Cotswold Water Park Water Park Related Questions

What is Cotswold Water Park

Cotswold Water Park is a breathtaking area spanning over 40 square miles, featuring more than 170 lakes that were formed from old gravel pits filled with water since the late 1970s. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a single, enclosed theme park but a vast and diverse landscape filled with natural beauty, wildlife, and a variety of recreational activities.

History and Formation: The park originated from gravel pits closing in the area and subsequently filling up with water, transforming the landscape into a haven for wildlife and a hub for outdoor activities. Over the years, the park has grown to encompass numerous villages, farms, and hamlets where people live and work, creating a unique blend of residential and recreational areas.

Wildlife and Nature: Much of Cotswold Water Park is dedicated to wildlife conservation. Many lakes are set aside specifically for nature, offering habitats for a wide range of flora and fauna. This commitment to preserving natural habitats makes the park a paradise for nature enthusiasts and bird watchers.

Activities and Businesses: The park is renowned for its extensive range of activities, supported by independent businesses that have sprung up around the lakes. Visitors can enjoy water skiing, kayaking, fishing, cycling, shooting, archery, climbing, and much more. This vibrant ecosystem of businesses and activities provides endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation.

Accommodation: While the park itself does not have a central entrance fee, it offers various accommodation options. Cotswold Water Park Retreats, for example, provides luxurious lodges and cottages that serve as the perfect base for exploring the park and engaging in its many activities.

Access and Fees: There is no entrance fee to enter the park. However, parking fees apply in certain designated public parking areas, and these fees contribute to the park’s maintenance. This ensures that the park remains accessible and well-preserved for both residents and visitors.

Community and Collaboration: The businesses within the park operate independently but maintain a symbiotic relationship, enhancing the overall visitor experience. This collaboration ensures a wide array of services and activities, making Cotswold Water Park a unique and multifaceted destination.

For more detailed information about specific activities, accommodations, and conservation efforts, visit our blog site or explore the Cotswold Water Park website for an in-depth description and updates on what the park has to offer.

Can I take my dog to Cotswold Water Park

Absolutely! Cotswold Water Park is a fantastic destination for pet owners. With its vast open spaces, it’s a wonderful place for your furry friends to explore and enjoy.

Many cafes, pubs, and bars around the Water Park are dog-friendly, welcoming pets with open arms. Additionally, most accommodation providers in the area offer dog-friendly options. At Cotswold Water Park Retreats, we pride ourselves on being pet-friendly, with many of our lodges, cottages, and homes accommodating dogs.

For an off-leash adventure, Wickwater Woods in Cotswold Water Park can be hired by the hour, providing a secure space for your dog to run freely. Many areas within the park, including the Cotswold Country Park and Beach, welcome pets. Some local cafes even sell doggy ice cream, making it a treat for both you and your pet. Combine a visit with a trip to the dog-friendly Waterside Kitchen at Wickwater Lane for a perfect morning outing!

As a general rule, please use common sense and be mindful of your surroundings. Keep your pet on a lead where appropriate, avoid letting them swim in the lakes, and always clean up after them. This ensures a pleasant experience for everyone and helps protect the park’s wildlife and natural beauty.

For more detailed information on dog-friendly places and activities within the park, visit our Experiences section.

Can I swim in the lakes at Cotswold Water Park

Yes, you can swim in certain lakes at Cotswold Water Park, but it’s important to exercise caution. Some lakes are deeper and colder than you might expect, even in summer, and many have substantial weed growth near the surface, which can make swimming difficult.

However, there are designated areas where you can safely enjoy open water swimming:

  • Lake 86: One of the closest options for guests staying in our lakeside lodges.
  • Lake 12: Another nearby lake suitable for open water swimming, also conveniently located for our lakeside accommodations.
  • Lake 32: Ideal for guests staying in other homes within the park, offering a safe and enjoyable swimming experience.

Remember, while swimming, always be aware of the water conditions and follow any posted guidelines to ensure your safety.

