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Our 6 favourite family-friendly things to do in the Cotswolds

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There is good reason why the Cotswolds has found itself on the top five best staycation destinations with one of its villages being voted the most relaxing, for it is a rare gem, loved by many Britons and a fair share of international admirers. Renowned for its literary heritage (think of Jane Austen, Lewis Carroll, J. R. R. Tolkien, T. S. Eliot, and Beatrix Potter, the list is endless), the Cotswolds is what fairy tales are made of.

So, yes, we do think it is a truth universally acknowledged that you should visit the Cotswolds at least once in your lifetime! Our must-see guide to the Cotswolds will give both seasoned travellers and novel adventures plentiful family-friendly things to do. This is an unmissable opportunity to truly immerse yourself in Cotswolds’ treasured habitat.

1) Castle Combe Village, voted the most stylish place in Wiltshire.

Castle Combe village deserves a special mention, for its idyllic backdrop and its rich history. Tucked in the heart of Cotswolds National Landscape, Castle Combe has served as a setting for many unforgettable TV series such as Downton Abbey and Pride and Prejudice – as they say, the proof is in the pudding. Here, you’ll find an abundance of walking paths to follow, each with its own winning view.

🐶 Our favourite walking route is the dog-friendly Castle Combe Circular, and then after your relaxing walk, why not visit the quaint Old Stables coffee shop? There you will find delectable scones and mouth-watering cakes to satisfy your cravings and complete your day with a touch of sweetness.

2) Eastnor Castle, mixing fun with education.

We love Eastnor Castle, come rain or shine, because it really has carefully crafted adventures for children of all ages in mind. Enchanting both children and adults alike at the foot of the Malvern Hills, there are plenty of natural play resources with trees to climb, sticks to collect and bugs to find. On arrival, children are offered a fun booklet with puzzles, challenges and things to spot around the grounds.

⭐ Throughout the year, there is a wealth of entertaining events, especially over the summer holidays. Will you visit during their Dinosaur days and meet the T-rex roaming the grounds? Or maybe experience some medieval mayhem for the children, Foam sword-training games and medieval princess shows included! There's also dance workshops and animal encounters too with breath taking falconry displays.

Stay nearby at Hollings Hill Farm, where you'll experience a slower pace of life and quality family time in cosy glamping hideaways perfect for a family-friendly farm stay.

3) The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, travelling through space and time in the Cotswolds.

Choo-choo, all aboard! 🚂 If your little one hasn’t already fallen in love with the Cotswolds (impossible!), then the magical steam railway will show them all the wonders this picturesque region has to offer. With a selection of historic locomotives and some of the most elegant carriages, you will be surrounded by old-time luxury as you watch the stunning views glide past.

🪺 As the Summer holidays are approaching, GWSR often run free events such as craft workshops or teddy bear Thursdays - perfect for unleashing creativity and keeping little ones engaged.

4) Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens, the wonders of the animal kingdom brought to your doorstep.

Going to the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens is one of our favourite child-friendly excursions, providing many hours of uninterrupted cheer. For the little ones, it can be a great first introduction to the versatility of the animal kingdom. The wildlife park can also be a real treat for curious (as well as active) minds that love getting hands on in natural settings. And yes, there are opportunities to interact with some of the animals, too! You can meet the giraffes, the meerkats, and feed adorable capybaras and penguins.

5) Slimbridge Wetland Centre, a wildlife haven for all ages!

WWT is a fantastic charity that combines ecological education with interactive fun for all the family. Its Slimbridge Wetland Centre is an emblem for connecting youngsters with nature in an engaging and immersive way. Just 8 miles from Moor Farm, a homely family glamping site from which to explore the Cotswolds, you'll enjoy the beauty of the outdoors around you.

🛶Our favourite activity is the Canoe Safari, where we like paddling along the river and spotting the wildlife. Once we are done with paddling and hunger kicks in, we love paying a visit to the Kingfisher Kitchen, where they serve some of the most delicious soups and pasties!

6) Bourton-on-Water, otherwise known as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds.’

Bourton-on-Water is ideal for a day out with plenty of family-friendly pursuits and many sights to see. From the Birdland Park and Gardens where adorable penguins waddle, to the Motoring Museum, there is a staggering range of activities to choose from.

The Model Village is also a spot that is worth a visit; a one-ninth scale replica of the village, your little ones will feel like giants exploring this tiny wonderland. But best of all, Bourton-on-Water wears its charm on its sleeve, so the whole family will be spellbound by its stone bridges and historic cottages.

🤫 If you have read this far, then congratulations! We can let you in on a secret about a Cotswold diamond that can be a stone’s throw away from your home away from home. Now, we know first-hand that Brits are garden-loving people. In fact, a whopping 87% of UK households have a garden and that 87% want to bring more wildlife to their gardens! That is why visiting the gardens of Hidcote to get some inspiration for back home should be a no-brainer. Not only that, but your children will love the seasonal trails and local walks.

🏕️ Stunning little towns, wildlife parks, gardens, the Cotswolds really has it all. And yet, you must be thinking – dear oh, dear, where shall we stay? Why, remember Hidcote? Just at the end of the road, there is the most postcard-perfect little farm, with horses and ponies, a delight for the eyes. This is the Cotswolds, in all its rural and rustic majesty, where you can both wake up to breath-taking views and go to bed listening to the gentle hooting of owls or the crackling of a waning fire. And this is without having to say toodle-oo to all your home comforts – and, most importantly, without breaking the bank. Glamping in the Cotswolds will allow you to experience the countryside like never before!