While the Cotswolds are famous for outstanding natural beauty and chocolate-box villages, families looking for something a bit different to do don’t have to look too far from home.
In this hot list, SoGlos handpicks 10 unique activities for families to enjoy in the Cotswolds – from mastering bushcraft to meeting crocodiles.
Meet rare breed farm animals at Cotswold Farm Park in Guiting Power
From Suffolk Punch horses, Greyface Dartmoor lambs to Highland cows, Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park is home to a huge collection of rare breed farm animals that families can get close to – not to mention rabbits, guinea pigs and ducklings!
There’s also an incredible adventure playground complete with mud kitchen, wildlife walk and the Ox Shed café serving up local produce.
Take on the treetop walkway at Westonbirt Arboretum in Tetbury
With over 15,000 trees to wander amongst, as well as the incredible buggy and wheelchair-accessible STIHL treetop walkway offering spectacular views from high up in the canopy, Westonbirt Arboretum is a nature lovers paradise.
There’s acres of land for little legs to run around in – and if you look closely enough, you might just spot the Gruffalo and his friends hiding in the woods.
Learn bushcraft at Fat Squirrel Outdoor Co in North Leigh
From fire-lighting and building shelters, to archery, axe throwing and rifle shooting, outdoorsy families can enjoy learning bushcraft and survival skills with Fat Squirrel Outdoor Co in North Leigh.
With fire lighting suitable for children aged six and above, it’s a great way for kids to learn a life skill as part of a fun family day out in the woods.
Hear lions roar at Cotswold Wildlife Park in Burford
With Asiatic lions, Humboldt penguins, giraffes, meerkats and more, animal-loving families can take a walk on the wild side at Cotswold Wildlife Park in Burford.
The beautifully landscaped grounds make for a perfect picnic spot too, where you can enjoy your sandwiches while watching the park’s majestic rhinos graze.
Visit the Harry Potter tree at Blenheim Palace
The spectacular Blenheim Palace is a World Heritage Site, as well as being the birthplace of Winston Churchill, offering visitors a glimpse into history as well as the chance to explore the stunning grounds and gardens.
Make your way to the banks of the great lake to see the famous tree featured in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – as well as getting lost in the Marlborough Maze, visiting the butterfly house, exploring the the pleasure garden and taking a ride on the miniature train.
Meet England’s only collection of King Penguins at Birdland in Bourton-on-the-Water
Penguin Shore at Birdland in Bourton-on-the-Water is home to the only colony of King Penguins in the country. Spike the King Penguin, who was hand-reared at Birdland, has even had the honour of meeting Sir David Attenborough!
Penguins aren’t all there is to see at Birdland though, with the family-friendly attraction giving visitors the chance to meet parrots; flamingos; owls; pelicans; and ostriches – not to mention the Jurassic Journey, taking brave adventurers back to a time when dinosaurs roamed the Cotswolds!
Visit a Downton Abbey filming location at Cogges Manor Farm in Witney
As the filming location for Yew Tree Farm in ITV’s Downton Abbey, Cogges Manor’s famous farm provides an exciting family day out with a historical twist.
Enjoy a picnic in the grounds with the impressive filming location as a backdrop; play dress-up and explore the original Victorian kitchen; meet and feed the resident goats, sheep, pigs and chickens; and take home some tasty treats from the farm shop.
Come face-to-face with a croc at Crocodiles of the World in Brize Norton
As the UK’s only dedicated crocodile zoo, brave explorers can come face to face with over 80 different crocs at Crocodiles of the World in Brize Norton.
With 12 of the world’s 23 species calling the attraction home, from the huge saltwater crocodile to the comparatively small Cuvier’s dwarf caiman, visitors can learn all about crocodile conservation and even see a crocodile feeding show. For fans of feathered and furry friends, there are also meerkats, otters, tamarins and birds to meet too.
Feel like a giant at The Model Village in Bourton-on-the-Water
Bourton-on-the-Water’s Model Village is a miniature version of the actual village as it was in the 1930’s made from Cotswold stone and is the only Grade II listed model village in the country.
Giving visitors the chance to feel like they’re in Gullivers Travels as they explore the tiny streets, there are even miniature choirs singing in each of the village’s two churches – and a miniature version of the model village itself!
Go on an enchanted walk through Fairytale Farm near Chipping Norton
Offering a sensory experience that promises to put disabled children first, Chipping Norton’s Fairytale Farm is a magical family day out that’s accessible for everyone.
With six zones to explore, children can enjoy adventure play, immerse themselves in their favourite fairy stories, meet friendly animals and enjoy sensory experiences including a herb garden, sandpit and water play areas.