Spread out across 40 square miles and spanning three counties, Cotswold Water Park is brimming with over 150 lakes and charming British wildlife. With lots of great activities to get involved with and something for all the family, book your stay at Jurys Inn Swindon and you’ll only be a 20-minute drive to the park from our comfortable hotel.
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Start off your visit at the Gateway Information Centre on Spine Road, which is open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm. You can grab a map and all the info you need about which parts of the park you’re going to check out. There’s a cafe as well as toilets and parking, so it’s a great place to ditch your car as you set off to explore on foot or by bike.
The simplest, but perhaps most effective, way of seeing Cotswold Water Park is to head out on one of the many circular walks, which vary in length. Whether you’re taking a packed lunch on a 10-mile trek or doing a quick half hour loop with the dog, most routes are well marked and easy to follow. Explore the best of the park as you make your way along winding river trails and canal tow paths, gazing out across huge lakes and meadows full of flowers.
Another hugely popular way of getting around the park is on two wheels, especially as most of it is very flat. Go for a relaxing pedal with the family, or work on your fitness along lots of different routes, miles away from the hassle of busy roads. You can download cycle route maps online, or pick up a copy of a map at the Gateway Centre.
Put all of those lakes to good use as you try out fun-filled activities such as water skiing, windsurfing, kayaking and paddle boarding. If you’re completely new to any of these, you’ll be able to find and book lessons within the park - or for gentler thrills you could hire your own boat and take to the cool waters in a Canadian canoe, rowing boat or pedalo.
If you’d prefer to stick to activities on dry land, there’s a wide array of things to try your hand at; including a high ropes course, archery and horse riding. The park’s no stranger to exciting corporate and group days out, with things like paintballing and rally driving also available.
After an action-packed morning, head to the beach for a restful afternoon by the lapping waters of South Lake 32. Lay down your towel in the sand or settle down on a deck chair, before cooling off with a dip in the water. The kids will love the inflatable water park with its slides and other fun obstacles, while there’s also a separate beach for little ones.
Popular for birdwatching all year round, the park is home to a vast collection of winged species; everything from nightingales, little ringed plovers and common terns, to tens of thousands of wintering waterbirds and gulls. Download a guide to help you identify the birds you spot or to find out what you need to look out for, and don’t forget to charge your camera up before your trip.
The park is constantly putting on events that are a plenty of fun to get involved with, whether you’re a regular visitor or are heading to Cotswold Water Park for the first time. From walks at the crack of dawn to hear the birds belt out their morning choruses, to days where you can volunteer to help the rangers, check the events calendar to see what’s on when.
If you love the idea of a day spent helping the rangers, or just fancy getting involved, why not join the team of volunteers who keep the park in great shape for both the animals and human visitors. Practical conservation tasks range from coppicing to reedbed management and footpath maintenance, and are a great way to get yourself outdoors while helping a very good cause at the same time.