The summer holidays are looming and no matter how much you try to organise and arrange for your little (and not-so little) ones to do, it’ll never be enough. Karen Neville serves up a few ideas…
We’ve been taking a tour of the area and have a few ideas for you but there are so many ways to entertain your children whatever their age that you really shouldn’t hear cries of “I’m bored, what can I do…”
Let’s start with fingers crossed for good weather and some outdoor fun and exercise. Both are promised in the Cotswold Water Park near Cirencester at The Adventure Zone. Suitable for children aged 9 and upwards you can enjoy a full day of sailing, canoeing, kayaking, bushcraft and survival, archery, windsurfing, raft building and much more – find out what at www.adventure-zone.co.uk
The daring among your children may like to try out Head 4 Heights, also in Cirencester, a lakeside outdoor aerial adventure park with challenges suitable for ages 4-18. Aerial-based activities to try out include a variety of pole climbs with names such as Sun and Sea, The Fruit Bowl, Big Ears and the daunting Flesh Eater. You can also try out a free fall, a simulated parachute jump and single and double trapeze jumps for the really brave. Head 4 Heights really does reach new heights of fun, www.head4heights.net
For those who like to keep their feet more firmly on the ground but still want some adventure, how about becoming James Bond for the day by getting on the Cirencester Spy Mission Trail? Your mission, should you choose to accept it, will take you through the ancient streets, abbey grounds and the ruins of the Roman wall in search of the professor who has uncovered a plot to destroy artefacts in vaults below the town. Is it mission impossible or can you solve the clues before its too late? The two-mile loop trail takes about two hours to complete and if you solve the crime you’ll be entered into a £100 monthly draw. Find out more at www.treasuretrails.co.uk/things-to-do/gloucestershire/cirecencester
Animal lovers out there won’t be able to resist what will probably be another visit to Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens and the chance to get on the Cotswold Explorer endangered animals activity trail, learn about the endangered species at the park as you follow the trail. On many summer weekends until the beginning of September enjoy the birds of prey demonstration. August is rhino month when the keepers will be giving a daily talk about the animals and the conservation work. Visit www.cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk
Try something a little more relaxed after expending all that energy with a visit to Kelmscott Manor near Lechlade, the Cotswold retreat of William Morris. While the grown ups enjoy the house and its beautiful gardens, there’s a manor house trail to follow, activities and workshops to take part in. For information on opening times and prices visit www.sal.org.uk/kelmscott-manor/
Get on the trail of Roman soldiers this summer and search for them hidden around Corinium Museum in Cirencester. Younger children can hunt them down while older ones can answer questions to find out what life was like as a Roman soldier and there’s a prize at the end of your trail. Learn about archaeological techniques by trying your hand in one of the dig pits. Complete your own mini excavation report, measure objects you unearth, identify them and try drawing them. Find out more at www.coriniummuseum.org.uk
There’s a whole world of adventure awaiting you at Longleat, www.longleat.co.uk, the main question will be where will you start? For most people it’s on the drive through safari, wind up your windows and drive through elephants, wolves, monkeys, the big cats and white rhino. You can roam free in the Main Square and get to know the primates, koalas, crocodiles and meerkets among others, et lost in the maze, ride the miniature railway and even brave the bat cave! And make sure you leave time to visit the house and landscaped grounds.
For the sportier out there, a game of footgolf at Basset Down Golf Complex is a must. There are 18 holes to get the better of and lots of natural obstacles – trees, water and bunkers to do battle with. The idea is to kick a football into a large cup in as few shots as possible and it’s suitable for ages 4-18 so is a great family activity. Check out www.swindonfamilygolf.com
Spend a day with animals at Roves Farm Visitor Centre in Swindon and you’ll enjoy non-stop fun and activity come rain or shine. In addition to the sheep, donkeys, Shetland ponies, cattle, goats and pigs there’s fun to be had in the summer holidays with a bear hunt, the Jurassic farm and in the enchanted forest. Take a tractor ride, climb, swing and slide in the Treehouse and enjoy an activity walk.
To book and for details about daily activities visit www.rovesfarm.co.uk
Discover the story of the ancient landscape at Avebury Stone Circle, a world heritage site and the largest prehistoric stone circle in the world. A museum bears the name of the archaeologist who excavated the site near Marlborough, Alexander Keiller, and is divided into two parts, the Stables which contains treasures from the site and the Barn which houses interactive displays including dressing up as a Bronze Age child and lots to learn about those who built the circle, not to mention 5,500 year-old animal skeletons! Bone up on the history in advance at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury
Savernake Forest has lots to explore and is a great way to get outdoors and have a great time for free. The forest is more than 1,000 years old and features one of the country’s oldest trees, the Big Bellied Oak. It’s the perfect place for following the walking trails, taking your dog out and to enjoy a picnic while getting back to nature.
However you spend your summer hols have fun!