Best things to do in the Cotswold with kids

Are you planning to visit the Cotswolds as part of your family trip to England?  Then you’ll want to read this guide on all the best things to do in the Cotswolds with kids!

Known for its fairytale like villages, rolling hills and stunning countryside, the Cotswolds is the perfect family destination.  This gorgeous destination covers around 800 square miles and is in south central England, with its southern regions just an hour or so north of London.

The Cotswold Region consists of numerous charming villages, many of which have remained unchanged for centuries.  These laid back towns are perfect for families to explore on foot, with vibrant marketplaces where you can browse local stores, try local produce, and eat at fabulous family friendly pubs. 

Among the gorgeous honey coloured villages, some of the best tourist attractions in the Cotswolds include museums, parks, farms, and historic houses and castles.  Plus, it’s the perfect spot for enjoying outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing and discovering the region’s Roman history and some of England’s oldest churches. 

To help you plan your Cotswold family holidays, this guide covers some of the best Cotswold villages and all the top places to visit in the Cotswolds for families.  While the guide doesn’t cover all the family friendly Cotswolds places to visit, it includes the more popular villages and attractions and links to some of our more detailed Cotswold village guides.

So let’s jump straight into it and check out all the very best Cotswolds things to do with kids. 

This post may contain compensated links. Please refer to my disclaimer here for more information.

Talk to other families about their tips on Cotswolds family holidays and join our Thrifty Family Travel Facebook Group or be inspired on our Instagram.

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Cotswold things to do Map

To help you plan your trip, check out the map below, which shows the location of all the best places to go in the Cotswolds. This will help you plan an itinerary for your Cotswolds family holidays and assist you in determining where to stay too.

You can zoom in and out for a better view.

 

Best Things to do in the Cotswold with Kids

Below we list the very best Cotswold things to do.  We’ve listed them by town to help plan your family holidays in the Cotswolds.  Of course we haven’t listed every single town (because there are many) – only the best Cotswolds towns with the more popular family friendly activities and attractions.

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.

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 beautiful Cotswold villages, a stop in Castle Combe is one of the perfect family days out in the Cotswolds.

Below are our top recommendations for things to do in Castle Combe with kids. 

Click here for our full guide on visiting Castle Combe with kids.

See the Bridge over River Bybrook

The picture perfect low bridge crossing the river is one of the most photographed spots in the village. The 12 mile long River Bybrook was once home to 20 watermills, some of which dated back to Roman times. 

Be careful of passing cars as there is no footpath over the bridge. You will need to get there early to get a people free photo.

Dower House – Dr Dolittle’s House

While you’re in Castle Combe, a Cotswold must see is Dower House – best known as the home of Dr Doolittle in the 1967 musical film. The home has an attractive yellow facade that dates back to the 17th century. 

Unfortunately, the house is not open to the public, but it is still worth a look for its unusual architecture and quick photo. 

Lunch at an old Pub

Sightseeing in the Cotswolds has to include lunch at an old pub.  Despite being a small chocolate box village, Castle Combe has two traditional English country pubs – the Castle Inn and the White Hart. Both of these 12th century pubs are family friendly.

Cirencester

Cirencester is a market town in the County of Gloucestershire and is the largest town in the Cotswolds.  During medieval times, the town was booming and became a wealthy centre in the region – which is why you’ll see so many beautiful stone buildings around town.

With such a rich history and picturesque streetscape, there are some lovely things to do that Cirencester offers for families. Below we list our favourite things to do in Cirencester with kids.

Click here for our full guide on visiting Cirencester with kids.

Corinium Museum

If you’re looking for what to do in the Cotswolds – kids can learn all about Roman history at the Corinium Museum. The museum showcases the history and culture of the Cotswolds region and its Roman ties. 

An audio guide and interactive exhibits will introduce artefacts, including prehistoric tools, jewellery, Roman mosaics and pottery, all of which originated from Corinium, now modern day Cirencester. It even has an Iron Age dog skeleton! 

There is a cafe, shop and toilets on site. 