For more details on swimming spots and safety tips, check out our Experiences section.


Is there an entrance fee into Cotswold Water Park

No, there is no general entrance fee to enter Cotswold Water Park. This expansive area spans approximately 40 square miles and includes around 170 lakes, along with numerous villages and hamlets. Roads crisscross the park, providing free access to various parts of this natural wonder.

However, while entry to the park itself is free, there are some public car parks around the lakes that charge for parking. These parking fees contribute to the park’s maintenance and conservation efforts. You can find detailed information on parking locations and fees on websites like Parkopedia.

Additionally, the Cotswold Water Park is home to a variety of independent businesses offering a wide range of activities, such as water skiing, kayaking, fishing, cycling, shooting, archery, and climbing. Each of these businesses operates independently and sets its own pricing for activities and services. For specific details on what you can do and the associated costs, please check our Experiences section for more information on the businesses operating within the park.

By maintaining this structure, Cotswold Water Park ensures that visitors can enjoy its natural beauty and diverse recreational opportunities while supporting the local economy and conservation efforts.

Can I launch my own craft on the lake

You can use your own kayak or paddleboard at designated spots for a fee within Cotswold Water Park. Recommended lakes for these activities include Lake 12 (ROX), Lake 32, Lake 86, and the 4 Lakes area. Please note:

  • Lake 12 (ROX), Lake 32, and Lake 86: These lakes offer facilities for personal kayaks and paddleboards. Some require advance booking, while others allow you to just turn up. Availability can vary depending on the time of year and how busy the lakes are, so it’s always best to contact the lake management beforehand.
  • 4 Lakes Area: Another great spot for launching personal watercraft, with similar booking requirements and seasonal considerations.

Unfortunately, jet skiing is not currently permitted on any lakes within Cotswold Water Park. While there are facilities for water skiing, none of the lakes allow the launching of personal powerboats. Water skiing activities are available through specific clubs that provide equipment and sessions, but you cannot use your own powerboat.

For more detailed information and to ensure a spot, please check our Experiences section or contact the lake management directly before your visit.

Is there a beach at Cotswold Water Park

Yes, Cotswold Country Park and Beach is open all year round, providing a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The beach area typically opens just before the Easter holiday and remains open until the end of September. These dates can vary slightly, so it’s advisable to check their website for the most accurate information. Even outside the beach season, the park is accessible for walkers and joggers throughout the year.

Entrance Fees:

Entrance fees are based on the size of your vehicle, starting with rates for pedestrians and cyclists and increasing up to those for minibuses. This tiered pricing ensures fair access for all types of visitors.

Activities and Amenities:

The park offers a wide range of activities and amenities, including a well-reviewed café on site. One of the main attractions is AquaVenture, a large inflatable water park suitable for all ages – essentially a giant bouncy castle on the water, providing fun for the whole family.


Cotswold Country Park and Beach is conveniently located off the Spine Road, accessible via Spratsgate Lane between Lakes 31 and 32. This makes it easy to find and a perfect spot for a day out.

For more details on opening times, fees, and activities, visit the Cotswold Country Park and Beach website.

Can I fish at Cotswold Water Park

Yes, fishing is one of the most popular activities at Cotswold Water Park, offering a variety of options for different types of fish, with carp fishing being particularly popular.


To fish in the lakes, rivers, and streams within the park, you will need to purchase a day license. However, before you can buy a day license, you must have a valid rod license. These licenses ensure that fishing activities are regulated and sustainable.

Where to Get Started:

A great place to begin your fishing adventure is the Tackle Den on Wickwater Lane. The staff at Tackle Den have extensive knowledge and experience with fishing in the area. They can provide you with day passes, equipment, bait, and valuable advice to enhance your fishing experience. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, their expertise will help you make the most of your time at the park.

For more detailed information on fishing spots and regulations, visit the Tackle Den or check out our Experiences section for more on fishing opportunities at Cotswold Water Park.


