Like many people, our Summer plans this year lay firmly in the UK. We flitted between the idea of a break in the Lakes, Wales or the Costwolds, deciding and eventually having a week in the south of England in the beautiful Cotswolds.
The Cotswolds hold a rustic rural charm, have rolling hills, vibrant market towns and picture-perfect villages. Covering 800 square miles of various counties, they have something for everyone; from walks, water sports, shopping and oodles of history. We spent the week at De Vere Cotswold water park in a lovely 2 bed apartment and enjoyed a variety of adventures exploring pockets of this beautiful part of England.
Here are the things we did and the places we visited while spending a week in the Cotswold’s this Summer.
A walk around the lakes
De vere sits nestled in the heart of 152 lakes, so whether you stay here, camp or find an Air bnb near by, a walk around the lakes is a must for beautiful scenery and a connection to nature. We had a lovely afternoon walk around lake 8 (I think it was) and then the next day spent the entire morning back down the side of it padding, playing and following the stream. It was lovely and gleeful for the kids, relaxing and simple, and of course FREE!
Cirencester (often referred to as the Capital of the Cotswolds) was the second largest town in Britain during Roman times and is well worth a visit. It is rich in history and offers lovely buildings and things to do. We actually went a couple of times as it was our nearest town, but here we enjoyed walking around the town and exploring the little streets and market. We looked in the cathedral, the Corinium museum and then headed up to the English Heritage site where you can see the remains of a Roman Amphitheatre.
The Musuem was about £16 for a family ticket and we all really enjoyed it. It offered a journey through the local history, seeing artefacts from Saxon and Roman times, with interactive displays, games and magnificently recovered tiled flooring. We also enjoyed walking down and seeing the remains of one of the largest Roman amphitheatres in Britain, and the kids of course rolled down the hills repeatedly.
Bourton-on-the-Water (and Lower Slaughter)
Bourton-on-the-Water, often referred to as a mini Venice is seriously idyllic. Neighbouring it is Lower Slaughter which is much quieter and equally lovely. These 2 places are what you imagine when you think of and see pics of the Cotswolds. They are beautiful and picturesque. We parked at Bourton-on-the-water, had a picnic by the river, explored, paddled had indulged in scones and ice creams – it was another lovely simple day.
As we left, we drove a few minutes up to Lower Slaughter and enjoyed more paddling and exploring of this much quieter corner of the Cotswolds. I wish I had researched a little more, because there is a footpath that follows the river from Lower Slaughter to Bourton-on-the-Water and it would have been great to walk that and back again for the day.
Also, while we didn’t see it, there is the Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection in Bourton-on-the-Water too and has a vast collection of rare 20th-century cars and nostalgic toys if this is something you would like. Either way, and even just wandering and soaking it up, Lower slaughter and Bourton-on-the-Water are beautiful places that are most definitely worth a visit.
If you find yourself anywhere within a hour to 90 minute vicinity of cheddar gorge, totally make the effort and travel to it. By far one the most amazing natural places in England I have been to.
We drove through the gorge, climbed up the side and sampled some locally made cheddar! It was about 90 mins from where we were staying, but most definitely worth the drive. I plan on writing a post of it’s own, so will go into more details with that one. But, rest assured it was a big highlight of our trip (minus getting drenched).
A day in Bath is lovely and has so many famous historic things to see and do. Initially we planned to have a day there, but instead spent a chunk of our day at Cheddar gorge and just the evening in Bath. We therefore didn’t book anything.
I would have loved to have seen the Baths, and will definitely do that next time we go to Bath, but we still had a lovely evening meandering down the streets and seeing the main sites. Bath would be most appreciated having a full day or even a couple of days to explore – plenty of history, theatre, places to eat and open top bus tours and river cruises.
Lakes galore means there are an array of water sports to participate in. From wild swimming and kayaking, to inflatable obstacle courses and paddle boarding. Of course in the summer season these things book up super fast, but prices are competitive with so many around this area. We hoped to do a couple of water based activities, but ended up only having time (and availability) for one.
An afternoon session of Kayaking was loved by all the kids and Nath and it was great to see them out on the lake before we headed across to Legoland to wrap up our week away.
Cotswolds wildlife park and gardens
Another highlight of the holiday was certainly the day we spent at Cotsolds wildlife park. Here we spent an entire day wandering and admiring some of natures finest creatures. It such a lovely attraction, which I have written about it in more detail here, but if you are in the Cotswold’s then get yourself there, it is ever so lovely and well maintained!
This part of England is stunning. There really is something for everyone, and the best part is that the majority of these activities can be done all year round. So, whether it is a little Winter trip, half term break, or Summer stay cation, the Cotswold’s gets a big thumbs up from us and has plenty to see, do and discover!