Posted Sept 8, 2023
In this guide to the best things to do in Gloucester, we will cover local attractions, top things to see and places to visit.
This historical yet buzzing city has plenty in store for everyone, whether you are a history enthusiast, a foodie, an adventurer, or just a wanderer.
Travel to the Past at Blackfriars Priory
Step back in time with a visit to the Blackfriars Priory, one of the most complete surviving Dominican black friaries in England. Nestled amidst Gloucester’s urban environment, this wonderful spot of peace and tranquillity.
It offers a captivating insight into monastic life during medieval times. Aside from its stunning architectural beauty, it also hosts fairs, exhibitions and concerts throughout the year; certainly a place doused with both history and culture.
Treat Your Taste Buds at Gloucester Farmer’s Market
Immerse yourself into Gloucestershire’s culinary scene by visiting the weekly Gloucester Farmer’s Market. This vibrant street market brims with locally grown produce and homemade delicacies. You will also find artisan breads and an amazing array of cheese. Engage food and drink with friendly vendors while sampling their offerings. Each stall has a story to tell traditionally tied to local farming or craftsmanship. Remember to come with an appetite - you will want to feast on everything this market presents!
Explore the Prehistoric Era at Jet Age Museum
Take a leap back into aviation history with a visit to the Jet Age Museum. It has an impressive collection of aircraft, engines and artefacts from yesteryears. It exhibits a fascinating timeline of British aviation history. You can even get into cockpits for a first-hand pilot’s experience! Make sure you check their calendar for any special events or special open days.
Hike the Cotswold Way
Take advantage of Gloucester’s proximity to the famous Cotswold Way. The 100-mile-long trail stretches along the idyllic Cotswold Edge escarpments. Enjoy breath-taking views while trekking through rolling hills, lush fields and picturesque villages; perfect for capturing those Instagram-worthy shots!
Indulge in Cultural Experiences at The Wilson Art Gallery & Museum
Delve into Cheltenham’s local heritage at The Wilson Art Gallery & Museum situated just a short drive from Gloucester. It showcases an eclectic mix of art collections, local history exhibits and artefacts from around the world. With its changing exhibitions covering genres from contemporary art to archaeological wonders. It is never shy of surprising you with thought-provoking displays.
Take a Stroll through Gloucester Docks
Immerse yourself into the essence of Gloucester’s rich maritime history. Take a stroll through the remarkable Gloucester Docks. This charming harbour, framed by red-bricked warehouses dating back from the 19th century, gives you an insight into its Victorian past. You can enjoy a range of activities here, such as visiting antique shops or savouring some local cuisine in one of the delightful waterfront eateries. In summer months, don’t miss out on watching boat races from the sidelines and absorbing the bustling energy.
Explore The Forest of Dean
An ideal weekend getaway would be to explore The Forest of Dean that lies at the edge of Gloucester city. You will find a wide variety of wildlife. It is an outdoor paradise offering ample chances for mountain biking, trails and wildlife spotting. Don’t skip Puzzlewood - a magical woodland said to have inspired J.R.R Tolkien’s ‘Middle Earth’. Lose yourself amongst moss-covered rocks, twisted trees, and enchanting winding pathways.
Get Inspired at The Gloucester Cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral boasts stunning architecture. It dates back to 678-9 A.D. Walk down its echoing halls while observing the fine touches in intricate stone structures. The beautiful stained glass windows are said to have influenced scenes from Harry Potter movies! Do not miss climbing up to the Whispering Gallery for amazing interior views. Hit the rooftop for breathtaking panorama over the cityscape. Concerts or choral displays often grace these sacred grounds; timing your visit right could add on another unforgettable experience.
History at The Museum of Gloucester
Embark on a journey through time at the Museum of Gloucester. It houses an array of exhibits that span over thousands of years - from the dinosaur age to Roman and medieval eras right up to modern history. Don’t miss out on the iconic Iron Age Birdlip Mirror that’s considered one of their greatest treasures. Educational yet fun, this museum is a must-visit for anyone keen on soaking up local folklore and historical tales.
