10 things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water holiday cottages

10 things to do in Bourton-on-the-Water

Sarah 04 June 2019

With an enchanting appeal and an abundance of charming attractions, it’s not difficult to see why visitors are continuously drawn to Bourton-on-the-Water. Honey-coloured stone buildings house quaint tea rooms whilst unique shops and friendly pubs line the pretty high street. Crossed by picturesque low bridges, the idyllic River Windrush trickles through the middle of the village. Here ducks snooze in the summer sun and visitors watch the world go by from the wooden benches. Bourton-on-the-Water is also packed with wonderful things to do and places to visit - don’t miss a thing during your summer holiday in the Cotswolds.

Challenge yourself to beat The Dragonfly Maze

More than just your typical maze, it won’t just be your legs getting a workout at The Dragonfly Maze, but your brain too! Follow 14 numbered clues around half a mile of hedged pathways and if you reach the middle of the maze with all the correct answers and puzzles solved, finding the Golden Dragonfly should be a piece of cake. A great thing to do with the kids.

Suitable for children? We think so! Feed their curious nature and sense of adventure.  

Admission cost: Adults - £3.00 / Under 12 - £2.50 / Seniors - £2.50 / Under 4’s – FREE / Family (2 adults & 2 children) - £9.00

Dog-friendly? Dogs are not permitted.

Stand tall in the model village

Bourton-on-the-Water Model Village

Cute as a button, the model village is a replica of the charming village of Bourton-on-the-Water as it stood in the 1930s, and one of the village's top places to visit. As you wander across tiny bridges and through little pathways, you will soon see just how much detail has gone into every miniature scene, from real life tiny alpines and trees to mini greenhouses. You will even hear the choir singing in the church and the River Windrush running beneath the iconic stone bridges. 

Suitable for children? Of course! A miniature village is a perfect size for little ones to explore.

Admission cost: Adult - £4.25 / Seniors - £3.75 / Children - £3.25 / Under 3’s Free

Dog-friendly? Four-legged friends will have to sit this one out.

Sample local lager at Cotswold Brewing

Cotswold brewing

Described as ‘classic meets modern German style lager’, Cotswold Brewing Co. has been producing lager for over 10 years in their Bourton-on-the-Water brewery. What’s better than a cool beer brewed completely from scratch, less than a mile from where you choose to sip? Not only that, you can visit the brewery to watch and taste for yourself when you book on to one of their tours and tasting events!

Suitable for children? Probably best to swap this for a trip to Birdland or the Dragonfly Maze.

Admission: Contact [email protected] to find out about tours.

Dog-friendly? Contact to enquire.

Meet Brum at the Cotswold Motoring Museum

Cotswold Motoring Museum

Do you remember the lovable red and yellow superhero car that went by the name of Brum? Well, at the Cotswold Motoring Museum, you can meet him! It was here that his televised escapades began and ended – we think that’s reason enough to visit. In addition, you can wander through seven showrooms packed with vintage car collections, over 45 motorbikes, unique toys, pedal cars and thousands of items of memorabilia. 

Suitable for children? Definitely. While Brum may date back to mum and dad’s era, you can share the magical adventures with your own youngsters.

Admission: Adult - £6.25 / Child - £4.50 (under 16) / Family - £19.75 / School - £4.25 / Group - £5.40 / Under 4’s go FREE.

Dog-friendly? Yes! Your four-legged friend is welcome to come along too.

Learn to make perfume at the Cotswold Perfumery

If it’s good enough for the Royal family, it’s good enough for us. Creators of high-end, bespoke fragrance, the Cotswold Perfumery call Bourton-on-the-Water their home. Stop by the shop on the high street to treat yourself, or go that step further and make your own! Book yourself on to one of the perfumery courses with chief perfumer John Stephen, one of only six independent perfumers in the UK.

Suitable for children? They won’t mind nipping into the store after a visit to Birdland, but the course is more of an adult thing.

Admission: FREE to the shop, but prices vary for Perfume Courses.

Dog-friendly? Your canine may prefer to wait outside.

Enjoy a game of croquet at Chastleton House

Is there anything more quintessentially British than a game of croquet in the grounds of a Cotswold manor house? It was at Chastleton House, now owned by the National Trust, where former resident, Walter Whitmore Jones, first collated the rules of croquet. Visit during the summer and you will find the carefully preserved croquet lawns set up ready for a game.