Is there somewhere we can eat in Cotswold Water Park

Absolutely – and there are more options if you look at options around the park, such as in Cirencester.

We tell our guests that there are something like 12 places within easy walking distance of our main base at Waters Edge. If you want to drive a little further then there is a huge choice of places to eat and drink.

Check our experiences page for a map and details of the various facilities around the Water Park

Can I camp in Cotswold Water Park

Yes you can although it is very limited. Cotswold Lakes provide a camping area right next their brewery! The Tap Room is open on certain days to enhance your experience even more.

You can, of course, book one of our more luxorious lodges and still make use of the tap room!

You’ll find more information about Cotswold Lakes camping here.

The Cotswolds Cotswold Questions

How many days do I need to visit The Cotswolds

The answer of course is that it depends! Most of our guests book 2 or 3 nights – those that book 2 generally wished they’d stayed another night! But they all come back again!

A great itinerary for me would be

Day 1 – Relax and chill – get to know your home for the break and the surroundings. Spend time chilling out in a hot tub overlooking some stunning lakes and get that instagrammable shot of the sunset

Day 2 – Grab a quick breakfast before heading off to visit one of the may towns and villages around here – Cirencester, Stroud (Saturday farmers market) or Bibury and Burford. Head back to the Water Park and try your hand at water skiing at 4Lakes or kayaking at ROX. Book a private chef for an evening meal with your group to finish off the day

Day 3 – Head off to Daylesford and try your hand at Padel, one of the fastest growing sports in the UK. Browse Daylesford market and try not to spend too much money! Head over to Stow on the Wold and get your picture taken at Tolkien’s door and the stocks before sampling a beer at reputedly the oldest pub in the UK, The Porch House. Head back to the south and book in for a dinner at the Waterside Kitchen on Wickwater Lane.

Day 4 – Add a little time to your stay and head over to the Lakeside Brasserie for a full English before heading home.


What is the best town/village to visit in The Cotswolds

There are a number of candidates for this one as we have so many classic chocolate box towns and villages within a short distance around The Cotswolds. Epithets such as the prettiest village in England (Bibury or Castle Combe), The Jewel of The Cotswolds (Broadway or Chipping Camden), the Capital of The Cotswolds (Cirencester), the Gateway to The Cotswolds (Tetbury), Venice of The Cotswolds (Bourton-on-the-Water) and even the Queen of The Cotswolds (Painswick) are all great candidates. It does depend on how much time you have but places like Cirencester, Stow or Bourton will likely take a good half day whereas Bibury and Burford or Malmesbury and Castle Combe you could combine to make a half day of it.

But basically there are no wrong choices!

Where is the best place to base myself in The Cotswolds for my visit

Great question and we are slightly biased in being based in the South of The Cotswolds. The “celebrity” end tends to be the north (think Diddley Squat) but then we can boast that our King has his estate (Highgrove) just outside of Tetbury and near Westonbirt arboretum in the south!

We choose to work and live in the south because of the lakes and the activities, attractions and restaurants around us. Travelling to the northern towns is generally quite easy – the Fosseway links us all together.

But again it does depend on your itinerary and what you want to do – you will find most of our towns have something available on short term rental platforms but we are always happy to help you plan your visit.


What's the best place to visit in The Cotswolds

Another great question and my answer would vary according to time of the year. Blenheim Palace does a stunning Christmas light trail and market and no doubt it will be brilliant this year although Blenheim, and its village, Woodstock, are worth a visit any time of the year.

Westonbirt arboretum is amazing at autumn with so many Acers the place is a riot of colour at that time. Painswicks Rococo Gardens are amazing in the summer as are Hidcote Gardens.

Broadway Tower is really interesting and a lovely walk – the tower was built as a folly and stands within 200 acres of park land. Combined with a visit to Broadway makes for a great day. At the right time of year you can also visit the lavender fields which are open between mid June and early August.

