Destination UK

Exploring Bourton-on-the-Water, Birdland and the Dragonfly Maze

Posted on
October 3, 2017

A couple of weeks ago we headed to the Cotswolds for a short break.
If I am honest, I didn’t do a great deal of research before we got there and had just a couple of places in mind to visit, however, when Stressy Mummy commented on one of my instagram posts from Cotswold Wildlife Park with suggestions of places to visit, my plans changed.
She suggested Bourton-on-the-Water which is regularly voted one of the prettiest villages in England and is it was just a short ten minute drive from our Cotswold Holiday Cottage, I was sold.
Bourton on the Water
We arrived early and found two coaches packed full of tourist arriving, so knew it was a popular location and I can certainly see why with its picturesque bridges dotted over River Windrush.
Bourton on the Water
There is plenty to see and do with a wealth of attractions and shops, restaurants and tea rooms and our first point of call was the tourist information office. The staff couldn’t have been more helpful and suggested that we visit Birdland Park and Gardens and try out the Dragonfly Maze, giving me a book of discount vouchers before we left.
Bourton on the Water
If I am honest I could have wandered up and down the river all day, but the kids were keen to visit Birdland Park and Gardens which was a short 5 minute walk along the riverside and is home to over 500 birds and 50 aviaries, plus an interactive discovery zone for kids.
Birdland Park and Gardens
We were greeted by a stunning hybrid Macaw and the kids were amazed by the fact it wasn’t caged at all. In fact, many of the birds in Birdland seem to roam free, happy to remain in their enclosures.
One of our favourite birds has to be the penguin and Birdland is home to England’s only collection of magnificent King Penguins.
The King Penguin is so much bigger than the Humboldt Penguins your normally see in parks and zoo’s, which surprised us all.
Birdland Park and Gardens
Because the River Windrush runs through the park, many of the water birds live in the riverside habitat and we enjoyed keeper talks on many of them and were especially interested in how they kept their Flamingo’s pink colour.
Birdland Park
As well as the Flamingos, we found pelicans, cranes, storks, cassowary and waterfowl which live in their riverside habitat, with parrots, owls, pheasants, hornbills, touracos and many more inhabiting over 50 aviaries.
The kids were especially taken with the Cassowary, with Sebby declaring it looked like a dinosaur bird, which led nicely into their Jurassic Journey Trail where we got to track Brachiosaurus, Spinosaurus, Postosuchus and Velociraptors.
Jurassic Journey
We were armed with special dinosaur tracker kits, and ventured into a Jurassic-themed landscape which is home to more than 30 different dinosaurs ranging from a metre-long baby stegosaurus to a 5 metre tall brachiosaurus, with sights and sounds to identify along the way.
Jurassic Journey
Even though the dinosaurs were not animatronic as we have seen in other location, they really enjoyed the trail.
Jurassic Journey
The highlight of their day was by far the Encounters area.
Birdland Park
In the indoor discovery zone you can see some fascinating egg laying creatures including snakes, lizards and even poisonous frogs, but it was outdoors where they could get up close and personal with them.
Birdland Park and Gardens
All the kids got to hold Lily, a Royal Python and were all fascinated by her texture.
Birdland Park and Gardens
We also got to meet and stroke a beautiful Owl and a giant rabbit.
Birdland Park and Gardens
It was the tortoise’s that caused the most excitement. They were content to much on the grass whilst the kids got to touch their legs and shells to see what they felt like.
We spent ages with the animals and all the keepers were happy to answer the barrage of questions the kids asked them.
Once I managed to tear the kids away it was off to explore the Temperate and Desert Houses, which are home to birds who enjoy hotter and drier conditions, like this stunning Hornbill which Sebby was convinced was Zazu from the Lion King.
The great thing about Birdland is that you can leave and come back if you want to and after some fun in the park, Isaac was keen to head next door to try the maze.
The Dragonfly Maze is a traditional yew hedge maze with a difference. It is all about finding your way to the centre of the maze to discover the golden dragonfly using a series a clues along the way.
Dragonfly Maze
Now, maze solving is not my speciality and it did feel like we were going around in circles for a while. Some of the clues were easy and others a little more challenging but the reward when we found the middle around 40 minutes later was worth it.
Dragonfly Maze
The clues you find show you how to find The Golden Dragonfly hidden in the round house at the centre!
Dragonfly Maze
Did we succeed?
Dragonfly Maze
Of course we did…………eventually!
There are many more places to explore in Bourton-on-the-Water but sadly we ran out of time. It’s a great excuse for another visit though!

Entry to Birdland Park and Gardens is £9.95 for adults and £6.95 for children but I recommend picking up a free guide book at the tourist office for a free child ticket per paying adult. Tickets for the Maze were £2 per person.

Country Kids

  1. Reply

    five little doves

    October 3, 2017

    Ahh what a gorgeous place to visit! Bourton looks just beautiful and the bird park is our idea of a fab day out! Me and the kids love penguins!

  2. Reply

    Sarah Bailey

    October 3, 2017

    Oh wow what an awesome looking place to get to visit, it looks like it really has some amazing birds to look at and the dragonfly maze sounds fun!

