50 ideas for summer holiday fun in Gloucestershire 2016

Check out our 2017 Gloucestershire summer holiday guide here – 50 ideas for summer holiday fun in Gloucestershire 2017!

Worried about how you are going to entertain your children 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 (in case this gorgeous weather doesn’t continue!)

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 fun ideas!

**Please click-through the links to the attraction websites for specific details and to check dates/details have not changed before you travel**

50 ideas for summer holiday fun in Gloucestershire

Images – Berkeley Castle, resident goat Cotswold Farm Park, Perrygrove Railway, Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway, flamingos WWT Slimbridge

Free summer holiday fun in Gloucestershire

Beatrix Potter Anniversary Trail – Gloucester City – Until Wed 31st August
Beatrix Potter’s 150th Birthday Treasure Trail is taking place throughout the summer. Pick up a free map from the Gloucester Tourist Information Centre, search the shop windows and other city locations for characters created by Miss Potter to receive a sticker. Find them all to receive a special treat from the House of the Tailor in Gloucester!

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.

Summer Safari – Gloucester Cathedral – Daily Sat 23rd July to Thurs 1st Sept
A free family friendly trail which will have you looking up, down and all around to find the animals listed on the clue sheet.  Collect a trail map from the Cathedral anytime between 10.30 – 3.30pm.

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 4:30pm. Donations welcome.

Free play sessions – Various playgrounds around Glos – Various dates until 2nd 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 7th August
Lots of doggy themed fun taking place on the lawn in front of Pittville Pump Room. Kids will love the terrier racing, novelty dog show, glitter tattoos, bouncy castles, face painting, fairground games and refreshments. 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. Summer Fun Days – Robinswood Hill Country Park, Gloucester, 9 August, & 25 August, 11-2pm. Watery Fun – Wenchford, 2nd August 11-3pm.  Summer Fun Day – Crickley Hill, Birdlip, 3rd August 11-2pm.

Big Bourton Picnic – Greystones Farm – Sun 14th Aug
Join Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust for ‘fun, food, farming and river frolicking!’  Activities include river dipping, bushcraft skills, live music, archery, face painting, barn dancing and story telling. 11am – 4pm. Free to attend.

Gloucestershire & Herefordshire Canal Festival – Gloucester – 20th & 21st Aug
Head to The Wharf House, Over Basin and Vineyard Hill stretch of restored canal, for a whole host of family fun including heritage boat processions and rides, live music, model boats, local stalls, good food, a fire brigade display and much more. 11am – 11pm Sat, 11am – 5pm Sun. Free event.

Stroud Fringe Festival – Venues throughout Stroud – Fri 26th to Sun 28th August
Stroud Fringe is a free music and arts festival with four official stages, parades, street entertainment, creative children’s workshops, great food and drink. 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 29th Aug
A popular annual event which has seen the villagers play football in the River Windrush for over 100 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 fun in 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. Summer opening times 10am – 8pm.  Admission – £5 adult, £3 child.

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.

Cotswold Lavender – Broadway – Last day Sunday 7th August
Check out the stunning vibrant lavender fields before lavender farm closes on the 7th 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 recent review

Wilson’s Fun Fair – Gloucester Park – Fri 22nd July to Sun 7th August 
Fun for the whole family with white knuckle thrill rides to traditional children’s rides. Visit on a Tuesday to save ££’s!  Big Saver Tuesdays – all rides are only £1. Open daily 2pm – 10.30pm/11pm.

Summer Art Activity Days – Nature in Art – Tues 26th July – Wed 31st August
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 3+ £3.50.

Glos Vintage & Country Extravaganza – South Cerney Airfield – 5th to 7th Aug
The 42nd annual show promises to be a fun filled weekend with 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 £7, children from £4

Gloucestershire Fun Day – Newlands Park, Cheltenham – Sun 21st Aug
Meet Chase and Marshall from Paw Patrol, enjoy fair ground rides, a motor show, live shows, a ride on a land train, an assault course and much more.  12pm – 7pm.  £2 entry per adult, under 12’s free.

Winchcombe Country Show – Winchcombe Senior School Field – 29th August
The annual procession will start at 11.30am from the Abbey Field Centre and will feature vintage tractors, fancy dress contestants and morris dancers.  The show will include duck herding, terrier racing, it’s a knockout, morris dancers, go-karting, a Punch and Judy show, street entertainment, face painting and much more. Admission – Adults £4, children under 16 £2, family ticket £10 (2 adults & up to 3 children).

Westonbirt Arboretum – Westonbirt, near Tetbury – Open all summer
Follow the summer family trail around the arboretum to explore trees from around the world and take part in crafts and discovery activities.  The summer trail is open now until the 31st August.  Kids will particularly enjoy checking out the brand new treetop walkway and parents will love the kids go free special offer! Admission – Adults £9, kids free until 31st August. Click here for our tips for visiting Westonbirt

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 a full review of Puzzlewood from a local mum

Rainy day ideas in Gloucestershire

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 new Art Cart – jam-packed with free activities for kids to help themselves to, including various trails around the museum and colouring sheets.

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 drawing and printmaking, a Punch and Judy show and fossil rubbing.  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. Also don’t miss the Football CARazy exhibition for a nostalgic look at the year England won the World Cup – 1966.

Cattle Country, Berkeley
Cattle Country Adventure Park offers a full day of fun with a diverse 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. Click here for our review and tips for visiting Cattle Country

Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury
Shelter from the rain (or take a break from the sun!) at Roses Theatre.  Lots of family friendly productions/films this summer including Alice Through the Looking Glass (25th, 26th & 28th July), Mad Hatter Tea Party (28th July) and Dotty the Dragon (10th August).

