What’s On for Kids: Summer 2021 Guide
The summer holidays are one hell of an undertaking. Brain-frying childcare logistics, off-the-scale laundry, and trying to juggle the Zoom mute button. Six weeks can feel like sixty! But not with our funky and fabulous SUMMER GUIDE.
Don’t hold a Diploma in Panto Artistry? Or the patience of a saint? Then it’s time to up your game … wrenching the kids from their ipads takes Herculean effort in the holidays, but it can be done.
Here are 30 of the best days out, workshops, shows, festivals, pop ups and more across Glos & Worcs to keep even the most reluctant toddler to teen happy.
Read on and book these …
60 minute Shakespeare & Picnic, Notgrove Estate, Glos, 20 – 22 August
Cirencester’s award-winning Barn Theatre has teamed up with theatre company Scoot to take over the gardens of Notgrove Manor from 21-22 August for a weekend of outdoor cheeky theatrical family fun. See family-friendly, sixty-minute productions of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Comedy of Errors on the lawns at child-friendly times (12pm). Family tickets cost £35 and you can get a delicious picnic hamper from caterers Relish, available to pre-order with your tickets or on the day get Captain Brown’s Pizza (as well as a gin for you from the HorseShoe Bar – nice!).
Outdoor Theatre, Miserden Garden, Stroud, Sat 17 July
Take them to see some wonderful outdoor theatre with the glorious backdrop of the flower-filled Garden at Miserden. Kick in the Head productions presents ‘Into the Breach’, at 6pm on Saturday 17th July, a comedy Dad’s that’s Dad’s Army meets The Vicar of Dibley! Suitable for all ages, wIth one actor playing all 17 parts it promises to be a hoot. Plus booking the show gets you admission to the amazing garden.
Knight School at Berkeley Castle, Berkley, Glos, throughout August
Ooo and aaah at the ancient skills of sword fighting as accomplished warriors Dressed to Kill descend upon this spectacular Castle to impart their expert knowledge to your budding Lancelot or Guinavere. Watch the Warrior Show on the Lower Lawns each day and fantastic displays of incredible fighting skills. For ages 5 – 12 tickets cost £7.50 in advance. Plus, generally through July and August there’s loads to do here. Every Monday enjoy have-a-go archery on the bowling lawn, and experience exciting archery displays, and every Wednesday fabulous Jester, Monty, will be here to delight and amuse with his wonderful tricks and stunts.
Jousting Tournament, Berkeley Castle, Glos 29 – 30 August
Don’t miss this firm favourite on the Castle’s calendar, as the Knights and their stunning steeds from the Cavalry of Heroes battle it out in a spectacular jousting display in the Castle grounds – complete with incredible saddle stunts! You’ll get a chance to meet the gallant Knights and their horses after each show to ask questions and see their impressive armour and weapons. His majesty, King Henry VIII, will also be in residence along with his six wives and Thomas Cromwell. Their shows in the Castle’s Great Hall will entertain and educate with the best Tudor history lesson they’ll ever have.
Take them for a splash about in either of these fantastic local lidos – complete with slides, tuck shops and heated water! Open throughout the summer.
Sudeley Castle, Cheltenham Glos
Sudeley Castle & Gardens, is now fully open after 15 months for the summer season and is throwing open its treasured castle rooms and Royal Sudeley exhibition for the first time this year. Take them to explore castle rooms and St Mary’s Church where a real queen is buried. There’s 1000 years of history showcased here (see the Trials, Triumphs and Treasures Exhibition and take in the private family castle rooms.) Home to one of the largest collections of rare and endangered pheasants from across the world too, top it off at the adventure playground, with a giant fort and zip wire.
WWT Slimbridge, Slimbridge, Glos, through the summer
Take them for a wonderful day out at the ever-popular Slimbridge Wetland Centre. Feed the ducks, geese and swans, who’ll happily eat right out of their 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 family of otters and harvest mice. Then let off some energy with a splash around at Welly Boot Land and an indoor soft play session!
Cotswold Forest School, South Cerney, Glos
Release your Lord of the Flies tribe into the real wild at Cotswold Forest School in South Cerney. Running brilliant courses and camps throughout July and August 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.
Westonbirt Arboretum, Westonbirt, Glos
This glorious tree-filled day out is perfect for kids. Don’t miss the incredible STIHL treetop walkway which goes through the tree canopy and is pushchair and god friendly!. Wander through the woods 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.
