Are you visiting Stow on the Wold as part of your family trip to England? Then you’ll want to read this guide on all the best things to do in Stow on the Wold with kids!
Stow on the Wold is a market town in Gloucestershire on the top of an 800 foot hill – the highest town in the Cotswolds. Once home to a booming wool industry, Stow on the Wold was famous for its huge annual fairs where up to 20,000 sheep were sold at any one time.
These days, people visit Stow on the Wold for its charming streetscape, old pubs, boutiques and its rumoured links to Lord of the Rings. There are also several things to do near Stow on the Wold, with villages such as Bourton on the Water, Tewkesbury and Stratford Upon Avon close by.
Whether you make a short stop or spend the day exploring the things to do Stow on the Wold offers, this guide will help you make the most of your trip. The guide covers what to do in Stow on the Wold with kids, as well as places to visit near Stow on the Wold – in the surrounding area.
This guide will also provide tips on getting from London to Stow on the Wold and suggestions on the best hotels in Stow on the Wold for families.
So let’s jump straight into it and check out all the fabulous Stow on the Wold things to do with kids.
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Things to do Stow on the Wold Map
To help you plan your trip, check out the map below, which shows the location of all the top family friendly Stow on the Wold attractions as well as the things to do around Stow on the Wold for families.
You can zoom in and out for a better view.
Best Things to do in Stow on the Wold with Kids
Below we list the very best things to do and places to visit in Stow on the Wold for families.
Please note that all prices mentioned were correct at the time of writing and are in local currency. To check the rate in your currency, click here.
It is recommended that one of your first Stow on the Wold places to visit be the market square. This is a central gathering place for the town and has a rich history dating back to the Middle Ages. It was originally used for cattle markets and other commercial activities, and it is still home to a weekly market every Thursday.
Today, the market square is a popular tourist destination, with a range of shops, restaurants, and other amenities. It is surrounded by charming old buildings, many of which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
The square is also home to a number of historic landmarks, such as the Town Hall and the Market Cross, which were built in the 16th century. The Market Cross is a feature from the medieval days to denote the place for merchants to sell their wares.
Another interesting historic landmark is the old town stocks. Town stocks were a form of punishment that was used in some parts of the world in the past. They were a public humiliation in which a person’s feet were locked into a wooden frame and they were left to sit in a public place as punishment for a crime or offence.
Tolkein’s Door at St Edward’s Church
One of the most popular things to see in Stow on the Wold is Tolkein’s Door, also known as the “Tolkien Door” or “Door of Durin”. This wooden door located at St. Edward’s Church is named after J.R.R. Tolkien, the famous author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, as it is believed to have inspired him in the creation of the Doors of Durin in his Middle-earth mythology.
The Door of Durin is a magical door in the fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien, which appears in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. It is located in the Misty Mountains and leads to the Mines of Moria. The door is inscribed with the words “Speak, friend, and enter,” and can only be opened by those who know the password.
The Tolkien Door at St. Edward’s Church is not a magical door, but it is a unique and distinctive feature of the church. It is made of oak and has intricate carvings, including the words “Speak, friend, and enter,” inscribed in the same font as the original Doors of Durin in The Lord of the Rings.
The door is believed to have been designed and carved by the church’s vicar, Rev. Charles Dodgson, who was also known as Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Location: 2 Crossways House the Square
Cotswold Cheese Company
What is there to do in Stow on the Wold for the foodie families? Eat cheese of course! The Cotswold Cheese Company is a producer of artisanal cheese based in the Cotswold region of England.
The company produces a range of traditional and contemporary cheeses using milk from local farms. Some of the cheeses they produce include Cotswold Brie, Cotswold Blue, and Cotswold Double Gloucester.
The company is known for using traditional cheese-making techniques and sourcing high-quality ingredients to produce high-quality, flavorful cheeses.
The perfect place to try out some of these cheeses is at the Cotswold Cheese Company shop in Stow on the Wold. As well as cheeses the store sells other deli items such as bread, crackers, chutneys and meats.
