MAD museum In Sheep St, Stratford upon Avon is the museum of Mechanical Art and Design. Sounds fun!
Stratford Armouries Just 2 miles from Stratford. One for the boys in your family. It also houses the Wellington Aviation Museum (formerly in Moreton in Marsh)
Worcester Porcelain Museum You can park in the centre of Worcester and walk to the museum which is set amongst the Victorian factory buildings. Travel back through the history of this factory with collections dating from the mid eighteenth century to the present day. There is a fascinating facts trail to keep the children interested.
The Elgar Birthplace and Visitor Centre Just three miles from the centre of Worcester. Discover more about this great composer through manuscripts, letters, concert programmes, photographs, visiting the house of his birth and his garden.
The Commandery In the centre of Worcester. Reopened after a major refurbishment - a very good audio tour gives you the history of this site which dates back to the 12th Century.
Compton Verney This is only about 15 minutes drive from the cottage and is unusual for an art gallery in that it is in a beautiful house in a most attractive country setting. Apart from the permanent collection, there are special exhibitions changing over the season. It caters well for children with special activity packs and a resource room, encouraging them to engage with the pictures.
Chedworth Roman Villa A National Trust property half way between Bourton on the Water and Cirencester. Some recent excavations have uncovered a 'new' mosaic floor. This is one of the largest Romano-British villas in the country.
Broadway Tower Lying between Chipping Campden and Broadway, you can visit this Capability Brown Folly tower as part of your hike along the Cotswold Way (or drive there!). Definitely worth climbing to the top on a clear day as it said that you can see sixteen counties.
Minster Lovell Hall By the river in the Windrush Valley, not far out of Burford is a beautiful tranquil place. No crowds, just an old ruin near a church and churchyard (this is interesting in itself). Perfect for a peaceful picnic. Reputedly haunted. See here and here
The Rollright Stones Standing in the Warwickshire countryside near Long Compton since Neolithic times.
The Ashmoleum Museum, Oxford and now an offshoot of this at Broadway (12miles from the cottage). The Oxford Ashmoleum has a really nice rooftop restaurant. Ashmoleum Broadway is small, with a well chosen items on loan from Oxford.