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.  The Gruffalo Trail also returns this summer, so pack your waterproofs if necessary and take a walk through the forest to follow the story trail.

Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester city centre
Check out the cloisters which were used as the corridors for the filming of Harry Potter!  Great for little film fans.  Knowledgeable Cathedral guides can give a guided tour but if you would prefer to explore by yourself there are printed guides available for just £1. Open daily 7.30am – 6pm.

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 to enter our giveaway to win one of three family passes to Perrygrove Railway worth £24.50 each. (You need to be quick, this giveaway ends Sunday 24th July).

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.

Days out in Gloucestershire

Sandford Park Lido Pool – Cheltenham – Outdoor Theatre Productions
The Lido is hosting a few special outdoor theatre productions this summer including Once Upon a time there were four little rabbits (6th August), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (13th August) and The Wind in the Willows (27th August).  All three family-friendly productions are the perfect opportunity to pack a picnic and enjoy a summer’s evening with family/friends.

Berkeley Castle – Berkeley – Summer Holiday Fun
Berkeley Castle is offering a packed itinerary throughout the school holidays from Sunday 24th July. 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 creepy crawlies encounters. All activities are included in the entrance fee.  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 The Music Man (27th July, 10th & 24th August) or Punch n Judy Shows (3rd, 17th & 31st August)

Cotswolds Farm Park – Guiting Power – Special Themed Weeks
In addition to the regular farm park attractions over the summer the popular farm park is hosting themed weeks including circus skills week (23th-29th July), falconry week (30th-5th Aug) & story telling week (6th-12th Aug). Click here for our tips for visiting Cotswolds Farm Park

WWT Slimbridge – Slimbridge – Dusty and his Celebrity Friends
In addition to the regular attractions including Welly Boot Land and Flamingo Land, families can visit Slimbridge this summer to meet Dusty and his celebrity friends!  Taking place until the 10th September.  Kids will also enjoy the Nature Explorer activities throughout the summer holidays, for each activity they complete they will receive a sticker to put int their free passport.  Click here for our tips on visiting WWT Slimbridge

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway – Toddington/Winchcombe – Teddy Bear Tuesdays
Teddy Bear Tuesdays are a popular annual event.  This summer they will take place on Tuesday 2nd,  9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th  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 from last summer.

Dean Forest Railway – Forest of Dean – Paddington Bear & Thomas the Tank Engine
Kids are spoilt for choice at Dean Forest Railway this summer.  Paddington Bear is visiting 23rd & 24th July and Thomas the Tank Engine is visiting 19th – 21st August!  Tickets for these special events need to be booked in advance.  Normal services run every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday throughout the summer holidays.

Bugsboarding – Maisemore, Gloucester
Kids aged 7+ will love carving down a hill on a mountainboard which is a cross between a skateboard and snowboard.  Younger children will love racing down a hill on a grass sledge.  Open Tuesday to Thursday’s and weekends.  Reservations required.

Elton Giant Maize Mazes – Newnham-on-Severn
Let your kids burn off energy in the three Stars Wars 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).

Livestock Festival – Longdon, near Tewkesbury – 29th to 31st July 
A three-day family friendly weekend of music, film, camping and comedy.  Check out the full line up here.  For young festival attendees the event offers kids comedy sessions, dragon training workshops, animal encounters, pony rides and much more.

Family friendly attractions located a short drive from Gloucestershire

Warwick Castle – Warwick
Enjoy medieval madness at Warwick Castle this summer.  There is lots of family fun planned including a new jousting show, a new Horrible Histories Maze, the return of the Horrible Histories Wicked Warwick live stage show, Knight’s Training Camp, bird shows and a resident bowman. 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.  Learn about the rhino during Rhino Month (August) and enjoy falconry displays on various dates in 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, soft play area and playground.  Over the summer holidays they also offer Holiday Clubs and Dino Nights!

At-Bristol Science Centre – Bristol
With hundreds of hands-on exhibits to explore, live shows and a Planetarium, At-Bristol is one of the UK’s biggest and most exciting interactive science centres.  A brand new exhibit – The Tinkering Space has just opened aimed to inspire kids to be inventors!  The centre has lots of additional fun planned this summer including greenhouse fun and robot encounters.  Click here for our review and tips for visiting Bristol Science Centre. 

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta – Ashton Court Estate – 11th to 14th 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.

New on the blog – Check out recommendations from mums in the know of the best UK family friendly attractions from Cornwall all the way to Scotland! 


Pin for later use –

50 ideas for summer holiday fun in Gloucestershire

Images – Berkeley Castle, resident goat Cotswold Farm Park, Perrygrove Railway, GWR,  flamingos WWT Slimbridge.

**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 fun in Gloucestershire?  Please share your recommendations and tips below!

Copyright – Image of raspberries in hand copyright Flickr.  All other images copyright Travel Loving Family


9 thoughts on “50 ideas for summer holiday fun in Gloucestershire 2016

  1. Michael

    I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that this is really useful for me as we have recently moved to the area. I hope you write again soon!

  2. Aaron

    Thanks for this. We are new to Gloucestershire and this list of ideas will make entertaining my kids so much easier! Can’t wait to see your next post keep it up 🙂

    1. Lisa Post author

      Very good point!! I will add Craig:) We are so lucky in Gloucestershire, so many family friendly events/attractions to choose from. I could have easily included 100+ ideas!

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