Should I visit the Cotswolds with my family?
Last week I wrote my perfect itinerary for a quick day in London with little ones and it was really well received. That’s spurred me on to do something I’ve been meaning to do forever – write a blog about why people should visit our area with kids!
The Cotswolds really is the perfect place to visit as a family – there isn’t a day that there isn’t some new incredible reason to back that statement up – Cheltenham is flourishing and the surrounding areas of natural beauty are the perfect backdrop for a refreshing trip to the countryside packed with culture and style. So here’s my roundup….
This blog is ad/affiliate link free – genuine recommendations of how I’d choose to spend a few precious days in my area if I wasn’t lucky enough to call it home.
Cotswolds Family Break – where to stay?
Ok so I’ll give you two options. The first one is an absolute hidden gem you’ll thank me for later.
If you’re choosing to base yourself in the town then Ravenhurst Bed and Breakfast is an absolute no brainer. Located perfectly alongside the iconic (to locals) Pitville Park (home of the best playground in our area), it’s a ten minute walk to all of the shops, restaurants and festivals the town has to offer. It’s also wonderful value for money – the rooms are huge and include one family suite which would be perfect for the larger family (three bedrooms and a huge bathroom), access to a well stocked drawing/games room (with a ping pong table), stunning gardens, off road parking and a delicious, sustainably sourced breakfast. Honestly you can’t fault it and the price is great.
Second option is more rural and seasonal. If you want to wake up to the sounds of nature, have great walks on your doorstep and the option to take a short stroll to a stunning, honey coloured Cotswolds market town then I recommend Campden Yurts in Chipping Campden. With two yurts on offer there are lots of options for different family setups, private bathrooms for each yurt, really excellent facilities for self catering and a pizza oven that the owner, Jane will help you make use of – family pizza nights – imagine that! This one is perfect for the family looking for some free range time in the great outdoors but who (like me) can’t quite face the option of camping.
Cotswolds Family Break – Where to visit?
So I’ve mentioned Pittville Park – great free fun, two really good cafes and a boating lake where you can (seasonally) hire rowing boats for some brilliant Wind in the Willows style fun (just ten minutes walk from the centre of town.)
Also in central Cheltenham be sure to visit The Wilson Museum and take a look at their WOW gallery for children. A little further afield head to Gloucester Docks for a great atmosphere, some history and outlet shopping centre.
Beautiful market towns to stroll around to sap up the idyllic Cotswold feeling would be Broadway, Chipping Campden, Bourton on the Waterm Stow on the Wold, Winchcombe, Burford, Cirencester (probably my favourite) and Painswick. All will have great pubs, cafes and shops.
For picnics and pitstops with amazing grounds to wonder around don’t miss Croome Park, Hidcote Manor Gardens (my favourite place ever), Stanway House and Sudeley Castle (with it’s adventure playground.)
If you can, don’t miss a trip to the incredible Giffords Circus – a stunning, family friendly display of magical creativity and excitement. For a list of their touring dates head to their website. Daylesford Farm Shop is also a wonderful little outing for Mummy – it’s pricey though and not the most peaceful place to take a toddler!
A trip on the vintage steam train from Broadway to Cheltenham Racecourse is also a winner – you can jump on the park and ride bus from the Racecourse into town (or do the journey in reverse).
If it’s a rainy day head to Evesham (not technically the Cotswolds) and check out the Regal Cinema – it’s a restored art deco cinema that offers table service throughout the film! Seating is beautiful red velvet love seats – it’s a great experience. All Things Wild, a small zoo, soft play and dinosaur activity centre is in nearby Honeybourne and is excellent value for money.
Cotswolds Family Break – Where to eat?
In Cheltenham I always recommend Bar and Wok. Think Wagamama but independently run, really family friendly, freshly cooked Chinese food. It’s all fresh and fast so perfect for the toddler with a short attention span. Don’t be put off by the area of Cheltenham it’s in – it’s a hidden gem probably mostly frequented by locals. It opens at 6pm and gets busy so either book or be there for opening.
For a great independent cafe for brunch it’s always Baker and Graze in the Suffolks in Cheltenham (mums don’t miss popping in to Bodega Fashion just over the road while you’re there). The Little Stocks Coffee Shop in Stow on the Wold has always been a great pitstop too. For afternoon tea, a bit of spa action (outdoor pool) and a walk around the incredible grounds make sure you head to the family friendly Cowley Manor.
Cotswolds Family Break – Souvenirs to take home
No trip to Cheltenham or the Cotswolds is complete without a little goody bag of souvenirs to help you remember your time here. Here’s what I wouldn’t leave without.
A bag of Hetty’s Kitchen brownies. The BEST you’ll ever find. Pick them up at Gloucester Services (an attraction all of it’s own!) or Cheltenham’s The Coffee Dispensary.
A bottle of Sibling gin. Distilled in Cheltenham by a group of four brothers and sisters it’s my absolute favourite and you can buy it from most good gin sellers in our area.
A pack of the prettiest eggs you’ll ever find! Cacklebean eggs are as good as they come.
A bottle or two of Dunkerton’s cider. Julian Dunkerton (founder of Superdry amongst many other things) is a bit like marmite around these parts. But you can’t argue that he’s done a lot to put Cheltenham on the map and this cidery established by his parents actually produces a delicious, refreshing taste of the Cotswolds.
So there you have it. Hopefully enough inspiration to fill a perfect family weekend at the very least and a peaceful, fresh air and culture packed week should you want to make a little more of your stay. Be sure to tell all of these incredible local businesses I sent you and enjoy our beautiful area.