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10 May Half Term events in the Cotswolds

Posted: Wed, 3rd May 2023
Giffords Circus Les Enfants du Paradis

Celebrate the last bank holiday of the month this May Half Term at fantastic events happening across the Cotswolds. Getting outside and enjoying the weather is easy in this stunning part of the country, you’ll wish the holiday was longer so you had more time to see all the sights. Take the children swimming in historic Cirencester, fight like knights for the day or head to one of the family-friendly festivals taking over at some great venues.

Giffords Circus at Blenheim Palace

Bringing their big top to Blenheim Palace, Giffords Circus is a magical feast for the eyes. The award-winning show transports you to another world with acrobats, illusionists and amazing skills you never knew existed. At the centre of this year’s show, at Blenheim Palace until 30 May, is Tweedy the Clown, a long-standing member of the troupe who brings slapstick comedy to the event making sure everybody has the best experience possible.

Where to stay: Merchant House, Tachbrook

Knight School at Berkeley Castle

Defend the castle from your enemies, defeat the dragon, stop the evil king, anything is possible when you become a knight at Berkeley Castle. Your little ones will learn sword fighting from some of the best warriors around as they have lessons in this ancient skill in the castle grounds on 29 and 30 May. The team from Dressed to Kill will also be displaying their talents with a Warrior Show and armour display. Book in advance to avoid missing out.

Where to stay: Bellhouse, Lake Cottage

Quentin Blake at WWT Slimbridge

Enjoy the whimsical artwork of Quentin Blake at Slimbridge Wetland Centre with beautifully illustrated trail maps that guide you through this natural wonderland. Creative activities will be available for all ages so the whole family can get involved and immerse themselves discovering plant and bird species that have gone unnoticed until now. This is a great opportunity to see the wetlands like never before, with new illustrated guides being released throughout the year.

Where to stay: Rose Cottage, Rodborough, Court Cottage

Family with geese at Slimbridge Wetland Centre

Steam and Vintage Fair at Eastnor Castle

Eastnor Castle near Ledbury is a stunning 19th century revival castle still lived in by the family who originally built it. Explore the state rooms with their exquisite decorations and learn the history. The surrounding grounds include an arboretum, lake and the Knight’s Maze. For two days during May Half Term, on 28 and 29 May, steam engines and vintage cars take over adding even more history to this setting. Join in the fun with rides and dance workshops.

Where to stay: Little Owl Barn, Granary at Hunt Court

Cheese Rolling and the Cotswold Olimpicks

Two events that you wouldn’t believe exist are cherished in the Cotswolds. The Cotswold Olimpicks held near Chipping Campden on 2 June include unexpected events including shin-kicking (not as violent as it once was!) and tug of war before the Champion of the Hill is declared. Outside Gloucester, brave competitors hurtle down Cooper’s Hill on Bank Holiday Monday in a bid to win the nine-pound Double Gloucester. The risk of broken bones doesn’t stand in the way of this band of cheese-loving racers.

Where to stay: Jasmine Cottage, Barndown

Wychwood Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

The iconic racecourse at Cheltenham is host to more than just tweed-clad racegoers. At the start of June, it becomes the Wychwood Festival from 2-4 June, with headliners including The Happy Mondays, Travis and Sam Ryder. Under-10s go free and there are some famous faces from CBeebies ready to keep them happy and entertained. Gather family and friends for a festival to suit everybody.

Where to stay: The Thatch House, Tiesel Cottage

Cirencester Open Air Pool

With the Cirencester lido opening for the season on 11 May, the half-term week is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of this heated outdoor pool filled with natural spring water. With a fantastic view, you and the children can enjoy a splash about in the main pool which has a slide, play safely in the paddling pool, or sunbathe on the patio. Afterwards head into Cirencester with its market square, Corinium Museum and Roman amphitheatre.

Where to stay: Woodmancote Manor Cottage, Peach Cottage

Seasonal Scent-sations at Westonbirt

Tire the children out with a trip to Westonbirt Arboretum where they can play among the trees. During the half-term holiday they are hosting a Scent-sational activity where you are invited to discover spring scents in the Silk Wood Barn. You’ll be put to the test with a quiz and go home with a sweet-smelling craft. Take a picnic or enjoy lunch from the kitchen before following the Zog trail and keep your eye out for the Gruffalo while you explore the forest.

Where to stay: Charlton Cottage, Hillside Cottage

Sing-Along and Ballet at the Bacon Theatre, Cheltenham

Do you have a child that loves all things Disney? The Encanto sing-along at the Bacon Theatre in Cheltenham lets them belt out their favourite songs and live the magic for themselves. For something a bit different, the Alice in Wonderland ballet brings this much-loved story to life with dance and circus. Both performances will be loved by the whole family and are a great way to spend the afternoon after exploring Cheltenham in the morning.

Where to stay: The Hayloft, 14 Vineyard Street

Read more: 10 favourite bluebell woods in the Cotswolds

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