Location: 1-2, Fountain Court, Digbeth St
Hours: Monday to Saturday 9 am to 5 pm | Sundays 10 am to 4 pm
Eat at the Porch House – Britan’s Oldest Pub
The Porch House is a historic pub and restaurant that claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited dwelling in England. Built in 947, it has served as a pub for over 900 years and is a popular place for tourists to come for a meal.
The Porch House is known for its traditional atmosphere and decor, with low beams, open fires, and a well-stocked bar. It also serves traditional pub food, including locally sourced meats and produce.
It is worth noting that the age of the Porch House is often disputed and there is some debate over whether it is truly the oldest continuously inhabited dwelling in England. However, it is generally accepted as a historic and significant building.
The building is named for the porch added in the 14th century and has been listed as a Grade I historic building since 1952.
As well as its interesting history – the Porch House is the perfect place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. In addition, they have a great kids’ menu sure to satisfy even the fussiest of eaters.
Location: 1 Digbeth St
Hours: Monday to Thursday 8 am to 10.30 pm | Friday and Saturdays 8 am to 11 pm | Sundays 8 am to 9 pm
Best Things to do near Stow on the Wold with kids
As well as the places to visit Stow on the Wold has, if you have your own vehicle, there are also several places near Stow on the Wold worth visiting.
Cogges Manor Farm
Cogges Manor Farm is a historic farm and museum located in Witney about a 30 minute drive from Stow on the Wold. The farm is set around a 13th-century manor house and is surrounded by a working farm, gardens, and woodland.
Generally, the most popular activity with the kids is meeting the farm animals. Animals that call the farm home include goats, sheep, pigs, chickens and ducks. As well as meeting the animals the kids can talk to the volunteers that care for them and learn more about the animals.
A walk through the manor is also a must where you can learn about its history and the various families that once lived there – some 1000 years ago. It is a beautiful home with various rooms set up as they may have once been at different times.
Families are also encouraged to explore the 17 acres of gardens and there is a playground for the little ones. There is also a cafe on site for lunch and snacks.
A visit to the farm is one of the fun family attractions near Stow on the Wold and makes for a fantastic day trip for the family.
Location: Cogges Manor Farm, Church Ln, Witney
Hours: Daily 9.30 am to 4.30 pm – although seasonal so best to be checked before arriving
Price: Adults £9 | Child £6 (3-16) | Kids under 3 free | Family Pass (2A+3C) £28
Another one of the places of interest near Stow on the Wold is Blenheim Palace. This large country house is located in Woodstock, just a 30 minute drive from town and is an excellent attraction for families with a range of activities for the kids to enjoy.
Most famously known as being the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill, today Blenheim Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was originally built in the early 18th century as a gift from Queen Anne to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, in recognition of his military victories over the French.
The palace is set within 2,000 acres of parkland and formal gardens and is surrounded by a lake. It is considered one of the finest examples of English Baroque architecture and is known for its grand interiors and impressive art collection.
A tour of the palace is a must – kids will learn about the palace’s history as well as how people once lived here. On display are photographs, letters and diary entries that provide a glimpse into a world so long ago.
Families can also take a long walk wandering through the 150 acres of formal gardens. There are some beautiful gardens to explore such as the Lavender Garden, the Secret Garden, the Water Terrace and most importantly for kids – the Walled Garden. The Pleasure Garden has a Butterfly House, maze and playground. There is a cafe here too.
Other activities you can do include hiring a rowing boat, taking a ride on the miniature train and exploring the various special exhibitions.
Location: Woodstock OX20 1PP
Hours: Hours change for different attractions and seasons – so best to check directly
Price: Adults £43 | Child £28 (3-16) | Kids under 3 free | Family Pass (2A+2C) £98
Cotswold Farm Park
Just a short 12 minute drive from Stow on the Wold is Cotswold Farm Park – a working farm home to various animals, including cows, sheep, pigs, and chickens. It’s a great place to take the kids where they can learn about farm life and the animals that live there.
