Muddy in the Cotswolds for Half-Term
1st March 2016
Since I started this blog plus the Charlie Made prints and stationary, I feel like my quality time with the children has dropped off a cliff considerably! So I decided that a half-term trip to the Cotswolds would be fun.
The plan was to catch-up with friends who live South West England way and to go for walks in the mud, play in parks and be ‘staycation’ tourists.
I didn’t want to spend the whole week away as I knew my big pirate would want to be spend time at home with her toys and build her Lego!! So we opted for 5 nights away in a beautiful 16th Century cottage. It was just me and the kids until the weekend with friends dropping in. When we first arrived, I did think I was slightly mad carrying two sleeping kids in the dark, into a cottage I had never been to before. But it was so warm and cosy, I instantly relaxed. There was also a huge hamper on the kitchen table with essentials including two magazines – I felt at home straight away.
We stayed in the village of Churchill a few miles outside of Chipping Norton. It was a fab location because the village included a big play park, village green and a pub! It was also close to loads of fun places to explore with the kids. Here are my tips on what to do with adventurous young kids in the Cotswolds:
- Loads of walks in the Cotswolds countryside including a fab dinosaur walk in the village of Churchill across fields to the playground. It was so easy and the girls loved it – we turned left outside our cottage and at the end of the lane was a toy dinosaur attached to the gate post, we then had to walk across fields to find the next one. We ended our walk at the village playground, which had enough for both girls and some. We also liked Bledington, there was a fab walk starting and finishing at The Kings Head pub across fields and following the river. We really liked The Kings Head pub because it had a small play area outside and a reasonable kids menu.
- Burford Garden Centre. This is not the kind of garden centre I have seen before, it is more of a retail emporium (I could have come away with a swanky sofa, a Panama hat plus loads of healthy food!). We ended up being there for about 4 hours! I can say with confidence the Cotswolds knows how to do garden centres, we passed quite a few. Not only does Buford Garden Centre have a big outdoor play area, it also, has a small cinema inside close to the café so the kids took themselves off to watch a bit of Shrek whilst I caught up with a friend at a table close by. I have to admit the food is on the pricey side but we did have our main meal of the day there so we only needed a snack supper when we returned to the cottage. The village of Burford is also nice for a stroll and picking up supplies (think smart typical market town / large village kind of place).
- The Adam Henson’s kids farm, called Cotswolds Farm Park, started out being once of those tough days out with kids. The ticket booth / entrance was in the shade and it was freezing the day we went so we had some whiny kids by the time we got into the farm. However, after a shared hot choc we were on track. It took us an hour to get past feeding rhe goats and playing in the toy tractor circuit plus zip wire – it had all 4 children enthralled (ages 5,4,3 and 1!). However, the kids loved moving onto the animal barn where they got to hold a baby chick each and see a lamb being born. They were fascinated with this and it led to a whole heap of birthing questions, which I was too tired to answer properly so who knows what is now in their heads! We particularly loved the maze but we didn’t really take in all the rare breeds on the farm as we were tired and cold by mid afternoon. The café is fine there but it would have been nice if they had soup on the menu during the winter months!! Also, it is not the cheapest day out and probably more worth it in the summer months. That said everyone had fun.
- Bourton on the Water was a fun place for a Sunday stroll and picture perfect Cotswolds. The kids loved feeding the ducks and playing pooh sticks. We did go to the motor museum and the model village. I think the model village was appreciated more (I was concerned about them breaking something in the motor museum but they did come away with brilliant toy fighter aeroplanes). Although it was pooh sticks that was the real winner and simply going for another walk in the mud in the fields close by!! I liked the old fashion sweet shop where I totally went over the top with the liquorice.
We booked Gables Cottage, Churchill, Cotswolds through Character Cottages. The interiors were so homely and it’s a really well furnished cottage with toys, gorgeous linen and towels plus a lovely range cooker. I made cookies with the girls one afternoon and there was all the utensils I required. The girls loved playing in the garden as well and their twin bedroom at the top of the house was perfect with twin beds and plenty of books.
We will definitely be going back to Gables Cottage and exploring more of the Cotswolds, however, we will probably go in the warmer months and do more walking as it was the walks and play parks the kids liked the most. I also have to warn you that it is slightly over occupied with city people at the weekend. We went to Daylesford Organic Farm on the Saturday and had to wait an hour for a table for lunch. I also felt significantly under dressed in my baggy jeans and uggs!