(Main image - The Moorings, sleeps 10)
The Cotswold Water Park is one of the best kept secrets in the Cotswolds, but word is definitely getting out…
This unique area covers 40 square miles of beautiful Cotswold countryside, combined with over 150 crystal clear lakes evolved out of the old gravel pits. Today, it is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife, recreational activities and wonderful places to stay in stunning natural surroundings.
The beautiful lakeland region encompasses 13 traditional Cotswolds villages and old market towns and has grown to become a wonderful holiday destination for family holidays and short breaks all year round, with more than 500,000 visitors every year. But why?
For a start, there are so many activities to choose from: from angling to archery, watersports to walking, birdwatching to biking to name just a few. The crystal clear lakes and surrounding Cotswolds countryside certainly provide plenty of outdoor fun for all ages. But that’s not all.
Take a journey of discovery with our 10 reasons why the Cotswold Water Park is a great place for a family holiday.
1 The wonderful natural surroundings
Unlike the name suggests, Cotswold Water Park doesn’t have water-slides, chlorinated water, or endless queues for rides. It was given the name quite some time before these parks became so popular throughout Europe. Instead the best of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is combined with a vast network of lakes, larger than the Norfolk Broads. Awash with photographic opportunities, the stunning, natural landscape is tough competition for our fabulous lakeside holiday homes. So kick back, relax and enjoy the view!
2 The wildlife
Take time out to discover some of the amazing local wildlife which enjoys this unusual watery habitat just as much as the visitors. Following careful restoration of the gravel pits over many years, the lakes and surrounding landscape provide a wonderful haven for fish, dragonflies, birds, bats and mammals such as otter and watervole. From the dazzling displays of dragonflies on hot summer days to the thousands of wintering waterfowl which stay here from the Arctic, there is always something to see. Some of the best places for watching wildlife can be found on the CWP Bird Blog, which is kept well up to date by volunteers and regular birdwatchers.
3 The watersports
Did we mention there were 150 lakes? Naturally, this much water sees plenty of activity afloat and it’s hard to think of a watersport not catered for! If adrenaline fuelled watersports are your thing, then you are in the right place. One of the hottest spots to venture out on the water is Spring Lake, close to our holiday lodges. Home to Lakeside Ski and Wake, have a go at wakeboarding, waterskiing, cable-skiing, or go crazy with some friends on an inflatable banana, ringo or stingray! For slightly more sedate (but no less wet) watersports such as sailing, boat hire, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding and more, there are plenty of places where you can dip your toe in the water. Tuition is available for all of these activities – make sure you book ahead as the summer holidays are a very popular time. Contact CWP Hire, South Cerney Outdoor opposite Spring Lake, and Waterland all of whom will be happy to help you have a great time, whether you are a beginner or a pro. Or head to Cotswold Country Park with the UK’s largest inland bathing beach thrown in for good measure, and try water zorbing, hire a pedalo, have a paddle or chill with a barbecue or picnic. Watersports providers tend to be open from Easter through to October half term, depending on the weather.
4 The adventure activities
For guaranteed happy kids on terra firma, there are plenty of outdoor escapades for constant fun across the park and surrounding area. How about forest skills, rally driving, indoor climbing or horseriding for starters? Rising high above the beauty of the Water Park is the thrilling Head4Heights high rope adventure park filled with aerial challenges ideal for a family day out. Try your hand at clay pigeon shooting, archery or air rifle shooting or get a team together for paintballing at Combat Splat. For more information of any of these outdoor pursuits, take a look at the Cotswold Water Park website.
5 The great rambling and cycling
If you like to get out and about on foot or by bike, the Cotswold Water Park ticks all of the boxes! The region is criss-crossed with over 93 miles of well-marked pathways, trails, bridleways and cycleways – ideal for dog walking too. Pick up a copy of the Cotswold Water Park walks guide from the Gateway Centre or download for free from their website. With six circular routes of varying lengths, including a 15km cycling trail, you can get the most out of the area and really soak up the landscape – from old railway lines and canal towpaths to country lanes and lakeside paths. Plus, as it’s so flat round here, it’s a great destination for those with prams, wheelchairs or mobility scooters. Bike hire is available (including tandems) from Go-By-Cycle.
6 The excellent fishing opportunities
The Cotswold Water Park is an absolute haven for anglers. From expert to novice there is something for everyone to enjoy in idyllic surroundings. With 74 angling-friendly lakes, fishing is never far away from our cottages. All you need is a rod licence, which can be obtained from the local post office. The peaceful lakes are filled with a diverse range of fish, with carp especially prominent. Definitely worth a visit are the well-stocked lakes at Whelford Pools Fishery and Lake Pochard. If trout is more your thing, the Lechlade and Bushyleaze Trout Fisheries offer excellent fly fishing and have a large tackle shop on-site.
7 The local food and drink
The choice is huge – from lakeside cafes, bustling brasseries, gastro pubs and tasty takeaways – the only problem is choosing where to go! Why not watch the waterskiing from the Lakeside Brasserie on Spring Lake, within a minute’s stroll of our lakeside lodges? It has a huge menu that offers a surprising but scrumptious selection of British, Tex-Mex and Cajun favourites (they even do breakfasts). There is also a great choice of friendly village pubs serving local ales and good food; many are dog friendly with lovely beer gardens for those long summer evenings. Try the Wild Duck Inn’s country pub charm and delicious gastropub menu in the quiet village of Ewen, just a few miles from our lakeside lodges. Alternatively watch the water and wildlife from the decking of your lakeside holiday cottage, with a chilled glass in hand and sausages gently browning on the barbecue!
8 The relaxing spa facilities
We offer a selection of ideally located lakeside holiday cottages that offer heavily discounted passes to Spa 6 at the De Vere Cotswold Water Park Hotel, only a short walk away. Spoil and indulge yourself with luxury spa facilities combined with the wonderful home comforts and convenience of your self-catering holiday home by the water.
9 The surrounding towns and villages
Branch out into the Cotswolds and visit lovely old pubs, market towns and idyllic traditional countryside villages. A plethora of historic towns sit either in the designated Cotswold Water Park or just outside it, including the market towns of Fairford and Lechlade on Thames. Cirencester, known as ‘The Capital of the Cotswolds’, is 6 miles away, with its famous old market and boutique cafes, and the pretty and popular old riverside village of Bibury, home to Arlington Row, the most photographed and beautiful row of cottages in the country, is 10 miles distant.
10 The great holiday cottages we offer
We offer a growing portfolio of stunning holiday homes in idyllic lakeside locations across Spring and Isis Lakes. Available for holidays and short breaks all year round, they are ideal for family holidays with leisure activities to tick every box. Linen, towels and utilities are included together with a thoughtful welcome pack for that much deserved cup of tea upon your arrival. Our properties have a decked terrace with barbecue and WiFi access and some are pet friendly, so there’s no need to leave your four-legged friend at home. Our commitment to provide outstanding service brings our guests back year after year. So start making your memories with us.
These are just some of the reasons why this lovely area is becoming so popular and hopefully we’ve whet your appetite to come and find out more for yourselves. Take a look at our Cotswold Water Park holiday cottages or call our team at Staycation Holidays on 01275 21 75 75. We will be pleased to have a chat and provide advice.