The popular family attraction was founded by farmer and television presenter Adam Henson and is known for its commitment to conservation and sustainability. The farm is home to a range of rare and endangered breeds of farm animals, which families can learn about during their visit.
The kids will love meeting the farm animals at the Animal barn and the Discovery Barn. The Discovery Barn is home to the farm’s smallest animals, such as baby chickens, guinea pigs, piglets and more. Grab some snacks and check out the rare breeds in the paddocks.
The Adventure Barn has a huge indoor sandpit, a soft play area, ride on toys and more. There’s a cafe here too so the parents can also have a break. Other play areas include the outdoor playground, the muddy kitchen and bouncy pillows.
Location: Guiting Power, Cheltenham
Hours: Daily 9.30 am to 3 pm – although seasonal, so best to be checked before arriving
Price: Adults £12.50 | Child £12 (4-15) | Child £7.5 (2-3) | Kids under 2 free
Just a 20 minute drive from Stow in the Wold is Sudley Castle, another fabulous attraction in the Cotswold to take the kids. The castle dates back to the 10th century and offers a range of activities and attractions for families.
The Castle has a long and varied history, having served as a royal palace, a fortification, and a private residence and linked to some of the most famous English monarchs, including Edward IV, Richard III, Henry VIII, Lady Jane Grey, Katherine Parr, Elizabeth I and Charles I.
While visiting Sudeley, a tour of the Castle is a must! You can tour the castle’s west wing, which is home to several rooms and special exhibitions with a range of items of historical significance on display.
Families are also encouraged to explore the castle’s 10 award winning gardens which include a playground for the kids. Other interesting places to explore include St Mary’s Church, where Katherine Parr – the last wife of Henry VIII, is buried.
Location: Sudeley Castle & Gardens GL54 5LP
Hours: Daily 11 am to 4 pm during Spring to October
Price: Adults £19.50 | Child £8.75 (3-15) | Kids under 3 are free | Family Pass (2A+2C) £48
Broadway Tower is a castle-like folly built in the 18th century as a summerhouse for the Earl of Coventry. It is set within a large estate surrounded by beautiful gardens and parkland and is just a 15 minute drive from Stow on the Wold.
Families visiting the tower will explore a range of historic rooms and exhibits with the help of a multi media guide. Through stories, you’ll learn about the daily life of the people that once lived and worked at the tower. Then from the top of the tower, you’ll enjoy stunning views across the countryside.
Also on the grounds of the Broadway Tower is a bunker, fifteen feet below the ground from the Cold War. On certain days you can take a 45 minute guided tour into the bunker, restored to what it would have been during the 1980s. Only children 10+ are allowed into the bunker.
There is a cafe on site for lunch and snacks too.
Location: Middle Hill, Broadway WR12 7LB
Hours: Generally daily from 10 am to 5 pm – but does change during seasons
Price: Adults £5 | Child £3 (10-14) | Kids under 10 free | Family Pass (2A+2C) £14
Warwick Castle is a medieval castle built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror. The castle has a long and varied history, having served as a royal palace, fortification, and private residence. Visiting the castle makes for a great day out with the kids and is just a 40 minute drive from Stow on the Wold.
There is a range of activities, tours and shows to see at the castle – so I recommend making a bit of a plan as soon as you get there so you don’t miss anything you want to do. Don’t miss a tour of the castle which includes interactive exhibits, so you’ll learn about the people who once lived there as you go. You can take a guided tour or wander through on your own.
Walking along the castle’s defensive walls is also a lot of fun. The kids can use their imagination – checking for invaders, while parents can enjoy the stunning views.
Throughout the day, there are frequent shows and demonstrations so the kids can learn about different medieval activities. You can see birds of prey, bowman shows, watch things being catapulted far distances and live shows where actors bring to life what once went on in the castle.
