Cotswold Lavender – Paradise in Gloucestershire?

Perhaps thanks to Instagram, there seems to be a huge increase in the amount of floral fields you can now head to but one local flower farm that has been showing the rest how to do it is Cotswold Lavender in Snowshill, Gloucestershire. We headed there yesterday and had the best day so I thought it only right to let you all know about it.

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I’ve been to a few other similar places now and arrogantly assumed I knew what to expect when I arrived at Cotswold Lavender but boy, was I wrong! Without overdoing it, I genuinely thought I’d stepped into my very own paradise on my doorstep.

For a start, it didn’t seem too busy. Granted, it was probably busier than it seemed but the lavender fields are so vast that there was plenty of space for everyone to stroll through the fields without photobombing another of the countless influencers you might see at another field. (Not that I have anything against those influencers, I too like a good photo in a field!) The other thing that struck me instantly was the incredible smell. My Nan always smelt like lavender so perhaps its a nostalgic thing, but what with that and the fact that we had lavender everywhere on our wedding day, Cotswold Lavender just felt special to me.

The girls were on top form and enjoyed being able to run around in the ‘pretty purple flowers’ spotting bees and ladybirds as they went. We played tag, did some lavender gymnastics (my 4 year old’s idea) and generally enjoyed being outside and in each other’s company. The promise of a snack in the café may have had something to do with their impeccable moods too!

Talking of the café, it was great. Lots of outdoor seating (and under cover too to escape the midday heat!) meant that we had plenty of space to enjoy our snacks as well as spot all the gorgeous dogs that had come to visit the fields too! The girls enjoyed some crisps and juice, whereas my Mum and I treated ourselves to something a bit sweeter. Mum had a Pain aux raisins – and it was definitely up there as one of the better ones I’ve eaten! I, on the other hand, thought it only right to have a cream tea and used it as an excuse to try one of their lavender scones. If you don’t like lavender, its probably not for you (then again why are you even here?) but if like me, you love a bit of botanical in your baking you’re in for a treat! I am going to put it out there, but it may just be one of the best scones I’ve ever eaten. That or I was just so happy that it felt like the best scone in the world. Either way, I have a lot to thank Cotswold Lavender for. We had the best few hours, and will be heading back I’m sure! Next time we might even take our own picnic as there were plenty of picnic tables in the main fields. I’ll definitely save room for a scone though!

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Getting Ready for School

Reflections at Cotswold Water Park GloucestershireThis week is a big week in our house. This week sees the official start of our school journey. This week is the first stay-and-play session and  home visit and to be quite honest, I’m not quite sure what to expect.

I’m finding it quite difficult after being on the other side of the classroom for years to not come across as that ‘pain in the bum parent’ who asks all the questions but if I’m being totally honest, I’m just a bit worried about getting it wrong. Does she have to have a pencil case? Where is best to go for school uniform? Shoes – velcro or buckles? (I already know not laces!) And what about milk – she doesn’t drink milk but should I ask for it anyway in case she changes her mind in September!? Seriously, just so many questions!

I loved school. Like loved school. I was picked on a fair bit at secondary- being called ‘boffin’ and ‘nerd’ were an hourly occurrence for a long time really and there was a lot worse said to me too but do you know what, that didn’t really ever bother me! In my books, it was better to be considered a ‘boffin’ then a naughty kid and in my own righteous way, I got through school fairly unscathed when it came to bullies. I was lucky to find a great group of friends with similar values and I also went to a junior and secondary school with very encouraging, supportive staff. So much so, I even did my teacher training at my old secondary school – I think I was just as much a teacher’s pet as an adult as I was a student! Turns out, I just really love being in a school environment!

So naturally for me, I catastrophise and the idea of getting Thea ready for school just leaves me feeling a bit worried that I will overdo it. I’m trying to play it cool, but in actual fact, I’m really nervous. What if she doesn’t like school? What if she’s the naughty one in the class? What if she hates school? Deep down, I know she will be fine. She is already a pretty good judge of character and certainly likes to do well at things. She’s super curious and asks 1000 questions by 8am every morning. I have no good reason to think that any of these will worries will materialise. She goes to a pre-school already, has some lovely friends and absolutely loves her time there but something’s got me questioning it all, and I think its more the fact that my tiny little human is not quite so tiny anymore.

We’ve got three weeks of pre-school left and then a whole summer ahead of us, and a lot of time is planned after our holiday for just me and Thea to have some quality time ahead of school starting so hopefully by then, both she and I will be ready for her to start this next big adventure!

