Gloucester is a city in south west England in the county town of Gloucestershire. Although it’s miles from the sea, Gloucester is the furthest inland port in the UK – having been bestowed with port status by Elizabeth I, due to its situation next to the River Severn.
The city has been somewhat left in the doldrums by its affluent and showy neighbour Cheltenham but has no need to attempt to keep up with the Jones’s because Gloucester is a might in its own right. A city of note since Roman times and boasting no less than 500 listed buildings, Gloucester has sturdy historic foundations and recent investment is successfully projecting it into the future.
Gloucester has managed to scrub up nicely. A huge regeneration scheme of the area around the docks has introduced swanky new flats, bars, shops and restaurants of Gloucester Quays. Also situated here is Gloucester Antiques Centre and the Gloucestershire Arts and Crafts Centre, or you can take a trip on the Oliver Cromwell Paddle Steamer which is moored here. Gloucester Cathedral is an awe-inspiring concoction of Gothic and Norman architecture, but many come to visit the various parts of which became Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter films.
GLOUCESTER’S TOP 10
10. The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum tells their story with interactive displays, medals and decorative uniforms dating back 300 years.
5. Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre For the energetic amongst you.
9. Eastgate Viewing Centre offers a tantalising glimpse of the ancient fortified wall and East Gate defensive tower.
4. Beatrix Potter’s Shop A crowd-pleaser and where she set her story about the cute little Tailor of Gloucester.
8. Greyfriars Friary Dates back to the 13th Century. Largely destroyed but the remains are fascinating.
3. Gloucester Folk Museum Local life told just the way it was, including a reconstructed Victorian classroom and pin factory.
7. Robert Raikes’ House at 38 Southgate Street and now a pub dates from the 16th Century. Impressive timber constructed middle ages residence.
2. National Waterways Museum tells the history of inland waterways. Admission price includes a 45 minute boat trip along the Canal.
6. The Forest of Dean was the country’s first national park. With 24,000 acres to play with take your bike, a picnic and anything else you like and make a day of it.
1. Gloucester City Museum & Art Gallery has a lot of stuff from the city’s Roman past.
Glorious Gloucestershire Flower Festival takes place in July when Gloucester Cathedral plays host to 3 days of all things floral.
Gloucester Quays Food Festival is held in July with celebrity chefs, masterclasses and of course food to sample.
Summer in Gloucester Celebrations in July include Gloucester’s carnival as well as a funfair, beach and fireworks display.
Gloucester Rhythm and Blues Festival is another reason to come here in July, for free gigs, bars and bands at Café Rene.
Gloucester Tall Ships Festival takes place on the August Bank Holiday. An award-winning event with not just high boat but live music and entertainment.
Gloucester’s Underground Festival offers up and coming talented acts the chance to show what they’re made of at the Gloucester Guildhall in September.
Christmas in Gloucester begins in November. Experience the magic with a lantern parade, Xmas lights switch on and seasonal markets.
Victorian Christmas Market takes place at Gloucester Quays as well as across the rest of the city with music, costumed characters and lots of food.
A natural phenomenon which must be viewed if you can is the Severn Bore, when a surging tidal wave can be seen travelling up the River Severn. Takes place at various times in the year.
Take a Gloucester Ghost Walk and find out about Gloucester’s grisly past on most summer evenings from the visitors’ information point.
WHEN TO GO
· Gloucester and the surrounding Cotswold countryside are particularly inviting during the spring and summer when the gardens are in bloom and there is the best chance of sunny weather. Gloucester experiences mild weather throughout the year with the occasional extremes of temperatures.
· July and August have an average daily temperature of around 22°C, and during the winter months of December and January temperatures tend towards the 5°C mark. Snow is quite a rare occurrence.
· As the old nursery rhyme says ‘Dr Foster went to Gloucester in a shower of rain’. Nothing has changed and it’s highly possible you’ll step in a puddle (maybe not quite up to your middle), but don’t be like Dr Foster and come prepared for the rain.
· Gloucester is easily accessible from the M5 Motorway, and has good A road connections to the rest of Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds. National Express coaches are frequent visitors to Gloucester’s large bus station with several leaving for London each day.
· Platform 1/3 at Gloucester Railway station is the longest railway platform in Europe. Aside from this fascinating fact you will also need to know that the city has daily connections to London, Cardiff, Bristol and Birmingham.
· Gloucester does have an airport which operated flights to Jersey. For a full range of domestic and international flights you will need to head for Bristol International Airport which is just a short drive away.
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