Otherwise Cotswold Park Farm is a great choice if you have children in the group, again better at some times of the year (lambing) than others.

A favourite of ours is Chedworth Roman Villa, about 4 miles away from us but is reputed to be one of the best preserved Roman villas in Europe – here you can see toilets and underfloor heating as it was designed to work. Top it off with a visit to Cirencesters award winning Corinium Museum which has much information about Roman times in The Cotswolds. If the wether is good – pop up and have a look at the Roman amphitheatre on Cotswold way in Cirencester – held a crowd of around 8000 in its day!!

What's the best thing to do in The Cotswolds

This is another long list – check out our experiences page but this is one of the reasons why we live in the Water Park.

Water based activities are happening all over the place – there are around 180 lakes with most of them quiet spots but a number of them have homes and businesses around them. Skiing and wakeboarding go on at Lakeside Ski and Wake and also at 4 Lakes. Open water swimming at Lake 32 and Lake 86 and also paddle boarding and kayaking which you will all find at ROX with swimming on a Saturday morning.

Away from the water we have Cotswold Range with archery and shooting and we also have climbing also at ROX on Lake 12. There are numerous cycle shops around us such as Carle’s performance bikes as well as horse riding at Rein & Shine.

Fishing is probably one of the most popular activities around the lakes and there is just about any type of fishing you want (except sea fishing) – try the Tackle Den in South Cerney for more information. Carp fishing is hugely popular – some of our homes actually sit on great carp lakes.

We are well blessed for golf courses both locally and further afield with Cirencester being the most popular locally but an interesting course awaits you at Minchinhampton Common. You’ll need to worry about more than sand bunkers on that one.

How can I get to The Cotswolds and travel around?

We are quite well serviced by the train line – main stations in or near the Cotswolds are Banbury, Bath, Cam and Dursley, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Kemble (serving Cirencester), Moreton-in-Marsh, Stroud, Charlbury, Kingham and Oxford. Trains run between Bristol and Paddington. From the north its easy enough to get to Cheltenham, Gloucester or Bristol and head to your destination from there.

There are bus services around The Cotswolds with a decent network in the south covering Tetbury, Cirencester, Lechlade and Northleach. In the north the bus service covers Northleach, Stow, Moreton-in-Marsh and Chipping Camden so Northleach is the hub the links them together.

Taxis are not there in huge numbers and do tend to be a bit expensive because of the distances between towns. You will often be able to pick one up at the railway stations but generally on weekdays and not late. We generally book taxis way in advance if we are in one of the town for the evening and check on the day that they will be there.

The reality is that if you don’t want to spend a lot of your valuable time in The Cotswolds sat waiting for buses or trains then access to a car is your best bet.

The other option is to book yourself a Cotswold tour with our friends at CJP Tours or Go Cotswolds – both do tours North and South and will also create bespoke tours based on what you want to see but you need to plan well ahead.

Where is the best place to eat in The Cotswolds

Another controversial one and us having been pat of the leisure industry for over 10 years we’ve seen a lot of great eateries build up a level of passionate support!

Again the caveat is that we are much more familiar with the south than we are with the north although we have ventured as far as the Lygon Arms in Broadway for dinner.

The other caveat is that it does depend on your taste, budget and occasion. We have Michelin starred restaurants at Whatley Manor, La Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham and the Olive Tree in Bath.

Around south Cotswolds we are really fortunate to have a fantastic variety of places suitable for all pockets including our favourite place, the Waterside Kitchen. But if we wanted a great Sunday roast we would be booking ourselves into the Eliot Arms in South Cerney. ROCs street food on lake 12 is excellent as is Ashas India restaurant at the Crown in Cerney Wick.

The Masons Arms at Meysey Hampton, the Crown at Ampney Brook, the Potting Shed at Crudwell, the Bakers Arms at Somerford Keynes and the Bell at Sapperton are all great choices. Book in advance for all of them though – sadly their popularity causes queues!



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