Unwind at Hillfield Gardens
Take some time off to unwind at Hillfield Gardens - a gem within Gloucester’s countryside that delivers tranquillity in bunches. These Victorian-style layout gardens exhibit an extensive selection of floral displays. You will also find some less commonly known medicinal plants. This space also notably hosts several sculpture exhibits for art enthusiasts. Grab your favourite book or pack up a picnic basket. These gardens will offer you the perfect personal space either way.
Have Fun at Eastgate Shopping Centre
For the shopaholics, the Eastgate Shopping Centre is a fantastic place to find all your favourite brands under one roof. From high fashion to tech gadgets, there are stores for every taste and interest. The centre also features several coffee shops and restaurants where you can sit back, enjoy a bite and recharge before your next shopping spree.
Experience Thrills at Gloucester Ski & Snowboard Centre
For adrenaline junkies, the Gloucester Ski & Snowboard Centre offers an exciting day out. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete beginner, their dry ski slopes provide an incredible adventure for everyone. Be sure to check out their tubing sessions too; it’s pure fun for all ages!
Become Part of the Drama at Gloucester Guildhall
Don’t miss out on visiting Gloucester’s leading live entertainment venue - the Gloucester Guildhall. This vibrant place hosts a plethora of performances spanning theatre, comedy, live music, and films. There’s always something intriguing going on, making it an important part of the city's cultural heartbeat. The Guildhall also arranges various workshops where you can learn anything from acting to playing musical instruments.
Enjoy Serenity at Robinswood Hill Country Park
Seek out some peace and quiet with a visit to Robinswood Hill Country Park. This local nature reserve flourishes with wildlife, providing amazing spots for bird-watching or simply meandering through woodland trails. The hilltop offers panoramic views of Gloucester - truly a splendid sight at sunset. It has some wonderful play areas for children too, making it an ideal place for family outings.
Taste Local Brews at Gloucester Brewery
What better way to wind down than experiencing the craft beer scene? Make your way to Gloucester Brewery in the historic Docks area. Here, you can try a gamut of locally brewed beers ranging from traditional bitters to innovative modern craft flavours. They offer fascinating guided tours that detail the brewing process. Try the tasting sessions where you can relish these artisanal brews right at their birthplace.
Shop at Gloucester Quays
As you wander through the hustle and bustle of Gloucester, take a detour towards the extraordinary Gloucester Quays. A fascinating blend of retail therapy and history. This place is more than just a shopping destination. The historic docks are home to striking Victorian warehouses converted into a mix of luxury outlets, vibrant restaurants, and bars.
The Quays offer more than just pleasing aesthetics and shopping opportunities. As you stroll along the waterfront, take a moment to appreciate its picturesque beauty. It’s the ideal spot for people-watching or enjoying delicious bites from one of the many eateries that line the water’s edge. Don’t forget to explore some of the special events held there throughout the year, like the Christmas Market and Food Festivals.
Visit the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum
It showcases key moments over 300 years of military history. Peruse through collections that depict moments from both world wars and campaigns. Walkthrough exhibits that allow you firsthand insight into what life entailed for soldiers living in those times. Experience recreated trenches from World War I or try on an array of military costumes ready for photo ops. It’s not all solemn exhibits; interactive displays bring history alive, making it engaging regardless of your age!
Explore the National Waterways Museum
This isn’t any ordinary museum, but an outdoor spectacle that breathes life into Britain’s bygone canal era. Begin by pacing around charming recreated period rooms filled with personal artefacts. Step inside wartime narrow boats. Fascinate yourself with enormous steam-driven boats at Historic Docks Workshop. Relax watching artistically decorated traditional boats bobbing gently on waterside.
Discover The Waterfront in Gloucester
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