Short break: The Cotswold Water Park

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Can you feel Autumn in the air? Morning and evening feel more crisp, nights are a little darker a little earlier, mists are starting to appear.

But September and October can still surprise, and there may yet be outdoor weekends to enjoy. With that in mind I’m posting a trip I made a few weeks ago to the Cotswold Water Park near Cirencester because it would make a great little weekend away or a half-term break.

Our slice of Hamptons heaven for the weekend

Our slice of Hamptons heaven for the weekend

The Cotswold Water Park, if you don’t know already, consists of a series of man-made lakes, surrounded by various holiday lodges, hotels and watersports activities in a gorgeous part of the Cotswolds. If you like luxury amenities and New England style architecture, it’s the nearest to land-locked Oxfordshire & Bucks gets to Hamptons style nirvana.

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Many of the lodges are private homes that are rented out for certain months during the year. (There are also some still for sale if you have an odd £600k knocking about).

Our stunning Watermark lodge, on South Lake, is a private residence that’s rented out for 10 months of the year. Frankly it looked and felt a lot more luxurious than my real home with enough tastefully muted taupes and greys to make Kelly Hoppen weep with joy. Isn’t is amazing? Four bedrooms, two bathrooms, fantastic open plan kitchen, massive deck looking out onto the water.

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We had an amazing first evening sitting out, drinking wine, eating – oh god, OK, Pringles! – watching the sunset, and staring in disbelief as two hot air balloons came across the lake and made emergency landings right next to the house. Basically there wasn’t enough light and wind left, and there was nothing else for it. The kids were in total heaven.

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Next morning we could have taken the children out for a waterski but frankly we were too lazy and luxuriated in the house until midday, with the children chasing each other under the beds and generally getting totally over-excited.

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We were close to the Cotswold Country Park & Beach  – roughly 5 minutes in the car – so we headed there for the afternoon. I’ve mentioned this place before on Muddy because it has a lovely little beach area that’s ideal for kids – my 4 and 6 year olds stripped down to their smalls and went straight into the water.

Just above the beach – you can just see it on the left of the picture below – is a well-equipped park, BBQ facilities and an inflatable slide and bouncy castle (probably just there in summer holidays I suspect) .

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Five minutes the other way is pretty basic cafe, next to which is a Zorbing station, a toddler’s park and further along still a massive, freaky climbing pole (below). Children were either climbing to the top like rats up a rope, then launching themselves off the summit (yes they were tethered!) or they were sobbing and immobile half way up. Or they were like mine – resolutely refusing to even consider having a go. Though really, who can blame them, it looks petrifying.

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We ended up spending the whole afternoon at the Leisure Park and barely scratched the surface of the area really, as there were walks to take, sailing to try, canoeing, kayaking, fishing. But there was nothing for it – we had to get back home, it being the end of the school hols.

However, I’ll definitely come back in spring. With Cheltenham, Cirencester, pretty vilages like Lechlade and the Cotswold Wildlife Park on the doorstep, you could easily spend a long weekend or a week with friends, and do it in real comfort.

A house like ours would cost you around £1000 for a 4 night stay, or £1350ish for one week. For a place that comfortably fits 8 people (so two families) I reckon that’s pretty good value. Watermark Holidays, Summer Lake, Cerney Wick Lane, Nr South Cerney, Cirencester, Glos. GL7 5LWTel: 01285 869181






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