Have you got a little one starting school this September? Or have you been through it all already? What are your top tips for getting kids ready, and what about for preparing the parents!? I’m sure they’re worse than the kids! Drop me a comment – I’d love to hear from you!

Escaping the Cotswolds.

Let’s face it, sometimes living in the Cotswolds can feel like you’ve won the postcode lottery. But sometimes, just sometimes, it feels like there’s something missing and in my opinion, that is the beach!

With family living on the Isle of Wight and in Cornwall, we are extremely lucky and get to the seaside fairly regularly but arguably, there is always time for more sea and sand! That’s why this weekend my Mum and I jumped on the train with the two girls and headed down to Weston-super-Mare.

Familiarly known to many as ‘Weston-super-Mud’, it has been years since I last visited this seaside town. In fact the last time I went was when Vernon Kay and T4 on the Beach were still a thing so that goes to show just how long it’s been! Not a huge amount has changed but do you know what, I think I like that!

The first thing I noticed was just how incredibly cheap Weston is! Compared to the Isle of Wight and Cornwall where we spend a lot of our time, things in Weston seem a fraction of the price! With no buckets and spades at home, it became apparent that we would have to buy some pretty darn quickly upon our arrival and where we might’ve had to take out a loan in the Cornish shops, two buckets and two spades set us back just £3.40. If we had taken a picnic, that would have been the only £3.40 I spent all day – of that I’m almost certain! Similarly, it would appear that Weston is the only place left in the South West where a ’99’ still costs you 99p. Well, £1 but come on, that’s pretty cheap for a Mr Whippy!

The second thing I learned is that the beach is actually a lot better than I remember! With two little ones, sometimes being close to the sea can be as much a hindrance as anything. They get very excited and decide they want to get in only to find out that the water is too cold, they don’t like it and that its very upsetting that I would ever even suggest they get in. It can be quite hard to manage. The good thing about Weston was that we had no choice when it came to the sea. It was simply so far out that the girls didn’t even take notice and instead just played in the sand. The sand itself is perfect and there was plenty of room for everyone, even on the hottest day of the year so far. For anyone wanting to reminisce about their own childhood, the donkeys are still there and can be ridden at the bargain price of £2.50. In all honesty, they looked a lot better cared for than I remember and it was Thea’s highlight of the day being allowed to ride Ronnie the donkey. We even made up a song about it on the way back to the train – think ‘Wind the Bobbin Up’ with the words changed and you won’t be too far away!

The pier remains as good fun as piers can be. I spent far too much on the 2p machine and was able to exchange my 119 prize tickets for a pencil and a Maoam bar but again, Thea was in her element. She can’t wait to show off her new pencil at ‘big school’ in September and will be asking to sharpen it every day until then I’m sure! Piers are actually a huge guilty pleasure of mine (not Piers Morgan – just the beach kind!). I could have spent hours trying to win at a game I know I will lose just on the off-chance I get an ugly stuffed toy out of it! You can’t really go wrong, can you?

All jokes aside, the actual town centre of Weston is much improved from the last time I visited. Trendy bars and some nice boutique shops also feature amongst your more traditional seaside resort stands. The choice for lunch was actually really great with a large part just off the seafront having been developed with lots of family-friendly chain restaurants such as Prezzo and Nandos. We actually settled on Brunello Lounge which is the same as Portivo Lounge at Gloucester Quays, or Rivo Lounge in our old hometown of Chippenham. The kids’ menu is great and they do a good range of lunch options for grown-ups too.

We had a great day out – it was certainly one for the memory box but perhaps what made our trip even more special was the fact that I didn’t have to drive anywhere! We made the somewhat brave decision to take two small children on a train on the hottest day of the year but it was the best decision in the world. Whilst our return trip was a little delayed, the GWR train from Gloucester to Weston, or indeed Cheltenham to Weston was just as quick as driving, and probably not too different in price when you count petrol and parking for a day. Not to mention the fact that I could feel a little better about my carbon footprint by not taking the car out yet again! I used The TrainLine to book our tickets. The girls were free, I have a railcard as I’m still (just!) under 30 and I was also travelling with my Mum. It came to £30 for a return trip for both of us which quite frankly, I think is great. Price aside, the girls absolutely loved their adventure on a train and it has been a talking point at home ever since! Thea is already planning our next train journey!

Banksy may have deemed it DismalLand, and perhaps its his influence we have to thank for bringing more back to the town, but Weston-super-Mare certainly seemed like its on the up and I’m sure we will be returning to see Ronnie very soon!

