Worried about how you are going to entertain your kids over the six-week summer holidays without spending a fortune? Below you will find 50 ideas handpicked by me, a local mum, for summer holiday fun in Gloucestershire. The events and activities are divided into FREE EVENTS, BUDGET IDEAS that won’t break the bank, DAYS OUT and RAINY DAY ideas. (Fingers crossed you won’t need these but it’s always good to be prepared!)
I will continue to add events to this list throughout the summer holidays so please share with your local friends, bookmark this page and keep checking back for summer holiday ideas. (Last updated 6th August).
**Please click-through the links to the attraction websites for specific details and to check dates/details have not changed before you travel**
Free summer holiday events Gloucestershire
Glos Old Spots Trail – Gloucester City – Until 31st August
The Royal Three Counties Show Gloucestershire Old Spot Trail Starring ‘Henson Pig’ will be taking place until end of August. Expanding on the success of last year’s Scrumpty Trail, there will be twenty sculptures in the city with an additional twenty around the county. Also taking place in Gloucester city free family treasure trail (until 30th Sept).
Pick your own fruit – Various locations in Gloucestershire
Picking fruit is a fun activity for all ages! We are fortunate to have a choice of farms to visit in Gloucestershire including Primrose Vale, Hayles Fruit Farm and Over Farm Market. Entrance free, just pay for the fruit you collect.
Free fun at the Cathedral – Gloucester Cathedral – Every Thursday
Join the Cathedral staff from 1.00pm – 3.00pm every Thursday in the school summer holidays for themed, free family fun activities including storytelling, crafts and role play. Details of each week’s activities available here.
St James City Farm – Gloucester – Open all summer
A taste of the countryside in the heart of the city of Gloucester. Run as a community project by a charity. Kids will love meeting the local animal residents (and you will love the free entrance!) Monday to Sunday 9.30am to 5pm. Donations very welcome. Click here to read a review of the farm by local mum.
Free play sessions – Various playgrounds around Glos – Various dates until 1st Sept
Join the Play Rangers by Play Gloucestershire for free fun and outdoor play in all weathers. The The activities are targeted at 7-14 year olds although under 7’s are welcome and should be accompanied by a parent or carer. The range of activities include active play, den building, fires, arts and crafts, informal sports and games. Play sessions are taking place at playgrounds across Gloucestershire from Cirencester to Bredon, Forest of Dean to Stroud.
Paws in the Park – Pittville Park, Cheltenham – Sun 6th August
Lots of doggy themed fun taking place on the lawn in front of Pittville Pump Room. Kids will love the terrier racing, Cotswold Canine Athletics and bouncy castles. Refreshments available. 11am to 5pm. Free with charges for specific activities.
Free Wild Play Sessions – Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust – Various venues & dates
The Wildlife Trust host free wild play sessions for kids throughout the summer holidays, all with a different theme and based in various locations including Robinswood Hill Country Park, Cannop Bridge Marsh Reserve and Crickley Hill, Birdlip.
Go Wild at Greystones Farm – Greystones Farm – Sun 13th Aug
Join Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust for one of their largest events of the summer holidays. Activities include wildlife crafts and activities, welly wrangling, archeology activities, nature trails, archery, storytelling and orienteering. 11am – 4pm. Free to attend.
Gloucestershire & Herefordshire Canal Festival – Gloucester – 19th & 20th Aug
Head to The Wharf House, Over Basin and Vineyard Hill stretch of restored canal, for a whole host of family fun. Previous events have featured live music, good food, heritage boat processions, rides, a fire brigade display and much more. 11am – 5pm Sat & Sun. Free event.
Stroud Fringe Festival – Venues throughout Stroud – Fri 25th to Sun 27th August
This year marks the 21st anniversary of the Stroud Fringe Festival, a free music and arts festival with four official stages, parades, street entertainment, creative children’s workshops and great food and drink on the Stroud Fringe Food Street. Independent venues all over town celebrate the festival with their own events – the town really comes alive!
Bourton Football in the River – Bourton-on-the-Water – Mon 28th Aug
A popular annual event which has seen the villagers play football in the River Windrush for over 70 years! The event attracts hundreds of spectators who line the river banks and cheer for their team. A village fete is usually held from 11am, with the unique football match kicking-off at around 4pm.
