Steam engines, castles and spas

Kids can play in the parkland or venture out for aquariums and zoos, museums and steam engines, and windsurfing or waterskiing. Grown-ups will be busy sampling bitters at Uley Brewery, catching the open-air theatre at Berkeley Castle, shopping at Cribbs Causeway, or being pampered and pedicured by Pink Orchid spa.

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Country kids

Back in the day, kids’ holidays were all mucky knees and climbing trees. At Cotswold Edge House, you can revisit those golden times, with over nine acres of parkland and paddock, woods and lawns for picnics, hide-and-seek or just fooling around on the lawn. But beyond the gardens and grounds, there’s a wider world of fun for kids.

See everything from armadillos to African penguins and dwarf crocodiles to dinosaurs at Bristol Zoo. Or look beneath the waves at Bristol Aquarium to find sharks, rays, a giant octopus, and Amazonian fish in huge tanks with underwater tunnels.

Gen up on Dr Jenner, inventor of the smallpox vaccine, at the Jenner Museum, or potter around the museums, shops and cafes of the National Waterways Museum, celebrating Gloucester Docks, once the world’s deepest and widest. Or steam back in time to the days of country branch lines, aboard the Dean Forest Railway.

Enter a world of play barns, zip wires and boating lakes at Cattle Country adventure park, see the wacky caves at Wookey, or try wakeboarding, windsurfing or waterskiing from the man-made beach at Cotswold Water Park. Wind down with a little ceramic pot-painting at Paint Potts in Thornbury.

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For the grown-ups

Wherever you venture in Cotswold country, the trip there is as much fun as the activities on arrival, as you drive past wool churches, babbling brooks and ancient, honeyed-stone villages. Try Bourton-on-the-Water or Blockley for quaint idylls dripping with weeping willows, wisteria and Cotswold charm.

For a variety of full-flavoured, hoppy bitters and ales with bizarre names such as Pigor Mortis and Pig’s Ear, take a trip to Uley Brewery. Or sample the organic and vegan barley beers on offer at Stroud Brewery. For a two-Michelin-starred foodie treat, head out to Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham.

Catch some open-air theatre, a music festival or even a steam rally at Berkeley Castle or Nibley House. At Newark Park, get an eyeful of the Ozleworth Valley in a place of architectural intrigue, gorgeous gardens and sprawling parkland. Or walk into a world of heavenly choirs and stained-glass windows at Tewkesbury Abbey.

Shop till you drop at Cribbs Causeway or Bristol’s Cabbot’s Circus. Fish at Stroud Water Canal, hire cycles with the Bike Works, climb into the saddle at Tumpy Green, or shoot 18 holes at Stinchcombe or Cotswold Edge. Wrap up your adventures by going ape in the Forest of Dean or booking a mobile spa with Pink Orchid.