Some more photos from our trip…

Here comes the sun…hopefully!?

So the summer holidays are fast approaching, and for us, it is going to be a busy one!

We are extremely excited to be returning to beautiful Portugal for two whole weeks and I am already slightly stressing about the packing lists! It will be ok I’m sure!

For now, I am making the most of the local events on offer! We are so very lucky to live in an area where a) there is always something on and b) it is super easy to travel to other big cities for larger events.

I’ll soon be posting a review of Party at the Castle over at Sudeley Castle. My Mum and I booked ourselves tickets to see Caro Emerald and Alfie Boe which took place last night, and then this evening I have the great pleasure of attending again! I actually won this as a competition and so will be taking a few friends along to see Will Young and All Saints! But as a sneak peek – the review is going to be a good one! Last night was truly awesome, and I am so excited for tonight!

I also have a bit of a 90s revival in the coming days. I’m seeing Take That in Cardiff this weekend as it was my birthday present from my husband. I’m a huge fan and have seen them a few times before so I know what a treat we’re in for! Plus Rick Astley is supporting so what’s not to love!! Then on Monday, I will be absolutely fangirling as I watch Spice Girls for the first time ever! Being a true 90s kid, I cannot wait to see them perform and sing along at the top of my voice! We’re finishing off next week with a trip to Westonbirt Arboretum to see Stereophonics – another of my favourite bands who are always great live and if the weather’s good, then the Arboretum couldn’t be a better venue in my opinion!

I also have the most exciting trip coming up in a few weeks but more on that later!

For now I need to go and get ready for tonight – wellies and raincoat at the ready I think judging on today’s weather!

Enjoy your weekend all, whatever you’re up to!

Why I Really Left Teaching.

Think of someone you know who is a teacher.

Now think of three words to describe them.

Chances are you might have some of the following: organised, patient, perfectionist, creative, good with kids, interested, perhaps even a control freak (yes I said it!).

Now have another think, were they like that before they became teachers or does it just seem to attract a certain type of person into the profession?

My earliest dream was never to be a teacher. I recently bumped into my year 5 teacher whom years ago, I distinctly remember telling that my dream job was to be an accountant. Most kids want to be vets or superheroes, but me, I wanted to work in a place where order and sense could reign true. Somewhere along the way, I decided that I preferred languages to maths (although there are clear similarities in the subject) and my hopes of being an accountant took a slight turn into being a translator. Fast forward a few years and I find myself at university working with local secondary students on raising their aspirations and tutoring them and here I find something which I truly love doing and I decide to enrol on a teacher training course for secondary school languages.

If you were to ask my friends they would probably tell you that I was born to be a teacher. I have a pure love of organising, of rules, and of learning and really they’re three very key parts of teaching. What my friends may also tell you is that I am a different person and so much happier now that I am not in the classroom.

After having both girls, I was keen to get back to work. For me, working is something that I absolutely love and a career was just as important pre-children as it became post-children. Yes, co-ordinating drop offs and pick ups along with parents’ evenings and meetings was like a military operation but I was determined to do so. On the whole, it was pretty successful. Granted there were times when my husband’s meetings would run late, or he’d have to travel, or I would have to stay home with poorly children but for the most part it was working. We even decided that I would commute an hour each way after we had moved because it seemed worthwhile given the benefits of living closer to my parents and the fact that my amazing Mum was also able to help out with the children. I, in fact we, really wanted to make it work and on the whole, my school (and particularly my headteacher at the time) couldn’t have been more supportive.

Unfortunately, teaching wasn’t a particularly flexible job when it came to actually being part-time or indeed having children. Timetable restraints, childcare costs and an ever-increasing workload began to take its toll and the job that I so loved seemed to slowly disappear out of reach. This academic year saw me take on a total of 12 teaching groups and 1 tutor group over my three days a week – all of which I shared with another colleague in my department. That equates to roughly 320 students that I had to teach French, Spanish, and PSE (Personal and Social Education to).  It also ended up with me teaching RE, a subject of which I know nothing about, and yet it was expected I would ‘fill the timetable gap’ and deliver lessons planned by other teachers to students who were choosing their GCSE options in that subject. Stressed doesn’t quite cover how I felt after that email. Slowly but surely I ended up working every day of the week as I emailed colleagues to check where students were on their schemes of work, apologised to parents and other staff members that it was one of my days off and therefore didn’t know what had happened that particular day at school, that I couldn’t take their call at that moment, or that I wasn’t able to make parents’ evening that day as we couldn’t get ad-hoc childcare for my day off, and that’s before I started the marking or lesson planning that it is needed to be an outstanding teacher. Throw in my own children being ill and needing to plan cover lessons and it got to a point where really, no one was winning. Financially there were some months where my 0.6FTE contract barely covered the childcare costs and that was as a teacher at the top of the main pay-scale without any ‘additional’ responsibilities.