Location: Park Street, Cirencester
Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 am to 4 pm, Sunday 2 pm to 4 pm
Price : Adults £7.40 | Kids (5 – 16) £4.70 | Family (2A+4C) £19.55 | Under 5’s free

Explore the Marketplace

Cirencester is probably the best Cotswold village for those families who like to hit the shops.  There are lovely little markets and boutiques around town where everyone can pick up a few souvenirs.

The central Market Place is an attractive square lined by several historic buildings, independent shops and cafes. It has hosted a Monday and Friday charter market for hundreds of years (the market was mentioned in the Doomsday Book) and holds a Farmers Market twice a month plus an arts and crafts market once a month.  

Location: Market Place in front of St John the Baptist Church, Cirencester
Hours: Everyday
Price: Free

Cirencester Park

Cirencester Park is a large 8 kilometre park in the centre of town. It is a great Cotswold place to visit with the kids for a picnic, a runaround, or to escape the busy town centre and is part of the working Bathurst Estate.

There is an Italian Garden and a Temple Garden, a privately owned mansion house, a lake and woodland areas to explore. It is a great place to spend a few hours on a summer day. 

Even if you don’t have time to visit the park – take a photo of the family in front of the park gates – they’re quite impressive!

Location: Walk from the town centre to the gates at Cecily Hill. 
Hours: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm
Price: Free

Chedworth Roman Villa

One of the more unusual things to do in the Cotswolds is to visit Chedworth Villa – a 20 minute drive from Cirencester. 

The villa was built in the 2nd Century AD and is one of the best preserved Roman villas in the U.K. Here; you can see the remains of the villa, its two bathhouses and a water shrine to get a sense of the scale and grandeur of the original villa. You can also walk along suspended walkways to see incredibly preserved in situ mosaics. 

A visit to the adjacent visitor centre and museum will bring the ruins to life. Exhibits and artefacts such as pottery and jewellery will explain life in Roman times. Guided tours are available.  

There is a cafe, shop and picnic area on site. 

Location: Near Yanworth, Cirencester
Hours: Daily from 10 am to 6 pm
Price: Adults £12 | Kids under 16 £6 | Family (2A+2C) £30

Cotswold Water Park

The Cotswold Water Park is a picturesque area just a 15 minute drive from the centre of Cirencester.  With 180 lakes across 42 square miles, this is the UK’s largest lake system and offers some of the best activities in the Cotswolds for families.  The area is home to an abundance of wildlife, including over 20 species of dragonflies and damselflies, and is a popular destination for bird watchers.

One of the highlights of a visit to Cotswold Water Park is taking a boat trip on one of the lakes. This is a great way to explore the area and see some wildlife up close. Various boat trips are available, including guided tours and self-drive options.

Families can also enjoy activities at the park, including cycling, walking, fishing, and watersports, such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and windsurfing. 

There are also several designated picnic areas and cafes to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

If you’re staying in Cirencester – a trip to the Cotswold Water Park is one of the best days in the Cotswolds during the warmer months.  It’s also one of the free places to visit in the Cotswolds.

Location: The area covers some 42 square miles – there is no set location but rather various areas to visit.
Price: Free
Hours: Entry to the park is free – but some activities within have a charge

Cotswold Country Park and Beach

Located within the Cotswold Water Park is the Cotswold Country Park and Beach.  This is the perfect place for families to visit on a warm summer’s day to cool off and have a swim.

Cotswold Country Park includes various activities the whole family will enjoy, including a swimming lagoon and water sports. In addition, there’s an awesome AquaVenture inflatable course and paddle boarding, kayaking, pedal boats and boat hire.  Off the water is mini golf and extensive parklands for picnics and relaxing.

The Cotswold Country Park also has a cafe offering a delicious takeaway menu, from hotdogs to wraps, drinks and ice creams. 

If you’re in town with the kids during the warmer months – definitely put the Country Park and Beach on your list – it’s one of the top 10 places to visit in the Cotswolds with kids.

Location: Lakes 31 and 32 – Spratsgate Lane, Shorncote
Hours: July to September, daily from 10 am to 6 pm | Winter: Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm – however, note no activities run during winter.
Price: A family is £14 per car during off peak season or £18 in peak season (up to 5 people) – activities cost extra

Bibury

Bibury is a small village just outside Cirencester in the County of Gloucestershire. The village is considered one of the most beautiful Cotswold towns mostly due to its row of 14th century postcard perfect cottages, famously known as Arlington Row.

