Are you visiting Tewkesbury as part of your family trip to England? Then you’ll want to read this guide on all the best things to do in Tewkesbury with children!
Tewkesbury is a mediaeval market town in the North of Gloucestershire. Famous for its mediaeval black and white streetscape with half timbered buildings, narrow alleyways and beautifully carved doorways, most of the town lies in a conservation area and has over 350 buildings listed as having historic interest.
Thanks to its fascinating mediaeval 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.
As well as the places to visit in Tewkesbury, with villages such as Bourton on the Water and Cirencester close by there are a number of places to visit near Tewkesbury too as well as major family friendly attractions including Cogges Farm and Sudeley Castle.
Whether you plan to spend the day or a few days exploring the Tewkesbury tourist attractions, this guide will help you make the most of your trip. The guide covers what to do in Tewkesbury with kids, as well as things to do near Tewkesbury – in the surrounding area.
This guide will also provide tips on getting from London to Tewkesbury and suggestions on the best places to stay in Tewkesbury with kids.
So let’s jump straight into it and check out all the fabulous things to do and places to visit Tewkesbury has for families.
This post may contain compensated links. Please refer to my disclaimer here for more information.
Things to do Tewkesbury Map
To help you plan your trip, check out the map below which shows the location of all the top places to visit and things to do around Tewkesbury.
You can zoom in and out for a better view.
Best Things to do in Tewkesbury with Kids
Below we list the very best things to do and things to see in Tewkesbury 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.
Tewkesbury Heritage Centre
Set in a character packed 17th century Tudor building, the Tewkesbury Heritage Centre is worth visiting just for the building alone.
Families can enjoy a self guided tour around the upstairs Heritage Centre which will explain Tewkesbury’s history including its involvement in the Wars of the Roses, the nearby Battle of Tewkesbury which took place in 1471 and the changes that occurred to the town during the industrial revolution.
There are interactive exhibits for kids plus traditional games and activities to try. The exhibits don’t take long to cover but are a fantastic introduction to the local area.
Plus, the helpful downstairs visitors centre is a useful resource for maps, bus timetables and walking trails.
Location: Out of the Hat, 100 Church Street, Tewkesbury
Hours: November to March on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturdays 10 am – 4 pm. April to October from Monday to Saturday 10 am – 4 pm
Tewkesbury Abbey was founded in the 11th century and is considered to be one of the best examples of Norman architecture in the world. The 45 metre high abbey tower is the largest Norman tower in existence.
Highlights of the abbey include its mediaeval and Victorian stained glass windows, the decorated abbey ceiling and its three organs. Kids can pick up a free child friendly guide to the Abbey at the entrance information point.
If you have time, the green fields to the south of the abbey are worth a quick look. It was here in 1471 that the penultimate and decisive battle of The War of the Roses took place between the houses of York and Lancaster.
The Abbey has a tearoom, shop and toilets.
Location: Church Street, Tewkesbury
Hours: Daily 9 am to 4.30 pm. Note that some areas of Tewkesbury Abbey may be closed during services.
Price: Free (though donations to the upkeep of the abbey are welcome)
John Moore Museum and the Merchant’s House
These two museums are located in rare 15th century timber frame buildings.
The John Moore Museum is home to an extensive collection of naturally deceased taxidermied animals, all of which can be found in the U.K. It is dedicated to local naturalist John Moore.
The neighbouring Merchants House has been restored and furnished to show what life would have been like in Tudor times. It feels like stepping back in time and will bring Tudor history to life for kids.
Both museums run regular family friendly events such as live animal talks and living history days.
Location: 41 Church Street, Tewskesbury
Hours: November – March Saturdays only from 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm.
April – October Tuesdays and Saturdays, 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm.
Price: Adults £3.50 | Kids over 5 years £1.50
Tewkesbury Town Museum
Like the Heritage Centre, the charming Tewkesbury Town Museum is set in a splendid 17th century building.
The small museum focuses on Tewkesburys rich cultural history. It has an eclectic collection ranging from Roman artefacts to a diorama of the Battle of Tewkesbury to the history of fairgrounds. It also includes information on local notables such as Antarctic explorer Raymond Priestley.
The museum is run by friendly, knowledgeable local volunteers.
Allow around 1 hour for your visit.
Location: 64 Barton Street, Tewkesbury
Hours: Opening hours vary according to the season (and volunteer availability) so check online here in advance of your visit
The Old Baptist Chapel and Court
Around the corner from the John Moore Museum (and run by the same organisation) is the newly restored Old Baptist Chapel.
The 15th century chapel started out as a house in the 15th century and was converted to a chapel in the early 18th century. It is one of the oldest known chapels in England.
An audio tour and interactive touch screens portray the history of the chapel and how it was used. Kids will enjoy the opportunity to dress in historical outfits.
Location: Church Street, Tewkesbury
Hours: November – March Saturdays only from 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm.
April – October Tuesdays and Saturdays (plus Bank Holidays) 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm.
Price: Adults £3 | Kids over 5 years £1.