The students didn’t get the best of me, or their other language teacher who was trying to pick up where I left off and vice versa. My own children didn’t get the best of me because I was working on my days off when I should have been with them. My family and friends (and my poor husband) didn’t get the best of me because I was overworked and under-rested! And I didn’t get the best of anything. I felt like I was failing at everything despite being told I was doing everything well and to the best of my ability. Part of this is on me, sure. I am a worrier and a perfectionist, and I was worried that I wasn’t doing anything well enough. But on the day that I finally braved it and asked to have a chat at work, I was met with a fairly brisk “well just don’t worry”, or a “yeah I’m really worrying too” rather than actually anyone who would willingly do anything about it.

This isn’t a blame game. I don’t blame anyone at my old school for what happened. Everyone is in the same boat. But everyone is going to be stuck in that same sinking boat without some serious changes from above. Even upon leaving, colleagues were telling me how jealous they were that I was able to “get out”. “Get out” from a profession that actually when done right, we all love.

You may have seen in the news that teachers are leaving the profession at an ever-increasing rate, and that in certain subject areas, schools are just not able to recruit good members of staff (and that’s in the nice schools in the nice areas!) Things are starting to be done. There are some great campaigns like Return to Teach and #FlexAppeal but the truth is something has got to give. Whether you like it or not, teachers are still a primarily female work force and guess what, lots of us have babies. But even the men who are teachers should not be denied the right to a good work-life balance with their families or friends. Its not even about those of us who have children. Some of my colleagues without children are simply expected to pick up the load for those of us who have to rush off for pickups, but with no remuneration, and often no thanks either.

As a parent, I want my girls to go to the best schools, but I want them to have happy, healthy teachers who feel supported by their heads of departments, headteachers and let’s face it, their students’ parents too. Culturally, we need to change how we view our teachers. After all, your children will spend more time with their teachers than even with you as a parent, and they will almost certainly influence the next generation more than we can imagine. Surely we want that to be a positive influence by staff who love their jobs, rather than people who are just working payday to payday, ticking boxes as they go.

If you’re a teacher, give yourself a huge pat on the back and know that you are in one of the best, most incredible careers you could be. I do miss the classroom every single day, and I miss my students, as hard as some of them could be at times! Thankfully I seem to be getting the best of both worlds in my new role, and I even get some classroom time at a local primary teaching French. But it hasn’t been without a paycut and ultimately, if we all leave teaching in the hope of finding a better balance, then things are going to be in a fairly sorry state of affairs. I recently read a study by Varkey, which for the first time explicitly showed  “the link between the status of teachers in society and the performance of children in school.” They go on to explain that they “can say beyond doubt that respecting teachers isn’t only an important moral duty – it’s essential for a country’s educational outcomes.”

So perhaps its time to start giving them a break, otherwise the break may just become a permanent one.

Ad| Kids Arcade – styling your kids

Last week saw my first ever journey into the beautiful Burford just over the Oxfordshire border. Growing up, Burford always meant one thing to me and that was Cotswold Wildlife Park but having now been into the actual town centre, I can safely say I will be returning soon!

The reason for my visit was also a first for me as I attended my first Kids Arcade popup. Rachel, creator of Kids Arcade, explained to me just what she has set out to do with her stylish pop-up concept. “Kids Arcade serves up a cool edit of kids’ fashion & lifestyle product for the modern parent. Navigating the digital world of independent brands for you, it brings a dynamic and bespoke shopping experience to life in stylish venues around the Cotswolds and beyond.” Rachel is absolutely on the money with this, and she didn’t fail to deliver one bit.

This particular popup took place in the beautiful Warwick Hall of Burford and the venue alone was enough to hint at the standard I could expect once I walked inside. There were so many amazing brands on show, some of which I only got a sneak peek at as I had dropped the girls at childcare – next time they will have to come with me as there would have been plenty of things to keep them busy whilst I shopped! I could spend ten blogs telling you about the brands I will now be keeping an eye on but instead, I have picked three of my favourites.