Budget summer holiday events Gloucestershire
Fun at the beach – Cotswold Water Park, South Cerney – Open all summer
We may live in the middle of the UK but we can still give our kids the opportunity to enjoy beach fun! Cotswold water park is in fact the largest inland beach in the UK. Kids will enjoy building sand castles, playing in the adventure playgrounds, water sports, lakeside walks and crazy golf. New for this year AquaVenture obstacle course (£15 per person per session must be at least 6 years old and able to swim). Summer opening times 10am – 6pm (subject to change, check website). Admission – Car with up to 5 people £15. (Alternatively in nearby Evesham, Worcs check out The Beach @ The Valley. Entrance and use of the giant sand pit is FREE of charge).
The Model Village – Bourton-on-the-Water – Open all summer
Although not as well-known as other local attractions, the Model Village is a great place to take youngsters who will enjoy peering into the many tiny house and shop windows and listening to the choir sing in the model church. The Model Village is a one-ninth scale replica of the beautiful Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water. Why not take along bread for the ducks and a picnic and spend a full day in the village. Admission – Adults £3.60, children 3-13 £2.80. Click here to read a review by local mum of two girls.
Cotswold Lavender – Broadway – Last day Sunday 6th August
Check out the stunning vibrant lavender fields before lavender farm closes on the 6th August. After exploring the fields and taking lots of photos check out the lavender cakes, ice cream and tea in the tea shop! £3.50 per adult, £2.50 per child 5+. Click here to read our review from 2016.
Summer Art Activity Days – Nature in Art – 26th July to 1st September
Throughout the school holidays Nature in Art run a range of themed activity days for children. Each workshop interprets that theme using age appropriate materials and techniques. £6 per child, includes free entry for one accompanying adult. Various times, booking required.
Big Batsford Bug Hunt – Batsford Arboretum – 1st to 31st August
Find the creepy crawlies hidden around the Arboretum and mark their locations on the map provided to win a prize! The bug hunt costs £2.50 per child plus Arboretum admission fee – adults £7.95 and children (4-15) £3.50.
Westonbirt Arboretum – Westonbirt, near Tetbury – Open all summer
Follow the family trails in the Old Arboretum (dog-free) or Silk Wood (dog-friendly). Help to solve the mystery of a sickly beech. Find a different suspect at each stop and make your verdict by the end! Make sure you pick up a Family Activity Map from the Welcome Building upon arrival. Admission – Adults £10, kids free (26th July – 31st Aug). Click here for our tips for visiting Westonbirt.
Glos Vintage & Country Extravaganza – South Cerney Airfield – 4th to 6th Aug
The 43rd annual show promises to be a fun filled weekend. Previous events have included demonstrations from steam to dancing tractors, a fun fair, live sheep shearing, dog agility course, vintage displays of over 600 classic vehicles and kids entertainment. Admission – Adults from £5.20, children from £3.20. Book online for discounted tickets.
Gloucestershire Fun Day – Newlands Park, Cheltenham – Sat 19th & 20th Aug
For the first time this event is now over two days! Kids will enjoy watching the circus, fun fair rides, live characters, shows, music, donkey rides, helicopter rides (weather permitting), cooking demos and land train. 11am – 5pm. £2 entry per adult, under 12’s free.
Winchcombe Country Show – Winchcombe Senior School Field – 28th August
Lots for families including the motor cycle stunt trail display team, dog demonstrations, and trying out guiding a sheep dog around an agility course! Other entertainment includes Morris Dancers, go-karting, street entertainment, face painting and much more. The procession will start at 11.30am from the Abbey Field Centre in Back Lane. Show starts at 12.00 noon. Admission – Adults £4, children under 16 £2, family ticket £10 (2 adults & up to 3 children).
Puzzlewood – Forest of Dean
Puzzlewood is a unique and enchanting place, which has been used many times as a film set for blockbuster movies. Kids will enjoy exploring a mile of pathways, with their fantastic tree and rock formations, through this 14 acre ancient woodland. Admission £6.50 adults, £5.50 children 3+. Click here to read our review and tips for visiting Puzzlewood.
Kids Activity Classes – Various locations
Many kids classes finish for the summer holidays but a few are offering summer holiday sessions including Jo Jingles (14th August in Coates, 18th August in Stoke Orchard), Mini Professors and Pyjama Drama.
Cheltenham Science Group – Science Centre, Cheltenham
A full summer holiday programme taking place including weekly fun experiments on ‘Friday Fun Day,’ art workshops on ‘Be Creative Thursdays’ and ‘Gears and Cars’ at the Bugatti Trust on 5th & 6th August. Free for kids 0-4, £2 over 4 and £7.50 per family.
