Dreaming spires and camel rides

There’s endless muck and mischief to exhaust the kids. Castles and camel rides, and lidos and farm parks with cuddle corners should ensure early nights for youngsters. Grown-ups will love the dreaming spires of Oxford, water-skiing at Cotswold Watersports and time travel to dozens of castles, gardens and parks.

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Kids in The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds offer enough muck and mischief for even the most demanding kids. From castles to camel rides and lidos to farm parks, there’s enough here to exhaust, entertain and ensure quiet and civilised grown-up time in the evening.

At Broughton Castle, kids will love the maze-like walled garden. Or they can brave the open-air swimming at Chipping Norton Lido, with its water slide. Groom, saddle and ride Joseph’s camels high up in the Cotswold hills. Or follow the streams, dodge the waterfall and find Foo Dog and the Big Buddha at Batsford Arboretum.

For a ‘cuddle corner’ complete with fluffy rabbits, chicks, ducklings, kittens and baby mice, try the children’s farm at Banbury. It’s a similar story at Chipping Norton’s Fairytale Farm, which adds an enchanted walk, adventure playground and Mouse Town to the itinerary.

Enjoy further animal antics at Crocodiles of the World, Cotswold Falconry Centre and Redwings Horse Sanctuary. They’ll head home smiley and sleepy, just as you planned.

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For the Grown Ups

Time seems to have swerved Swerford and the village alone has many delights, including a fine field walk to Wiggington and back. Follow up with cask ales and hearty gastro at the Masons Arms.

Further afield, snaffle cakes in between the groaning shelves at the Jaffé and Neal Bookshop Café, see the birthplace of Churchill at Blenheim Palace, or take a tour of Oxford’s dreaming spires by open-top bus. Be sure to vulture the culture at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Architecture.

Couldn’t organise a trip to a brewery? You can at Wychwood or Hook Norton. Hunt down TV and film locations from Morse, Harry Potter and Downton Abbey. Go back in time at Grey’s Court, the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, Dorchester Abbey or dozens of other castles, houses and gardens in a county where time stands still.

Punt the Oxford rivers, walk or ride the tracks, hack over the hills, shop till you drop at Bicester Village, or learn to water-ski or wakeboard at Cotswold Watersports. Book ahead and head out to the Nut Tree in Murcott or Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons for the glittering taste of Michelin stars.