Things to do in Stratford upon Avon and Warwickshire with toddlers and young children

Sometimes you never quite get to visit all the places on your doorstep. Because they’re so local, you think you’ll do that another day, but that day never comes. There are some outstanding places to visit and things to do in Warwickshire with toddlers and children –  from national tourist attractions to little-known walks in beautiful woods.

Here’s a guide for locals and visitors alike. It’s not all about Shakespeare!

Getting out of the house with young children can take a lot of effort. You need to know the best places to go in Warwickshire and Stratford-upon-Avon to make it a worthwhile and enjoyable trip out. The best days out usually involve being outdoors, but I’ve listed both indoor and outdoor locations here to cater for all weathers.

Let’s start with things to do closest to Stratford-upon-Avon.

Butterfly Farm

The Butterfly Farm is a fantastic place to visit with children. There are hundreds of exotic species to see amongst the tropical plants and ponds in the warm rainforest environment glasshouses. If you go on the right day it’s possible to hold or touch some of these creatures as well (bring your own gloves if you’re concerned). They may flutter over and land on you ! There are some huge butterflies – as big as your hand – and they’re so close that you can’t help but be enchanted. Note that some children might not enjoy this. It depends on their age and interest level. There’s also all kinds of insects on display, and some of those are quite large too!

It’s a 10min walk from the town centre. There’s a gift shop. Great for when the weather isn’t so good.

Swan’s Nest Lane, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 7LS

things to do stratford-upon-avon - butterfly farm
Photo: William Warby

Bancroft Gardens and the River Avon

Bancroft Gardens are located on a stretch of the Avon River near the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The gardens are perfect for toddlers to explore the plants, flowers, and trees. They provide a green oasis in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon with great views over the river. A good location for a picnic. There’s a short ferry ride available from the gardens across the river, or bridges for a more traditional crossing.

Nearby are the lock, canal boats, and a huge number of swans and ducks to see near the canal basin. Lots going on to keep the interest of young children.

Boat trips

You can hire a rowing boat or motorboat to explore the River Avon yourself (and electric launches are also available, if pre-booked). Or you can take a sightseeing cruise on the river, in a converted canal boat or river cruiser. They last about 45 mins.

Things to do in Stratford upon avon with toddlers:
Photo: Elliott Brown

Mary Arden’s Farm

You’ll need plenty of time at Mary Arden’s farm to see all that’s on offer for children. This is the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s family attraction. There’s a good amount of space to run around, interact with farm animals including rare breeds, and stop by the large play area. The children can have a go at archery (not available every day), there’s nature trails, falconry displays and people dressed up in Tudor costumes demonstrating crafts. There’s also a large area to explore outside, with plenty of places for children to enjoy a picnic and have fun. As I’m sure you already know – Mary Arden was Shakespeare’s mother. The farm is in the pretty village of Wilmcote, five miles from Stratford-upon-Avon.

There is a gift shop and cafe.

Mary Arden’s Farm, Station Road, Wilmcote, CV37 9UN

Things to do in Stratford upon avon with toddlers:
Photo: wikimedia

The MAD museum

At the MAD museum, you can interact with all the different quirky exhibits. Loads of buttons to press! It’s all about mechanical art, with cogs, gears, monster marble runs, and some exhibits that are impossible to describe. It’s best for children over the age of 4-5 or so. There’s very eccentric artworks, contraptions and machines. You can even build your own marble run.

The Mad museum is in the centre of Stratford.

4-5 Henley Street, Stratford-Upon-Avon CV37 6PT

Things to do in Stratford upon avon with toddlers: MAD
Photo: Elliott Brown

RSC

At Stratford’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre, there are regular family events going on such as puppet shows and the  Play’s the Thing exhibition aimed at families. You can dress up, try a virtual costume mirror and take a photo of yourself on stage, and explore many other theatre related activities.

There’s a cafe and gift shop at the RSC.

Go up the tower

The tower at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre gives outstanding views over the river and town. And there’s a lift if you don’t fancy the stairs. Well worth it. There’s a leaflet pointing out the visible landmarks.

Bankside, Stratford-upon-Avon

Things to do in Stratford upon avon with toddlers: RSC
Photo: pixel steve

Charlecote Park

A huge National Trust parkland and stately home with gardens. Charlecote is perfect for children. They’ll love exploring the gardens and parkland, and the National Trust usually have some activities or trails to keep children entertained. There’s a herd of historic fallow deer, the river Avon, herons and swans. Legend has it that a young William Shakespeare was prosecuted for poaching here.  Let their imagination run wild with thinking how living in the big house would have been centuries ago.

Dogs on leads are welcome, and there’s a cafe.

Between Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon. Postcode CV35 9ER

Things to do in Stratford-upon-avon with toddlers:

Hatton Adventure World

Near Warwick, this is a big children’s farm plus much more and a great option for active families who want to have a day out with lots of things to do. You can concentrate on the animals, but there’s lots more from indoor and outdoor play areas, zip wire, outdoor activities and soft padded play. Tractor rides, animal racing, pony rides, falconry, laser combat and more.

Hatton Adventure World, Hatton Warwickshire CV35 8XA

Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with toddlers: Hatton

Compton Verney

Compton Verney is a family-friendly art gallery and gardens in a beautiful setting. There’s an outdoor adventure playground, forest, willow tunnels & wildflower fields. The woodland adventure play area has a small den feature and there’s sticks for your own imaginative creations, and a zip-wire. Inside there’s a children’s room to play in. There are also regular family events. Lots of things to do, not far from Stratford-upon-Avon, and a relaxing atmosphere.

