Okay, so there are signs of spring everywhere – snowbells, daffodils, cherry blossom, and even some lambs – but...
Things to do with Children in the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds is an ideal family getaway. It is a huge area, over 800 square miles, of idyllic English countryside and sparsely populated villages. Spread over five counties (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire), the Cotswolds are easily accessible too – under two hours from London and three hours from Manchester.
In our roundup here of things to do with children in the Cotswolds, we offer a range of activities for you and your family to choose from. Weve also looked across the region, and as youll see, no matter where you are staying in the Cotswolds there are family-friendly attractions on your doorstep.
Daylesford Organic Farmshop and Cafe
Often named as one of the best family-friendly farm shop cafes in London, there are no less than four Daylesford Organic Farmshop and Cafes in London and the upmarket farm producers have their heart right here in the Gloucestershire countryside.
Found between Stow-on-the-Wold and Chipping Norton, Daylesford Farm is part of a 1,500 acre estate owned by Lord and Lady Bamford. Open seven days a week for breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea and evening suppers, it is a must for family-friendly eating out in the Cotswolds.
The Trough cafe doesnt take bookings but even in busy times visitors are seated within 15 minutes and theres plenty of space for little legs and four-legged diners too, mingling together in a lovely and relaxed environment. For a more refined dining experience or celebrating a special occasion, diners can book a table at The Old Spot restaurant, serving wood-fired pizza and seasonal small plates. Wed also recommend a glass of organic wine from their South France sister estate too.
Alternatively, if youre planning a special home-cooked meal in your holiday cottage, youre in for a treat browsing the Daylesford Farm shop, which has a butcher, a dairy (offering their own award-winning cheese), a bakers, fruit and veg, wine and beer, as well as award-winning dried goods. The Daylesford summer festival is a family-friendly highlight on the Cotswold events calendar to look out for also – Saturday 8th June 2019.
Cotswold Motoring and Toy Museum
Bourton-on-the-Water, with its network of miniature bridges and the shallow, paddling-friendly waters of the River Windrush, is popular with families visiting the Cotswolds, especially in the warm spring and summer months.
Since 1978, the delightful village has also been home to one of the most exciting collections of cars in the UK. Housed in a converted 17th century water mill, a family ticket to the Cotswold Motoring Museum is £19.75 and takes visitors on a journey through seven galleries of rare vehicles and classic memorabilia.
There are lots of tearooms and pubs in Bourton-on-the-Water and wed recommend beating the lunchtime rush and getting a riverside seat for a pot of tea and a scone.
Cotswold Lavender Farm and Fields
Visit Cotswold Lavender Farm and Fields, just outside Broadway, and introduce the family to a thriving English treasure. English lavender is making a comeback over its French counterpart and so where the English lavender field had almost disappeared, today there are a handful flourishing in the English countryside. One of the largest is in the Cotswolds, where a third generation farm owes its success to the unique yellow Cotswold limestone and lofty location, high in the Cotswolds hills looking down on Broadway and the Vale of Evesham.
Visit over the summer months, with blooms peaking around mid-June, and kids will feel enchanted exploring row upon row (over 140 miles) of towering, heavenly scented lavender plants. The famous Cotswold wildflowers will also be in abundance, putting on their much-admired display of red poppies and powder blue cornflowers.
Throughout the summer months lavender, and now chamomile too, is harvested and the essential oils distilled. The process, that must happen on the very same day as harvesting, can be seen at the farms aromatic distillery.
The cost is £12 for a family of four and can easily occupy a couple of hours – a unique Cotswold experience not to be missed.
To make a day of a trip to the Cotswold Lavender Farm and Fields, take a five minute drive into Broadway for some more outdoor play. Broadway has a newly renovated five acre Activity Park, with zones for various ages and is well worth a visit. Wolfs Cove, an enchanting miniature model village, is another Cotswold gem, hidden in the gardens of the National Trust-owned Snowshill Manor, that is also only a short drive from the Lavender Fields. The gardens are also perfect for a game of hide and seek.
Cotswold Country Park and Beach
For £16, up to five people (one car) can enjoy entry to the Cotswold Country Park and Beach, which includes all-day admission to the toddler and baby-friendly beach, excellent childrens play area, lakeside Pizzeria and Gelateria, BBQs for hire and lakeside walking and cycling paths. If youve got some holiday spends and older kids, try Aquaventure – the largest floating inflatable obstacle course in Europe. This is £16 per person for one hour and must be booked in advance. Note the restrictions of a minimum age of six years, capable swimmers only and ages 6-10 years must be accompanied by an adult.
For pay as you play, visitors can take their pick of water sports for hire, including the popular Stand Up Paddle Boards. A Team SUP is £25 for half an hour for five people and bags of fun! For young families and the less adventurous, a beach picnic and paddling in the shallow beach lagoon will provide hours of entertainment when the sun is out. Little ones can enjoy water sports too, with swan pedalos, row boats and mini-port themed electric boats available for hire. On dry land the new play park is very well equipped and theres family-friendly crazy golf too as well as a training climbing wall.