Rainy day summer holiday events Gloucestershire 2017
These attractions can obviously be visited in all weathers but they are particularly good wet weather attractions.
The Wilson Art Gallery, Cheltenham
Take shelter from the rain! Entrance to the Wilson is free and they also have free arts and crafts for children. Look out for the Art Cart – jam-packed with free activities for kids to help themselves to. On the following Wednesdays in the holidays they are running craft sessions – August 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 from 10.30am – 12.30pm and 1.30 – 3.30pm. Price £2.20. Best for 3-10 years and adults. No need to pre-book.
Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury
Shelter from the rain (or take a break from the sun!) at Roses Theatre. Lots of family friendly productions this summer including Dog’s Don’t Do Ballet (22nd Aug) and various films inc. Beauty & the Beast Singalong (6th Aug).
Dean Heritage Centre, Forest of Dean
With 20,000 artefacts to discover in five galleries, the Dean Heritage Centre is a great place to head to if it is wet outside. Kids will learn about archaeology, industry (coal mining and iron making), transport, childhood history, music and costume. Summer programme running from 31st July – 1st September including Ferret Foraging which is great fun! Click here for our review and tips for visiting DHC.
Museum in the Park, Stratford Park, Stroud
Check out the grade II listed 17th Century wool merchant’s mansion house and let your kids explore dinosaur bones and the numerous rooms which contain interactive fun and toys. The museum has many summer holiday activities planned including family trails, Fossil Fridays and treasure workshops. Free entrance, some activities have a small charge.
Cotswold Motoring Museum, Bourton-on-the-Water
Check out the vintage car collections, classic cars, motorcycles, caravans, original enamel signs and collection of motoring curiosities. Open daily 10am – 6pm. Adults £5.75, kids (4-16) £4.10.
Cattle Country, Berkeley
Cattle Country Adventure Park offers a full day of fun with a range of attractions from paddling pool, playgrounds, animal petting and feeding, tractor trailor rides and bouncy pillows. With two indoor play areas, animal barn and huge beach barn it is the perfect place to visit on a rainy, wet day. The summer holidays programme runs until Sunday 3rd September and includes falconry demos, Punch & Judy shows, magic shows and balloon modelling. Click here for our review and tips for visiting Cattle Country
Perrygrove Railway, Forest of Dean
Enjoy a ride through farmland and woods onboard a steam train. Kids will also enjoy the Treetop Adventure (an outdoor attraction) and Indoor Village which has five houses connected by secret passages – the perfect place for a game of hide and seek and provides hours of fun in all-weather! Click here for our review and tips for visiting Perrygrove Railway.
Clearwell Caves, Forest of Dean
Shelter from the rain by exploring the nine large caverns of Clearwell Caves. Learn about how the iron mines were an important part of the area’s history. Open daily in the summer holidays 10am – 5pm.
Jet Age Museum, Gloucester
Little plane fans will love exploring the Jet Age Museum and sitting inside a real Vulcan bomber cockpit pretending to be a pilot! The museum is run by friendly and enthusiastic volunteers. Entrance is free (donations very much appreciated). During the summer holidays the museum is open Wednesdays and weekends 10 – 4pm.
Hobbycraft free arts and crafts sessions, Cheltenham & Gloucester
Pop along to your local Hobbycraft store for free arts and crafts sessions including ceramic painting and make and take binoculars. Check out the Cheltenham page and Gloucester page for dates and details. (Scroll to bottom of page).
Days out: Summer holiday events Gloucestershire 2017
Berkeley Castle – Berkeley – Summer Holiday Fun
Berkeley Castle is offering a packed itinerary throughout the school holidays. A story-teller will be entertaining on Mondays, Jester circus skills on Tuesdays, Archery sessions on Wednesdays. Also lots taking place on Sundays including sword fighting and falconry displays. All activities are included in the entrance fee. **The Family Fun Day takes place 6th August and Grandparents go free every Monday throughout summer holidays! Click here for our review and tips for visiting Berkeley Castle.
Sudeley Castle – Winchcombe – Children’s Wednesdays
The annual Children’s Wednesdays return over the summer holidays to entertain the whole family. General admission includes history and time travel shows, giant games, adventure playground, a bouncy castle and on alternate weeks there will be Punch n Judy shows (26 July, 2nd August and 23rd August) or The Music Man (9th August, 16th August and 30th August). Performances at 11.30am and 2.30pm.