Below are our top recommendations for things to do in Bibury with kids.  Click here for our full guide on visiting Bibury with kids.

See Arlington Row

Arlington Row in Bibury is what most people imagine the quintessential English village to look like. The small, honey coloured stone cottages look like an idyllic snapshot from the past, bordering a leafy car free lane and narrow river – one of the prettiest Cotswolds things to see. 

The terraced cottages date back to the 14th century and were converted into the ones we see today in the 17th century. You may recognise the picture perfect row of houses from the movie ‘Stardust.’ 

You cannot enter the National Trust owned cottages as they are private homes, but wandering up and down Arlington Row, Bibury is a delight at any time of the year.  

When taking photographs – please be mindful that people do live here.  So take a quick picture and move on.

Location: Arlington Row is on your left as you enter the village from Burford. 
Hours: Always
Price: Free

Cross a footbridge from Bibury to Arlington

Although the village is known as Bibury, it actually consists of two mini villages; Bibury and Arlington. The two locations are divided by the River Coln, which runs through the centre of the village. So when you cross the footbridge, you are actually travelling from Bibury to Arlington and vice versa. 

There are three small pedestrian bridges you can cross; Row Bridge near Arlington Row is the most scenic of the three bridges. 

Location: One bridge is near Arlington Row, the second is opposite The Swan Hotel (one of the best pubs in Bibury) and the third is near the William Morris Tea Room. 
Hours: Always
Price: Free

Bibury Trout Farm

If the family are into fishing – one of the best things to do with kids in the Cotswolds is visit the Bibury Trout Farm.  Founded in 1902, this is the oldest working trout farm in England.  The farm breeds Rainbow and Brown Trout for angling waters around the country. 

Visitors can wander around the extensive site, watch the fish being fed or have a go at catching their own trout. All equipment is supplied for free, but you must kill and pay for any fish that you catch.

There is a shop with a fresh fish counter, a deli, a play area for kids, a cafe, Crazy Golf course and a picnic and BBQ area. Onsite parking is free. 

Location: On the B4425 opposite Bibury Post Office in Bibury
Hours: March – September  9 am to 5 pm (till 6 pm in July and August). October – February 9 am – 4 pm
Price: Adults £7.50 | Child £5 (3-16) | Family (2A+3C) £30. Crazy Golf is an additional £3.50 per person.

Burford 

Located alongside the River Windrush, Burford is considered one of the 10 prettiest Cotswold villages.  Little has changed in this town over the centuries – it still features a three arched medieval bridge, a lovely old church and many ancient houses.

Here are our top recommendations of places to visit in Burford with kids.

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

For the animal loving family, one of the top things to do in the Cotswolds is to visit the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens.  With over 1500 animals from 250 species, the park is one of the largest in the UK.   

The park is home to animals from all over the world, including lions, giraffes, rhinos, and lemurs, as well as a range of native British wildlife, such as red squirrels, otters, and hedgehogs.  Many enclosures mimic the animals’ natural habitats, giving visitors a unique insight into their behaviour and daily routines. There are also daily animal talks and feeding sessions, where visitors can learn more about the park’s residents and their conservation efforts.

In addition to its animal exhibits, the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens are known for their beautifully landscaped gardens. The park covers 160 acres and features a range of themed gardens, including a tropical house, a walled garden, and a woodland walk. 

There is also a large children’s play area and a restaurant serving delicious food from locally sourced ingredients.

A day at the Cotswold Wildlife Park is certainly one of the fun things to do in the Cotswolds with kids.

Location: Bradwell Grove, Burford 
Hours: March to December – daily from 10 am until 6 pm in Summer and 4 pm in Winter.
Price: Adults £17.50 | Child £12 (3-16) | Kids under 3 are free

Crocodiles of the World

Cotswold Crocodile of the World is a unique attraction dedicated to the conservation and protection of crocodiles and other reptiles from around the world. 

The main attraction at Cotswold Crocodile of the World is the crocodile enclosure, which is home to various crocodiles from around the world, including the largest species, the saltwater crocodile. Visitors can watch these powerful predators as they swim and bask in the sun and learn about their behaviour and feeding habits.

