The screen-free summer guide
The summer holidays are one hell of an undertaking. Brain-frying childcare logistics, off-the-scale laundry, trying to Zoom the boss with rampaging children as your backdrop. Add to that the joys of a semi-locked down world and the prospect of six weeks can feel like a lifetime.
Don’t hold a Diploma in Clown Artistry? Or the patience of a saint? Then it’s time to up your game … Un-glueing the kids from their ipads takes Olympian-level effort in the hols, but it can be done.
We’ve curated 25 of the best summer camps, courses and workshops across Glos & Worcs to make even the most reluctant of child-rebels want to leap out of bed each morning. That’s 42 days totally covered (thank us later). Read on and book them in pronto!
Run ‘n Roar
Summer’s looking like a whole ball bag of fun over at Tag Trojans in Cheltenham. This multi-sport outdoor activity camp and Tag Rugby club runs from Mon 13 July to Fri 28 August and everyone is welcome between the ages of 3 to 8 and all ability levels.
We love the sound of Move It Monday (fun fitness), Wacky Wednesday (fancy dress and music) and Teamwork Thursday (relay races and games).
Teens will like the tailor-made Teen Active Camp which shifts it up a gear with anyone 15 and over able to join the Rookie Academy where they can learning coaching skills.
Sports-fans are well catered for at the summer coaching sessions at Activate Camps in Worcester. They may not be running full summer camps this year but you can still book in for 90 minute morning or afternoon sessions for ages 7 to 13+ for £30. The fun and games take place at the Tom Savage Sports Hall in Upper Tything, Worcester throughout July and August.
Just Camps are taking registration now for their brilliant fun and fitness summer jamborees. Operating in ‘weekly bubbles’ to keep everyone super-safe, they are currently accepting full week (Mon-Fri) bookings.
There’ll be loads of games and sports on tap for ages four to 16, including extra outdoors activities to keep the fresh air pumping. You’ll find them in Bishops Cleeve in Cheltenham, Churchdown and Brockworth in Gloucester and Tockington in Bristol.
Homelife may have felt like Lord of the Flies for the past (lost count) weeks, so why not channel all that energy into the great outdoors for the summer.
Cotswold Forest School in South Cerney opens on 21 July and workshops will be split into two sessions, one in the morning from 10am to 12pn and one from 1pm to 3pm. Each half day session costs £14 per child with the option of booking a full day for £30.
The daily schedule looks pretty amazing to us; Tracking Skills, Woodland Shelter Building, Whitling Warrier Staffs and much more, and summer courses run until 27 August.
The swoon-worthy Swallows and Amazons-style setting of Abberley Hall School in Worcester is also the home of XUK Summer camps. These residential summer camps have two cool boarding dorms (age and sex divided) and run in week blocks from Sun 05 July to Sun 16 August.
The ultimate playground for kids – there are 90 acres of amazing grounds to explore, a heated indoor swimming pool and modern sports centre, a Forest School area and more. Costs £720 per week. Available for ages seven to 17.
If you have a budding Blumenthal on your hands then book them into one of the kids’ cookery courses at Daylesford Cookery School. Running throughout July and August kids can try their hand at Budding Chefs for ages 5 to 8 – a fun intro to cooking; Junior Chefs , a three-hour skill-building course for ages 9 to 12 and the brilliant sounding Flying the Nest: Cookery Skills – for the 13 to 19 year olds (plus then they can cook for you! – win win).
We love a visit to Go Ape (nothing makes you feel alive like teetering on a 14m high pole). So why not book them on to the TreeTop Challenge at Go Ape in the Wyre Forest, Worcs. For 10+ years they can swing between the giant Douglas Firs, holler down high rise zip wires and generally have the time of their lives.
Or, head for one of two locations in the Forest of Dean, Glos (Mallards Pike and Beechenhurst) Courses cost £25. The Segway Forest School here is also brilliant fun (all ages, 1 hour)
Skater dudes should also keep their refresh button primed on Rush SkatePark in Stroud. Always a brilliant place to hang out and learn skater skills, it is due to reopen its doors in the first week of August, keep watching their social channels for more news.
Rated Outstanding by Ofsted Camp 4-2-11 is an award-winning holiday club for children aged 3-14. If you’re looking for an alternative to solely sports based camps, then this is the one for you. Take your pick from drama, art, crafts, baking, swimming and loads more.
Located at St Edward’s Senior School in Charlton Kings, Cheltenham and in Gloucester this family-run holiday camp is led by a team of experienced, staff including two pediatric first aid trained staff on duty daily. Prices are £27 standard rate for a full day and £115 for the week. Groups are being kept to small limited numbers so book here now.
If you have a drama queen or comedy king on your hands why not enrol them in the Stagecoach summer workshops. Dates are still being confirmed but head over to their website to register. For ages 4 to 15+ there are venues in Malvern in Worcs, Gloucester, Cheltenham and Cirencester.
Lechlade Craft Barn is reopening for August too – great news for older kids (11+) who love making things. Book into the Bracelet Making workshop on Mon 24 August (£30 including all tools and materials). Just bring your own refreshments and mask if desired. Or, on Fri 7 August try out Mosaic Making (11+) from 9.30am to 12.30pm and costs £40.
Bourton-on-the-Water is the setting for Cotswold Clubhouse, which offers holiday camps for children aged between two and 12 years old. A party-mix of gymnastics, dodgeball, arts and crafts, trampolining, bouncy castle fun, obstacle courses and soft play time.
Sessions run between 10am and 3.15pm with early and late pickup options available, ideal for keeping the kids active during the holidays (and getting some you-time).
Ofsted-registered Atlas Camps offer tremendous value if you need wrap-around care throughout the summer, from £22 for a 9am to 4pm day with late stay and early drop off options.
Opt for one of 17 locations spread across Glos (eg, Tetbury, Fairford and Woodmancote), with loads of space for children to explore and relax in, sports halls for active play, and woodland for sports and games. The camp runs from Tues 21 July to Fri 28 August.
Paddle ‘n Plunge
South Cerney Outdoor at the Cotswold Waterpark is cautiously open again, and you can now book onto its 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.
Virtual camps (yes really!)
OK … so a screen is slightly compulsory for this one, but hey, there are a LOT of weeks to fill! Plus, booking them on this will make you the favourite parent for the rest of time. Stat.
FunTech Create Camp is running virtual camps including 3D Game Design, Coding, Game Developing, Minecraft Engineering aimed at teaching them tech skills in a fun way.
Classes have an average of six kids per camp and run from 20 July through to 28 August for ages seven to 16. Courses are priced £475 and you can use Childcare Vouchers (CCVs) towards it.