There is also a great playground on site for the young ones and a maze and cafe for lunch.
No matter how old your kids are, there really is something for everyone at Warwick Castle – it makes for a fabulous day out.
Location: Warwick Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire
Hours: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm
Price: £37 per person | Under 3s are free – click here to purchase tickets online
Visit Bourton on the Water
Bourton on the Water is one of the most popular villages in the Cotswolds. It is a small village known for its beautiful setting, historic buildings, and picturesque river which runs through the centre. Just a short drive from Stow on the Wold, it is the perfect place for a day trip with the family.
Popular things to do for families include visiting the Cotswold Motor Museum, exploring the Model Village, visiting the Bird Wildlife Park, getting lost at the Dragonfly Maze and simply exploring the picturesque village.
Click here for our detailed guide on things to do in Bourton on the Water
Visit Stratford Upon Avon
Stratford Upon Avon is worth spending a few days, but if you’ve only got a day – being just a 40 minute drive from Stow on the Wold, a day trip is very doable. Of course, being famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare, this historic market town has plenty of things to do for families.
Most people visiting Stratford Upon Avon will want to see the Shakespeare sites. There’s Shakespeare’s Birthplace (where you can explore his childhood home), Shakespeare’s School (a must for families with school aged children), Shakespeare New Place (Shakespeare’s home until he died), Ann Hathaway’s Cottage (the home of Shakespeare’s wife), and Mary Arden’s Farm (the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother).
A must for families is a visit to Tudor World, where the kids can dress up and experience what life was like during the Tudor period. Other great family attractions in Stratford Upon Avon include a boat cruise down the River Avon, a visit to the Butterfly Farm, the MAD museum and the Magical Alley.
Click here for our detailed guide on things to do in Stratford Upon Avon.
Just a 30 minute drive from Stow on the Wold is Cirencester, one of Cotswold’s largest market towns. It is a beautiful town with gorgeous stone buildings and links to medieval times and the Romans.
One of the best things to do in Cirencester is to visit the Corinium Museum, where the kids can learn more about the Roman ties. The museum has a collection of artifacts and exhibits related to the history of the Cotswold region, including Roman and Iron Age objects.
Other worthwhile places to visit in Cirencester include visiting Chedworth Roman Villa – one of the most complete and well preserved Roman villas in Britain, Cirencester Park, which is home to a playground, lake and wildlife, as well as simply strolling through the Market Place seeing the historic buildings and exploring the various stores.
Click here for our detailed guide on things to do in Cirencester (coming soon).
Bibury is a small village just outside Cirencester in the County of Gloucestershire. The village is considered one of the most beautiful in the Cotswold due to its row of 14th century postcard perfect cottages, famously known as Arlington Row.
While wandering around the picturesque town along the banks of the River Coln is one of the Bibury attractions in itself, other things to do Bibury offers include visiting the trout farm and enjoying a tasty lunch in an old pub, walking along the river and crossing the old footbridge.
Click here for our detailed guide on things to do in Bibury (coming soon).
Tewkesbury is a medieval market town in the North of Gloucestershire. Famous for its medieval black and white streetscape with half timbered buildings, narrow alleyways and beautifully carved doorways, most of the town lies in a conversation area and has over 350 buildings listed as having historical interest.
Thanks to its fascinating medieval history – there are some interesting things to do Tewkesbury has for families. While getting lost exploring the alleyways is one of the Tewkesbury attractions in itself, other Tewkesbury things to do include visiting one of the several museums, visiting the Tewkesbury Abbey, taking a self guided tour to explore the town and historic buildings and shopping in the various boutiques.
Click here for our detailed guide on things to do in Tewkesbury (coming soon).
How to get from London to Stow on the Wold
Driving from London to Stow on the Wold takes around 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on traffic. The most direct route is to take the M40 motorway from London to Oxford, then follow the A44 to Stow-on-the-Wold.
