Bourton-on-the-Water model village – Slightly further away from us is Bourton-on-the-Water, the picturesque cotswold village. One of the main tourist attractions is the model village – a one-ninth scale replica of the village of Bourton-on-the-Water, containing all the buildings from the Old Water Mill (now the Car Museum) down to the Old New Inn and the ford, all built in Cotswold stone. The model village is open every day (except Christmas Day) between 10am and 6pm (4pm in the winter). There is a small pay and display carpark immediately outside but it does fill up pretty quickly. Panic not, because just up the road is a much larger carpark so there is ample space. It’s worth noting that the model village is not pram friendly (you have to leave them in the buggy park just by the ticket office) so make sure you have a baby carrier/sling handy. The model village itself is magical….our daughter adores visiting it and imaging the little people that live and work there. There is a church that has music coming from it and a little stream that meanders through the middle (equipped with mini bridges). A trip to the model village can be combined with a gentle stroll through the real village, feeding the ducks, paddling in the stream (on warmer days!) and browsing the lovely selection of shops. There are plenty of picnic spots along the river but if you’re feeling like a treat then I highly recommend a trip to the bakery on the Water – a truly spectacular artisan bakery that sells delicious bread and cakes. It also has a small number of tables inside (and a wonderful terrace at the back) to enjoy scrummy breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas.
There is a lovely play park (not sign posted at all!) down by the Royal Legion – The Naight Playing Field and Play Area. It has an enclosed play area and a large grassed open space with football goals. The play area contains equipment aimed at the younger (toddler +) age range. From here you can walk back to Bourton along a little stream from the far end of the playing field. Public toilets can be found on the High Street (Church Rooms Toilets). 20p is needed but they are normally clean.
If you’re looking to spend the whole day in and around Bourton you could also consider a trip to Bird Land. We’ve not managed to visit yet but friends speak highly of it. It houses over 500 birds – Flamingos, pelicans, penguins, cranes, storks, cassowary, and waterfowl can be seen on various aspects of the natural water habitat. There are also over 50 aviaries featuring parrots, falcons, pheasants, hornbills, touracos, pigeons, ibis and many more. Sounds like even the keenest bird watcher would find something of interest!
Another option is Greystones Farm and Nature Reserve. It’s a free nature reserve within walking distance from the village centre. It has a wild play trail scattered around the reserve, a lovely cafe and plenty of marked walks. There are also a whole host of events and activities on offer – check out their events page.