We love a free activity and day out, and luckily there’s loads to do for free near us in Cheltenham and Gloucester. I’ve not included local parks as there are just too many, and I only know a few.
Free days out and activities in Cheltenham & Gloucester – Summer 2019
1. Montpellier Park
We love this park, I actually think it might be my favourite in Cheltenham. The kids love performing on the bandstand, scooting on the paths and of course if there’s a Festival on there’s always so much for kids to see and do.
Montpellier park play park is really fantastic as it’s enclosed so kids can’t escape as easily. It’s a really nice size and you can always see your kids!
We love a play, then stop for some snacks and maybe a coffee from the coffee shop by the play park. It’s lovely and we often bump into friends we’ve not see in ages.
Being opposite Montpellier’s shops it in a brilliant location (pop to the Co-Op for bread and milk and it’s ticked all the boxes for the day with no need to drag grumpy tired kids out of the car!
Coffee #1 is now in the park too – perfect if it’s raining!
2. Jet Age Museum
The Jet Age Museum is located at Staverton Airport, great fun and a lovely morning out, we even saw Santa there one Christmas in his airplane grotto. It’s not open all the time as it’s run by volunteers but when it is it’s worth the trip.
3. Watching planes – The Aviator
The picnic benches in the Aviator Garden are brilliant for kids to watch the planes and helicopters. Ours have also spent lots of time playing hide and seek and making up games as they watch the planes.
4. Leckhampton Hill
Leckhampton Hill is a lovely walk, located on the outskirts of Cheltenham – park at the Quarry and you’ll get some fantastic views across Gloucestershire.
5. Pittville Park
I only go to the big new play park in Pittville Park with one child or I can’t keep track of them. The playpark is so big and open they can just go anywhere.
We refer seeing ducks, and exploring (scooting) around the rest of the park, the old swing park near the leisure centre, the wooden obstacle course are all much better, especially with more than one child!
There are 3 cafes in the park so coffees and ice cream are ticked off too.
6. Gloucester Docks
We love a visit to Gloucester Docks. We often have a quick wander round the shops at Gloucester Quays, maybe a coffee stop and a wander around the docks looking at the boats.
Mummy shopping win + Kids entertained = an easy win!
7. Wow at The Wilson
The Wilson is free and has fun bits and bobs for kids to do. The WOW gallery (World of Wonders) has things for kids to explore and is a good escape if it’s raining! It is a small room through the museum so do be prepared!
The Wilson cafe also is brilliant if you’re in town as it has lots of kids toys and is really child friendly.
8. Hidden Cheltenham trail
We haven’t done this yet, but it’s a trail around Cheltenham and the kids get a goodie bag at the end.
We actually stumbled across the plaques in the street and we’re very intrigued earlier this year.
All the info you need to start the trail is on this Hidden Cheltenham Facebook post.
9. Gloucester Cathedral
Another from my bucket list, a visit to Hogwarts aka Gloucester Cathedral. I’m waiting for the time when the girls aren’t going to be tired, grumpy, hyper or… Well perhaps when they’re slightly older, and maybe have seen Harry Potter.
Gloucester Cathedral always has lots of events going on:
Saturday 10th August – Bounce n brunch
Crafts, cake, coffee and bouncy castle (donations!)
10. Regents Arcade, Cheltenham
10. Indoor Beach and The Beach Club
Indoor beach every Saturday from the 27th July – 17th August there will be beach games and fun at the Regents Arcade.
11. Wishing Fish Clock
I quickly learnt that this is a huge hit with the kids and an easy win. Usually by the time we reach H&M, they’re getting grumpy and hungry, but time it right and we can see the Wishing Fish Clock turn and ping, and blow all its bubbles across the excited kids.
Yes there’s the famous horse racing Festival, but locals know Cheltenham also has literary, jazz, science, music festivals… and there are always free events, kids tents with activities and such a lovely atmosphere. We often meet friends, take picnic blankets and let the kids have fun. But, more than just the big festivals, there is always something going on, not only that apparently there are 25+ big festivals a year! Searching on the new hashtag #TheFestivalTown being banded about recently, brings up lots of info so it’s a great way to find out what’s coming up. Last weekend was the Summer Jam at the Brewery and the Chilli and Cheese Festival.
13. The library
Of course for free fun, the library is always a hit – books to read and activities too. It’s not just Story time for preschoolers, and bounce and rhyme for babies and toddlers, there are reading challenges and even Comic Con on Sunday 25th August!
