Cotswold Winter

14 Dec

crazy reindeer eyes

Over the summer we had a whirlwind week of local activities.  Phew.  Now we’re staring down the barrel of a winter week of school holidays before Christmas arrives, and I’m wondering how to fill our days.  Some of our favorite places are closed for the season, limiting our choices.  Still, I have a few ideas.  What do you think?

Santa’s Grotto and lights display at Prinknash Bird & Deer Park.  (We went last year.)

The Enchanted Christmas events at Westonbirt Arboretum. Or the Forest of Dean Clearwell Caves Christmas Fantasy.  (I really miss going to the holiday lights displays in the US.  Can you tell?)

Back to the Slimbridge Wetlands Centre (with suitable coats and walking gear — maybe even for breakfast with Santa).  We visited over the fall and had a great time.

A walk through Gloucester Cathedral — especially the crypts, the whispering walk, and if we can, a Christmas concert.

Also in Gloucester, the National Waterways Museum.  We’ve been before, but in a rush, and the kids would enjoy a repeat.  (And I could get some better photos to finally write a blog post about it!)

Not sure this is the best time of year to go for the first time, but we’d love to check out the Cotswold Farm Park.

beets, cheese, squash

We’ve been to the Cotswold Wildlife Centre a few times, so it might not top our looking-for-something-new list.  (Blog post one [a winter visit, with reindeer!], blog post two)

A Harry Potter walking tour of Oxford.

A cold day, can’t stand to be outside?  Maybe some rock wall climbing.  Or a trip to Bristol IKEA for Smaland and piles of inexpensive meatballs.

A train ride on one of the steam trains at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway?  Maybe with Santa?

The Corinium Museum is a big hit with my kids, but we’ve been a bit too frequently, I think.

If I wake up with a million dollars in my pocket (and can’t catch a flight to Bermuda) we’ll shop and eat and play at the Burford Garden Company one half day.

If we find the stamina for a longer day out, a day trip to Cardiff Castle or Warwick Castle is sure to please.  Or someplace new:  Longleat Safari Park.

And I wouldn’t consider my Cotswold Christmas complete without a visit to the floating Christmas tree at Bourton-on-the-Water.

Right.  With a week of exploring to fill, we should be able to fit in at least two or three of these activities, right?

blue pickup


(photos drawn, somewhat at random, from a early December visit to the Burford Garden Centre.)


3 Responses to “Cotswold Winter”

  1. Jeanne December 14, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    All of these choices sound delightful. We did a Harry Potter walking tour of Oxford, with the help of a book, and it was great, especially the King College great hall stairs.We had to pay for the tour of King College, but it was worth it. We also liked Magdalen College because of Addison’s walk. Don’t know if they’d have boats this time of year, but they had a big tourist trade there in July.

    • Monique December 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

      Oh, I love the idea of the boats! Just found a “Mad Hatter’s Tea” cruise that sounds like such fun. Do you recommend any particular book for a self-guided walking tour?

      • Jeanne December 15, 2012 at 3:50 am #

        We consulted a book we bought in Blackwell’s while we were there–we stood and leafed through several until we found one that seemed right for how far we were going (a lot include sights in London) and how old our kids were.

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