In addition to crocodiles, the park is home to many other reptiles, including snakes, lizards, and tortoises. Other animals include meerkats and tamarins.

Crocodiles of the World is another one of the best places to see in the Cotswolds for the family obsessed with animals – scary ones, for that matter!

Location: Burford Rd, Brize Norton, Carterton
Hours: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm
Price: Adults £13.50 | Child £10.50 (3-15) | Family (2A+2C) £43 | Family (2A+3C) £51.50 | Kids under 3 are free

Witney

Witney is the largest of the market towns in the Cotswolds, making it another one of the best Cotswold towns for the family who likes to shop!  In addition to its boutiques and high street names, Witney has stunning architecture that reflects its past ties with the wool industry.

Below we’ve listed our must do attractions in Witney.

Cogges Manor Farm

Cogges Manor Farm is one of the top attractions in Cotswolds – particularly for families with younger children.  The historic farm and museum are set around a 13th-century manor house 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 multiple 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 things to do around the Cotswolds 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

Woodstock

Woodstock features fine Georgian facades which disguise the much older buildings. However, most people come to the area to visit Blenheim Palace – which we have detailed below.

Blenheim Palace

One of the best things to see in the Cotswolds is the Blenheim Palace, an excellent attraction for families with various 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 and 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 wander 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.  

Other activities 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

Chipping Norton

“Chippy”, as the locals call it – is a lovely old working Cotswold market town.  The lively town is well known for its antique shops and regular markets, so it’s always busy with visitors.

Below are our top recommendations for things to do in Chipping Norton with the kids.

Fairytale Farm

If you have small kids, one of the top 10 things to do in the Cotswold is to visit the Cotswold Fairy Tale Farm.  This family-friendly attraction is designed to bring fairy tales and nursery rhymes to life with various interactive exhibits and activities.

One of the main attractions at the Cotswold Fairy Tale Farm is the Enchanted Walk, a magical trail through the woods filled with fairy tale characters and scenes. Kids can follow the path and interact with the displays, which include a gingerbread house, a sleeping beauty’s castle, and a giant chair.

The park also has a range of other attractions, including a petting zoo where visitors can meet and feed various farm animals. There is also a fairytale-themed adventure playground with climbing frames, slides, and swings.

The Cotswold Fairy Tale Farm also has a café serving hot and cold drinks and snacks and a gift shop selling a range of souvenirs and fairy tale-themed merchandise.

A day at the Fairytale Farm is certainly one of the best things to do in the Cotswolds for families with young children.

Location: Southcombe, Chipping Norton
Hours: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm
Price: Weekdays during school term £7.99 per person | Weekends and School Holidays £9.99 per person | Kids under 2 are free 

Chastleton House

Chastleton House is a beautiful Jacobean country house that has largely remained unchanged since it was built in the early 17th century.  Visitors can explore the house’s many rooms, filled with antique furniture, artwork, and other historical artifacts.

One of the highlights of a visit to Chastleton House is seeing the house’s beautiful gardens. The gardens are laid out in a series of terraces, each with unique features, including a water garden, a formal parterre, and a walled garden. There are also several walking trails through the surrounding parkland, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Throughout the year, Chastleton House also hosts various special events and exhibitions, including guided tours, lectures, and workshops. These events offer visitors the chance to learn more about the history of the house and its inhabitants and the wider history of the Cotswolds.

Chastleton House is one of the nice places to visit in the Cotswolds to teach the kids about a bygone era.

Location: Chastleton, Moreton-in-Marsh 
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm
Price: £12 per adult |  £6 per child person |  £6  per family 

Stow on the World

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 time.

Below are our top recommendations for things to do in Stow on the Wold with kids.  Click here for our full guide on visiting Stow on the Wold with kids.

Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park

Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park is a working farm home to various animals, including cows, sheep, pigs, and chickens.  It’s one of the fun activities to do in the Cotswold, where the kids 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. So 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 

Market Square

Market Square 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 many shops, restaurants, and other amenities. It is surrounded by charming old buildings, many dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. 

