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24 Hours in the Cotswolds

You have 24 hours to spend in the gorgeous Cotswolds of England. What on earth will you do? Whether walking, hiking, cycling or exploring, there is a world of choice on offer.

Walking or Cycling the Cotswold Way

In the spring, summer and autumn months, there is nothing like taking a hike or bicycle ride along the Cotswold Way. Stretching for 102 miles (164 km) along the Cotswold Edge escarpment up in the Cotswold Hills, this long-distance footpath offers magnificent scenery all along the way. Starting with the Severn Estuary and bridges, the scenery continues through the forest of Dean up to the Monmouthshire hills of Wales, with lovely views of the Black Mountains on the Welsh border. The path continues further to a steep ascent up to Broadway Tower, followed by the final scenic descent to the lovely town of Chipping Campden.

If the weather isn't quite up to hiking and cycling standards, there are some fascinating attractions to visit in the Cotswolds and the following are just some of the highlights on offer:

Tewkesbury Heritage Centre

Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire offers the Tewkesbury Heritage Centre. Its home is a beautifully restored 17th century building, which used to be a hat shop, but now offers an excellent, state-of-the-art selection of portable guides and interactive games which explore the local history, as well as the architectural heritage of this beautiful part of England. Walking through the Centre takes one on a trip from the earliest settlers in the area, right through the Wars of the Roses and the Civil War, up to the industrial revolution and the present day.

Cattle Country Adventure Park

Still in Gloucestershire, take the children to the Cattle Country Adventure Park in Berkeley. For a reasonable entry fee both parents and kids can enjoy seeing the exotic cattle on the farm, including a herd of American Bison. There is also the Gloucester Old Spot Pig enclosure and a wonderful pets' corner for the children, as well as adventure playgrounds outside for those sunny days, or an indoor playground with slides for the kids to enjoy. On the premises there is a gift shop and hot and cold refreshments are on offer.

Birdland Park and Gardens

In Bourton on the Water in Gloucestershire, adults and children alike will enjoy Birdland. Set in nine acres of beautiful gardens and woodland with a river running by, this park offers more than 500 exotic and rare birds from all over the world, housed in naturally-designed aviaries and habitats. Meet up with parrots, kookaburras, pelicans and flamingoes and experience magnificent birds of prey, wonderful owls and so many more species.

Chuckle at the King Penguins and the funny Humboldts at Penguin Shore and learn more about these cute birds in a fun feeding demonstration. While they seem so comical and clumsy on land, watch how they elegantly soar through the water. Head down the trail to the Marshmouth Nature Reserve. Here it is possible to see many local species such as otters, kingfishers, toads and birds, all living in their natural environment.

Of course, with all the traditional Cotswolds villages dotted around the lovely area of England and the lovely Cotswold Water Park, there is much more on offer to please everyone. While in such a short space of time, you can't see it all, you can always return.

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