10 Things to do in Gloucester with Kids!
Guest post from Stopping at Two
Having lived in Gloucester for over 15 years, I have really grown to love this part of the world. There is always something to help entertain the kids either close to the city centre itself, or slightly further afield. There are my top 10 things to do with kids in Gloucester and the surrounding area.
1. Gloucester Cathedral
The cathedral is a real gem. Standing out from miles around, it has to be one of the finest medieval buildings in the country. There is plenty to fascinate children of all ages; from the images in the impressive stained glass windows to the burial sites of some really interesting people such as Edward II (whose death would enthral any fans of Horrible Histories). The volunteers at the cathedral are so helpful and more than happy to show you round some of the highlights. Of course, the real delight for any kids has to be the cloisters. It is famous for its magnificent fan vaulting, which is believed to be the earliest example in England. But children will enjoy it more for its use as a location for some of the Hogwarts scenes in several of the Harry Potter films. If you want to delve deeper, the cathedral runs tours and special Harry Potter themed evenings which are popular with kids and adults alike.
2. Gloucester Docks and Quays
Gloucester Docks are the best preserved 19th Century docks in the country. It is also home to Gloucester Tall Ships festival, where tall ships travel from far and wide to gather over a weekend in May. Around the Docks are also the National Waterways Museum and The Soldiers of Gloucester Museum. Next to the docks is Gloucester Quays, with plenty of designer outlet stores but also lots of family-friendly places to eat. Throughout the year there are free trails for kids, such as the Nutcracker Soldiers over the Christmas period.
3. The Warehouse Climbing Centre
On a wet day, rather than letting the kids metaphorically climb the walls at home, you can let them climb actual walls at The Warehouse Climbing Centre in the heart of the city. Inside this Victorian warehouse, families can take on a range of climbing walls, Bouldering, a Caving system, DigiWall or stick to the dedicated Kids’ Zone.
4. Nature in Art
The Nature in Art Gallery and Museum in Twigworth is housed in an impressive Georgian mansion. As its name suggests, it is dedicated to fine, decorative and applied art inspired by nature. Children under 8 years old can visit the museum for free. They also run children’s Activity Days throughout the year during the school holidays.
5. Cattle Country Adventure Farm Park
Cattle Country in Berkeley is a great place for families, with plenty to entertain all ages, whatever the weather. The “Kids’ Berkeley Castle” has kept mine amused for ages as they play along its walkways, bridges, towers, slide and 40 metre zip wire. There is also indoor soft play and slides, climbing ropes, a beach barn, an assault course, mini golf, a boating lake, splash pool and plenty of animals to see. During certain times of the year there are also falconry displays, maize maze, punch & judy show, magic shows, animal feeding and handling sessions and tractor rides
6. Make and Take at Treasure Seekers Hub
In the city centre is the Treasure Seekers Hub. For £4 each anyone do an activity in-store, and take it away with them after. They host a wide range of activities, including ceramic and glass painting, mosaic work, construction kits and canvasses. The shop is a treasure trove of brightly coloured crafting materials and is perfect for entertaining kids who love crafts.
7. Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre
The Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre is found on the outskirts of the city. Its 230 metre main slope is the longest slope in England and Wales, and it also has a 40 metre nursery slope. Tubing is popular with families. Here, you can have fun sliding down the slopes in large inflatable rings which can be spun and linked together.
8. Rococo Garden
Rococo Garden is just outside Gloucester, in the gorgeous Cotswold village of Painswick. The gardens themselves are beautiful, but there is also lots to entertain children. The unusual maze has three centres to get lost in. And there is a brilliant rustic play area with seesaw, woodland swing (which comfortably seats two), wobbly bridge, clamber nets and a new Panpipe folly. Children can also pick up a quiz as they enter. It is free to do and they get a small prize at the end.
9. Robinswood Hill Country Park
Robinswood Hill Country Park is two-hundred and fifty acres of open countryside to the south of Gloucester. There are plenty of well-marked walkways all across the hill, and from the top (on a clear day) you can see the Severn Bridge to the South, the Malvern Hills to the North and the Black Mountains to the West. There are plenty of areas to picnic and also a play area. It is also completely free to visit.
10. Rodborough Common and Winstone’s Ice Cream
We do love walking and enjoying the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside, so I had to mention Rodborough Common in the Stroud district. It is a geological and biological Site of Special Scientific Interest which is owned and managed by the National Trust. Once you are on the common, there are plenty of fairly flat walks for little legs to enjoy and you may even spot an orchid or a rare pasqueflower. It is the BEST place for flying a kite – or watching other people fly kites! For my kids (and I am not going to lie, me too) the best feature of Rodborough Common is Winstone’s Ice Cream shop. Their award winning ice cream is very popular, and there is usually a queue out of the door on even the coldest day, with locals coming to enjoy the huge range of delicious ice cream on sale!
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