The square is also home to several historic landmarks, such as the Town Hall and the Market Cross, 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 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 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 cool Cotswolds places to see 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 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, also known as Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 

Location: 2 Crossways House the Square

Cotswold Cheese Company

Must see places in the Cotswolds for the foodie families?  Eat cheese of course! The Cotswold Cheese Company produces artisanal cheese based in the Cotswold region of England. 

The company produces a range of traditional and contemporary cheeses using milk from local farms. They make cheeses like Cotswold Brie, Cotswold Blue, and Cotswold Double Gloucester. 

The company is known for using traditional cheese-making techniques and sourcing ingredients to produce 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.

A stop at the Cotswold Cheese Company is the perfect way to end or even start a day out in the Cotswolds.

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

Pubs are among the Cotswold’s best places to visit – particularly when hunger strikes! So when in Stow on the Wold – why not plan to eat at Britain’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

Lower and Upper Slaughter

Despite being among the smallest villages, Upper and Lower Slaughter are among the 10 prettiest Cotswold villages – perhaps even the most beautiful!  So they definitely should be included during your trip to the area.  These postcard villages are perfectly placed along the River Eye and will have the kids thinking they’ve stepped into a real life fairytale land.

Below are our top recommendations for things to do in Lower and Upper Slaughter with kids.  Click here for our full guide on visiting Lower and Upper Slaughter with kids.

Visit the Old Mill Museum, Gift Shop and Ice Cream Parlour

The Old Mill Museum is located in the village and is one of the most popular attractions. This old mill has been in this location as far back as the Doomsday book!

This museum features exhibits on the village’s history and showcases the mill’s importance in the area. There are displays about the history of bread making and you can see the inner workings of the mill machinery.

As well as the museum, there is a gift shop on site and most importantly for the kids – an ice cream parlour!

Location: Mill Lane, Lower Slaughter
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 10 am to 5 pm | Closed Monday – Tuesday 
Prices: Free

Visit The Slaughter Manor House

Part of a luxurious 5 star hotel estate, Lower Slaughter Manor Gardens is a beautiful garden in the heart of the village. 

The five-acre garden features a variety of plants and flowers, nature trails, and a picturesque river. Family picnics and games are encouraged and games such as croquet, tennis and boules are freely available.

The onsite restaurant has a children’s menu, plus family picnic hampers are available. 

Location: Copsehill Road, Lower Slaughter
Hours: Every day from dawn till dusk
Prices: Free

Visit the Church of St. Mary

Dating back to the 13th century, the Church of St. Mary stands impressively in the Cotwold Lower Slaughter village.  It is built with attractive creamy yellow Cotswold stone and features stunning stained glass windows.

Location: Copsehill Road, Lower Slaughter
Hours: Every day from dawn till dusk.

Walk along the River Eye

The River Eye flows through Lower and Upper Slaughter and offers a picturesque village view. Take a stroll along the riverbank and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.

Visit St. Peter’s Upper Slaughter Church

St. Peter’s Church Upper Slaughter dates back to the 12th century. The mediaeval church is located in the heart of the village and is well worth visiting. Don’t miss the ornate carved Saxon stonework on the church’s tower archway. 

Location: The Square, Upper Slaughter
Hours: Every day from dawn till dusk

Afternoon tea at Lords of the Manor

The Lords of the Manor Upper Slaughter is the most luxurious Upper Slaughter hotel and one of the best hotels in the Cotswolds. It is best known for its gorgeous 8 acre gardens and its outstanding cuisine. 

Enjoy a fantastic afternoon tea at the hotel for an indulgent family treat. You can dine in the historic lounge or – if the weather is good enough – on the hotel’s manicured lawns. You will get four finger sandwiches, two scones with jam and cream, plus a selection of cakes and tea or coffee. 

If you don’t have the time or budget for a full afternoon tea, an alternative is a lighter, cheaper cream tea. Pre booking for both options is essential. 

Location: Upper Slaughter
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 12 pm to 4 pm | Sunday, 3 pm to 4 pm
Prices: £29.50 per person (or £39.50 including a glass of champagne). 

Walk between Lower and Upper Slaughter

Many walking trails around Lower Slaughter offer breathtaking views of the Cotswold countryside. One popular route is the short walk from Lower Slaughter to Upper Slaughter (or vice versa).

