Is a Go Cotswolds tour with children a good idea? Can I bring my baby?
We’ve recently been asked a few questions about taking a Go Cotswolds tour with children. So, here’s a helpful article for anyone thinking about bringing children on one of our small-group Go Cotswolds tours.
Our policy on children
We love kids, and all of our guides are parents (that’s my little cutie in the poppy field above!). However, here’s the deal:
- We’re sorry, but we do not allow children under the age of 3 (i.e. those aged 0-2) on our small group tours.
- Children aged 3-15 are very welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult over the age of 18.
Why don’t you allow children under 3?
Three reasons: safety, passenger enjoyment, and our legal carrying capacity.
Legally, children under the age of 3 can be carried or sit on an adult’s lap on board a minibus. But we (Tom and Lisa), the owners of Go Cotswolds, feel very uncomfortable with this – it’s just not the safest way for small children to travel.
We feel strongly that all passengers, children included, should be properly secured while our minibus is in motion. For adults and children over 3, that means wearing a seatbelt. For children under 3, that means being restrained in a suitable child’s car seat.
However, infant car seats are bulky and take up a lot of room on our minibus seats. This can make it very uncomfortable for other passengers – and on a small-group tour, which is shared with other people, we don’t feel this is fair.
2. Passenger enjoyment
As the mother of a young child myself, I know first-hand that children, especially little ones, get bored very easily and may not appreciate the beautiful Cotswolds countryside as much as us grown-ups do!
Also, our guides use microphones in the minibuses to give commentary between the stops on the tour. It’s important to our passengers to be able to hear the guide, as they have some fun and fascinating stories to tell that will really enhance your tour!
But we wouldn’t want your day, or anyone else’s day, to be spoiled by a grumpy toddler or a screaming baby. In a small group situation, it’s just not fair.
3. Legal carrying capacity
Our minibuses have 17 seats: one for the driver, and 16 passenger seats. By law, we can only carry 16 passengers – one per seat – regardless of their age.
If we sold 16 seats to adults, then one of those adults turned up with a baby, we’d have to turn them away as we would be breaking the law to carry more than 16 people.
We can accept children under 3 on private tours
We will make an exception for babies and toddlers under 3 for private tours only. Why?
A private tour is just for you and your group – it’s not shared with anyone you don’t know. So, if your baby screams through the tour, or your toddler has a tantrum on the bus (it happens!), then it’s only your family and friends who will be bothered (or not!) by this. If everyone in your group is happy, then so are we!
It is legal for children under 3 to be held on an adult’s lap in our vehicles, though we still feel strongly that any infants in your group should be seated in a car seat. However, for private tours, we will allow babes-in-arms if it’s unavoidable – at your own risk. We do not provide car seats for children.
One thing we cannot compromise on, however, is our legal carrying capacity. Even for private tours, we can carry a maximum of 16 passengers, and that must include any children under 3. If booking a private tour with us, please ensure you declare all passengers, and state if any of them are under 3.
Why must children travel with an adult? Why can’t my 15 year old take the tour by themselves?
I know a lot of teenagers are very responsible, and many would certainly enjoy a Go Cotswolds tour by themselves.
However, allowing minors on our tours without an adult places our guides and fellow passengers in a very difficult situation from a safe-guarding point of view.
One of the great selling points of our tours is that you have plenty of free time to explore the various stops without your guide. We provide maps and information to help you navigate this free time, but we wouldn’t feel comfortable allowing children under 16 to wander off on their own, without being in the care of an adult they know.
Will we enjoy a Go Cotswolds tour with children?
To this we say: you know your children best.
Our tours are not specifically designed with children in mind, and we would not necessarily recommend a Go Cotswolds tour with small children.
That said, we have welcomed many children on our tours over the years. Our 6-year old daughter loves coming on our tours (though the fact that daddy is the tour guide may be a factor!).
Kids love stomping around the villages, spotting the sheep at Dover’s Hill, and pretending to be giants at Bourton-on-the-Water Model Village. They also love our fun, friendly guides – all of whom have their own children and are great with kids.
If you are the parent of a very small child, it may be that our mixed group tours are not right for you. Why not think about a private tour instead?