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The kids are finally off school, the car is all packed, and you and the family are ready to enjoy your much-deserved summer holiday. A beautiful cottage in Wiltshire awaits you and you can’t wait to embrace the peacefulness of the beautiful English countryside.

But knowing just how to keep the children occupied during the holiday is key to your relaxation. It can be a challenge and an added expense as well.

To help make your holiday everything it should be, we have pulled together some great ideas to keep the kids happy and entertained during the experience. Happy kids make for happy holidays, and we are here to help make sure your cottage holiday in Wiltshire is one that you will remember for years to come.

Here are a few ideas – some to enjoy in the area and some to enjoy in the comforts of your cottage:

Image credit: Christopher Dart

The county’s crown jewel: Longleat

Ask anyone about what to do with the kids in Wiltshire and the first place they are likely to mention is Longleat. This unique family destination includes a safari and adventure park, a stately home, and expansive manicured and well-maintained grounds.

The safari park features a drive-through animal experience; there is the Monkey Temple, a Jungle Cruise, as well as the Dinosaurs Alive attraction. Special attractions this summer include the unveiling of a giant lion puppet by the craftsmen at the National Theatre – the creators of the well-known Warhorse puppet. They are also celebrating “African Summer” at Longleat to celebrate the park’s 50th anniversary.

Longleat is located in Warminster, just north of the A303. For ticket information, guest information and special events, please visit their website.

Image credit: Tony Parkin

Enjoy the great outdoors in your cottage garden

Staying at one of our amazing holiday cottages in Wiltshire means that you can keep the kids entertained by getting them to play in the garden. The only ingredient needed is imagination to make the most of a warm summer’s day. While you relax in the sun, the kids can play. With a tent, there can be camping outside. You can organise a treasure hunt complete with clues and prizes. How about celebrating the Rio Olympics with your own version at the cottage? Sack races, tag, and a family tug of war are all great family events to try.

Farm life in Wiltshire

There are a number of great spots to let the kids experience and enjoy farm life in the region. From livestock encounters and soft play to great food and fun. Farm experiences are perfect days out and at Roves Farm, visitors can enjoy animal racing, tractor rides and plenty of activities for young children. They are offering a host of events during the summer holidays as well.

At Cholderton Charlie’s Farm and the Farmtastic Animal Farm, kids and adults can enjoy goats, llamas, chickens, ducks and more. Many of the sites have cafés to enjoy, but they can also be great destinations before or after a family picnic in the Wiltshire countryside.

For a slightly different animal adventure, the Studley Grange Craft Village & Butterfly World near Swindon, allows visitors to enjoy the beauty of butterflies. In a temperature controlled butterfly house, you walk through a world of tropical fish and plants in this haven for butterflies.

Image credit: bagsgroove

Be creative with arts & crafts

Making things with kids can be a great way to enjoy a holiday. Create postcards to give to friends and family and use Wiltshire as your inspiration. Another great idea is building a holiday collage that incorporates ticket stubs, dry flowers, flyers, drawings – use whatever memories you want to take away from the experience. One other great family-friendly task is learning Origami. The kids and you will have lots of fun building animals and other items that can become great toys or memories of your holiday afterwards.

Jump into Wiltshire’s past

Wiltshire is home to one of Britain’s most important historical sites: Stonehenge. The ancient site sits in Aylesbury and stands as one of the world’s greatest mysteries. The giant stone formation has its roots in Druid and Pagan history, and remains truly iconic to this day. The connected museum and education centre managed by English Heritage offers adults and kids alike a great day out.

In Salisbury, Old Sarum is another reminder of Wiltshire’s vast past. The site traces history from the Roman times, through the Norman Conquest, to the building of the Salisbury Cathedral. Also run by English Heritage, Old Sarum organises a number of kid-friendly events including Roman cavalry re-enactments, learning the ways of knights and ladies, and more. Visit their website for more information.

In the northern part of the county, the city of Swindon celebrates the railroads impact on Wiltshire. Visitors can go to STEAM, the museum of the Great Western Railway.

Enjoy your cottage

There may be days when you would rather just spend the time inside your holiday accommodation. Maybe it’s raining, or maybe you want a pyjama day to watch DVDs or Netflix. There is always the opportunity to see if there are any young chefs in the family by having a cooking adventure, or having the kids help with picking and preparing the evening’s menu. The flexibility of self-catered cottage holidays is that how you have fun is entirely up to you.

Outside the normal Wiltshire

Finally, if you are looking for something new and different to do whilst on holiday, there are some unique attractions in Wiltshire. The Salisbury Ghost Walk – sponsored by the town’s Information Centre – takes visitors on a creepy tour of the scarier parts of Salisbury’s past. Another unique adventure can be found at the Salisbury Escape Rooms where visitors must uncrack a mystery to break free.

For technology buffs, the Museum of Computing provides an in-depth history into computers. They offer a number of family-friendly, hands-on experiences to pique your intellectual curiosity. For more details and current exhibitions, please visit their website.

Image credit: Richard Penn