Apart from the extensive grounds, there are plenty other opportunities for kids to go wild in the country here. You can start at Monmouth Canoe and Activity Centre, paddling up to 100 miles from Glasbury to Tintern on short-term or multi-day hire. Or keep the adventure going at Beechenhurst’s trails, towers and tunnels.
Hire bikes from Peddlebikeaway and explore the Forest of Dean. Fish for carp at Beanhill Farm. At RSPB Nagshead, spot the birds you don’t see in your garden. The mature woodland throngs with pied flycatchers and redstarts in spring, woodpeckers in summer, nuthatches in autumn and goshawks and treecreepers in winter.
Enjoy some high-octane monkey business in the trees and on the zip wires of Go Ape in the Forest of Dean. Ride horses at Severnvale Equestrian Centre. Shoot your pals with paint or try military-simulation game airsoft at Forest of Dean Paintballing and Airsoft.
Learn some SCUBA at the National Diving and Activity Centre. Paint your own pots at Paint on Me. Pack a picnic for the old Tintern railway station, with its riverside walks and adventure playground. Or cross the bay to Bristol to meet over 100 species of animal at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, including, tigers, bears and elephants.
Shoot some clay from the skies or paper targets with air rifles, or draw your bow and release your arrow at DBC Leisure. Or just aim to get the little ball in the tiny hole at Lydney Golf, Forest Hills or St Pierre. Or maybe hire a boat from Gloucester Narrowboats and cruise the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.
At the Jet Age Museum, learn the story of the Gloster Aircraft Company and hear how Gloucestershire flew to the forefront of the aerospace industry. Visit Alney Island Nature Reserve along the banks of the Severn and escape to a world of peace disturbed only by grazing cows and passing cyclists.
Trot round Gloucester Cathedral for free, one of the finest medieval buildings in Europe: take afternoon tea in the Monk’s Kitchen cafe, walk up to the tower, visit King Edward II’s tomb or follow the Harry Potter Trail. Or head back to the 12th century to see Tintern Abbey, founded by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow.
Shop and drop at Gloucester Quays Outlet at big names including Antler, Bench, The Works, Ted Baker and Fatface. Stay to eat by the water at Pizza Express, TGI Friday and Zizzi. Back a winner at Chepstow races. Then live it up at night in Gloucester at The Pelican, The Dick Whittington or The Turk’s Head.