Gloucestershire Travel Guide

Castle Street - © Chris Jefferies

Introduction and Overview

The Gloucestershire Travel Guide looks at interesting attractions and places of interest for visitors. The area guide includes travel information on local events, facts & figures, entertainment, transport, maps and accommodation giving an insight in to the county. The county is known for its open spaces and rural environment in the English countryside.

Located in south west England, the county's best known and biggest tourist draw are the Cotswolds, there are also historic attractions for visitors to explore. The county also boasts some of the finest rural scenery in the UK with some wonderful villages most of which have retained their considerable charm and character.

There is plenty of countryside and green open spaces to enjoy whilst there are certainly towns of note too. There is a relaxed atmosphere in the county that makes a pleasant change for many visitors used to a more hectic pace of life.

Whilst some popular Cotswolds villages get crowded in the summer with the large number of visitors, there are plenty of other villages waiting to be discovered and tourists can easily find a quiet village devoid of the crowds.

The city of Gloucester is enjoying a renaissance with re-development and re-generation of area such as the docks. The Gloucester Docks and the wider Quays area have benefited from regeneration and include plenty of bars, restaurants, cafes, waterside museums, walkways and shopping facilities.

The city is well known for its wonderful cathedral along with some intriguing museums, including the Gloucester Waterways Museum and the Museum of Advertising and Packaging. The major city in the area is also the largest settlement in the area.

The city was a place of strategic importance in Roman times given it lies close to the border with Wales, it has some interesting historical buildings including medieval and Tudor. Gloucester is a port city and houses the Gloucester Waterway Museum located in the Victorian Docks showcasing the storey of local canals and rivers.

Local attractions include the Gloucester City Museum & Art Gallery, Gloucester Folk Museum, The New Inn, Grade I listed building, the 12th century St Mary de Crypt Church and shopping at the Gloucester Quays Designer Outlet.

Cheltenham was founded as a spa town in 1716, at the time a spring was discovered and believed to have healing properties. The town received Royal patronage in 1788 from King George III, there was subsequently some rapid development in the town and became it proceeded to become a fashionable spa town.

The town benefited from a large number of distinguished visitors including royalty and the nobility.

The legacy of these heady times means the town maintains the Regency architecture that adorns the town, there are pastel shades and impressive ironwork features of townhouse façades. Cheltenham is currently the most complete Regency town in Britain and has a huge number of buildings of historical interest numbering around a couple of thousand.

Currently Vittoria House is the oldest surviving spa building in Cheltenham and two of the best preserved are The Rotunda at Montpelier and Pittville Pump Room in Pittville Park. Cheltenham also has contemporary buildings in addition to its wealth of historical ones; it provides a fascinating place for both architecture fans and visitors in general.

Stroud is located in the Cotswolds, set on a hillside at the point where five valleys meet. The town is known for its cloth manufacture and evidence of the town’s industrial heritage is there for all to see. Minchinhampton has a common where visitors can enjoy some spectacular views of the valleys below. It is a favourite location for kite flying.

The town of Berkeley is located south west of Gloucester, the town is best known for the historic Grade I listed Berkeley Castle, a popular attraction along with being the birthplace of Edward Jenner, the acclaimed scientist and physician credited for his role in developing the smallpox vaccine.

The Jenner Museum is dedicated to the life and work of Edward Jenner, visitors can learn more about his life, work and visit the house he stayed in.

The historic market town of Cirencester is the largest town in the Cotswolds, located 20 miles from Gloucester. Dating back to Roman times the scenic town is noted for its traditional Cotswolds buildings and architecture and includes a lively shopping centre and markets.

Local attractions include the 12th century; Church of St. John the Baptist, Cirencester noted for its fan vaults and perpendicular porch. The Bathurst Estate and Cirencester Park is home to the Bathurst family, tours are available to see the historic house and impressive landscaped gardens.

The Corinium Museum is located in the town is noted for its large collection of Roman exhibits, there are exhibitions and exhibits covering history including Neolithic and Victorian. New Brewery Arts is located in the town, it is an art gallery, café, theatre and craft shop offering visitors an interesting arts and craft experience.

The Cotswold Water Park is located 5 miles from Cirencester town centre; the area includes 150 lakes in an area larger than the Norfolk Broads. Known for its variety of wildlife, the area provides a great place for cycling, water sports, sailing, bird watching and more.

Tewkesbury is located 10 miles north of Gloucester, the town has maintained its history and traditions, there is notable architecture spanning centuries on show in the historic buildings.

The historic town is located where the rivers Avon and Severn meet; the town includes a fine selection of shops that include independent shops that include antiques, speciality, coffee shops and a number of pubs and restaurants with plenty of character.

Open air markets are regularly held on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Local attractions include Tewkesbury Museum, Tewkesbury Heritage & Visitor Centre, Vineyards Activity Playground and The John Moore Countryside Museum. Visitors can also enjoy scenic riverside walks in tranquil surroundings.

The Cotswolds are officially designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it is the currently the largest region that has the designation. The Cotswolds consist of parts of seven English countries these are, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Herefordshire, Wiltshire and Somerset.

Gloucestershire certainly benefits from being in this region with wonderful unspoilt scenery, here visitors can see the picture postcard image of gentle rolling green hills and the beautiful English countryside steeped in history.

There are historic buildings, timber frame houses, and the honey-coloured local stone creates some of Britain's most picturesque villages and towns. There is also good choice of friendly pubs, offering food, accommodation and plenty of opportunities to go for countryside walks.

Visitors to Gloucestershire can enjoy a short trip or longer here and benefit from the countryside air and relaxing surroundings. The open spaces give a great sense of space and freedom and makes touring the region a pleasure.

With its road and rail links the county can be reached quite easily particularly from neighbouring Wales and is a few hours drive from London. The location means many visitors can visit for a short break or long weekend, whilst others may wish to stay longer to fully appreciate the delights here.

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