Is a Go Cotswolds tour with children a good idea? Can I bring my baby with me?

With the October half term holiday approaching, 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

First and foremost, we love kids! Children of all ages are welcome on all of our tours, except for our adults-only Brewery, Pub Lunch & The Cotswolds tour. But here’s the deal:

  1. Children under the age of 3 years must be seated in a suitable car seat, which can be fitted to one of our minibus seats using a three-point seatbelt (we do not have isofix points). In addition, you should provide and be able to fit this seat
  2. For our mixed group tours, all children aged 0-15 years must have a child ticket. Persons aged 16 and up require an adult ticket.

I’ll explain the reasons for these conditions below.

Why does my baby or toddler under 3 need a child’s car seat?

When taking a Cotswold tour with children, the safest way for babies to travel is in a car seat

The short answer is: safety.

Legally, children under the age of 3 can be carried or sit on an adult’s lap when 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 restrained 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.

Some context for our decision…

A few years ago, I went on a minibus drivers’ health and safety training course. During the course, we watched an eye-opening slow-motion video showing what happens during a car crash.

I’ll spare you the gory details, but basically: anything in the car that was not strapped or fixed down became a missile. The bag on the passenger seat. The coffee cup in the cup holder. The dog in the boot. When the car crashed, all those loose items were propelled forwards with force, hitting the seats or the passengers in front, or smashing into the windscreen. It was scary.

Imagine, in the event of a crash, if your baby or toddler was not strapped in…

It really doesn’t bear thinking about.

Does Go Cotswolds provide children’s car seats?

Should you take a Go Cotswolds tour with children? Read our post.

No, we don’t.

For passenger carrying vehicles like coaches, taxis and minibuses, it is recognised that it would be practically impossible for operators to carry all of the different car seats and booster seats for children of all ages, weights and heights. Therefore, we don’t have to provide these seats.

What if I don’t have a child’s car seat – can I still join a Go Cotswolds tour with children?

As parents who travel, we know our policy may be disappointing if you don’t own a car seat. Other tour companies may have different policies. And we know that laws and customs in other countries can be very different.

If you don’t have your own child’s car seat, perhaps see if you can borrow one from someone you trust. You can sometimes get good deals on child car seats from supermarkets like Aldi, or on Amazon. Some companies rent out equipment for children, so have a Google and see what you can find.

It may be that our tour just isn’t right for you and your family at this time.

Why do I need to buy a ticket for my child to join a small group tour?

Discover beautiful Bourton-on-the-Water with a Cotswolds staycation package

We know, ticket fees are often waived for small children, so our policy might seem unfair.

However, the fact is, we only have 16 seats available per tour, so it’s just not economically viable for us to give away free seats to children. Since we insist on all children having their own seat, then those seats should be paid for.

It’s not a penalty for having a small child, it’s a small price to pay to ensure your child’s safety if – heaven forbid – we were to have a crash.

Another consideration is our legal passenger capacity. We only have 16 seats, so by law, we can only carry 16 passengers – 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.

Will we enjoy a Go Cotswolds tour with children?

Bourton-on-the-Water river is also popular when on a 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.

As the mother of a small 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! We wouldn’t want your day, or anyone else’s day, to be spoiled by a grumpy toddler!

That said, we have welcomed many children on our tours over the years – and we are one of the few tour companies who allow children under 5 at all. 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 small child, it may be that our mixed group tours are not right for you. Why not think about a private tour instead?

Happy with our policy and ready to book a Cotswolds tour with children (or without!)? Click here!

Prefer a private tour or need group transport? Learn about our private tours and minibus hire options.

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