Cotswolds Farm Park – Guiting Power – Open daily (Maize Maze opening August)
The farm park has recently reopened with a new animal barn and in August a brand new Maize Maze will be opened. All of the old favourite daily activities go ahead over the summer unchanged i.e. bottle feeding, animal demos, farm safari’s and sheep show. Click here for our tips for visiting Cotswolds Farm Park
WWT Slimbridge – Slimbridge – Dusty’s Wildlife Rangers
In addition to the regular attractions including Welly Boot Land and Flamingo Land, kids can visit Slimbridge this summer and become a Wildlife Ranger. Activities include giant nest-building, ranger survival camp and building a mini raft. Taking place until the 3rd September. Click here for a recent review by local mum of Dusty’s Wildlife Rangers and our tips on visiting WWT Slimbridge.
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway – Toddington/Winchcombe – Teddy Bear Tuesdays
Teddy Bear Tuesdays are a popular annual event that take place every Tuesday in August. Ride the Teddy Bear railcar special from Toddington or Winchcombe. Normal fares apply and include a free railway fun activity book and crayons & children’s quiz. Take a teddy and enjoy a teddy bears picnic on the grass at Winchcombe Station or, if it’s wet, join in the fun in the waiting room or on the railcar. Click here for our review of Teddy Bear Tuesday.
Dean Forest Railway – Forest of Dean – Paddington Bear & Thomas the Tank Engine
Kids are spoilt for choice at Dean Forest Railway this summer. Paw Patrol are visiting 5th & 6th August and Thomas the Tank Engine is visiting 18th – 20th August! Tickets for these special events need to be booked in advance. Normal services also run throughout the summer holidays.
Elton Giant Maize Mazes – Newnham-on-Severn
Let your kids burn off energy in the three Fantastic Beasts themed giant mazes. Don’t miss the activities maze which is a cross between a Maze, a Rustic Adventure Playground and a Wild Garden with 2.5 km of paths. Perfect for kids who like to run, hide, shout, climb, swing and work as a team to navigate tricky areas! Admission – Various prices from adults £6.50, under 16’s £5, family ticket £20 (£35 for a combined entry for all mazes).
Family attractions located a short drive from Glos
Stratford-upon-Avon – Various attractions all located in town centre
Plenty to keep kids of all ages entertained in the nearby riverside town including visiting Stratford Butterfly Farm, the MAD Museum, Royal Shakespeare Company attractions and a river cruise. Check out our 11 of the BEST things to do with kids in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Warwick Castle – Warwick
Enjoy medieval madness at Warwick Castle this summer. There is lots of family fun planned including a new War of the Roses battle, jousting and a new Horrible Histories live show. Click here for our tips for visiting Warwick Castle
Cotswold Wildlife Park, Burford, Oxfordshire
In addition to the daily activities such as penguin & lemur feeding, a train ride around the park, and children’s farmyard the wildlife park have a series of special events on over the summer holidays including Rhino Month (August). Click here for our tips for visiting Cotswold Wildlife Park
All Things Wild – Honeyborne, Evesham
An all-weather family attraction which offers a diverse range of activities that suits all ages including a land train, dinosaur exhibitions, animal encounters, indoor beach play area, a new huge soft play area and various playgrounds. Extra activities being run over the summer holidays. Click here to read a review by local mum.
At-Bristol Science Centre – Bristol
With hundreds of hands-on exhibits to explore, live shows and a Planetarium, At-
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta – Ashton Court Estate – 10th to 13th August
Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons, attracting over 150 Hot Air Balloons from across the globe. Alongside the fantastic sight of hot air balloons filling the skies, there are stands, fairground rides and entertainment. Free event with a charge for parking.
Useful articles & websites:
For daily summer holiday ideas check out this fab Facebook group – Entertaining Kids on a Budget (see pinned post at top of page).
Going further afield over the hols? Check out recommendations from mums in the know featuring the Best UK Family Friendly Attractions from Cornwall all the way to Scotland!
Check out 10 of the Best Family Festivals taking place this Summer (2017) including Lakefest (Eastnor Castle), The Big Feastival (Cotswolds) and Campo Sancho (Herefordshire).
Useful guide by fellow local bloggers, Lewis Loves – A to Z Guide to the Cotswolds.
Pin for later use –
**Please click on the links above prior to travel as dates and activities may change. Some events listed need to be booked in advance**
Where are you heading to for summer holiday events Gloucestershire 2017? Please share your recommendations and tips below!
All images copyright Travel Loving Family.