The Cotswolds in the spring is undeniably beautiful, with a stunning landscape just waiting to be explored and an excitable buzz filling the honey-hued streets as knowledge spreads that summer is on its way, there almost isn’t a better time to visit. And with May half term quickly approaching, get ready to make the most of a week with the family – ditch plane tickets and check-ins and instead pack your wellies and picnic blankets ready for a Cotswold spring half-term adventure. But where do you start with so much to see and do?
We have compiled a list of activity-based attractions and locations for you to consider that are bound to impress all the family. Don’t forget to view our selection of cottages available for May half term – with everything from cosy cottages, to sprawling country homes with enclosed gardens, there is something to please all involved.
This exceptional visitor attraction should be on everybody’s hit list. Situated amongst 152 individual lakes, nature reserves and acres of woodlands and parklands, there are so many activities on offer for just about everybody, young and old. Try your hand at sailing, windsurfing, climbing, cycling, angling, archery, birdwatching and walking. There’s even a beach to unwind on if you fancy a quiet day!
Become a precision bowman or archer with a course at The Cotswold Range. This is a great day out for some edgy fun in purpose-built facilities. You can also get tutored in the use of air rifles in their 10-metre lanes. Archery GB and NSRA qualified instructors offer a memorable experience with courses tailored for you and your group. Located between Cirencester and Swindon, this is a superb way to discover a new hobby.
Watersmeet Lake Vista
Positioned right in the heart of the Cotswold Water Park, this beautiful apartment is a great base for a family holiday, and the perfect spot for becoming a paddle board pro. The 152 lakes provide a wonderful view for guests staying in the apartment, especially when you make the most of the beautiful balcony area and dine alfresco. There is a plethora of amenities nearby in Tetbury and Cirencester, as well as lots of other fun sites to explore after you’ve mastered all the activities at the water park, right on your doorstep.
Sample train travel from 50 years ago with the impressive steam and diesel heritage railway situated in the heart of the English Cotswolds. Everyone will enjoy letting their imagination run wild as you embark on a 29-mile round trip from Broadway to Cheltenham racecourse, with glorious views of the countryside around. Most trains are fully equipped with buffet facilities, and there is also a lovely café at the Toddington stop, perfect for when you need to refuel.
Sleeps: 6 and 2 dogs
Tewkesbury is a stunning place to visit in springtime, brimming with blossom and stunning events, and there is nowhere better to stay than the cosy, yet spacious, Rosemead. Stepping off the street of this quintessential village, you are greeted with stripped pine doors leading to the cosy lounge area and further on into the snug. The kitchen is wonderfully equipped with a Rayburn while a lovely glazed conservatory makes the perfect spot for a morning coffee with the spring sunshine beaming in.
Check out our full collection of cottages in Gloucester for even more choice.
Perfect for families of varying ages, this fascinating wildlife park gives you the chance to get face-to-face with giraffes, watch rhinos graze on the manor house lawns and walk beside adorable little lemurs. On spring days, the stunning gardens and themed borders provide a beautiful backdrop to the animals, with some visitors even describing the arrangements as ‘Theatre with plants’!
Some very cool customers await you at the Crocodiles of the World zoo, the only one of its kind in the UK. It is home to saltwater and freshwater variants of the species. Enjoy great educational fun with a twist for fans of the toothiest and most fearsome reptiles! There are also monitor lizards doing the rounds at the park as well as some furry meerkats – plus a keeper experience is available for visitors that wish to get a closer look at the crocodiles and alligators.
Widford Mill Cottage
This gorgeous cottage is perfectly placed in the peaceful hamlet of Widford, sitting right next to the River Windrush. The former fulling mill has been beautifully restored to provide a warm welcome the minute you enter – with a gorgeous, cosy lounge area and a fabulous kitchen/diner, it’s a great spot for entertaining the whole crowd.
You can find even more great cottages in Burford to choose from among our full collection.
Near to Chipping Norton
Perhaps more suitable for the littlest members of your crew, this sensory wonderland has a magical surprise around every corner – watch mice go about their daily business in the beautifully-crafted model village or race a rubber duck along the pump-powered waterway. There certainly is no shortage of wacky and fun things to do at this fabulous family attraction!
Explore everything from the Jurassic period, right through to the Anglo-Saxons and Victorians at this large 18th-century house in the heart of historic Woodstock. The garden café is the perfect place to meet friends and stock up on provisions before making your way around the exhibitions, and when you’re done browse the gift shop that sells everything from souvenirs to educational toys!
The perfect place for a special occasion, Pineapple Spa greets you with a grand Georgian façade that evolves into a stunning, chic interior. Take in the magnificent high ceilings and exquisite chandeliers while roaming about what was once the smallest spa in England. One of the highlights would have to be the magnificent free-standing copper bath – once the kids are in bed, sit back, relax with a glass of something lovely and enjoy your beautifully peaceful surroundings after a day of fun.
You can also find more great places to stay amongst our full range of Chipping Norton cottages.
We hope this guide leaves you feeling suitably inspired to experiment with a staycation this May half term - the Cotswolds is certainly not short of activities and is the perfect spot for holidaying as a family! Why not have a browse of more of our holiday cottages that are available for May half term? From honey-coloured cottages to contemporary suburban family houses, there is a property for everyone.