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Wonderful weekends: 48 hours in the south Cotswolds

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Filled with chocolate box towns, Roman architecture and delectable dining spots, the Cotswolds is the perfect place for a family weekend getaway

Here’s how you can make the most of a lovely weekend break in the south Cotswolds.

Morning

Check-in to the charming Ingleside House, which dates back to the late 18th century. The hotel is just a short walk from the centre of Cirencester, the Cotswolds’ largest market town, and serves as the perfect base for a weekend of exploration. The town centre brims with quaint shops and cafes. Step into Pick a Pot and Paint to create your own work of art, or stroll through the craft market for jewellery, art and soap stands.

Read more: Sleep tourism: is it time to hit the snooze button on your next trip?
Ingleside House
Ingleside House

Afternoon

Head to Cirencester Park, 3,000 acres of pasture and woodland. Enjoy a picnic among the meadows and you may even spot a grazing deer or two. While the kids try their hand at horse riding (daily passes available for £12), stop for a coffee at Beano, a quirky café housed in a converted horse trailer.

Evening

Tummies starting to rumble? Worry not. Within Cirencester Park lies The Old Kennels, a courtyarded area where you’ll find Roots + Seeds Kitchen Garden. Championing sustainability, this dining hub’s menu showcases seasonal fruit and vegetables that are grown in the on-site garden, guaranteeing a true field-to-fork experience. A selection of espresso martinis is also on offer, each with its own unique twist (the salted caramel is an absolute must). The outdoor play area and flower-filled raised beds provide ample entertainment for little ones, too. On your way back into the hotel, pop by Téatro Bar to sway to the calming notes of live piano music.

Read more: Wonderful weekends: 48 hours in Canterbury
Roots and Seeds Kitchen Garden
Roots and Seeds Kitchen Garden

Day Two

Morning

If you’re a history enthusiast, don’t miss Corinium Museum, just a 10-minute walk from the hotel. Its displays of Roman tools and artefacts document the development of the Cotswolds from its rural beginnings to modern day. Keep an eye out for the mosaics (some dating to the third century), which encapsulate Roman day-to-day life and ideologies — see if you can spot Orpheus and Venus in the intricate designs. There’s also plenty of 3D objects and immersive learning experiences to keep the kids engaged. On your way out, stop by Jacks Tea Room and Kitchen for a quick caffeine boost.

Afternoon

After all that learning, your tribe may be in need of some action, and The Cotswold Water Park is the perfect place to go. At only a 15-minute drive from the museum, you’ll be met by 42 square miles of wetlands and 180 lakes, as well as a range of diverse activities. Try water-skiing or embark on a family sailing or kayaking trip. If water sports aren’t your thing, how about archery? Or go on a stroll and look out for wildlife including otters, fallow deer and watering birds.

Evening

Kick back at The Bear Inn as you sip on its award-winning Butcombe beer. You’re likely to find yourself listening to live musicians as you bite into your roast, which comes with maple-roasted parsnips and a big Yorkshire pudding. The heated outdoor area is the perfect place for al fresco dining and for the little ones to tuck into warm doughnuts or chocolate sundae.

Time to spare?

Drive to The Model Village in Bourton-on-the-Water, the only Grade II-listed model village in the country. An exact one-ninth scale replica of the actual village, it depicts Bourton’s streets, bridges and even the chestnut trees, all in miniature size. Listen carefully and you could hear music emanating from the tiny model church. While in Bourton, visit Cotswold China and Cookware for sweet treats, pottery and Cotswold candles, too.

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