Cotswold Water park
The Cotswold Water park is located on the borders of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire. The Water park covers an area larger than the Norfolk Broads and comprises of over 140 different lakes. There are 14 villages set within the water park and 150km of pathways, bridle ways and cycle paths. There are 74 different fishing lakes - many stocked with specimen fish. Ten of the lakes have been specified as 'sites of scientific interest' (SSSI). The water park is home to over 20,000 waterbirds and incorporates a range of protected nature reserves.
A short walk from the lodge will take you out of the Windrush/Isis lake development via the main entrance and on to the Spine Road. Directly opposite the entrance is the De Vere Cotswold water park hotel which includes a Spa, a bar and the Old Boathouse Restaurant (spa facilities in the hotel can be used during your stay, a supplement will need to be paid directly to the Hotel, please ask for further details). Next door to the hotel is a Cotswold camping shop and the Gateway Centre - a cafe and information centre providing further information about the Water park and the Cotswolds. There are some lovely walks from the lodge - around the various lakes and along the river. The Cotswold water park offers a huge variety of activities to suit everyone from gentle walks, to spa treatments, to exhilarating water sports such as wake boarding, kayaking, water ski-ing, sailing, wind-surfing and zorbing - to list a few! There are also two 18 hole golf courses nearby.
The area is also ideal for cycling with a large network of dedicated paths, bikes can be hired locally if required. There are several local private fisheries which offer day passes within the water park. The Cotswold Country park (10 mins drive) is lovely and has a large inland beach with a secure area for swimming/paddling as well as pedal boats, row boats, crazy golf, zorbing and a traversing wall. The lake next to the resort is the South Cerney Outdoor Education centre. Here it is possible to do taster sessions, courses as well as 'pay and play' for the following activities - Sailing, Wind-surfing, canoe and kayaking, stand-up paddling and power boating.
Bibury - Undoubtedly one of the most photographed locations in the Cotswolds. Bibury sits alongside the gentle river Coln. One of the most famous sites in Bibury is Arlington Row, a row of Weavers cottages built from the local stone. The Trout farm is also a very popular tourist attraction.
Burford - One of England’s prettiest small medieval towns. The streets are lined with exclusive shops and galleries. A major tourist attraction near Burford is the Cotswold Wildlife park.
Cirencester - This beautiful Cotswold town with its winding streets filled with cafes and independent shops is known as the Capital of the Cotswolds. The market place in the centre of town hosts weekly markets and local arts and crafts are often on sale in the Cornhall. During Roman times Cirencester was the 2nd largest Roman town outside of London. The multi-award winning Corinium museum is well worth a visit and special events, exhibitions and workshops take place throughout the year. A short walk from the town centre is the Amphitheatre which was one of the largest in England and was built by the Romans in the 2nd Century.
The Bathurst estate and Cirencester park offers a selection of lovely walks, regular Polo matches and is the location of the Cotswold Show which takes place every year in July. Cirencester Park is open to the public free of charge, for visitors on foot and on horseback by kind permission of The Trustees of the late 8th Earl Bathurst's Estate, and the 9th Earl and Countess Bathurst. Other places to visit in Cirencester include the New Brewery arts & crafts, the Cotswold Leisure centre, the open air swimming pool, Butts farm and Magicland (an indoor soft play centre) if the weather is not at its best.
Lechlade - is a small market town situated on the River Thames. The statue of Father Thames can be seen at St John’s lock which is the highest lock on the Thames. Lechlade was once on a busy trade route with salt, cheese, wool and coal being transported along the river Thames and the Severn canal. Nowadays the Thames is popular with tourists on narrow boats, cruisers and small boats.
Painswick - The historic wool town of Painswick is known as the ‘Queen of the Cotswolds’ Painswick is a very picturesque town surrounded by the Cotswold hills. In the centre of the town is the Church of St Mary with its Churchyard of 99 Yew trees, legend has it that the 100th tree won’t grow. Situated in a beautiful hidden Cotswold valley is the Rococo Gardens at Painswick house. The gardens were laid out in the early 18th Century and are famous for the annual carpet of snowdrops. A short distance from the town is Painswick Beacon with its magnificent views across the Severn valley. On a clear day it is possible to see as far as the Welsh Mountains. The outlines of an Iron Age Fort can be seen around the summit of the Beacon. There is also an 18 hole Golf course and lovely walks around the Beacon. The Slad Valley is a short drive from Painswick. This area was made famous by Laurie Lee in his book ‘Cider with Rosie’ The villages of Edge an Sheepscombe are beautiful traditional Cotswold villages and there are some lovely walks around this area.
South Cerney - The village of South Cerney is just a short 10-15 minute walk from Elm Lodge. It is reputedly ‘the largest village in England’ and offers a great selection of amenities – a post office, a general store, a fish and chip shop, an Indian takeaway, a sandwich shop and several pubs. There are several lovely walks around the village and also along the Thames-severn canal which is currently being renovated.
Stroud - is an historic wool town situated between Five valleys. Minchinhampton Common, Rodborough Common and Selsley common overlook the town. The views from these commons are breath-taking and in the summer local commoners’ cattle graze freely. Stroud is also home to an award winning weekly Farmers market.
Swindon - Situated 9 miles away, Swindon is home to the McArthur Glen Designer outlet which is housed in the beautifully renovate Grade 11 listed buildings of the Great Western Works and is one of the largest covered designer outlets in Europe. There is a great mix of High st and Designer brands as well as a wide selection of places to eat. Also on-site is the STEAM Museum of The Great Western Railway which offers families the chance to learn about the men and women who built, operated and travelled on the Great Western Railway and National Trust has its own café and shop.
On the outskirts of Swindon is Lydiard House and Park which is the ancestral home of the Viscounts Bolingbroke. The Palladian house, beautiful church, walled garden and formal parkland are the remains of a great country estate. As well as lovely walks, there is a big children’s play area, BBQ/picnic area and a Jungle Parc – an aerial adventure activity facility. The Oasis Leisure centre is also a popular destination in Swindon, the pool has a wave machine, a toddler area and various slides.
Tetbury - is famous for its Royal connections - Highgrove, home of HRH Prince Charles is situated just outside the town and Princess Anne’s residence – Gatcombe is also only a few miles away. Tetbury is a thriving and elegant Cotswold town with a picturesque seventeenth century Market Hall. There are many independent shops, cafes, antique dealers and regular craft stalls in the market hall. Just outside Tetbury is the Duchy Home Farm, established by Prince Charles to promote the wider adoption of organic farming and food production methods. This farm is a key supplier for many Duchy Originals products. The Highgrove shop is in the centre of the town where more than 700 items either sourced from Duchy Home Farm or selected by The Prince personally are available in this unique outlet.
The National Arboretum at Westonbirt is a short drive from Tetbury and is well worth a visit. It covers over 600 acres and is one of the most spectacular tree gardens in the World with an historic collection of over 3000 different trees and shrub species. There are many events at the Arboretum during the year from live concerts to the Gruffalo trail.