Combined tickets to the chapel and John Moore Museum and Merchant’s House are also available. Adults £6 | Kids over 5 years £2
Tewkesbury Nature Reserve
Tewkesbury Nature Reserve is a large 108 acre expanse of open land with small ponds on the edge of the town. It is owned and managed by the local community and can be reached on foot on a short walk from the town centre along Barton Street.
Families can follow stroller friendly grass paths around the reserve, looking out for butterflies, birds and wildfowl. There is a little orchard, wildflower meadows and areas where sheep and cattle graze. Plus there is a separate field set aside for kids to play in.
There are no toilets or cafes on site but there is a pub opposite the reserve entrance should you need a toilet. There is a small free car park on site.
Location: 101 Queens Road, Tewkesbury
Enjoy a leisurely 45 minute cruise on the River Avon to see Tewkesbury from a different perspective.
You will see spectacular views of Tewkesbury Abbey, some of the town’s Tudor houses and Tewkesbury Marina. It is a lovely relaxing way to spend an hour and to rest weary sightseeing feet.
The boats only carry 12 people and operate on a first come first served basis.
Location: Back of Avon waterside mooring, Tewkesbury
Hours: Daily in July and August at 11 am. At other times, trips run on weekends or from Wednesday to Sunday. Click here for up to date times.
Price: Adults £10 | Kids (3-15) £8 | Kids under 3 free
Croft Farm Water Park
If you are wondering what to do near Tewkesbury for active fun, spend some time at Croft Farm Water Park. It is a 7 minute drive or 12 minutes by public bus from Tewkesbury.
The park has a large central lake and offers a variety of individual and family watersports including kayaking, sailing, canoeing, windsurfing, stand up paddleboarding and raft building.
There is a shop and parking on site plus toilets, changing rooms and showers. There is also the opportunity to hire a waterside cabin for the day.
You can book a teacher led session or just turn up and hire equipment by the hour or day.
Location: Bredons Hardwick, Tewkesbury
Hours: Daily from March to November from 9 am to 5 pm, with the remainder of the year open weekdays only from 9 am to 4 pm. Pre booked tuition sessions are available daily from 10 am to 1 pm.
Price: Varies. Check the website for details.
Best Things to do near Tewkesbury with Kids
As well as the Tewkesbury places to visit, if you have your own vehicle, there are also several places to visit around Tewkesbury worth checking out.
Cogges Manor Farm
Cogges Manor Farm is a historic farm and museum located in Witney about an hour’s drive from Tewkesbury. The farm is set on 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 across the centuries.
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 Tewkesbury and makes for a fantastic day trip for the family.
Location: Cogges Manor Farm, Church Ln, Witney
Hours: Daily from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm
Price: Adults £9 | Child £6 (3-16) | Kids under 3 free | Family Pass (2A+3C) £28
Another one of the places of interest near Tewkesbury is Blenheim Palace. This large country house is in Woodstock, an hour’s 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 30 minute drive from Tewkesbury is Cotswold Farm Park – a working farm home to a range of 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.
Specifically for the kids, they can meet 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. And grab some snacks and check out some of the rare breeds in the paddocks.
The kids will love the Adventure Barn which has a huge indoor sandpit, soft play area, ride on toys and more. There’s a cafe here too so the parents can have a break too. 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
Price: Adults £12.50 | Child £12 (4-15) | Child £7.5 (2-3) | Kids under 2 free
Just a 25 minute drive from Tewkesbury is Sudeley Castle, another fabulous attraction in the Cotswolds to take the kids. The castle dates back to the 10th century and offers a range of activities and attractions for kids.
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 a number of rooms as well as special exhibitions with a range of items of historic 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 from 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 and is surrounded by beautiful gardens and parkland and is just a 30 minute drive from Tewkesbury.
Families visiting the tower will explore a range of historic rooms and exhibits with the help of a multimedia 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 which has been 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 mediaeval castle built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror. The castle has a long and varied history, having served as a royal palace, a fortification, and a private residence. A visit to the castle makes for a great day out with the kids and is a 50 minute drive from Tewkesbury.
There is a range of activities, tours and shows to see at the castle – so I recommend as soon as you get there to make a bit of a plan, so you don’t miss out on 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 mediaeval activities. You can see birds of prey, bowman shows, watch things being catapulted far distances and live shows where actors really bring to life what once went on in the castle.
There is also a great playground on site for the young ones, as well as 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. Definitely our family’s favourite castle we visited while in the Cotswolds.
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 to visit in the Cotswolds. It is a small village known for its beautiful setting, historic buildings, and picturesque river, which runs through the village. Situated just a short drive from Tewkesbury, it is the perfect place for a day trip with the family.
There is plenty to do in the gorgeous village. 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.
Bourton on the Water is a 35 minute drive from Tewkesbury making a day trip quite doable.
Visit Stow on the Wold
Stow on the Wold is a market town in Gloucestershire on the top of a 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.
Stow on the Wold is a 35 minute drive from Tewkesbury, so it’s well worth checking out.