  1. The Girl Element

Even in the few days since Kids Arcade, I have been regularly checking for updates on this super exciting new brand. Most of you will know by now that I have two young daughters – two girls who already know their own minds, and hopefully that they can go on to achieve anything no matter what their gender. Some days my eldest wants to be a princess, some days she wants to be a pirate, most days at the moment she wants to be Mary Poppins. Regardless of what she wants to be when she’s older, I don’t want to feel that her clothing is pigeonholing her into being “unicorns and sparkles” and that’s it. A lot has been said about girls’ clothing available on the high street and the reinforcement of gender stereotypes but thankfully, Kate Haddon, founder of The Girl Element is here to help. The gorgeous nightwear range (aimed at girls aged 2-11) which will be launching soon is based around three key STEM designs: think, create and invent. And quite frankly, aren’t they wonderful ideas to put on clothing no matter what gender our children are? They look beautiful, feel amazing and I am eagerly awaiting the email to say when they have been launched for sure! Make sure you sign up here too as the initial batch of pyjamas will be limited.

 

2. Alice à Paris

Having lived in France for my degree, I always used to look at French women looking effortlessly cool with such great envy. Its something I still haven’t mastered, and perhaps (most likely) I never will but thankfully for my children, Alice à Paris are making it far easier for them to do so! I bought my eldest a beautiful cotton dress and for my youngest,  a top/bloomers combo that will match her older sister.  Soft, light material, both outfits will be perfect for our summer trip to Portugal and they have gone down very well with the girls! Hopefully this brand will become a staple in our household and most importantly, the girls will be comfortable!

3. Sisi & Seb

A curator of cool kids’ clothing and accessories, the main premise behind Sisi & Seb is ‘buy less, buy better’. This is something we’ve really been trying to do with the girls, especially as they are now getting older and the ‘price per wear’ is actually really good! Stockists of beautiful clothes, they also sell things for dinner time, bath time and even treats for Mummas! I picked up some fun Liewood bibs for my youngest as she loves to decorate herself when eating but it is definitely a brand I will be returning to, especially around Christmas/birthdays.

The thing that impressed me most about all of the brands that I encountered, and indeed, Kids Arcade itself, was the aspirational nature of it all. These are women (primarily) seeking to raise our children in a better, more sustainable world and they are doing something about it by setting up these incredible businesses. One brand, LoLA, is actively seeking to encourage the inner artist in all children whilst another, We Are Pop, is promoting cool brands and items such as the much longer-after Mutha.hood Strong Girls’ Club t-shirts! Ethically minded companies, such as Lovesay & Mo, seem to be on the up too, and surely that can only mean good things are happening?

 

Other amazing brands pictured above: Four Fairies and A Prince; Pop & Punch ; SSmall Stories

Either way, I can’t wait for the next Kids Arcade! Hope to see you at one soon! For more info, keep an eye on their Facebook and Instagram pages or the website here.

Rachel will next be at a popup in Charlbury with a curated edit of stock later this week.

Ad – this is labelled an Ad as I was given discounted products in return for social media coverage and a review. However all opinions are my own – it really was great! 

AD| Why I’ll always love Cotswold Farm Park

Growing up in Gloucestershire, I spent many a weekend in this county visiting places and exploring new things. One of the fondest memories I have is visiting Cotswold Farm Park with my family and on school trips as a child, and now I feel very lucky to have been asked to visit with my own children. 

Last weekend saw the re-opening of Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park for the 2019 season and we went along to see how things have changed. Here’s what we thought…

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Arriving at opening time, it was clear that it was going to be a busy day at the park. What with it being an unusually sunny February half term weekend, it would appear that everyone had the same idea as us – get up early and make the most of the day! However despite the large amount of people at the park we never felt that it was too busy, or too crowded much owing to the fact that the park is just so wonderfully open and big.

Our first stop was the lambing talk where the very knowledgable Darren explained all about how the lambing season works. It was so interesting! Obviously an expert at what he does, he talked us right through the process in a way that was interesting for adults and children. My eldest is only 3 but even she was asking us questions about the lambs as we sat and listened to Darren speak. Darren was just the first of many very knowledgeable and passionate staff that we met on the day and I have to say this is one of the things that made our day so special. They were so willing to explain things about the animals that they cared for whilst retaining a sense of humour that, let’s face it, you need when dealing with that many toddlers in a day!

Did you know: Cotswold Farm Park are expecting over 1000 lambs in the 100 day season this year, and one ewe last year birthed an incredible 6 lambs! 

