Gloucester in the Cotwolds – Things to see and do

Historically known as “Glevum”, Gloucester was a significant Roman settlement and was designated “Colonia” – the highest urban status. Described as “the Cathedral city of the Cotswolds”, Gloucester is rich in history, architecture, attractions and sporting excellence.

Gloucester Cathedral, a testament to human ingenuity and devotion, traces its origins back to an abbey established in 681. It serves as the final resting place of King Edward II, whose life was tragically cut short at nearby Berkeley Castle. In the Middle Ages, Gloucester was a thriving pilgrimage centre, drawing visitors from far and wide.

The city has a long and prosperous history as a trading centre, inland port, and spa. Gloucester Docks were opened in 1849, giving seagoing ships direct access to Gloucester via the Severn estuary and a sea canal. This brought about the building of new corn warehouses, flour mills, and timber yards. 

Gloucester, once a bustling trading centre, inland port, and spa, saw a shift in its fortunes by the 1980s. The city’s Victorian docks, once a hub of commercial activity, have now been transformed into a vibrant leisure destination. The surviving old warehouses lend an air of authenticity, making the main basin a popular filming location for period dramas. 

Large crowds gather for the Tall Ships Festival in Gloucester’s historic Docks, a perfect venue for large-scale events. The city’s Victorian dockland heritage is celebrated at the Gloucester Waterways Museum, where boat trips depart from the museum and head along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. 

Gloucester was chosen as a host city for the Rugby World Cup 2015, the third-largest global sporting event. Kingsholm Stadium, home of Gloucester Rugby, was the venue for four matches in the tournament.

Historical Attractions

  • Gloucester Cathedral: A breathtaking medieval cathedral famous for its Gothic architecture, stunning stained glass, and historic cloisters (used as filming locations in the Harry Potter films). Don’t miss the Whispering Gallery or the crypt.
  • Gloucester Docks: This historic area is home to restored Victorian warehouses and a range of museums. Walk along the waterfront to get a sense of the city’s maritime past.
  • Roman Gloucester: Visit the Eastgate Viewing Chamber to see remnants of the original Roman city walls and the Roman Market, providing a glimpse into Gloucester’s ancient history.

Cultural Highlights

  • Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum: Located in the docks area, this museum showcases the history of the Gloucestershire Regiment and its involvement in various conflicts.
  • Gloucester Folk Museum: This museum celebrates the social history of Gloucester, with exhibits on local traditions, crafts, and domestic life through the ages.
  • Blackfriars Priory: An ancient Dominican priory that has been partially restored. It hosts events and exhibitions and is a beautiful example of medieval architecture.

Outdoor Activities

  • Robinswood Hill Country Park: Offering panoramic views of Gloucester and the surrounding countryside, this park is perfect for hiking, picnicking, and enjoying nature.
  • Barnwood Arboretum: A lovely green space featuring a collection of trees and a small wildlife pond. It’s a peaceful spot for a walk or birdwatching.

Local Shopping and Markets

  • Gloucester Quays Outlet Shopping: Located in the Docks area, this outlet center has a wide range of shops offering discounts on major brands. It’s also home to a variety of restaurants and a cinema.
  • Gloucester Market: Held on Fridays and Saturdays, this traditional market offers local produce, crafts, and antiques. It’s a great place to find unique items and local specialties.

Food and Drink

  • Pubs and Restaurants: Gloucester has a variety of places to eat and drink. Try The Fountain Inn for a traditional pub experience or The Gloucester Old Spot for a modern gastropub with quality food.
  • Cafés and Tearooms: Visit The Comfy Pew for a cozy tearoom

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