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IT'SAWOLD CLASS RESORT; The rolling hills of the Cotswolds are the perfect spot for a break.. and the place was rocking as Heather and family found out.

Byline: h.greenaway@dailyrecord.co.uk HEATHER GREENAWAY

To say the Cotswolds is an Area of Outstanding Beauty is an understatement... it's one of the most beautiful regions we have ever had the pleasure of visiting.

My family and I spent a glorious weekend at Hoburne Cotswold Holiday Park in South Cerney, Gloucestershire, and are counting the days until we can return.

Set among the rolling hills of central southern England, the park's wooden lodges had a real Swiss Family Robinson feel to them. Our two boys Archie, four, and Alfie, 18 months, at the time, would have been quite happy if we had never left the spacious cabin, with its multitude of hidey-holes.

But it would have been a shame to miss out on all the park had to offer. From the family pool and its super-fast flume to the softplay area and outdoor playground, it was every little kid's dream.

Entertainment-wise, we couldn't have chosen a better weekend for our stay. The park was having a celebration of rock and, on the Saturday night, Archie got his first taste of Meatloaf.

Hundreds of people packed the show bar to see the fantastic Meatloaf tribute act, which prompted Archie to ask if he could grow his hair long and wear a leather jacket.

When the stage wasn't being used by rockers, Sammy the Seahorse and his energetic gang of entertainers kept the children happy.

Alfie wasn't too sure of the big blue furry creature that kept wanting him to play games but, to Archie, Sammy was better than any Disney character he had ever met and he danced so hard to impress him, he won the prize for best mover. He now guards his certificate and trophy with the same zeal a footballer would the World Cup.

Using a crowbar to prise the boys away from the park, we explored the surrounding area, spending a rainy afternoon looking round the quaint town of Cirencester.

The Cotswolds is speckled with hundreds of picturesque towns, villages and hamlets, so no matter in which direction you head, you stumble upon a wee gem of a place.

With the houses all built from the region's trademark yellow limestone, it's like taking a drive through Postman Pat country and Cirencester could be mistaken for Greendale. Decked out in puddlesuits, the kids had a great time jumping up and down in the rain, while we nipped in and out of the copious charity shops, snapping up bargains, including an all-singing, all-dancing T-Rex for PS1. It was perhaps the only buy we ended up regretting.

On the Sunday, we headed off to the beautiful city of Bath, just an hour and a half 's drive from the holiday park. It was somewhere I had always wanted to visit and I wasn't disappointed.

It's no wonder it has been classed as a World Heritage Site. From the stunning terraced houses of the Royal Crescent and The Circus, to the acclaimed Roman baths, the city is a must-see.

Archie loved doing battle with a Roman centurion in the main square and Alfie loved his cone from one of Bath's many ice-cream parlours.

Our favourite family outing by a country mile was to the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens - the best animal park we've seen in a long time.

Set in 160 acres of landscaped parklands and gardens, the enclosures are so beautiful they give the illusion animals are roaming free.

And in the lemur walkthrough, they are. Alfie was in heaven as dozens of ring-tail and mongoose lemurs darted across his path at feeding time and we had to use every ounce of strength to prevent him holding hands with one of his new friends.

The penguins, otters, meerkats, anacondas, rhinos and giraffes also proved popular with the boys but it was the newborn tapir Lolita, who stole all our hearts.

The cute little creature with the long snout and speckles was playing hide and seek with her mum Cali, who came right up to the fence and tried to kiss us. Tapirs, which hail from South America, are the friendliest of mammals. The wildlife park offer keeper experiences, where you can feed the critters and give them a tickle.

You can guess what is top of Archie's Christmas list when he turns seven - the minimum age you have to be to get up close and personal with a tapir.

It was with a heavy heart we packed up the car for our return journey northward but we surprised the kids with a trip to Bristol Zoo - just an hours drive from Hoburne Cotswold.

You would think by now the boys would have had enough of animals, but no. They had a brilliant time watching the gorillas being fed, the fruit bats doing a flypast and going toe to toe with the lions, who took a liking to Alfie's yellow coat.

The highlight of the day was an animal encounter with a very cheeky armadillo, aptly named Archie. Our Archie was in raptures.

To make the most of our Cotswold experience, we drove up and back overnight, which took us six hours each way. The midnight flit added to the adventure and we would travel that way again, especially if it meant another few days in the paradise of the Cotswolds.

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Latedeals | Flying from Glasgow on January 7, seven nights in Benidorm staying at the four-star Flamingo Oasis on all-inclusive from PS349 per person.

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| For these and other deals see www.

holidayandflightcentre.com or call 01698 425444.

CAPTION(S):

MONKEY BUSINESS Archie checks out a ring-tail lemur in Cotswolds Wildlife Park

GREEN AND PLEASANT Cotswolds Holiday Park. Below, lovely wooden lodge and with tapir
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Article Type:Travel narrative
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 22, 2014
Words:1079
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