Panoramic view of cheltenham.

Steaming, shopping and clay shooting

Meet penguins, meerkats and gorillas at Bristol Zoo. Steam through sleepy hamlets on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. Or brave the Airmaxx at Funderworld. Grown-ups can try Regency-style retail in Cheltenham, enjoy prime-time pampering at Calcot Hotel and Spa, shoot clay at Ian Coley or just 18 holes at Cotswold Edge.

Meerkat standing up! Meerkat standing up! Meerkat standing up! Meerkat standing up!

Country kids

Get down to the world’s oldest provincial zoo, in Bristol, to meet African penguins, ring-tailed lemurs, meerkats and gorillas. Stay in town for Bristol Aquarium to see tropical fish, sharks and seahorses in more than 40 exciting displays. Refuel in the nautically themed C-Shed café with pizzas.

Discover the home of vaccination – Dr Jenner’s House. This is the man who created a smallpox vaccine and helped eventually eradicate the disease. Head to Gloucester Docks to see military memorabilia in the Soldiers of Gloucester Museum. Or to Nature in Art, the world’s first museum and art gallery dedicated to fine art inspired by nature.

Steam through sleepy hamlets and villages, with views across the Malvern Hills, on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, or through the beautiful woodland and countryside of Lydney on the Dean Forest Railway. Or put your bravery to the test riding the Airmaxx, the Sky Swing and the Crazy Cage at Bristol’s Funderworld.

Take the mini-jeep safari, ride the quad bikes, and meet foxes, reindeer and pygmy goats at Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park. See billies and nannies, Suffolk punches, lambs, foals, calves and more at the Cotswold Farm Park. Catch a flick at the Electric Picture House. Or discover a different world at Clearwell Caves.

Gloucester docks with old warehouse at night.
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For the grown-ups

The green-fingered will love the gardens and grounds, 1,500 acres of estate and pleasant hour-long loop around the lakes. If that’s you, you’ll probably want to wander next door to the Pan Global nursery. When you’re done, The Bell Inn will be ready with a cask pint and fresh foodie stuff.

Shop in Cheltenham’s Montpellier, one of the oldest shopping arcades in the UK, for independents and household names all dressed up in Regency splendour. Come home to walks around the village, through the woods, by the canal and along the River Severn. Or stretch your legs around Selsley Common or Coaley Peak.

Sign up for some prime-time pampering at Calcot Hotel and Spa, home to dreamy treatments, an enveloping fireside hot tub and a steamy sauna. Shoot some arrows at Wye Valley Archery Centre, make your folks’ seats smart at Delta Force Paintball, Go Ape in the Forest of Dean, or scale the walls at The Warehouse Climbing and Caving.

There’s fun of every flavour at the Cotswold Water Park, including aerial adventure, angling and archery; wilderness skills and watersports; shooting, rally driving and golf; or just the chance to chill on the beach. Shoot for the stars at Ian Coley or just 18 holes at Cotswold Edge.