  3. Reply


    October 3, 2017

    This sounded like a action packed fun day and 40 minutes for a Maze is a pretty good time!!

  4. Reply

    Angela Hamilton

    October 3, 2017

    For years I have wanted to visit the Cotswolds. Still trying to convince the hubby. It looks stunning and I know my kids would love it too. Oh and I lllooovveeee penguins ????

  5. Reply

    Angela Hamilton

    October 3, 2017

    For years I have wanted to visit the Cotswolds. Still trying to convince the hubby. It looks stunning and I know my kids would love it too. Oh and I lllooovveeee penguins ????

  6. Reply

    Kate Williams

    October 4, 2017

    The encounters area looks amazing! Not sure if I would be brave enough with the snake but I bet my son would love it.

  7. Reply


    October 4, 2017

    We love Bourton on the Water – it was the first place me and my dh ever went together! There is a lot to do for such a small place and you were wise going outside the main season it get’s very busy! A lovely day out! #Countrykids

  8. Reply


    October 4, 2017

    It looks lovely here, I have never been to the Cotswolds but think we might have to add it to our list x

  9. Reply

    Coombe Mill

    October 4, 2017

    What a great recommendation for your day out. My Grandmother used to own a toy shop in Burton on the Water and lived int he flat above. I remember feeding the ducks down by the waters edge when I was tiny, such a pretty place, it all came back to me seeing your photos, that and choosing a toy car from her little shop to play with each visit! Like you I could spend all day there but I can see the kids desire to move on Birdland Park. I adore the flamingos and funnily enough I find snakes more fascinating than scary too. Gorgeous photos of the kids holding them.
    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

  10. Reply

    Sara | mumturnedmom

    October 4, 2017

    This looks like such a lovely place to visit and the kids certainly look like they’re enjoying the animal encounters. Brilliant! And, well done on finding the golden dragonfly 🙂 #countrykids

  11. Reply


    October 4, 2017

    I think I want to go there now! I could do with a break, and animals have a way of bringing a relaxed state don’t they? I enjoyed learning about some of the things you can do in the Cotswolds. Although I have never visited this area of England, I really should plan a trip in the near future. After all my name is Carlisle 🙂

  12. Reply


    October 4, 2017

    Looks like a great day out! Absolutely love your pictures ❤️

  13. Reply


    October 4, 2017

    Aww I love penguins so much – the range of animals looks fantastic! The Cotswolds is such a beautiful area of the country 🙂

  14. Reply

    Rebecca Smith

    October 4, 2017

    What an absolutely lovely place to visit! I’ve never been but my mum has and has said we should definitely visit ourselves one day

  15. Reply

    Super Busy Mum

    October 4, 2017

    What a stunning place to spend the day! Everything looks amazing! I love that the kids could get up and personal with the animals too.

  16. Reply

    Gareth Torrance

    October 5, 2017

    I can’t wait until my little one is a better older so that we can take her to places like this!

  17. Reply

    The London Mum

    October 5, 2017

    I’ve wanted to visit bourbon on the water for ages! It looks like such a beautiful place, and now I know there’s so much to do!

  18. Reply

    Nell (Pigeon Pair and Me)

    October 5, 2017

    What a fun-looking place. Good old Stressy Mummy – thank goodness for blogger recommendations! We’ve been meaning to pay the Cotswolds a trip for ages, and I’ll bookmark this for when we do. x

  19. Reply


    October 5, 2017

    This sounds like such a fun day out! It looks gorgeous too!

  20. Reply


    October 5, 2017

    This looks fantastic and such good value for money, especially with the free child tickets.

  21. Reply

    Holly - Little Pickle's Mom

    October 5, 2017

    Wow, what a fab trip! It’s so funny I’ve read this today as my Mum was JUST talking to me about Bourton on the Water when she popped round this afternoon – how funny! The Birdland place looks amazing – the penguins are a real treat.

  22. Reply

    Emily Leary

    October 6, 2017

    I love that so many of the birds get to roam where ever they want. The village deserves any awards it gets for prettiness, it almost looks like a model!

  23. Reply

    Ali - We Made This Life

    October 6, 2017

    This looks like a fantastic day out. Your kids look like they really enjoyed it and I think mine would too!

  24. Reply

    Kerry Norris

    October 7, 2017

    Gosh it looks beautiful. How brave were the kids having a snake around their necks. It looks massive!

  25. Reply

    Emma j

    October 8, 2017

    We went to bourton on the water a few weeks ago, isn’t it lovely? It almost doesn’t look real! I love the fact the kids can go on the little river. X

  26. Reply


    October 8, 2017

    It’s great that there’s plenty to see and do. My nieces would think it’s fun so will be sure to check it out 🙂

  27. Reply

    Newcastle Family Life

    October 9, 2017

    This looks like a great place to visit, my children adore penguins. How brave are your three having the snake around their necks x

  28. Reply


    October 10, 2017

    This looks like a fantastic place to visit, love they got up close to the snakes too!

  29. Reply

    Cass Bailey

    October 12, 2017

    Oh, your photos are amazing – they really make me want to visit myself 😉

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Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog