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The Cotswold area is infamous in the United Kingdom, known for its rolling hills, honey-coloured cottages, village churches and cobbled streets, certainly giving any abroad holiday destination a run for its money!
The Cotswolds have rich history, with parts dating back to Roman Britain. It's a cornucopia of culture, with plenty of family-friendly holiday activities and destinations to keep you and the kids busy. It's definitely a must-visit location and offers something for everyone, whether it's the city of Bath with all it's vibrant streets and restaurants, or the sleepy village of Bibury for those who want to spend their holiday relaxing and unwinding, taking in the countryside views.
The Cotswolds is often known as 'The Heart of England', and with such charm and 'Englishness', it's no wonder it's a popular hot spot for British and foreign tourists alike who want to soak up some traditional British character and culture. Take a read below at some of the different Cotswold locations we think are perfect for any family-friendly holiday to really make the most of summer.
If you're looking for an idyllic, quintessentially Cotswold family-friendly holiday, then Cirencester, the capital of the Cotswolds is the place for you! It's a market town set in the heart of Gloucestershire, packed with art, culture and vibrancy which the family are bound to love. The recently renovated church that sits proudly in the centre of Cirencester is a local landmark which adds to the charm and beauty of the place.
There's plenty to keep little ones and adults entertained alike too. Restaurants and cafes make up a large part of the town, with plenty to keep parents busy during the day. Also, check out the New Brewery Arts Centre which plans to reopen soon, and hosts a vast range of art and crafts activities and exhibitions that the whole family can get involved with. Also, only a short drive away there's the Cotswold Water Park, an incredibly child-friendly and pet-friendly day out filled with 170 lakes, beautiful water sidewalks, beaches and water sports for the more brave members of the family! There's also camping spots and waterside lodges to rent here too. It's opened it's doors again so definitely worth a visit!
However, for those who prefer to stay in a hotel in the heart of the town, The Fleece hotel has an amazing central location. As a converted old coaching inn there's plenty of character, with rooms at a reasonable price too, and twin rooms available for children. It's now taking bookings.
Burford is a stunning Cotswold town not too far from Oxford. With a beautiful high street boasting amazing views it's a must-see during your visit. With Anglo-Saxon history there's plenty of charm and character, making it a perfect Cotswold holiday location. It was also voted the 6th best place to live in Europe by Forbes magazine in 2010, so definitely the place to go to!
Burford makes for an incredible family holiday location, with plenty to do. There are so many shops, tea rooms, pubs and restaurants to explore along the high street, with one of our favourites being The Windrush Inn, a cosy pub with great food and atmosphere.
Accommodation is readily available in Burford too, with a cottage being a popular choice among visitors to the area. Sykes Holiday Cottages is taking bookings now and offer plenty of child-friendly and pet-friendly self-catering options too in amazingly convenient locations around Burford.
As one of the highest Cotswold towns in the United Kingdom, Stow on the Wold boasts incredible scenery. It's a quintessentially Cotswold area full of antique centres, cute cottage settlements, farmland and farmer's market on the first Thursday of every month.
The Old Stocks Inn makes a great option to both eat and stay, with family rooms for children readily available, and also Parson's Barn, a beautiful self-catering cottage that sleeps 6 and is also perfect for pets. It reopens soon with a reduced service to ensure safety, so is a perfect summer family holiday option if you plan to visit the Stow on the Wold area.
Malmesbury is a beautiful, medieval and historic market town on the edge of Gloucestershire which boasts a bustling high street, Abbey, river walks and gardens. It truly highlights what The Cotswolds has to offer, and has plenty to offer for both adults and children.
The famous Abbey House Gardens are definitely worth a visit during your stay, with stunning landscaped lawns and sculpture trail, featured on many UK TV shows. The gardens also welcome pets on leads so it really is the perfect family-friendly day out. The Abbey itself in Malmesbury is a must-visit area of the town, with grand columns and arches, not to mention the famous tale of Elmer the flying monk which your kids will love hearing. King Athelstan is also buried here so is great for any history lovers.