Suitable for children? Yes, especially during school holidays when there are special activities designed just for children.

Admission: Adult - £10.50 / Child - £6.00 / Family - £27.00 / Group (min 10 adults): £10.50

Dog-friendly? Dogs are allowed on leads in the fields, stable yard and forecourt only.

Meet over 60 species at Birdland

Flamingos at Birdland

When we say Birdland, we don’t just mean the popular everyday garden birds, as beautiful as they are too. Birdland is home to over 60 species of birds including penguins, pelicans, flamingos and ostriches! Join the penguins at feed time, explore 9 acres of gardens and woodland, step back around 65 million years on the Jurassic Journey Trail to discover a whole variety of dinosaurs, meet some of the park’s residents in the encounters area, hatchery and nursery, desert house and even find time to squeeze in a play in the indoor discovery zone. Phew – you had better get there early because you know the kids will want to give everything a try.

Suitable for children? Definitely! The park is well catered for families with little ones of all ages.

Admission: Adult - £10.95 / Child - £7.95 / Senior/Student - £9.95 – save 10% by booking online!

Dog-friendly? Dogs are welcome to join you at Birdland, but they must be kept on a lead. Water bowls are found by the café.

Burn off some energy at Greystones

River Eye at Grey Stones by Mike Boyes
River Eye at Grey Stones by Mike Boyes

A hidden gem for visitors with dogs and energetic children, Greystones is set just outside of Bourton-on-the-Water. This ancient nature reserve is a great solution when you are looking for a year-round attraction. The interactive discovery barn is great fun for little ones, with the chance to dress up in Iron Age clothing and test their knowledge in the wildlife quiz. Outside, you can watch the cows being milked in the Freedom Milker, enjoy a walk by following the marked trails and enjoy lunch in the courtyard café.

Suitable for children? Yes, there’s lots for them to see and do.

Admission: Free!

Dog-friendly? Dogs are welcome at Greystones if they are kept on a lead but are not permitted inside the discovery barn or the café. However, there is a pooch park outside the café with outdoor seating.

Need to know: There is no public parking at Greystones; you need to use the pay and display car park at the coach station on Station Road.

Bourton-on-the-Water Eye Spy Trail

Worried the kids will be asking to leave before you have even parked the car? The Bourton-on-the-Water Eye Spy Trail was made for the kids! This 1.5-mile spy mission treasure trail takes you on a circular route around the village, with a set of sneaky clues for you to crack. Learn about the village’s history and heritage in a way the children will enjoy too.

Price: Buy your Bourton-on-the-Water Spy Mission Treasure Trail online for £6.99.

Suitable for adults? Yes! You don’t need to have the kids with you to follow the treasure trail.

Dog-friendly? Of course, your four-legged friend will be free to explore the trail with you too.

Discover the Bourton Model Railway Exhibition & Toyshop

Channel your inner child with some of the most impressive model railway layouts in the country, covering over 500 square feet. Little ones will be fascinated as over 40 British and continental trains travel through countryside, mountains, industrial and suburban scenes, and adults will remember childhood dreams of longing for such displays.

Suitable for children? Yes, they will be fascinated! But you may find it difficult to remove them from the toy shop…

Admission: Adult - £3.00 / Child - £2.50 / OAP - £2.50 / Family - £9.50

Dog-friendly? Please enquire.

Food in Bourton-on-the-Water: restaurants, cafes and more…

If there’s something you won’t go short on in Bourton-on-the-Water, it’s places to grab a delicious bite to eat. With many cafes, restaurants and pubs, there’s something for everyone. We’ve picked out four of our favourites for a whole day of food in Bourton-on-the-Water. 

  • Breakfast/Brunch: Bourton Riverside Café - As the name suggests, here you can enjoy views over the river and the village green.
  • Lunch: Rose Tree - Serving ‘full-flavoured food from the freshest seasonal produce’, enjoy lunch outdoors beside the river.
  • Afternoon Tea: Smiths of Bourton-on-the-Water - You will struggle to choose from all the delicious cakes on offer here!
  • Dinner: The Mousetrap Inn - A bustling pub with a friendly welcome and a varied menu using as much seasonal and local produce as possible.

Some of our favourite places to stay in Bourton-on-the-Water include:

You can also check out our full collection of Bourton-on-the-Water cottages or cottages for summer in the Cotswolds

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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