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7 Free Things To Do In May Half Term In Oxford & The Cotswolds

With the school holidays fast approaching finding something to do every day to keep yourself and your kids busy can be tough. Luckily though, Oxford and the surrounding Cotswolds area have a plethora of free things to do and see. From exploring historic buildings and stunning gardens to discovering local wildlife and beautiful countryside, there’s something here for everyone. 

Check out our guide on the top 7 free things to do this May half term in Oxford and the Cotswolds.

1. Walk the Cotswolds Way

a couple walking along the Cotswolds way

This May half-term, why not get outside and explore the scenic Cotswold Way? This long-distance trail spans 102 miles through the stunning Cotswold countryside. It stretches from Chipping Campden in the North to Bath in the South. The trail is popular with hikers and nature lovers, offering incredible views, diverse wildlife, and a chance to explore the Cotswolds at a leisurely pace. 

Discover ancient Roman settlements, medieval churches, traditional English pubs, and picturesque market towns. No matter the weather this trail is worth it just to experience the area’s natural beauty, rich history, and charming architecture. 

2. Go For A Bike Ride

If you’re looking for a free thing to do in May half term in Oxford and the Cotswolds, there is nothing better than dusting off your old bike, greasing up the chain, and giving those wheels a spin. There are plenty of fun cycling routes that are perfect for all ages and abilities. They all vary in length from a couple of miles to long-distance cycles of over 30 miles. 

Here are some links to cycle routes in Oxford and The Cotswolds that you can try out this May half-term:

3. Museum in The Park – Stroud

Stratford Park, Stroud

Set in the beautiful grounds of Stratford Park, Stroud’s Museum in the Park offers an educational and fun, free thing to do in May half term in Oxford and the Cotswolds. The museum offers a fascinating look into the local history and culture of the area and features a diverse range of exhibits. These exhibits include displays on the natural world and textiles, as well as hands-on activities, a range of art, and some interesting photography. 

For families with young children, the museum has a dedicated children’s area where they can engage in creative play and learn about local wildlife. There are also plenty of workshops, storytelling sessions, and outdoor activities available throughout the year. Bring along a picnic and enjoy the beautiful grounds. Or grab a drink and bite to eat in the onsite cafe.

4. Discover Aviation History at The Jet Age Museum

Gloucestershire’s Jet Age Museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history of aviation in the region. Visitors can explore a vast collection of aircraft including the Hawker Hurricane, the Gloucester Javalin FAW9, and the Armstrong Whitworth Meteor NF 14. You will also find a collection of engines and aviation artefacts. 

Discover an exciting world of aviation including military, civilian, and space exploration. A highlight of your day at Jet Age Museum will be the cockpit tours. During these tours, you’ll get the chance to climb inside some of the aircraft cockpits and put yourself in the shoes of a pilot and their crew.

5. Spend The Day At The Ashmolean Museum

The Ashmolean Museum was opened in 1683 and is now considered to be the oldest public museum in the UK. It offers visitors an incredibly rich and diverse collection of artefacts from around the world. Discover Egyptian mummies, classical sculptures, modern art and Chinese paintings. 

Some highlights include an important collection of Egyptian pre-Dynastic sculptures and ceramics and the most famous violin in the world; the Stradivari’s Messiah. The museum also has an onsite cafe to grab a bite to eat and a gift shop for you to peruse. 

6. Visit Tewkesbury Abbey

Tewkesbury Abbey

Located in the picturesque town of Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, Tewkesbury Abbey is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in the country. It dates back to the 12th century and is renowned for its stunning stained glass windows and fascinating history. The cloister of the abbey is a beautiful example of medieval architecture and they offer a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the main town centre. 

The Abbey Church is the centrepiece and features a mix of Gothic, Norman, and Perpendicular styles. Take a guided tour to learn more about its history. The abbey’s heritage centre is also worth the visit as it houses a vast collection of fascinating artefacts and exhibits that detail the story of the abbey and its importance in the history of the town.

7. Go Shopping at Bicester Village

We could all do with some retail therapy now and then. So why not spend a day at the Bicester Village shopping outlet? This should be on everyone’s list of free things to do in May half term in Oxford as it’s filled to the brim with boutique shops. Discover over 160 designer boutiques including household names such as Gucci, Prada and Burberry. 

The outlet offers a range of discounts on high-end products which is perfect for those seeking a bargain. The outlet is also designed to resemble a traditional English village with picturesque streets, a plethora of restaurants, cafes, and eateries, and some stunning architecture. Take advantage of a range of services including personal shopping and VIP experiences.

Still looking for accommodation for May Half Term? We have you covered.

Here at Short Let Space, we have a range of properties to suit your every need. From historic townhouses in Oxford to traditional Cotswold stone properties in Chipping Campden, you’ll find it all with us. Our properties are hand-selected with you in mind so that you feel right at home.

Call us today on 01993 222200 or email stay@shortletspace.co.uk and we’ll help you find the perfect property. 

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