Top 12 Great and Alternative Things to do in The Cotswold Water Park
We did not realise that this little watery corner of the Cotswolds had so much to offer. The region is made up of over 150 lakes, 13 traditional Cotswold stone built villages, The River Thames, a canal and more great pubs than you can shake a stick at had so much to offer.
If you are heading north from Swindon make sure you turn off just before Cirencester signposted the Cotswold Water Park. You can then find out what delights and surprises can be found in this beautiful Lakeland area. Stop at the Waterpark Gateway Information Centre for a coffee at the popular café and homemade cake right on the first of many spectacular lakes for a sneaky peak at the Cotswold Water Park.
We have compiled a little list of 12 alternative great ideas when you choose to visit this ever increasingly popular region.
- Visit the Cotswolds Country Park and Beach – Take on the inflatable obstacle course (Wibit Aquaventure) on the North Lake and enjoy some kayaking and standup paddle boarding (SUP) too. Build sandcastles with the kids at the inland beach by the South Lake and hire water walkers, swan pedaloes, rowing boats, mini–port themed electric boats. Have lunch at the waterside café and pizzeria, take a picnic or hire a BBQ pitch and enjoy the sunshine by the lake.
- Get on your Bike – Hire bicycles suitable for all the family (including tagalongs and trailers) from Go-By-Cycle which is located next door to the Cotswolds Country Park and Beach. There are many quiet country lanes and paths around the area but you can also go ‘off road’, along the bridle paths and permissive cycle paths.
- Walk the Thames Path to the Source – Pick up the Thames Path from Neigh Bridge Country Park, admire the beautiful countryside along the way as you hunt for the stone near Kemble which marks the start of this famous river’s journey into London. Finish with some well-deserved food or just a drink at the Thames Head Inn.
- Visit Historic Cirencester – Browse the market in the town centre, which is overlooked by St John Baptist church (one of the largest parish churches in England) then head to the Black Jack Streetarea for loads of ‘nooks and crannies’ to explore. Also, don’t forget to look round the award-winning Corinium Museum, which has one of the finest and most extensive Roman collections in the country.
- Put Your Foot Down, Go Rallying – Anyone aged 10 years or older can enjoy driving a rally-prepped car at the purpose built 100% gravel track at Gloucestershire Rally School near South Cerney.
- Go Fishing – Buy a day ticket from the Waterside Café at Lake Pochard for one of the two fishing lakes there. Walters Lake is a 3 acre purpose built commercial match lake (the only one within the Cotswolds Water Park) and Lake Pochard is a 10 acre specimen carp lake. If trout is your preferred catch then visit Lechlade and Bushyleaze Trout Fisheries for excellent day ticket fly fishing.
- Take Aim – Try Archery, Air Rifle or Crossbow shooting at The Cotswold Range. The qualified instructors carefully match the equipment to each person, work on your aim and guide you through a selection of games for various ability levels.
- Go Water skiing, Wakeboarding or Ringo Riding – Visit Lakeside Ski and Wake at Spring Lake, just outside South Cerney to enjoy one of the best water sports facilities in the country. To fuel your fun, there is a family friendly sports bar and Lakeside Brasserie as well as a gym, all with a view of the lake.
- Hire a Motorised Boat on the Thames – Cruise along the river in an electric boat (like a rowing boat but with a small outboard motor) or a small cruiser from Cotswold Boat Hire at The Trout Inn in Lechlade.
- Discover Pretty Cotswolds Towns and Villages in the Surrounding Area – Bourton on the Water is regularly voted one of the prettiest villages in England, with its attractions and shops, restaurants and tea rooms. A walk by the River Windrush with its beautiful bridges is a very tranquil experience. Another quintessential village is Stow-on-the-Wold with its grand manors and gardens, quaint cottages and quiet backwaters as well as ancient woodlands and rolling hills.
There are many great things to do in this area. To find out more information on the range of activities, facilities and places to visit a great place to start is the Cotswold Water Park website. The Cotswold Water Park is a charitable trust that runs and manages this beautiful 40 square mile region. Come and visit and enjoy it for yourself.
Author – Waterside Breaks, Holiday Cottages & Lodges by Water across the UK