25. Birdland Park & Gardens (and its colony of king penguins)

The king penguins really are the crown jewels at Cotswold Birdland in Bourton-on-the-Water.Set on the River Windrush in Bourton-on-the-Water,The flamingos at Birdland are another popular attraction. Cotswold Birdland Park & Gardens is home to over 120 species of birds from all around the world.

But the park's star attraction is without doubt its group of king penguins, the only such group in England.

Founded in 1957, Birdland was one of the UK's original bird gardens, providing home to weird and wonderful species of birds from all over the world, including parrots, owls, flamingos and birds of prey.

But it is the king penguins who take centre stage at 11am and 2.30pm every day when it is their feeding time.

Birdland's head keeper Alistair Keen said: "At two-and-a-half feet tall they are the world's second largest speciesVisitors to Cotswold Birdland can enjoy a bird's eye view of newly-hatched chicks. of penguin and we are the only zoo in England to keep them."

Visitors to Birdland have the chance to feed the penguins as part of a "feeding experience" which makes for a memorable and delightful experience.

Other highlights of a visit to Birdland include watching the flamingos being fed (11.30am daily), the pelicans (fed at 3.15pm) and the imposing cassowary, armed with six-inch claws on their long, powerful legs. Owls, parrots, pheasants, hornbills and cranes are among the other birds also on show.

Birdland's Encounter Zone offers visitors the chance to meet some of our inhabitants each dayBirds of all shapes, sizes and colours can be seen at Cotswold Birdland.Cotswold Birdland is home to England's only group of king penguins. or the daily "meet a keeper" talk at 12.15pm, where you can meet owls, parrots, tortoise, rabbits and cockroach, to name but a few. Other regular events at Birdland include bird of prey encounters and reptile awareness days.

The two-and-a-half acre nature area has hides for those who love native species. Recent sightings have included water vole, otter, grass snake, hawfinch and tawny owl.

There is also a cafe on site (open daily from March to October, weekends only over winter) and a play area which gives children the chance to burn off some energy.

One of Birdland's newest features is the hatchery, where visitors can see eggs incubating and hatching and see the newly emerged chicks.

More information

Cotswold Birdland Park and Gardens
Rissington Road, Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire GL54 2BN
01451 820480 (between 10am-4pm)
Birdland is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 10am, with last admission at 5pm (March-October) or 3pm (November-February).

© Loving The Cotswolds. 2018.