Holiday with your children at the Cotswold Water Park
We know what its like - you've been cooped up in your house for what feels like months and your family needs some time away - and lumbered down with baby-monitors, car seats and travel cots you just can't face the thought of an airport.
It's time for a holiday in the UK, and for many there can be little place better than a stay in the Cotswolds - less that 2 hours from London and a brilliant range of accommodation, food and activities to get stuck into!
What is the Cotswold Water Park?
Don't expect a big entrance gate and flashing signs - the Cotswold Water Park is an area covering more than 40 square miles spreading between Oaksey and Cirencester in the West, across to Fairford, Lechlade and Little Farringdon in the East.
The park is the UK's largest gravel lake system, made up of more than 150 lakes, many of which have been man made, created through the extraction of gravel over the last 100 years. Since the gravel extraction ceased the pits have become lakes - home to some of Europe's most diverse bird populations - so think Great Crested Grebe instead of Slip and Slide.
What is there to do?
Depending on how active you feel there are activities to suit everyone. Being centred around the lakes, you'll find a huge range of watersports here - anything from sailing, to waterskiing, or a bash around on some ringos! There is even a dedicated wakeboard lake, where beginners can learn on a recently built cable that pulls you around, and around, and around....
If you want to go discovering then rent some bikes at Go By Cycle, they'll provide you with detailed maps, and either a kiddy-trailer, or small bikes depending on the age of your children.
Where to stay?
As a holiday destination The Cotswold Water Park gives you plenty of choice for accommodation. If you are looking to be treated to a bit of luxury then stay at one of the region's hotels. You can't go much better than the recently refurbished The Rectory in Crudwell, at the western end of the Water Park. Recently listed in the Times as one of the best British hotels you can pretend to live in a country house of old as you sip away at one of the myriad of gins in the brand new bar.
If you think a hotel might not quite be the place for your muslins, Ella's Kitchens and lunchtime tantrums then the Water Park has hundreds of lakeside holiday homes to rent so you can parent in privacy!
These range from the super luxurious Lakes By Yoo in the East - where you can rub shoulders with 90s pop legends and TV personalities, to Lower Mill in the West where the vibe is all around being in tune with your environment.
There are some fantastic agencies listing properties to rent - check out Orion Holidays and Holidays in the Cotswolds for starters. Most of these properties look out onto one of the lakes giving you an amazing sense of peace and calm to remind you there is light at the end of the tunnel!
Where to eat?
The Water Park is home to some of the country's best eateries. Owner of locally based Superdry Julian Dunkerton has spent the last few years expanding his Lucky Onion pub, restaurant and hotel network, picking up the Wild Duck in Ewen, and the Weathsheaf just north of the Water Park in Northleach.
At the West of the park you'll find The Potting Shed, owned by The Rectory Hotel and no better place to warm up after a brisk pram push around the lakes. Towards Lechlade you'll find celebrity hotspots including The Swan at Southrop and The Five Alls in Filkins - hugely popular and early booking definitely recommended.
What about childcare?
A family holiday is about family - and so you'll be able to spend a great deal of time together walking, eating, sleeping - but for the night that you want to head out for some adult time, and remember what it was like to dress up and to be in public without a small bit of sick dribbling down the back of your shoulder, you'll be needing some childcare.
Kowalah covers the full extent of the Cotswold Water Park and our sitters are happy helping out in hotels, or self-catering - during the day, or at night. Just download the Kowalah app once you know where you are staying and run a booking request.
Head home refreshed!
Whether you stay for a long weekend, or a full week, we think you'll find the Water Park a great place to relax, refresh and reset before you head home ready to tackle another fun week of parenting!
Have you stayed at the Cotswold Water Park - do you have any other recommendations for families while they are here?
Kowalah is a mobile app delivering On Demand Childcare across the Cotswolds by connecting parents with local babysitters and providers of childcare. Parents are connected with up to 5 available Kowalahs in 15 minutes giving them speed and flexibility. All Kowalahs have been interviewed and referenced providing parents with peace of mind.