The walk runs for one mile alongside the River Eye and takes around 25 minutes to walk between the two villages. The path is well marked, easy to follow, and starts near The Old Mill in Lower Slaughter or near the village square in Upper Slaughter. 

Walk between Bourton on the Water and Lower Slaughter

You can extend your walk by continuing to neighbouring Bourton on the Water. The Bourton on the Water to Lower Slaughter walk is 1.5 miles long and will only take 35 minutes to complete each way. 

Bourton on the Water

When you visit Bourton on the Water, you’ll soon understand why it’s regarded as one of the top 10 best Cotswold villages.  Located in the northern region of the Cotswold, this popular village is known for its charming stone architecture and low bridges that cross the River Windrush.  

For those visiting Bourton on the Water with kids, below are our favourite things to do in town.  Click here for our full guide on visiting Bourton on the Water.

Model Village

The Model Village is a 1/9th scale mini representation of Bourton on the Water village and is one of the super fun Cotswolds places to go with the kids.  

Originally built in the 1930s by a team of local craftsmen, the attraction features over 100 detailed buildings made from local Cotswold Stone. Its intricate detail includes pruned to scale plants and miniature choirs singing in the churches.

The Model Village is continuously being restored and maintained – this makes it a great place to visit after you’ve explored the village, as the kids can spot some of the places they’ve seen.

Location: The grounds of The New Inn Pub, Rissington Road
Hours: Daily from 10 am until 6 pm in Summer and 4 pm in Winter
Price : £4.50 Adults | £3.50 Kids (3-13) | Under 3’s free

Birdland Park

A visit to Birdland Park is one of the best family things to do in the Cotswolds. This 9 acre park is home to over 500 birds ranging from cassowaries and flamingos to owls, parrots and hornbills. In addition, you can see rare species such as the Waldrapp Ibis and England’s only breeding colony of King Penguins.

There are daily ‘Meet the Keeper’ talks, animal feeding times, and pre-bookable experiences such as feeding a penguin or meeting a giant tortoise.   Check out the times of everything you want to do in advance so you can plan your day accordingly and not miss out on anything.

Plus, it’s not only birds here – if you’ve little dinosaur obsessed kids – they’re in luck as there is a woodland Jurassic Journey section with life sized models.

The park has an indoor play area, a large outdoor play playground, a picnic area and a cafe.   

Allow at least a few hours to explore the park – but you could spend most of the day here if you have little ones.

Definitely don’t miss Birdland Park in Bourton on the Water – it’s one of the top things to do in the Cotswold with families.

Location: Rissington Road, Bourton on the Water 
Hours: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm
Price : £11.95 Adults | £8.95 Kids (3-15) | Under 3’s free

Dragonfly Maze

Looking for fun family activities Cotswolds has?  Then head to Dragonfly Maze.  This small, quirky maze created from Yew hedges consists of over 800 metres of pathways. Families must find 14 clues around the maze to solve the pictorial Rebus puzzle in the centre and find the hidden golden dragonfly.

A limited number of timed tickets are available each day, and tickets can only be bought on site for the day of your visit. However, you can purchase tickets in the morning and return later for your allocated slot. 

There are no toilets or cafe facilities on site and prams are not allowed due to the narrow nature of the maze. 

Location: Rissington Road, Bourton on the Water 
Hours: Opening hours vary from month to month – click here to find the opening times for your visit
Price : £4.50 Adults | £3.50 Kids (4-14) | Family (2A+2C under 14) £15 | Under 4’s free

Bourton Motor Museum

Across 7500 sq ft, the Bourton Motor Museum has an eclectic collection of more than 50 classic and vintage vehicles dating back to the early 1900s.  Among the seven unique galleries, as well as cars, there are classic motorbikes, vintage bicycles, caravans and toys through the ages. 

The museum is packed with driving related memorabilia, plus there is a fully recreated mechanics garage from the early days of motoring and an authentic blacksmith workshop. There’s also a special section just for memorabilia from the 60s and 70s.

And for the kids and a bit of nostalgia for the parents and grandparents, there’s an extensive toy collection, including pedal cars, bicycles, jigsaws, board games and more.