Why not try Whatley Manor? Located just outside Malmesbury it's one of the few Cotswold hotels with a pool, spa and hot tub. Set in breathtaking country grounds surrounded by Cotswold farmland, Whatley Manor is a truly unique experience. The spa offers a sauna, hot tub, steam room and pool which everyone will love.
If a city buzz is more what you're looking for, then Bath is the perfect Cotswolds location. If the idea of staying in a quiet country cottage seems less like your ideal trip, then Bath offers a brilliant medium between the business of a city and the relaxing nature of a Cotswolds town. With amazing Georgian architecture including the famous Royal Crescent, there's so much to do. There are child-friendly activities including mini-golf, play parks and a vast shopping area to keep the kids busy. The Roman Baths are worth a visit too, to really be immersed in Bath's Roman history. Adults are spoilt for choice by the array of bars and restaurants. The Botanist boasts an amazing cocktail bar and terrace to enjoy those summer evenings.
Z Hotel Bath is a great option for accommodation, with a very central location with reasonable prices. Or Bath Self Catering offers a variety of cottage stays with options for pets too.
Set in a pretty riverside location, this truly is the 'Venice of The Cotswolds'. Nestled next to the River Windrush, it has a small-town charm that attracts many visitors every year.
The Birdland Park and Gardens is great for any animal lover, holding a large variety of exotic birds. There's also a great mix of shops and boutiques to satisfy your shopping needs, with shop-fronted cottage windows to add to the charm. The town is surrounded by a nature reserve and farmland so it really does feel like you can escape it all.
For accommodation, Character Cottages offer some great self-catering cottage options, with some allowing pets to stay too.
A larger, but by no means less beautiful Cotswolds town, Cheltenham is somewhere you may have heard from the famous Cheltenham races that take place usually every year. On the edge of The Cotswolds, Cheltenham is a regency town with a vibrant buzz about it. With shops, long regency streets and even Michelin starred restaurant, it was voted one of the best places to live in the South West 2020 by the Sunday Times.
The Montpellier district is a must-visit area of the town, with wine bars and brasseries aplenty, not to mention the famous gardens, perfect for a family picnic. The Queens Hotel sits on the promenade near the train station with a Royal history, offering boutique rooms and a unique central stay.
For a quieter, idyllic holiday stay, Bibury is a beautiful Cotswolds village with charm and history. Described by artist William Morris as "the most beautiful village in England", it's no wonder it's a tourist trap, and for good reason! With surrounding farmland, it truly is a country escape. The cottages on Arlington Row are an iconic Cotswold snapshot found in many magazines, so definitely worth getting a photo in front of during your stay. The famous trout farm is also a great place to visit, selling lots of homemade goods too. There's plenty of hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation options in Bibury. Arlington Mill is a popular option and a unique stay in a mill house on the edge of the river. Pets are allowed too.
Tetbury epitomises the Cotswolds and all its English charm. With Georgian architecture and countryside surroundings, it's a stunningly small market town which offers a great contrast between busy and quiet. The 17th-century market house is a local landmark, with markets held regularly selling everything from plants to sheep rugs. Highgrove, the home to Prince Charles and Camilla lies just outside Tetbury too, with the Highgrove shop situated in town selling homemade honey and jams from the estate.
As well as the bustle of the town, there's plenty to do nearby for outdoor adventurers. Westonbirt Arboretum is now open, with a vast and beautiful forest landscape to explore. Take a picnic with the kids and sit amongst the ancient oaks. In keeping with the outdoors theme, if camping holidays are more up your street, then check out camping at the Holford Arms in Tetbury. With a large campsite set in a pretty vegetable garden, there are electricity hookups to make your stay comfortable. There are even glamping options with king-sized beds too!
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