15 Best things to do in Gloucestershire
Want some fresh inspo for where to go in Glos this summer? We've handpicked the 15 BEST family-friendly things to do in the county, make a beeline for these, from cool castles and caves to fantastic farm parks, water fun and wave machines.
Cotswold Farm Park, Guiting Power
There are trough-fuls of farmyard fun at celebrity farmer Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park. Head for the Animal Barn at this award-winning park to watch lambs being born, plus see Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs, donkeys and herds of rare breed cattle. Kids can get up close with the animals then burn off their energy at the Adventure Playground, Farm Safari, Tractor School and Giant Jumping Pillows.
Berkeley Castle, Berkeley
Don’t miss a trip to this family favourite in Glos. 12th century Berkeley Castle has a year round calendar full of fun events from jousting (28 – 29 August) with incredible saddle stunts, to battling knights, sword and falconry displays, craft workshops, alfresco theatre and every Wednesday throughout the summer holidays Tudor Zoolab is back, where kids can meet real life Tudor urchins and hear their stories.
Clearwell Caves, Forest of Dean
Explore a hidden world underneath Gloucestershire, at these atmospheric caves used in TV and film, from His Dark Materials and Atlantis to Dr Who. There are vast illuminated caverns to wander and 4,500 years of natural history to learn about, and a shop, café, play area and even adventure caving if you’re really feeling brave. Plus until 29 August catch ‘Back to the Cave’, a spectacular subterranean exhibition of 60 modern sculptures from 47 international artists.
Cotswold Country Park and Beach, Cirencester
Why spend 5 hours getting to the coast when you’ve got the UK’s largest inland paddling beach right on your doorstep. This outdoor oasis has a paddling beach with sand imported from Padstow, an Aquaventure course to bounce around on, SUPs and kayaks, swan pedalos, a smashing beach shack cafe and new for summer 2022 alfresco cinema and circus shows.
Sudeley Castle, Cheltenham Glos
Spend a day exploring stunning Sudeley Castle, as well as opulent castle rooms to explore, and a real queen’s burial place, there’s 1000 years of history showcased here. Home to one of the largest collections of endangered pheasants, it also has a pretty cool adventure playground, a mini castle and zip wire, where they’ll have hours of fun whilst you have a leisurely picnic in the grounds.
Westonbirt Arboretum, Westonbirt
This glorious nature-filled day out is perfect for families. Walk along the incredible STIHL treetop walkway which goes right through the tree canopy and is pushchair and dog friendly too. Wander through the trees and flowers and meet the Gruffalo sculptures, build a den out of sticks, cross the troll bridge and crawl through tyre tunnels on the outdoor adventure trail for a thoroughly outdoorsy day out.
WWT Slimbridge, Slimbridge
The award-winning Slimbridge Wetland Centre is a must-do on any Gloucestershire day out. Feed the ducks, geese and swans, who’ll happily eat right out of your hands, then explore the watery world of Toad Hall, getting up close to frogs, newts, salamanders and other pond life, before heading to visit the families of otters and harvest mice. Top it off with a splash around at Welly Boot Land and an indoor soft play session.
Cirencester Lido, Cirencester
Scoop up your bikini, towel and sunnies and head to one of the best outdoor pools in the UK. Cirencester Open Air Pool (often called Ciren Lido) is open for swims seven days a week until mid September. There is a baby pool too for the little ones and a great slide that will keep them happy for ages while you chill out with an ice cream on a sun lounger. It also has great aqua aerobics classes if you’re an early riser.
The Wave, Easter Compton, South Gloucestershire
Get gnarly at The Wave, a £25m artificial surfing lake near Bristol. Pumping out 1000 waves per hour using the latest WaveGarden technology. You won’t find another place quite like it in the county. Book a 1.5 hour beginners lesson (£50) and learn the basics with a surf teacher on hand, or rock up and surf away if you are a bit of a pro. The Clubhouse has a stunning terrace to watch the action from and delicious burgers.
Cattle Country Park, Berkeley
This popular adventure destination is packed with things to do, from toddlers to teens. They can get up close with calves, pigs and alpacas and pack the swimming stuff and let the them loose in the waterplay area, summer splash pool and covered beach, which are all included in the ticket price. Don’t leave without trying to scale the giant climbing net. One for those without wobbly knees methinks.
Llama trekking, Newent
Visit a llama farm in Newent for an unforgettable experience. You can either be a Llama Farmer for a day or choose an afternoon trekking experience. You’ll have your own llama and get to groom them before leading them through fields and woodland with breathtaking views. Before you leave you’ll have chance to meet the resident pigs and feed them too. The whole experience lasts approx three hours with afternoon tea included and is perfect for ages eight upwards.
South Cerney Outdoor, Cirencester, Glos
This brilliant outdoor water sports hub is the place to head all year round for water fun. Book onto the Sailing and Discovery Club courses. Operating on a smaller 1:5 instructor ratio they can try out their sea legs with Sailing, Windsurfing, SUP. For 8+ years. Pay & Play booking is also open again – just pre-book then rock up for a go on the kayaks, canoes and paddle boards.
The Jet Age Museum, Gloucester
This under-the-radar museum is completely free to visit and is home to some really cool things. As well as the UK’s first ever jet and fighter jet, you can take a cockpit tour and learn all about the history of plane restoration. There’s a little cafe and shop and picnic tables outside.
Birdland, Bourton on the Water
It may be in one of the most visited places in the Cotswolds but Birdland is well worth a visit. See the brand new for 2022 penguin play enclosure, book in for a penguin feeding experience and then meet over 500 other birds from magical owls, large cassowary and rare species to flamingos, emus and more over 50 aviaries. Plus there is a fun Jurassic Journey trail that little kids will love.
Corinium museum, Cirencester
This award-winning museum located in the heart of gorgeous Cirencester has one of the largest collections of Roman artefacts in the UK. A bright and modern gallery there are loads of fun interactive things to do, as well as Prehistoric tools, Roman mosaics, Anglo Saxon grave goods, Medieval sculpture and even Rusty the Iron Age Dog!