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Twelve budget-friendly activities to help you through the rest of the holiday

Published: Tuesday, 13 August, 2019

We’re more than half way through the school summer holiday, so if you’re finding that budgets are starting to get tight, we’ve compiled a list of 12 fun low cost or free activities to help get you through the rest of the holiday – from mobile youth clubs and miniature railway rides to exhibitions and heritage trails.

1. Play Gloucestershire’s Play Rangers specialise in outdoor community based activities - informal sports, tag, den building, face painting and giant bubbles are just some of the free activities you’ll find at their sessions. Aimed at 7-14 year olds, whole families can join in and children with disabilities and their families are welcome.

  • Thursday 15 August 10am - 4pm, Highfields Play Area, Dursley.
  • Tuesday 20 August 10am - 4pm, Oldends Lane Playing Fields, Stonehouse.
  • Thursday 22 August 10am - 4pm, The Playing Fields, Coaley.
  • Thursday 29 August 10am - 4pm, The Millenium Green, Uley.

See for more information

2. The Door Youth Project runs free summer holiday activities from centres in Stroud, Cam, Wotton and Stonehouse. Activities include baking, karaoke, balloon pop, BBQs, Wii dance offs, and board games. For full details check the website

The Door also has a mobile youth club that will be visiting Frampton-on-Severn Village Green on 28 August and Hardwicke Village Hall on 30 August (11am – 3pm both dates). Their team of youth workers will be on hand to offer support and guidance, as well as information about other services available to young people across the district. See the website above for more details.

3. The Stratford Park miniature railway will be running on Sunday 25 August, 2 - 4.30pm, 50p per person. Follow the Facebook page `Stratford Park Miniature Railway’ for updates.

4. Get a free three day fitness pass for Stratford Park Leisure Centre. Available to anyone over the age of 16, you’ll be entitled to three consecutive days of unlimited use of the gym, pools and fitness classes. For full terms and conditions, and to apply see

5. Stratford Park Lido is a 50 metre unheated spring-fed pool – perfect for cooling off on hot summer days. It opens every day from 11am until at least 5pm. Check for further details and charges (it’s free with the three day fitness pass above.)

6. Explore the Cotswold Canals. There are miles of beautiful canal towpaths to explore. Most of the route between Eastington and Brimscombe is flat and accessible, making it ideal for pushchairs, wheelchairs and bikes, as well as runners and those wanting a more gentle stroll. The `Discovering Britain’ website has an excellent guided walk and audio trail from Wallbridge in Stroud to the Ocean in Stonehouse:

The Cotswold Canal Trust run narrow boat trips on the canals at weekends and bank holidays: Perseverance starts at Ebley Mill, every Saturday, and the Summer bank holiday. Free parking in SDC’s visitor’s car park. Endeavour starts at Saul Junction every Sunday, and the Summer bank holiday. (£2 pay and display parking charge).

Both boat trips run from 12 noon until 4pm. Cost £5 for adults; £3 for children under 16, and free for under 5’s. Advance bookings aren’t taken – just turn up and wait for the boat.

For more details visit the Cotswold Canals Trust website

7. The Museum in the Park has over 4,000 objects to discover as well as a `secret’ walled garden, art gallery, café and gift shop.

Current exhibitions include:

  • Art on the High Street (until 1 September) - a display of three works by local artists, all of which feature Stroud High Street.
  • ‘Mussi’s Herbal’ (until 26 August) - a new collection of inventive mosaics by Stroud-based artist Cleo Mussi. Aafter exploring the exhibition, be sure to take a wander around the Walled Garden, Cleo’s living, growing, every changing mosaic of colourful and dramatic plants and flowers.
  • Lost in Space (and Time) Trail (until 8 Sep) – inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, find the astronauts who never made it to the moon.  .

Meet the Curator on Wednesday, 21 August, 2 - 4pm Take a closer look at some of the historic toys and games in the museum’s collections – there may even be an opportunity to play one or two of them.

The Museum in the Park is open Tuesday to Friday 10am – 4.30pm; Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday 11am – 4.30pm. Free admission. More information at

8. Follow a heritage trail around Wotton-under-Edge. The Wotton Heritage Centre has created a summer family trail to help locals and visitors learn more about the town. It's £1 per entry and there are prizes for the top scores. The heritage centre is close to Wotton’s main car park in the Chipping and also houses a souvenir shop and tourist information point. See the website

9. The Allsorts Family Fun Day is a free event with entertainment for all ages and abilities. Bouncy castles, crafts, music and giant games and refreshments will be at Stratford Park, Stroud on Saturday 24 August from 12 – 4pm. A Mobiloo will be there for anyone requiring disabled changing and toilet facilities. Free parking at Stratford Park Leisure Centre car park.

Allsorts have a full programme of activities for families with a child with an additional need, including a toy library, race running, circuits and boccia. See their website for more information.

10. Visit a farmers’ market. Browse stalls where everything on sale has been grown or produced locally – a great way to teach children about seasonal food, and many stalls offer free tasters. The award-winning weekly farmers’ market in Stroud takes place every Saturday from 9am-2pm. Other farmers’ markets include Wotton-under-Edge (first Saturday of the month, 9am-1pm); Dursley (second and fourth Saturdays, 9am-1pm), Berkeley (third Saturday, 9am-12.30pm) and Nailsworth (fourth Saturday, 9am-1pm).  

11. Inflatable fun at the Pulse. Inflatable fun swimming sessions run every day except Sunday at Dursley’s The Pulse (bookings are taken up to 2 weeks in advance).

On Friday evenings why not try the pool-based `extermination challenge’ – try and beat the current leader (with a time of 8.9 seconds at the time of publication) then finish off with a discounted swim session – just £2 to swim from 7.30pm – 9.00pm. For more information see the website or call 01453 546441.

12. Explore a common. There are a number of commons across throughout the district, many with panoramic views across the five valleys. Take a picnic, fly a kite, walk part of the Cotswold Way or watch the paragliders who take off from the steep sides. Beware of cows, ensure dogs are under control and please remember to take all rubbish home with you. There’s more information at

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