14. Comic Con at Cheltenham Library
Cheltenham Library Comic Con on Sunday 25th August will be an event for all ages and feature among other things comics, illustrators/artists, panels, cosplay and more. More on Cheltenham Library Comic Con.
15. Summer Reading Challenge
This summer’s #summerreadingchallenge is all about aliens and space – #spaceforreading
16. Cheltenham Science Group event
At Cheltenham Library – Monday 12th August 11-1.30, Cheltenham Science Group will be having a drop in event to make stained glass astronomy and constellation pictures using cotton buds
There are events most week days at Cheltenham Science Group, others are £2 for children over 4, £7.50 for a family of five, or free with a annual family pass.
17. Museum of Gloucester
Some exhibitions have a charge, but not all. The current event is the Moon Exhibition and there are a whole host of events going on – Museum of Gloucester events.
18. Bishops Cleeve Events
Bishops Cleeve Parish Council are hosting lots of free events from 10th to 23rd of August for kids age 5-15. The events will launching it all off with a family fun day.
Saturday 10th August Free Family Fun Day
Meet Paw Patrol and other characters!
All Bishops Cleeve events are listed here.
Monday 12th onwards
There will be loads of free events Stage School, arts and crafts, swashbuckle adventures, sports clubs…
19. Cheltenham Festival of Cycling
I know I mentioned festivals above, however the Let’s Ride Cheltenham Festival of Cycling is taking part on the 1st of September so worth a separate mention. It’s a traffic free cycling event in Montpellier, for all ages and abilities.
We enjoyed the Festival of Cycling events earlier this year, and hope it’s as much fun in September.
20. Court Farm, Bishops Cleeve
‘Meet our animals weekend’
Free, 10th-11th August from 10am – 4pm more info on the Court Farm Facebook page.
Meet the Cows, Goats, Pet Sheep, new rare breed Saddleback Pigs & Boo’s Piglets which were born this week!
~ FREE ENTRY / No Need to Book
There is a cafe for kids lunches and snacks, and food for adults too!
Not free but worth mentioning…
Court Farm Summer Farm Tours
These aren’t free but are running Tuesday 20th, and Wednesday 21st August.
Booking info here: Summer Farm Tours.
21. Primrose Vale PYO*
* Not free but it’s the cost of a punnet of strawberries/blackberries/raspberries…
Primrose Vale PYO near Cheltenham has to be in our top five local activities and I’ve written about it’s Easter and Halloween before. Primrose Vale is a lovely morning/afternoon out. We pick some strawberries, play in the play park (which has just been redone), have a picnic and maybe an ice cream or coffee.
The strawberries are always absolutely delicious and juicy, so much better than shop bought.
Free days out & activities within half an hour of Cheltenham…
Further afield from Cheltenham/Gloucester there are a few brilliant free day out with kids options we love, and many more I’m sure we’ve not yet discovered…
The Valley Evesham – Beach and Pop up Farm
The Valley shopping at Evesham Country Park is always having events. Each summer they have a beach appear with deck chairs and a massive sand pit. It’s great fun for the kids, and I’m sure if we’re been prepared and taken with buckets and spades, and a picnic blanket we’d have stayed much longer than we did.
A kind tip for visiting The Beach at The Valley from the lovely Steph Loves Honey:
… we’ve been a couple of times this summer and there have been different things on both times.
Be careful if you take buckets and spades, we kept turning our back and other people had taken ours! An older girl broke one of our little spades too and was very unapologetic!
We also went on the wee train which goes to the play area (costs about £2.20 each).
The beach is free, and they also have a pop up farm each Wednesday in August which is free too. We did visit on Wednesday but didn’t see the farm, so I’m not sure where it actually was.
More info on The Valley’s summer events are over on their Facebook page – The Valley Summer 2019 events.
Abbey Park, Evesham
We’ve never been here, but so so many friends have recommended it. It’s free, I think you just need to pay for parking.
Kids play areas, water play fountains, gardens, bandstand. More
Abbey Park, Pershore
Also listed on the website as having water play fountains so thought I’d include it!
Again one I’ve been recommended but not made it to yet.
As and when I stumble across more free activities I’ll add them here…
Do share any ideas you have too – comments below, or on social media.
I’d love if you could share this post!
Summer holidays can be hard work if you stay home all day so all ideas welcome!