The Cotswold Water Park is an area of 40 square miles and 150 lakes that evolved from old gravel pits creating a beautiful Lakeland area. It provides the home for a wide array of wildlife and offers extensive leisure activities for all. The whole area encompasses 14 traditional Cotswold villages and old market towns and has become a major holiday destination in its own right with more than 500,000 visitors enjoying the area every year.
Here are 10 reasons why you should visit the Cotswold Water Park this year whether for a day trip, short break or longer holiday:
1. The Lakes
As the name suggests, within the Cotswold Water Park there’s an awful lot of water, including over 150 lakes and with an excellent beach thrown in for good measure. If you’re more at home just watching the water with a chilled glass in hand, there are a great choice of lovely lakeside cottages and lodges with waterside balconies and patios offering stunning views of the lakes.
The Cotswold Water Park is an absolute haven for fishermen – and women! A significant number of the lakes are angling-friendly – all you need is a rod license, which can be obtained from the local post office. The peaceful lakes are filled with a diverse range of fish, with carp especially prominent – you can even fish onsite at some of our properties (for more information take a look at our dedicated fishing holidays page). In addition Whelford Pools Fishery and Lake Pochard, offer very well stocked lakes. If trout is more your thing, then Lechlade and Bushyleaze Trout Fisheries offer excellent fly fishing and have a large on-site tackle shop.
There’s a huge selection of water-sports, including wind-surfing, water-skiing, wake boarding, canoeing and paddle boarding or even open water swimming available across the area. One of the hottest spots in the park is Spring Lake, home to Lakeside Ski and Wake, where the aforementioned activities are available as well as banana boating, ringos and stingrays (the inflatable kind). Find more information about Spring lake here. If you see yourself as more of a plain-sailor, there is boat hire and some excellent sailing available at various locations, such as South Cerney Outdoor and a fantastic AquaVenture.
If you like to explore the countryside and get away from it all why not pick up a copy of the Cotswold Water Park Walks guide from the Gateway Centre, just underneath our offices. With six circular routes of varying lengths, there is something for everyone, including a 15km cycling trail. The routes are all available to download the Walks Guide here. We have also pulled together our top 10 walks covering both the waterpark and the surrounding area to provide further inspiration.
5. Pet Friendly
If you’ve got a four-legged friend lots of our holiday cottages are pet friendly, so feel free to bring them along. The surrounding footpaths are perfect for dog walking, but as the Cotswold Water Park always has wildlife in mind, it might be best to keep them on the lead. Dogs will be sad to hear that they’re not allowed in the lakes, although there is actually a designated dog swimming beach at the Cotswold Country Park and Beach.
On your visit to the Cotswold Water Park, make sure you make time to discover some of the amazing local wildlife which has made its home here. 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 water vole. Some of the best places for watching wildlife can be found on the CWP Bird Blog, which is kept up to date by volunteers and regular birdwatchers.
7. Pubs and Restaurants
There is an impressive array of culinary options scattered throughout and close to the park, including some of the best Cotswold pubs, cafes and restaurants. The brasserie at Lakeside on Spring Lake has a huge menu that caters for everyone. They even do breakfasts, but just make sure you wait half an hour before getting in the water. There is also a great choice of traditional village pubs serving local ale with very good menus.
Some cyclists claim they love the thrill of dropping to first gear and climbing to the top of the hill, but we think the majority of us prefer it flat, breezy and with great views. Cycling in the Cotswold Water Park ticks all of those boxes. If you’ve loaded the roof rack up and bought your own bikes, great, if not, you can hire them from Perforamce Cycles or Wild Carrot. There are numerous well marked cycling trails and routes, both on road and off. If you feel like the challenge, cycle right through the park all the way to Cirencester. The CWP Walks Guide is a useful reference.
9. Adventure Activities
For those looking for adventure, the Cotswolds may seem like an unlikely destination, but across the park and surrounding area there are plenty of outdoor escapades to be had. Head 4 Heights is the Cotswold’s very own high rope adventure park, filled with aerial challenges ideal for a family day out, a birthday party or even office team building exercises! You could try your hand at clay pigeon or air rifle shooting or get a team together and give paintballing a try.
10. Surrounding Towns
If you feel the need to venture further out into the Cotswolds and Gloucestershire, a plethora of historic towns surround the Cotswold Water Park, including the market towns of Fairford & Lechlade on Thames. Cirencester isn’t far away, with its famous old market, Roman museum and boutique cafes, and there is the very popular pretty riverside village of Bibury just a 10 minute drive outside. Close by there is also the local villages of Ashton Keynes and South Cerney.
Need more Help?
If you are still unsure of why you should visit the Cotswold Water Park, have a chat with one of the friendly Orion team. They all live locally, love the area and very happy to share some of their personal favourites.
We have also created our unique digital Guest Guide packed full of things to do, great eateries and places to visit plus some special offers that we’ve agreed with local businesses for our customers. Follow the link to download the free Guest Guide and take a look for yourself.