Famous for the honey-coloured stone buildings that define this beautiful part of England the Cotswolds is best described as typically English in its bucolic tranquillity with sleepy villages like Castle Combe and Burford as well as great cities like Bath. Yet it is easily accessible and only around a two hour drive from London.
The spring weather in England can of course be changeable but here in the Cotswolds the climate is relatively mild and spring is a very good time to explore all that the region has to offer. There is no better time for families to get outdoors and sample the host of family activities and fun days out in the Cotswolds. Once you have chosen a place to stay, perhaps taking advantage of a private lakeside lodge at Cotswold Water Park, then you have the perfect base camp from where you can plan all your excursions.
Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens
Situated at Burford this exciting attraction is sure to please all the family with all kinds of wildlife from lions to lemurs! For small children there is the Children’s Farmyard and petting area as well as a woodland adventure playground and much more besides. There is an on-site café, most of the site is dog-friendly and there is free car parking.
The Model Village
The Model Village at Bourton-on-the–Water is a beautiful scale replica of a Cotswold village complete with miniature beech, cherry and chestnut trees and a river which flows under the bridges. There is a shop and an on-site café/restaurant plus a bar with beer garden where you can relax with a bar meal.
Families with an appreciation of history will no doubt want to see the historic Blenheim Palace – the birthplace of Winston Churchill. This World Heritage site houses exquisite antique collections, tapestries and furniture as befitting its 300 year history, plus over 2000 acres of Capability Brown landscaped parkland and gardens. Sci-fi fans may be interested to know that scenes from the movie Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation were filmed here.
The Bird and Deer Park
Situated at Cranham and nestling in a beautiful valley the park offers visitors the chance to see reindeer, pygmy goats, fallow deer and even miniature Mediterranean donkeys. There is a Visitor Centre where you can get hot and cold drinks with cakes, sweets and ice cream.
For families that like to spend time exploring the shops together there is no shortage of variety in the Cotswold towns and villages. From small, quaint villages offering original and artisan produce to larger towns like Cheltenham and Gloucester with big-name stores to market towns like Stroud – ‘the Covent Garden of the Cotswolds’ – you are certain to be spoiled for choice when it comes to souvenir ideas.
Events in the Cotswolds
There are so many events happening across the region you will wish you had booked a longer stay. Starting in March with the Gloucester Keys Home and Garden Party where you can meet celebrity gardeners, listen to music and browse a busy market the list of events continues through the year. From vintage fairs and the Prescott Hill Climb in April to the Cheltenham Jazz Festival and the Gloucester Tall Ships Festival in May and the delightful Downy Duckling Days at the Wetland Wildlife Reserve at Slimbridge, where children can see baby ducklings, goslings and cygnets, there are events for all the family to enjoy.
The Cotswolds are truly an area of great beauty and interest for all ages, with an abundance of manor house attractions, farms and gardens, art galleries and walking and cycling trails.