Make the most of your West Country trip to Gloucester and take in the medieval history, glorious waterways and rolling landscapes.
Gloucester, with its ornate cathedral, sits between the limestone villages of the Cotswolds and the River Severn. It enjoys a rich nautical history with rejuvenated Victorian quays and a serene canal, which was once busy with cargo. Visitors can follow in the footsteps of the city’s most famous merchant resident, Dick Whittington, through medieval side streets and courtyards in the central Westgate Quarter. Visit the neighbouring spa town of Cheltenham for its prestigious steeplechase meetings and grand Regency architecture.
Start your city pilgrimage at Gloucester Cathedral (location for film and television productions from Harry Potter and Wolf Hall to Doctor Who and Alice in Wonderland) and marvel at medieval stained glass windows, the Norman nave and Gothic tower. Across from the cathedral at College Court, learn about Gloucester’s famous literary resident Beatrix Potter at The House of the Tailor of Gloucester, a museum and shop inspired by her sketches and favourite book The Tailor of Gloucester. Revisit the 1800s at the Historic Docks where merchants and sailors dropped anchor at the inland shipping port, and treat sporty types to a behind-the-scenes tour at the 16,500-capacity Kingsholm Stadium, home of Gloucester Rugby, and go on the hunt for Scrumpty - Gloucester's rugby mascot - by following the Scrumpty trail spotting 5ft-tall sculptures throughout the city decorated by local, national and international artists.
Explore the city
If you’re interested in learning more about the city, book yourself on Gloucester Civic Trust Tour with one of their friendly and knowledgeable Guides, and uncover 2000 years of Gloucester’s fascinating history.
Great for families
An easy way to explore the city’s waterways, like the Gloucester-Sharpness Canal with its leafy towpaths and tiny bridgemen’s houses, is by hopping on a cruise boat at the Victorian docks. Tours take 45 minutes and leave from the Gloucester Waterways Museum. Back on dry land, little cowboys can ride mini tractors and meet bison and deer in the ‘wild west’ at Cattle Country Adventure Park.
Bargains galore can be nabbed at Gloucester Quays outlet shopping mall, filled with popular clothing and homeware brands. Gloucester Quays Antiques Centre, located in a former Victorian warehouse, is a three-floor treasure trove with curios like retro furniture, old jewellery and vintage clothes.
Explore the area
Motor between pastel-coloured stone villages and hamlets in the Cotswold hills surrounding neighbouring Cheltenham on the aptly named Romantic Road. Around the time of Rugby World Cup, those on the pulse will be able to experience a seasonal natural phenomenon. The Severn Bore is a huge tidal wave that surges along the nearby Severn Estuary during the Autumn Equinox.
There’s no need to wait for winter ski trips when you can hit the slopes on a ski lesson at Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre. All abilities are catered for, with ski lessons on request. For an indoor activity for all the family, there’s rock climbing at the Warehouse Climbing Centre.
Did you know?
John Stafford Smith, who composed America’s national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, was born in Gloucester in March 1750.
Where to stay
Where to eat
Getting there and around
Air: The nearest major airports are Birmingham Airport and Bristol Airport. Both are just one hour away by car. Scheduled flights serve the Isle of Man, Belfast and Jersey from Gloucestershire Airport, a 15-minute drive from the city centre.
Rail: Gloucester Station is two and a half hours from London Paddington Station.
Road: Gloucester can be accessed from junction 11, 11A and 12 of the M5.
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