Dog-friendly family holidays in the Cotswolds

When you’ve got both kids and dogs in your pack, it can be a little complicated planning a holiday. The Cotswolds though, is a superb family-friendly, dog-friendly holiday destination, with plenty of activities for both kids and dogs that will entertain all. From wildlife encounters to toy museums, there’s far more than just a few nice dog walks for families. If you’re plotting a Cotswolds escape with the family, these are the top things to do with kids and dogs.

Written by Lottie Gross

5-minute read

Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens

Set around a vast Victorian Gothic mansion, still lived in by the park’s owners, the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens is a real thrill for families. After all, how many owners can say their dogs have wandered alongside rhinos or peeped over the walls at a pair of preening penguins? There are a few dog-free zones here – namely the indoor areas, the lemur enclosure and the area around the wolf pen – but everywhere else is dog-friendly. Kids will love watching demonstrations by keepers, while the dogs have plenty to sniff at among the estate’s gorgeous gardens.

Tewkesbury Abbey

While going to church might not seem like the most exciting activity for the kids, Tewkesbury Abbeyhas children’s trails that will pique their curiosity and teach them about the history of this huge, impressive building. They’ll spend their time counting pillars and seeking out the little devils in the stonework, while you can wander around the cavernous interior with the dog. The abbey was founded in the 11th century and has some of the most impressive medieval and Victorian stained glass windows.

Model Village, Bourton-on-the-Water

A visit to the Cotswolds’ most famous model village is worthwhile, even if only for the photo opportunities: here you can get pictures of the kids and dog looming over the tiny cottages and bridges in miniature Bourton-on-the-Water, like Godzilla over New York City. The village – which is built to 1/9th scale – is the only model village in the UK that’s Grade II-listed, and there’s even a model of the model village. You won’t recognise all the buildings here from its real-life inspiration, as the village has changed a little since the 1930s when the model was built, but the unmistakable bridges crossing the flowing River Windrush are a highlight. Listen out for the music playing inside the tiny church.

The Cotswold Motoring Museum & Toy Collection, Bourton-on-the-Water

A rabbit warren of rooms at the Cotswold Motoring Museum contain an astonishing collection of cars, motorcycles and motoring memorabilia, as well as recreated shops from decades gone by – including a blacksmith’s and a garage. Step inside the vintage caravans to see how holidaymakers slept in the 1920s, and while the kids will probably have no idea who he is, you’ll enjoy a trip down memory lane with the Brum car from the eponymous nineties kids TV show. For those non-plussed by the motoring world, the huge collection of vintage toys will intrigue – see intricate model ships and planes, and a few slightly eerie dolls.

Tetbury Police Museum

Any budding detectives will love delving into the case files at Tetbury’s 19th-century police station, which is now a fascinating museum about the law and order of this close-knit Cotswolds community. There’s a real prison cell here, which housed criminals before they appeared in front of the magistrate, and a whole mock courtroom with lawyers, judges and witnesses in situ. The museum has a vast collection of handcuffs, old mugshots and even a police motorbike from the 20th century.

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Written by Lottie Gross

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