North Cotswolds Rainy day activities for families

Rainy Day things to do around Ilmington in the North Cotswolds (not all indoors so some places are for the intrepid who don't mind the weather) and including the Stratford area - mainly for children

National Trust houses

Although going round an old house might not immediately leap to mind as something suitable for children, in fact most of them set up some sort of activity to entertain children exploring what might otherwise be just ‘a boring old house’. Usually, it is something like spotting a particular type of thing in each room. It does mean, of course, if they are quick about this that you are rushed on enthusiastically to the next room! Some have adventure playgrounds within the grounds.Within easy driving distance of Sansome House Cottage our favourites are Upton House, Coughton Court, Snowshill Manor


The Butterfly Farm

In Stratford upon Avon. More than just butterflies and moths. Flight area, discovery zone and mini beast metropolis. It also has a shop good for pocket money toys.


Blenheim Palace

The inside of the palace is probably better for older children. But if it happens to be raining and your children don’t care about the weather then they can have fun outdoors all over the grounds – the playground, the maze, looking at old farm implements, the train ride, walking around the lake and of course the shop and restaurants. There are also special events and exhibitions throughout the year.


The Museum of Mechanical Art and Design in Stratford. 

This will most likely fascinate from age 3 upwards. Teenagers, used to the quick fire gratification from electronic games might find mechanical art boring but some of the hands on stuff will test their grasp of physics. A tardis of a museum. A lot of entertainment crammed into a small space and you can buy a ticket for the day and go in and out – this is helpful for when they don’t want to leave to eat!


RSC workshops 

The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford regularly holds holiday time acting workshops or events for all ages although this link deals with events for schools. There is a dressing up box for the little ones all the time and of course plays to go to on rainy days, which may or may not be suitable for your age group.


Art Base  Workshops for Children

Beth and Georgina run fabulous day long art sessions for children in holiday time. Suitable for ages 5 to 15. They also have weekly adult classes in term time.


Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam railway. based at Toddington. 

Probably better in nice weather but still enjoyable on a rainy day. Now extended to Broadway and you can travel all the way to Cheltenham.


Warwick Castle.

Slightly ‘Disneyfied’ and of course quite a lot of it outdoors but very popular with children, rain or shine.

The Motor Museum at Gaydon

Bills itself as having the world's largest collection of historic cars so a motor enthusiast's dream.  It also has interesting activities for children at half term and in school holidays.

The Cotswold Motor Museum

At Bourton on the Water.  Cars, motorcycles and memorabilia

Bourton Model railway (currently closed due to Covid19)

Exhibition and toy shop in Bourton on the Water.  Indoors.

And some other places outdoors, maybe needing some wellies:


The Cotswold Farm Park

(home to Countryfile TV presenter Adam Henson).

Again, mostly outdoors (but what children mind a few puddles and bit of mud?) with interesting rare breeds of farm animals, tractor rides, barn for feeding and handling the smaller animals, outdoor and indoor play areas.


Mary Arden’s farm

at Whatcote, near Stratford upon Avon. 

The reconstruction of a Tudor farm which was the home of William Shakespeare’s mother. Suitable for all ages although the adventure playground is geared for the under 10’s.


The Cotswold Wildlife Park, Burford:

Basically a zoo but the animals have a lot of space to roam so not the traditional animals-in-cages thing.


The Miniature Village

The Dragonfly maze

This tends to shut down in bad weather  

and Birdland  

Book ahead online

All these are in Bourton on the Water which can get very crowded in the summer so pick your day and time carefully, avoiding weekends.  Either get there very early or at the end of the day (the coach tours tend to leave at about 4) But on a rainy day, you might find it deliciously undersubscribed!


Broadway Tower and Country Park