Character Cottages

Things to do with the kids this autumn


Pull on a jumper and some wellies and get outside to enjoy the Cotswolds in autumn. Autumn is a firm favourite time of year here at Character Cottages. There’s the delight of hot chocolate and marshmallows, fright night fun for Halloween and all the joy of the changing season as the Cotswold countryside changes from lush green to crunchy oranges and reds. Whilst hedgehogs and squirrels prepare to disappear for winter, there’s still lots going on when you’re looking for things to do with the kids in the Cotswolds this autumn. Here’s some of what we’re looking forward to this autumn in the Cotswolds.

Conker Hunting

The Cotswolds is home to some of the finest collections of trees in the UK and autumn is the best time of year to enjoy the delights that a change in season brings. The colours are magical, fallen leaves carpet woodlands and it is also conker hunting season! It’s not difficult to find conkers in most parts of the Cotswold countryside. Head out on foot or bike, play spot the horse chestnut tree and let the hunt for the biggest conker begin! For simply taking in an autumn tree display, there’s a choice of two top Cotswold arboretums where you’re guaranteed a wealth of autumn colour - Batsford Arboretum & Garden Centre, Moreton-in-Marsh and Westonbirt, Tetbury. Wherever you go, you’re sure to enjoy an impressive autumn display.

Batsford Aboretum autumn

Pick Your Own at Primrose Vale Farm, Cheltenham

Autumn is about feasting and the Cotswolds is home to some of the very best local produce in the UK. Famous for their superb farm shop as well as their ‘Christmas trees for rent’, Primrose Vale Farm & Shop is the place to go in the Cotswolds for seasonal Pick Your Own.

Raspberry and blackberry picking is available until the end of September and then apple, pear and plum picking is in full swing over the autumn months. Fill your punnets and return to your holiday cottage to bake a delicious crumble or tart to enjoy together on a cool autumn night. There’s also a fun kids spooky trail for October half term, as well as pumpkins for sale so you can get creative with Halloween lantern carving back in your holiday home too.

Blackberry Picking

Pumpkin Picking and Carving, Guiting Power

From 21st - 24th October, head to Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park to pick your own pumpkin as well as enjoy all that this top Cotswold family attraction has to offer, including indoor and outdoor play areas. From Friday 25th October - Sunday 3rd November, Halloween Land arrives, serving up fearsome face painting, spooky crafts and pumpkin carving.

Cotswold Farm Park

Dragonfly Maze, Bourton-on-the-Water

Whilst the opening hours are reduced to 11am - 4pm outside of the summer season, weather permitting the outdoor Dragonfly Maze in Bourton-on-the-Water is a must for a family-friendly activity during your Cotswolds holiday.

This unique autumn activity is very reasonably priced and is a little different, guaranteeing you a good few hours of fresh air, laughs and lovely memories to take home. Under 4s are free, and all ages will find something to enjoy, parents included.

For older kids, there’s a task to complete as you explore - help the dragonfly escape from the toad by following a series of clues around the maze. And smaller people will simply love being chased around the twists and turns of the adult-height hedges. The Cotswold Motoring Museum and The Model Village are both also in the village of Bourton-on-the-Water and are excellent family-friendly attractions that are sure to keep half-term boredom at bay.

Shriek Week at Birdland, Bourton-on-the-Water

For October half term, Birdland wildlife and safari park, just outside Cheltenham, takes on a special Halloween theme with fun activities to let imaginations fly free.

From 19th October - 3rd November, Shriek Week invites visitors to discover mysterious tales and facts about our feathery friends, from the origin of the legend of the phoenix to birds that signaled death during the Roman times! There’s also the creepy Jurassic Journey that takes you back to the ancestors of birds on a very popular trail of life-size dinosaurs.

Cotswold Farm Park 2

Witches, Bats and Eerie Tales, Newark Park, Wotton-under-Edge

Newark Park, in the heart of the Cotswolds, is a National Trust owned estate and house. It is a great choice for all the family, including the four-legged members of your party. The views across the park in autumn are spectacular, stretching over 30 miles. With acres of estate, Newark Park is the place to let kids release some energy on a clear autumn day. There’s an outdoor play area, Folly Field, and tracker packs are available with binoculars and activity sheets to keep little people occupied. On the garden lawns you’ll often find giant games such as Jenga and Connect Four and over half term there are lots of spooky goings on inside the house and gardens that are sure to thrill and delight little people. Read our guide to National Trust Houses in the Cotswolds for more ideas for places to take the kids in the Cotswolds.

Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Steam Railway, Cheltenham

Steam & Scream this Halloween with the Cotswolds famous heritage railway, running between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway. Just before the clocks fall back over the weekend of 26th - 27th October, Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Steam Railway are hosting their special Halloween trips. Whilst aboard expect a themed quiz and then be ready for the unexpected as you travel through the haunted Greet Tunnel on the approach to Winchcombe from Cheltenham. There are then lots more spooky activities at Winchcombe Station, led by the ‘Wicked Witch of Winchcombe’. Over the weekend of the 12th - 13th October, enjoy the sights and sounds of a bygone age of diesel locomotives from the 60s. The crisp autumn air will be filled with the smell and sound of a magnificent fleet of heritage engines.

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway

Cotswold Water Park, Cirencester

The change in seasons doesn’t stop one of the Cotswolds most popular family-friendly attractions from opening. Cotswold Water Park lies just outside the Cotswolds, a 20-minute drive from Cirencester. Over the autumn months, subject to weather conditions, the popular outdoor boating park still has plenty going on including; Miniport Electric Boats, Pedalos, Kayaks, Stand Up Paddle Boards, Vertigo Adventures and the DragonFly snack bar. Read more about Cotswold Water Park in our blog feature, Things to do with children in the Cotswolds.

Cotswold Water Park

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