Budget Friendly Ideas For The Summer Holidays In The Cotswolds

by | Oct 2, 2023 | Blog, Summer

Kids Playing In The Forest

The summer holidays are great, we get our little ones back full time for six weeks for fun and games, but this can also be a costly time too with holidays booked and lots of entertaining to be done. Entry fees to attractions are really expensive these days, particularly if you have multiple children and then there is lunch, drinks, hidden costs, and the dreaded gift shop to think about. So how can you have just as much fun without breaking the bank?

Here are some ideas:


1. Walking

The kids might roll their eyes at first and complain about spending the summer holidays walking, but it’s your job to make it interesting and exciting for them. Pick walks that have interesting things to do, trails to go on, sculptures, great wildlife, and forests. Since you won’t be paying an entry fee tell them you’ll treat them to a milkshake or a cake afterward at a coffee shop if they manage the walk. Think about letting them bring friends along, children will find fun everywhere if their buddies are in tow.


We’d recommend:

  • Crickely Hill in Cheltenham for great views, woodland walks, and a nice cafe.
  • Beechenhurst in the Forest of Dean for themed trails like the Gruffalo and Highway Rat, plus the sculpture trails, a great cafe, a big park, and loads of picnic space
  • Wenchwood, Forest of Dean for splashing in a shallow river, beautiful countryside, and picnic space galore.


2. Splash Parks

Many more parks are getting splash play areas which are absolutely free and great fun. They are usually accompanied by a regular play area and often a cafe. Make a picnic to take and you won’t have to spend very much at all for this summer holiday treat.


We’d recommend:

  • Evesham Riverside Park, is an excellent splash park, a great playground with lots of sand, a lovely cafe, gorgeous river views, and loads of green space.
  • Gheluvelt Park, Worcester has another fabulous splash park, a regular park a nature trail, and a cafe
  • Paddling Pool, Stratford Upon Avon, a lovely spot to cool off in the summer, play in the park, walk by the river, treat yourself to ice cream, and munch a picnic with gorgeous views.


3. Stay At Home

The idea of being AT HOME (dare I say it) in the summer holidays fills so many people with fear, but actually, you don’t need to be out and about spending money all of the time.

Plan craft days or baking days, get the essentials in beforehand, get set up, and spend quality time making and baking.

Alternatively, spend time in the garden, get paddling pools, bikes, and all the garden toys, invite friends over, and just hang out.

Don’t feel tempted to crack on with jobs, spend time playing and messing around with the kid in your own home. It’s chilled and it’s cheap and can be really enjoyable if you can allow yourself to relax and not be tempted to start tidying, doing some work, popping some washing on, etc.


4. Get A Season Ticket

On the flip side, there will be days when you really just feel like getting out of the house during the summer holidays, doing something different, and letting the kids be entertained by something other than you! Buying a season pass for your favourite venue is a great idea, Yes of course there is a hefty upfront payment but you can use your ticket time and time again.

Make sure to choose somewhere that the kids aren’t going to get bored of visiting several times over the summer holidays and somewhere that their friends often go to. I have vivid childhood memories of visiting a place that all my friend’s families had season tickets to and I would have been happy going there every single day! Pulling up into the car park and seeing who else was there was exciting and just hanging out and playing all day was exactly what I wanted to do.


5. Go To The Beach

Ok so here in the Cotswolds we aren’t really close to the beach but with some pre-planning and an early start, you can easily drive to beaches during the summer holidays. Pack picnics and drinks to avoid huge food bills when you get there and your only big outlay will be the petrol cost.

Depending on how much time you can bear in the car there are some lovely beaches within a couple of hours’ drive and if you are keen camper you could even have random nights away here and there relatively inexpensively.


We’d recommend:

  • Weston-super-mare, yes it’s not exactly a tropical delight but it is super fun, there’s loads to keep the kids entertained, a lot of sand, and a real British seaside feel. Time it right and you might even glimpse the sea!
  • Wales has some superb beaches, decide how long you want to journey for then take your pick!
  • Bournemouth. You can even be at beautiful Bournemouth beach in 2.5 hours if you time the journey well (out of rush hour). Pick a sunny day and you’ll feel like you’ve jetted off to Spain with the beautiful soft sands, gorgeous clean ocean, and loads for the children to do, it’s a great spot.