With accommodation to book, child-friendly cafes and pubs to find, plus activities needed to keep the whole family busy, a staycation with the kids can take some planning — and insider knowledge of the area can make all the difference in ensuring that your family weekend away is a perfect one.
SoGlos has teamed up with luxury accommodation company, Cotswold Cottage Gems in Bourton-on-the-Water, to bring you an itinerary for the best family-friendly weekend in the Cotswolds, with all the hotspots revealed from the locals that live there...
Where to stay in the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds is a National Landscape with over 700 square miles of countryside, towns and villages to explore.
Cotswold Cottage Gems has 12 gorgeous cottages to choose from throughout the Cotswolds, in beautiful locations such as Bourton-on-the-Water, Moreton-in-Marsh, Longborough, Cold Aston and Stow-on-the-Wold.
With a self-catering cottage, guests have the flexibility to relax in a home away from home, without worrying about other guests and strict check-in and check-out times, knowing that the facilities will be child-friendly and stress-free.
Perfect for larger families, Woodbine Cottage is located in popular Bourton-on-the-Water and sleeps six people with free parking and high-speed WiFi. The cottage has three bedrooms, including one on the ground floor, two bathrooms and is just a five-minute stroll from the centre of the village, where there is so much for families to do.
Rathbone Cottage is another of the company's family-friendly cottages, this time located in the idyllic market town of Stow-on-the-Wold. Also sleeping six people, this elegant country cottage comes with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, two sitting rooms and a pretty garden and patio area.
And when the weather turns, each of the cottages has an array of fun board games to choose from, to cosy up by the fire and get competitive!
Where to eat in the Cotswolds
For breakfast: In Bourton-on-the-Water, The Croft is a lovely riverside cafe with views overlooking the ducks on the River Windrush. It offers a great variety of cooked breakfasts, poached eggs on sourdough and pretzel subs, with a kids' full English breakfast and croissants with a Nutella filling too, along with babycinos and hot chocolates.
For lunch: The Legbar at Daylesford Organic is perfect for a healthy lunch stop-off for the whole family. It serves small plates with a variety of different tastes and flavours to try, with the farm shop also stocking a huge range of groceries and ingredients for lunch and snacks on the go.
For dinner: Smiths of Bourton, owned by brothers Seb and Theo Smith, serves some of the best burgers and sides in the Cotswolds, including a homemade version of the American classic tater tots.
Situated in one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds, The Farmers Arms in Guiting Power offers simple but scrumptious pub grub, with children, muddy boots and four-legged friends made very welcome. It even has a pool table, juke box and an old-fashioned skittles alley to keep the whole family entertained after dinner.
For a treat: Sakura Bistro in Moreton-in-Marsh is a lively family-friendly cafe that's open all day, serving brunch, lunch, dinner and the awesome Sakura Shakes — milkshakes that come with gelato and whipped cream!
Where to visit in the Cotswolds
There's so much for families to do in the Cotswolds. Bourton Model Village is the only Grade II listed model village in the country, where little ones can pretend to be giants as they wander the tiny streets of Bourton-on-the-Water in miniature.
Birdland Park and Gardens, also located in Bourton-on-the-Water, is set in nine acres of woodland and gardens and has more than 500 birds to see, including penguins, parrots and hornbills.
Cotswold Farm Park near Guiting Power is another wonderful day out, with animals to feed, playgrounds and bouncy pillows to tear around on, plus a whole host of farm fun to occupy each member of the family.
In Cowley, you can meet, greet and even walk the fluffy herd of Huacaya alpacas on Cotswold Alpacas' 12-acre farm. It also runs craft workshops using alpaca fleece, so you can take home little handmade mementos of your weekend.
A pony hack through the Cotswold countryside is an experience that will last a lifetime. Bourton
Vale Equestrian Centre is a professional riding school offering lessons, tourist hacks and river rides for children and adults of all ages and abilities.
Where to shop in the Cotswolds
Daylesford Organic Farm is a firm foodie favourite, with its farm shop bursting with organic fruit and veg grown in its market garden; plus high welfare meat from the farm, fresh artisan bread and pastries, milk, yoghurt and cheese from the creamery, and store cupboard staples from the refill pantry. You'll want for nothing after a shop at Daylesford!
Burford Garden Company is in one of the prettiest towns in the Cotswolds, just over the border in Oxfordshire. An independent, family-owned emporium brimming with plants, homeware, garden paraphernalia and a lovely glasshouse cafe, it's much more than a garden centre, with visitors travelling from all over the south west to visit the sumptuous store.
Stroud Shambles Market is an open-air and indoor market offering a variety of wares from crafters, makers and collectors, and takes place every Friday and Saturday from 8am to 3pm in one of the oldest areas of the town. The whole family can hunt for everything from vintage comics, diecast models and books to clothing and original artwork from local artists and photographers.
Family-friendly walks in the Cotswolds
The Naunton to Notgrove circular walk is 6.2 miles and will take between two to three hours. Following mainly off-road trails, this route takes you through some of the prettiest woodland in the Cotswolds, with The Plough Inn at Cold Aston en route for a tasty refuel, too.
There are also three lovely circular walks starting at The Swan Inn at Swinbrook near Burford — Widford Church, Paynes
Farm and Asthall — which are also family- and dog-friendly and can either begin or end with a pub pitstop, perfect for hungry tummies and achy feet.