Animal magic, abbeys and festivals

Kids will love the animal magic on offer at Birdland Park, the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Crocodiles of the World. Chug past glorious scenery on the steam railway and explore interactive museums. For grown-ups, abbeys, priories and cathedrals abound, plus bags of fascinating independent shops, golf and festivals.

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Country kids

You might be hard-pressed to find a decent beach, but The Cotswolds doesn’t disappoint in any other area. Kids can have an animal-tastic time at Birdland Park and Gardens, the Cotswold Wildlife Park – home to the eye-level giraffe walkway – and Crocodiles of the World’s underwater viewing and feeds.

Head into Cheltenham for hands-on education at the Wilson Art Museum, or the Holst, exploring the musician’s Cheltenham connections. Discover the story of Britain’s most-inland docks at Gloucester’s National Waterways Museum. Or explore the county’s rich aviation history at the Jet Age Museum.

Chug past some of the UK’s most lovely scenery on the Gloucester and Warwickshire Steam Railway. Meet Adam Henson’s carefully curated rare breeds at the Cotswold Farm Park. Or scramble, climb and cave your way around the Warehouse Climbing Centre.

Catch a flick at Cineworld, the Bacon Theatre or the Sherborne Cinema. Express your creativity at Paint it Yourself Pottery or check out the county’s largest soft-play area at The Play Farm. Tackle the daring golf escapades at Mr Mulligan’s, or answer ten questions correctly and crack the Cheltenham Codebreaking Walk.

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For the grown ups

Explore Woodchester Mansion, a unique and amazing Grade I-listed Victorian Gothic house hidden in a beautiful Cotswold valley. Marvel at the flamboyant and frivolous
Painswick Rococo Garden. Or see some of Europe’s finest medieval buildings, such as Gloucester Cathedral, Tewkesbury Abbey and St Oswald’s Priory.

Wander beautiful honeystone villages such as Bourton-on-the-Water, Chipping Campden, Burford and Chedworth. Get your cards out and support fascinating and fabulous independent traders in Cheltenham, Stow, Stroud and Cirencester. Or take a tour of the cider farm at Dunkerton’s.

Time your visit right and drop in on great public celebrations such as The Cheltenham Festival in March, the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in May, the Science Festival in June, the Music Festival in June and July, or October’s Literature Festival. Get there by bike, maybe? Contact the Bicycle Hub or Hartwell’s.

Golf fan? Get down to Lilley Brook, Cleeve Hill or Cotswold Hills. Learn fly-fishing at the UK’s finest trout fishery at Lechlade. Or ride horses at Foxcote House. As darkness descends, head out into Purple-Flagged (safe) Cheltenham for bars such as Gin and Juice, Aquavitae and Whittletaps.

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