The next best option for those without a car is to take the train from London to Stow on the Wold. To do this, it’s recommended you take a train from London Paddington Station to Moreton in Marsh and then take the local bus to Stow-on-the-Wold. The journey by train takes about 2 hours.
You can take a bus from London to Stow on the Wold, but this takes around 4 to 5 hours, so it’s not recommended.
Getting Around Stow on the Wold
Being such a small town, the best way to get around Stow on the Wold is by foot. Generally, you can easily walk between the various tourist attractions.
If your accommodation doesn’t have parking, there are a few car parks around town for those driving. Pay and display car parks are in Market Square (the closest to the centre of town), St Edwards car park, Sheep Street and the Old Showgrounds.
There is limited free parking around The Square, which is limited to 2 hours. There is also a free car park next to Tesco in Fosseway, which is a short walk from the centre of town.
For those without a car and wanting to travel further afield – there is a local bus and a taxi service.
Best Hotels in Stow on the Wold for Families
Out of all the Cotswold villages we’ve visited – Stow on the Wold would have to be one of the most expensive! You’ll even find more affordable accommodation in Bourton on the Water – one of the most popular Cotswold towns.
Nevertheless, if you’ve got your heart set on one of the Stow on the Wold hotels, we’ve listed three of the best below. We consider these the best places to stay in Stow on the Wold for families based on their location and value for money – even though there are certainly no cheap hotels in Stow on the Wold!
Click here for our more detailed guide on the best hotels Stow on the Wold has for families.
The Cotswold Apartment is a one bedroom home located an easy 500 metre walk from the centre of town. For those driving into town, you’ll be pleased to know the property has free on site parking, making sightseeing around the Cotswolds super convenient.
This apartment accommodates families of 4 with a double bed in the bedroom and a sofa bed in the living room. As with all sofa beds, if used for sleeping, you have the challenge of folding it up during the day so you can use it as a couch – if you need to.
The corner kitchen is compact but has all the appliances you need to self-cater on your holiday with an oven, stovetop, microwave, fridge, kettle and toaster – and even a dishwasher.
If the weather is warm, there is a large outdoor patio with a great dining table to eat alfresco. Alternatively, there is an enclosed glasshouse sunroom which is another great option.
Click here for more information and to check the current price
Going by the name ‘Church Suite’, you may already have guessed that this apartment is in a former church. Conveniently in the centre of town, this old church has been renovated to a high standard, and you will notice some unique details, such as the open void in the bedroom to let light in from the huge old church windows.
The property accommodates families of 4, with a double bed in the upstairs bedroom and a sofa bed in the living room. If you want extra space during the day, you’ll need to fold up the sofa bed or sit on it as a bed.
The kitchen is well equipped to prepare meals using an oven, stovetop, microwave, fridge, kettle and toaster – and there is a small dining table for eating meals. Whilst there is no on site parking, there is free parking a short distance from the property.
Click here for more information and to check the current price
Church Cottage Barn
Five kilometres from the centre of town, Church Cottage Barn is a one bedroom apartment situated on private land with a lovely garden.
The sleeping arrangements can fit a family of 4 with a double bed in the bedroom and a sofa bed in the living room. The living room has a dining table and desk, making it a bit of a squeeze, but you are compensated with the large outdoor area, which is perfect for meals and the kids to run around in.
There is a BBQ for cooking outdoors during the warmer months, while indoors, you have a fully equipped kitchen with an oven, stovetop, microwave, mini bar fridge, kettle and toaster.
Although one meal you won’t need to cook is breakfast, which is included daily at the Church Cottage Barn. And if you feel like taking a night off cooking, there is a great local pub just next door – so whilst not pub accommodation in Stow on the Wold, it is pretty close.
Click here for more information and to check the current price.
Hopefully, you found this guide to things to do in Stow on the Wold helpful. Other great guides which you may also find helpful include things to do in Bath with kids (coming soon), things to do in London with kids or the best London hotels for families (coming soon).