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After the talk we decided to explore some of the many play areas that the farm park has on offer. Thea chose the Adventure Barn that we had walked past on our way to the lambing talk and she was very impressed to say the least! There are 3 play areas within the barn; Barefoot Beach, Forest Floor and Construction Corner. Our clear favourite was Forest Floor which both children raced around on little go-karts for a good 20 minutes before there was even the slightest sign of tiring out! There is also a café in the barn (The Shed) which offers a range of hot and cold drinks, perfect for parents who need to have a little break themselves!

We finally managed to pry the children away from playing with the offer of getting up close with some smaller breeds in the Discovery/Experience Barn. Whilst we missed the Lamb bottle-feeding that you can help out with each day, we did enjoy meeting some of the other animals! Thea took great pleasure in holding the guinea pigs, something she has never done before. At one point she was actually just moving seats on the bench so that she could carry on holding different guinea pigs! Again the staff were so good with her and gave us plenty of time to acclimatise our somewhat wild 3 year old into the idea of holding a real live animal! After the guinea pigs, Thea also held a baby chick with Daddy and then enjoyed piglets sniffing around her feet in the hay. The lady running this section was Thea’s absolute favourite person of the day as she let Thea sit next to her and generally made her feel really important so thank you – I’m only sorry I didn’t catch your name!

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Next on our itinerary was some more play-time – this time we were outside on the bouncing pillows and in the sandpits. I can’t emphasise enough just how many different play areas there are at Cotswold Farm Park – it did get to the point where I just wanted to see more animals whilst the children just wanted to play so perhaps do be prepared for that! Having said that, the bouncing pillows were great fun and they have different
pillows for different age groups so I didn’t feel like the girls would be bounced off by older children in the slightest!

In my opinion we saved the best til last as my personal favourite of the whole park has to be the Rare Breeds Trail. This is a perfect opportunity to go for a calming walk around the paddocks to get a glimpse of some really rare farm breeds. You are also able to feed the animals with some specially produced feed that you can get on your entrance to the park and perhaps this is why I love this area so much. Both girls fed the animals and enjoyed being able to get up close to sheep and goats like they aren’t able to normally. I also loved feeding the animals too – I’m not sure why but it reminded me so much of when I was little and it was certainly very special to be able to share that with my own children. It was perhaps made a little less special by the sheer amount of sheep drool I got on my hand (thanks to one sheep!) but even that was worth it!

We rounded off our trip with a visit to the new Ox Shed visitor centre which houses one of the best gift shops I have ever been to. The range of local food and drink produce, coupled with a lovely homeware section and amazing toy area meant that we spent rather a long time moseying about! There is a fab Melissa & Doug train set to keep the children busy whilst you look around the shop too! Whilst we didn’t try the restaurant out on this trip, we did see some of the food go out and I have to say next time I’m sure we’ll stay and eat too!

We had such a wonderful day and it has come up in conversation almost every day since so I’m sure at some point in the season we will be making a very welcome return to Cotswold Farm Park!

Top Tips for Visiting Cotswold Farm Park

  1. Arrive Early. The park seemed to get busier as the day went on so definitely try and arrive early to get the most of your day. (It opens to the public at 10:30, or members at 9:30)
  2. Take snacks. Whilst there are plenty of places to grab a snack on your way round the park, it was super handy to be able to keep the kids going during the talk and the walk around the trail with some pre-prepared snacks. On the snack front, be sure to get your animal snacks from the entrance too for just 60p! It will really make your day!
  3. Plan the things you really want to do ahead of time. I really wanted to go to the lambing talk having never visited at this time of year before, and I also wanted to do the Rare Breeds trail as its my favourite! However there are so many things we didn’t get round to because the kids were playing so much. There’s a farm safari (on a tractor) that my husband was desperate to do so that’s on the list for next time!
  4. Buy your tickets in advance. You get a cheaper rate if you buy online in advance, plus if its busy, you can get into the park quicker with an online ticket. Also for visitors with reduced mobility, you can pre-book a wheelchair free of charge for use around the park if you call in advance.
  5. Keep an eye out for special events.  I didn’t make it last year but Cotswold Farm Park screened The Lion King as one of their special events. There are already some current listings on the website for seasonal events (including some just for members) but do keep an eye out for events that are sure to make your visit even more special.

This post is labelled as an AD as we were given a family ticket to visit the park for free in return for a review/social media coverage. However I was not told what to include in my review and all of the opinions above are my own. It really is a great day out!