Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens is a zoo like no other. Set in the beautiful grounds of a Victorian Manor House it has the feeling of walking around someone’s home rather than a tourist attraction. In fact it is ran by the son of the original owner of the house and parkland, making it a real family business. I have been visiting Cotswold Wildlife Park since I was a baby and I still love it just as much today as I did as a child. It hasn’t changed a great deal, which I love because it has a warm sense of nostalgia whenever we visit.
The wildlife park has 160 acres to explore. It is home to rhinos, giraffe, camels, lions, goats, guinea pigs, birds of prey, lemurs, reptiles and so much more. One of its most famous residents I think is the red pandas. They are so cute (although I’m sure they aren’t very cuddly!).
Personally I absolutely love seeing the rhinos. I mean where else do you see rhino casually wandering around on the lawn outside a manor house?! The best thing about Cotswold Wildlife Park is how cleverly designed the animal enclosures are. There are not many cages or high fences as many of the enclosures are built with trenches around the edge so the animals can be clearly seen by visitors but cannot get out to cause any danger. I’m not sure if that makes any sense but you might be able to work out what I mean from the photo below. You can see the ground drops down into a ditch and then there is a wall which goes back up to the height of the path (the rhino wouldn’t be able to climb that!).
The variety of animals at Cotswold Wildlife Park is fantastic and you can get really up close and personal with some of them too. In the Madagascar enclosure, for example, you can walk among the lemurs and birds. It’s such a lovely area we went through it twice. This is within the walled garden which has a variety of aviaries housing many different birds, otters, etc. The gardens are beautifully landscaped and so peaceful. I think it’s my favourite part of the zoo.
Also in the walled garden are the penguins. These again are in an enclosure with a very low wall so visitors of all ages can see the with ease and feel very close to them. You can watch the keepers give talks about the penguins and feed them too which is always good fun.
A highlight of any trip to Cotswold Wildlife Park is of course the miniature steam train. You do have to pay extra for this (adult £2, children £1, under 3s free) but i do think its worth it. The train takes you all around the park so it’s a good long ride and something we really really enjoy.
Another highlight which kids (and adults!) adore is the amazing adventure playground. Since my last visit a few years ago there is a huge wooden fortress with tunnels and slides 20 feet high up in the trees. It’s like a skymaze and is absolutely brilliant! There is of course also a smaller play area for younger kids of a similar style but much lower down and toddler friendly. The original tunnel slide is of course still there too (with a few modifications!).
Just past the playground is the farmyard area. Here you can see small furies in the barn or join the goats in their field for a play. There are chickens roaming freely and some donkeys, pigs, etc. Again its a lovely area where you can get hands on with the animals. There are plenty of sinks to wash your hands afterwards.
You can easily spend the entire day here at Cotswold Wildlife Park. You could also come back again and again and see different things every time you visit as there’s so much to see. They do have annual passes and also run keeper days and animal encounters if that’s something you’d be interested in. See their website for more details. The paths are all flat and easily accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs. There are plenty of toilet facilities, baby changing, a large gift shop, large cafe and loads of space to enjoy picnics. I really can’t recommend this place enough as a fab family day out.
- Toilets / Disabled Toilet Yes
- Pushchair / Wheelchair Friendly Yes
- Disabled Access Yes flat paths throughout, ramps, large Changing Places toilet, free wheelchair hire, electric mobility scooters for hire (£10 for full day), wheel chair spaces on the train with ramp for access and disabled parking. Registered blind visitors get free entry.
- Dog Friendly Yes on a lead (except indoor areas, farmyard and areas with free roaming animals)
- Refreshments available Yes large cafe and several kiosks
- Car Park Yes
- Gift Shop Yes
- Baby facilities Baby changing facilities, high chairs in the cafe, bottle warming facilities
Address: Bradwell Grove, Burford, Oxfordshire, OX18 4JP
Price Band: ££
Disclaimer: I paid for my tickets and am not affiliated with Cotswold Wildlife Park. All photos, words and opinions are that of my own.
For more ideas of places to visit in Oxfordshire check these out: https://mumsfamilyfun.com/category/days-out/oxfordshire/