For the car loving families – a few hours at the Bourton Motor Museum is a Cotswold must do!

Location: The Old Mill, Bourton on the Water 
Hours:  Daily from 10 am to 6 pm from mid February to December
Price : £7 Adults | £5 Kids (5-16) | Family (2A+2C) £22.00 | Under 5’s free

Greystones Farm Nature Reserve

If you are looking for places to visit around Bourton on the Water to escape the crowds, the Greystones Farm Nature Reserve is one of the nice places to go in the Cotswold.  

Greystones Farms’ wildflower meadows are a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and are packed with colour and insects in late Spring and Summer. 

At other times of the year, you can see various birds (including migratory species such as swallows) and river animals, including water voles and otters. The Time Trail and the Wildlife Trail are pushchair friendly.

The reserve is also home to Salmonsbury Camp, a Neolithic and Iron Age meeting spot and visitors can view a replica Iron Age Roundhouse. 

Note that there is no parking on site – however, you can park at the Station Road car park in the village.  From there, it’s a 5 minute walk to the reserve. 

The toilets, cafe and visitors centre are closed over winter, though the reserve remains open, so you can still wander around the property.

Location: Greystones Lane, Bourton on the Water
Hours: Every day (the best time to visit is May to September)
Price: Free

Winchcombe

Winchcombe is another stunning market town in the Cotswolds.  The lively town has streets lined with pretty honey coloured cottages as well as a good range of shops, places to eat and things to see.

Most people come to Winchcombe to visit Sudeley Castle, as detailed below.

Sudeley Castle

Sudley Castle is another of Cotswold’s main attractions 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, 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 from Spring to October
Price: Adults £19.50 | Child £8.75 (3-15) | Kids under 3 are free | Family Pass (2A+2C) £48 

Tewkesbury

Tewkesbury is a mediaeval market town 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 with over 350 buildings listed as having historical interest.

While technically just outside of the Cotswold boundaries – given its close proximity – it’s worth adding it to this guide.

For those visiting Tewkesbury with kids, below are our favourite things to do in town.  Click here for our full guide on visiting Tewkesbury. 

Tewkesbury Heritage Centre

Set in a character packed 17th century Tudor building, the Tewkesbury Heritage Centre is one of the places to visit near the Cotswold 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 in 1471 and the changes that occurred to the town during the industrial revolution.

There are interactive exhibits for kids and traditional games and activities to try. The displays don’t take long to cover but are a fantastic introduction to the local area.  

Location: Out of the Hat, 100 Church Street, Tewkesbury
Hours: November to March on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 am – 4 pm. April to October from Monday to Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm
Price: Free

Tewkesbury Abbey

Tewkesbury Abbey was founded in the 11th century and is considered one of the best examples of Norman architecture in the world – another one of the places of interest to visit in the Cotswolds. 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 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 in rare 15th century timber frame buildings and are perfect places to go in the Cotswold with the kids. 

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, Tewkesbury
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 in a splendid 17th century building and is another one of the top things to see in the Cotswolds.

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. 

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
Price: Free

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 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 chapel’s history and how it was used. In addition, kids will enjoy the opportunity to dress in historical outfits – one of the cool things to do in the Cotswolds. 

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

Boat Cruise

Family activities in the Cotswold don’t get much more relaxing than a boat cruise.  Everyone will 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. 

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’re looking for things to do with the family in the Cotswolds for active fun, spend some time at Croft Farm Water Park.   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. 

Broadway

Broadway is yet another picture perfect village, nestled at the foot of the rolling Cotswolds Hills. Unlike most other villages with narrow streets, Broadway has wide, tree-lined streets yet still lined with those gorgeous ancient honey coloured buildings the Cotswolds is so famous for.

Below we list our favourite family attractions to visit in Broadway.

Broadway Tower

One of the more unique things to do in the Cotswolds is to visit Broadway Tower – a castle-like folly built in the 18th century as a summerhouse for the Earl of Coventry.  It is within a large estate surrounded by beautiful gardens and parkland.

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, you’ll enjoy stunning views across the countryside from the top of the tower.

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 

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Hopefully you found this guide to things to do in the Cotswolds helpful. We also have a guide on where to stay in the Cotswolds with kids too.  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

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