Sloths, steam and Shakespeare

Kids can chug through the Cotswolds on the Toddington steam railway, see pelicans and penguins at Birdland, and meet free-roaming sloths at the Cotswold Wildlife park. Big kids can catch some culture in Stratford, back a horse at Cheltenham and blast back to the past at Tewkesbury Abbey and Gloucester Cathedral.

Sloths, steam and Shakespeare Sloths, steam and Shakespeare Sloths, steam and Shakespeare Sloths, steam and Shakespeare

Country kids

Whether it’s simply playing Pooh sticks in a babbling brook or full days out at farm parks or lidos, the Cotswolds is packed right up to its thatched roofs with entertainment for kids.

Chug through the Cotswolds on the Toddington Narrow-Gauge railway, ride the zip wires and find the hidey holes at Sudeley Castle, or try bouldering and belay at the Warehouse Climbing Centre. And there are winter sports to sample whatever the weather at Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre.

Animals and birds abound. At Birdland, picnic areas and play areas combine with pelicans and penguins. There’s a rare breed for every day of the year at Cotswold Farm Park and the chance to see rhinos on the lawn and meet free-roaming sloths, birds and bats at the Cotswold Wildlife Park.

You can get wet in many ways at Cotswold Water Park, including boating and surf-biking. Back on dry land, climb to Broadway Tower and survey a 62-mile radius taking in 16 counties. Paint the pots at Honeybourn Pottery, or follow the streams, dodge the waterfall and find the Big Buddha at Batsford Arboretum.

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For the grown-ups

Just up the road, The Bard plied his trade and the legacy is the Royal Shakespeare Company theatre at Stratford-on-Avon. Take in a spot of Hamlet, then try ham terrine in the rooftop restaurant. Want something more active? Try the Ian Coley Shooting School, the Broadway Golf Club or Cotswold Paintballing and Quad Riding.

Recover your poise among the Arts and Crafts landscaping at Hidcote Gardens, then see rare plants and shrubs at Kiftsgate Gardens. Be amazed by the weird and wonderful treasures at Snowshill Manor, such as model boats and samurais, and a bicycle-filled attic. And be awed at the Jacobean beauty on offer at Stanway House.

You can blast even further into the past at Sudeley Castle, Tewkesbury Abbey and Gloucester Cathedral. And, at Sezincote Estate, discover a 200-year-old Mogul Indian palace set amid temples, grottoes, waterfalls and canals reminiscent of the Taj Mahal.

Wrap up your walk along the Donnington Way by stocking up at the Donnington Brewery shop in Stow-on-the-Wold, have a flutter at Cheltenham Races, or cram in some culture at the classical Chipping Campden music festival or at the family-friendly Cornbury music festival.