Fantasy Forest, Sudeley Castle, Cheltenham, 16 – 18 July
Transport yourself to a magical realm full of fairytales and enchantment when popular family-friendly festival Fantasy Forest takes over Sudeley Castle this summer. It’s a total jamboree of sci fi and fantastical sights and sounds. The lively three-day event gets underway on Friday 16 July 2021 at 7pm and runs until Sunday 18 July 2021 with a whole host of activities and entertainment set to take place. Take them to see talks by fantasy artists, medieval tournaments, falconry, workshops, the walkabout theatre, costume shows and more.
Medieval performance group The Sherwood Outlaws will be on hand with fight demonstrations, soft archery, storytelling and children’s craft activities and watch out for some very special guests including Terry English (Batman, Harry Potter) and Chris Achilleo, top fantasy book illustrator. Day tickets are £9.99 for children and £18.95 for adults with children under seven going
Gatcombe Park Food and Drink Festival, 30 July – 01 August
Taking place at the spectacular Gatcombe Park in Stroud, this is the first year for this fabulous new festival which promises to be 3 days of fun, live music and much food Dogs are welcome on leads. Under 12s go free and tickets are just £10. Go go go!
Longborough Festival Opera, Moreton-in-Marsh, 01 June – 31 August
Opera for kids? Why not! Glos’s very own opera extravaganza has a new Greatest Showman-vibe venue for 2021: the Big Top. Three of the festival’s 2021 productions will take place in this new venue: Cosi fan tutte, The Return of Ulysses and The Cunning Little Vixen. Perfect for social distancing and summer evenings. Book your ticket to one of these stand-out operas today. There are subtitles on a big screen too, so bring it to life for them.
Tag Trojans, Bournside School, Cheltenham
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 19 July to 13 August and everyone is welcome between the ages of 3 to 8 and all ability levels. Let them get stuck into football, cricket, rounders, games and much more.
Of book on to one of the summer coaching sessions at Activate Camps taking place at Wycliffe School near Stroud. There’s Freestyle Soccer and Hockey Masterclasses as well as Cooking Club between 2 August and 25 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 11 July to 08 August. There are some of the best activities we’ve seen on this one from SUP Paddleboarding to Camp Gadget Making and Air Rifle Shooting! 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.
Family Cook-Together, Daylesford Farm, 25 July
If you have a budding Blumenthal on your hands then book them into one of the kids’ cookery courses at Daylesford Cookery School. We love the sound of
the Family Cooking classes where you’ll get the chance to have some fun in the kitchen togteher and learn some news skills but with no washing up to worry about.
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 . 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)
The Warehouse Climbing Centre, Gloucester
This exciting place has special Activity Tickets for kids over the summer holidays so they can climb and cave to their heart’s content. Check into the Mini-Mice toddler sessions, hour-long sessions that give toddlers a chance to climb up to 6.5 metres and have a go on the touch-sensitive DigiWall, with lights, sounds and interactive games. Or book into the Rock Ratz (7 – 16) and take on the big boulders. All overseen by qualified climbing instructors, the sessions help kids develop fitness and confidence.
Cattle Country Farm Park, Berkeley
This animal-packed day out is always a big hit with kids. They’ll get up close with calves, pigs and even alpacas. Pack the swimming stuff and let the kids loose in the waterplay area and covered beach. There’s also fantastic outdoor toddler areas where little ones can play on rope bridges, tractors and seesaws, all specifically designed for small children.
Camp 4-2-11, Cheltenham and Gloucester, until 27 August
Rated Outstanding by Ofsted these camps are an award-winning holiday club for children aged 3-14 on until 27 August. 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.
Cotswold ClubHouse, Bourton on the Water, 23 July to 27 August
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. Open from 22 July through to 1 September too.
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.
Paddle ‘n Plunge
South Cerney Outdoor, Cirencester, Glos
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.
Or take them for a day at the blissful Cotswold Country Park Beach – the UK’s largest inland pop up beach With brilliant things to do like the inflatable Wibit aqua course, giant swan pedalos, go-karting and one of the best lakeside food shacks we’ve eaten at, you’re in for an amazing day here.
FunTech Create Camp, Glos and Worcs, July – 03 September
Yout tweens or teen will love this.FunTech is running virtual camps including Roblox Design (new for 2021!), 3D Game Design, Coding, Game Developing, Minecraft Engineering, all 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 03 September for ages seven to 16. Courses are priced £475 and you can use Childcare Vouchers (CCVs) towards it.