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 Tewkesbury, 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 visit a number of the Shakespeare sites. Sites include Shakespeare’s Birthplace (where Shakespeare was born and grew up), Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (the home of Shakespeare’s wife), Shakespeare New Place (Shakespeare’s home until he died), Mary Arden’s Farm (the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother), Shakespeare’s School (where he went to school – one of our favourite attractions in Stratford Upon Avon).
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.
Visit Castle Combe
When you visit Castle Combe, you’ll soon understand why this fairytale-like village is part of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Considered one of the most picturesque villages in the Cotswolds, Castle Combe is a must for families touring the area.
The village is home to a number of historic landmarks, including the 14th-century St. Andrew’s Church and the Castle Combe Manor House, which dates back to the 12th century. The village also has a number of pubs, shops, and restaurants, making it a popular place to stop for a meal or a drink.
Castle Combe is an hour’s drive from Tewkesbury, so it can be a great day trip, or a stopover when travelling to or from town.
Just a 40 minute drive from Tewkesbury is Cirencester, one of Cotswold’s largest market towns. It is a beautiful town with gorgeous stone buildings and links to both mediaeval times as well as 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 artefacts 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 MarketPlace seeing the historic buildings and exploring the various stores.
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 situated 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, enjoying a tasty lunch in an old pub, walking along the river and crossing an old footbridge.
Bibury is a 45 minute drive from Tewkesbury, so it’s well worth checking out as part of a day trip.
How to get from London to Tewkesbury
Driving from London to Tewkesbury takes around 2.45 hours depending on traffic so it is a bit too far for a day trip from London.
The most direct driving route is to take the A4 from central London to the M4 and drive in the direction of Swindon. Exit at Junction 15 onto the A419 and A417 to reach the M5. Follow the M5 to Junction 9 and the A438 which will bring you to Tewkesbury.
If you don’t have a car, the next best option is to take the train from London to Tewkesbury. Catch a train from London Paddington Station to Ashchurch (a journey of around 2.15 hours) and then take a local bus to Tewkesbury, 20 minutes away. The entire journey will take around 3 hours.
You can also take a coach from London Victoria Station to Tewkesbury with a transfer in Cheltenham. The journey will take around 3 hours.
Getting Around Tewkesbury
Tewkesbury is a small town so the best way to get around is by foot. 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 who are driving. Fee paying Tewkesbury Abbey Car Park and Vineyards Car Park are the closest car parks to Tewkesbury Abbey. Most car parks in Tewkesbury charge between 8 am and 5.30 pm. Free parking in Tewkesbury is very limited.
There is a local bus and taxi service for anyone without a car who wants to get out of Tewkesbury to explore the local area.
Best Hotels in Tewkesbury for Families
Looking for the best family accommodation in Tewkesbury? Below, we’ve covered our top three recommendations. These accommodation options offer great value for money and are in excellent locations for sightseeing around town.
Burrows Court is a 2 bedroom home across 3 levels, located in the heart of Tewkesbury. Right next door you’ll find the Tewkesbury Museum, and close by are a range of shops, cafes and other attractions.
The 2 bedroom apartment accommodates families of 4 with a double bed in the master bedroom and 2 single beds in the second bedroom. You need to go through the master bedroom to access the second bedroom with a curtain dividing the 2 rooms to retain privacy.
The well equipped kitchen has a range of appliances so you can easily self-cater. The living room features a dining table as well as comfy couches surrounding an exposed brick fireplace.
Outside is a lovely enclosed shared courtyard garden. Here you’ll find multiple seating areas, including a unique ‘shed’ filled with cinema-style folding chairs, so you can enjoy the outdoors no matter the weather.
Centrally located, Shepherd’s Rest Apartments is in a lovely lane off the main road in town. This 2 bedroom apartment is less than a minute’s walk to all the cafes, restaurants and tea houses – making eating out easy.
If you do decide to eat in, the contemporary kitchen is fully equipped with an oven, stovetop, microwave, fridge, kettle and toaster. The kitchen also features a dining table and washing machines.
Each of the bedrooms features a double bed so overall the apartment can sleep up to four people. There is also a spacious living room for relaxing after a day of busy sightseeing.
The best thing about the Shepherds Rest Apartment is the entire property is on the ground floor. So unlike many other Cotswolds properties – no steep staircases to navigate! Plus you can use the easy access free parking and stroll straight in the front door with all your luggage.
Tallets Apartment is centrally located in a lane off the main road in town. Simply descend the external staircase of this 2 bedroom apartment and within less than a minute you’ll be in the town centre with all the attractions, shops and cafes at your fingertips.
Families of 4 are accommodated in the 2 bedrooms with a double bed in each – so if you have teens, they may not be too keen on sharing. However, there’s plenty of space to get away from each other with a decent size living room containing a couple of comfy couches.
The fully equipped kitchen will have you whipping up meals with all the appliances you would have at home, and there is a great sized table for everyone to dine at. If the weather is nice the outdoor balcony has a dining table too as well as a BBQ.
Hopefully you found this guide to things to do in Tewkesbury with kids 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).