Warwickshire CV35 9HZ

Photo: Des Blenkinsopp

All Things Wild 

It’s not so well known, but worth a visit. All Things Wild is at Honeybourne, towards the Cotswolds but not that far. There’s plenty of animals to see (it’s like a small zoo), both indoors and outside. Plus a dinosaur barn, reptiles, farmyard safari, soft play and indoor beach. With lots of outside space to run around.

All Things Wild, Honeybourne Road, Warwickshire, WR11 7QZ

Photo: Lib572

Baddesley Clinton

A National Trust house with a proper moat and garden, walks and lots to fire up the imagination. There’s a mini-cafe and shop. Located between Warwick and Solihull, and near to Packwood House, another National Trust property.

Rising Ln, Knowle, Solihull B93 0DQ

Things to do in Warwickshire with toddlers: baddesley clinton
Photo: Barry Geates

Broadway Tower

Some great scenic walks here and fabulous views over the Cotswolds. You can do a large circular walk which includes a deer park & restaurant. It’s possible to go in the tower and climb to the top.

Address: Broadway Tower, Broadway, Worcestershire WR12 7LB.

Things to do in Warwickshire with toddlers: Broadway_Tower
Photo: Mark Boston

Packwood House

This National Trust property is famous for the yew trees and hedges. A lovely place to explore and enjoy the natural world. There’s lots of trails to do and lovely gardens. Twelve great yews are known as the Apostles. You might lose children in a game of hide-and-seek !

Lapworth, Warwickshire, B94 6AT

Photo: Steve Daniels

Coughton Court

Near Alcester, and famous for it’s involvement in the Gunpowder Plot, this is another National Trust house and gardens. There are lots of places to explore in the gardens which run down to a river, with fields and woods beyond. You can get up on to the roof of the house, which is exciting!

Coughton Court, Alcester, Warwickshire, B49 5JA

Things to do in Warwickshire with toddlers: coughton
Photo: Jeff Gogarty

Evesham Light Railway

A small steam train ride that gives beautiful views across the Vale of Evesham. Great if you have a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine! Open every weekend and daily during Worcestershire School Holidays. It’s next to The Valley at Evesham Country Park which is a large garden centre and shop with a cafe. There’s also a play fort.

Follow brown signs to Evesham Country Park, about 1 mile north of Evesham

Things to do in Warwickshire with toddlers: Evesham_Vale_Light_Railway
Photo: William Bagshaw

Hillers Farm Shop near Alcester

A lovely farm shop and cafe on a small scale, but with more things do to than you’d expect.  There’s also a sand pit, gift shop, bird hide where you might see deer and a garden with fish pond. Plus a garden centre. Sometimes they have a little steam train but I’m not sure if it’s currently running.

Alcester, Warwickshire, B49 5PD

Things to do in Warwickshire with children: Hillers
Photo: Steve Daniels

Jephson Gardens  and Leam Boat Centre

Close to Leamington Spa town centre, this lovely Victorian park is larger than it looks. The cafe is in a great setting. Feed the ducks or have a picnic on the side of the River Leam. The Glasshouse contains many gorgeous tropical plants and fish. There’s also a sensory garden with funky mirrors and a xylophone for children to play with.  You can hire a boat at Leam Boat Centre next door, and there’s a playground in Mill Gardens.

Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa CV32 4AA

Things to do in Warwickshire with toddlers: Jephson Gardens
Photo: me!

Oversley Wood, Alcester

A large wood that’s not well known. It’s full of bluebells in the Spring. Great for dog walkers and running around letting off steam. It’s possibly large enough to get lost in!

Oversley Wood, off Stratford Rd, Haselor, Alcester

Things to do in Warwickshire with toddlers: Oversley
Photo: me!

Warwick Castle

A huge tourist attraction, and with good reason. . It’s huge so there will be plenty to keep children entertained for hours as they explore inside and out. You can walk around the ramparts, meet people dressed up and acting the part of kinghts etc, see a medieval siege engine in action (trebuchet), and see the family-friendly display of a medieval banquet. There’s exhibits with great use of Disney-like animatronics and special effects, dungeons, falconry displays, archery and more. It’s also supposed to be haunted. Not cheap, but lots of things to do and a Warwickshire national attraction.

Perhaps not great for toddlers because of the scariness of some exhibits, and the size and scale.

Warwick Castle, Warwick CV34 6AH.

Photo: InspiredImages

Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle is a classic family-friendly destination in Warwickshire. The castle is open every day and has an array of activities for children including face painting.

Things to do in Warwickshire with toddlers: Kenilworth
Photo: Carolyn Gifford

Jumpin

Jumpin is a large trampoline park in Warwick. You can visit for toddler hour or let the older ones go wild. There’s a soft play as well.

Tachbrook Park, Hermes CI, Warwick CV34 6NW

National Sea Life Centre, Birmingham

You have to get to Birmingham City Centre, but once you’re there there’s a lot of thing to do, and it’s 35-40 mins from Stratford-upon-Avon out of rush hour.  The National Sea Life Centre was popular with my family. The main features are the huge tanks, which you can walk around and see all kinds of sea life. The rays were particularly well-liked. You can also see the penguins, and watch various feeding demonstrations from a raised viewing gallery.

Things to do in Warwickshire with toddlers:
Photo: Roy Kilcullen/rkp.uk.com

Legoland Discovery Centre, Birmingham

Lego is hugely popular. It is the world’s best-selling toy. Legoland Discovery Centre in Birmingham is an indoor world of Lego, with rides, lots of Lego constructions and exhibits, a shop, soft play and more. It’s very family-friendly and there are activities to keep children engaged for perhaps half a day.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre ,Arena, King Edwards Rd, Birmingham B1 2AA

Photo: metrogogo
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