpoints, Symonds Yat Rock is stunning on a sunny day, with plenty of green space for little ones to play in the great outdoors while grown-ups take in the impressive view. Keep an eye out for birds of prey soaring over the Wye Valley too!
The site is served by a log cabin-style café, providing snacks and drinks to reward walkers for reaching the top.
19. Gloucester Docks
From waterside walks along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, to stand-up paddle boarding sessions courtesy of SUP Gloucester, Gloucester Docks is a fantastic destination for cooling water based activities. Rich in local history, there are also plenty of places to grab refreshments at Gloucester Quays.
20. Berkeley Castle
With spectacular grounds, pristine gardens and a fascinating history that spans over 800 years, Berkeley Castle is a great destination for a sunny day trip.
For families visiting during the summer holidays, there are daily activities for children; while kids can get active on the woodland play area and follow the castle’s dragon trail all year round.
21. Cotswold Wildlife Park near Burford
Take a walk on the wild side at Cotswold Wildlife Park, a wonderful outdoor attraction that promises hours of family fun in the sun.
With low-walled enclosures, little ones will have no problem watching the playful penguins and mischievous meerkats – not to mention getting eye-to-eye with the world’s tallest animal along the giraffe walkway – before investigating treehouses and running across jungle bridges at the adventure playground.
22. Cannop Ponds in the Forest of Dean
Take a trip to Cannop Ponds, where aspiring anglers can try their hand at fishing in one of two lakes, home to an abundance of fish, as well as dazzling dragonflies and birdlife. Relax by the waterside, go paddling, or get on your bikes and tackle the family cycle trail, a circular route through the forest with a starting point at Cannop Ponds.
22. Bibury Trout Farm
Kids can cast a line and try their hand at fishing at Bibury Trout Farm, a fun and easy activity that’s suitable for all ages – and extra fun in warmer weather, when families can enjoy firing up one of the rentable barbecues to cook their catch of the day.
For those who don’t fancy fishing, there’s also a crazy golf course on the farm, which is next to a waterside picnic area for a more conventional lunch.
24. Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe
With an outdoor obstacle course, zooming zip wires and an adventure playground housing a giant fort, kids can have endless fun in the sun at Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe.
There’s lots to discover at the historic site, including an outdoor exhibition of giant animal sculptures for 2022 and a pheasantry full of rare birds, making it a great spot for families to explore when it’s too sunny to be inside.
25. Dean Forest Railway
All aboard Dean Forest Railway, a fantastic family attraction for outdoor adventurers. Running four and a half miles through the beautiful Forest of Dean, the track has five stations along the route, giving families the chance to hop off and explore in the sunshine, all while enjoying a heritage steam train ride.
26. Eastnor Castle near Ledbury
With trees to climb and rope swings aplenty, little monkeys will be in their element at Eastnor Castle, which also houses a challenging maze that families can compete to complete.
All small visitors are offered a fun booklet on arrival, jam-packed with puzzles and challenges to complete around the castle grounds, while there’s lots of fun to be had on the junior obstacle course and adventure playground too.