Travelling more often than not starts departing from home, this is about the best of my home city of Gloucester in the UK. I have lived in or near the city for over 30 years on and off with stints in other places in the country. RJ also runs the @aboutglos website, a blog about the county including many walks in the city.
Gloucester is the main city of the rural county of Gloucestershire in the South West of England. I would say it is a medium-sized city with an interesting past. Architecturally the centre has many buildings of historical significance although has many monstrosities left over from bad architecture of the ’60s and ’70s which over time thankfully is disappearing.
To keep connected with my home county I manage #gloshour a local networking hour on twitter for people in the county. This takes place on Wednesday evenings and the topic is everything local
Must See in Gloucester
The Cathedral is at the top of the list, it is a magnificent building located in the city centre and is well worth a visit, I pop in many times per year.
A rejuvenated area brought back to life keeping in the theme of its historic past. The docks is a hotbed of restaurants and bars and the go-to place to have a drink or eat out. The area includes the Gloucester Quays shopping centre with a variety of shops not far from the city centre. The Docks hosts many events throughout the year, the pinnacle being the biannual Tall Ships Festival. Regular markets are hosted throughout the year including many foodie events. The area is a nice place to relax and have a walk along the waterways in all seasons.
The River Severn & Bore
The Severn bore is a tidal bore seen on the tidal reaches of the River Severn in the county. It is formed when the rising tide moves into the funnel-shaped Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary and the surging water forces its way upstream in a series of waves, as far as Gloucester and beyond. The wave can be watched along the river but in the city Over Bridge and Lower Parting are the best spots IMO. Further upstream the wave can be enjoyed at Minsterworth, Stonebench or Epney to name a few. The bore is best watched when predicted to be a bigger 4 or 5-star rating in the day, although night-time waves are enhanced by the quiet so a more auditory experience.
Museum of Gloucestershire
The Museum tells the story of the city, originally a Roman settlement onto its subsequent development through the Dark Ages and Medieval period. Have enjoyed many visits to the museum to learn more about the city.
The home of the Cherry and Whites the local Premiership rugby team and a vibrant place to be on a match-day. For non-rugby people, it is an experience to see the atmosphere even if you don’t understand the game and passion.
A hill overlooking the city and beyond that is a great walk with nice views all around. The hill is also home to The Ski Centre and a golf course. If walking, golf or skiing is your thing The Hallmark is a great hotel near to Robinswood that has a spa and a nice restaurant too.
The city has a few historical priories with historical significance that are easy to find and learn about.
- Llanthony Secunda Priory is a ruined former Augustinian priory, it was founded in 1136.
- St. Oswald’s Priory was founded by Lady Aethelflaed of Mercia, daughter of Alfred the Great, around 900.
- Blackfriars is a stunning example of a 13th-century medieval Priory site, nestled at the heart of the city.
As with most historic cities in Europe, Gloucester has many churches, some to visit and others to admire. The core significant ones include;
- Mariners Church in the docks which were opened in 1849, this one is great to photograph.
- St Nicholas’ Church on Westgate Street not far from The Cathedral. The church dates back to the 12 century and was a sanctuary house. Today it is open for tours only and IMO have very good knowledgable guides.
- St Mary de Crypt is a fine late 15th-century church situated on Southgate Street. Recently renovated and reopened they also invite guests in and have an impressive organ.
Learn the history of the city with walking tours maps for free, these can be downloaded at http://www.gloucestertours.co.uk/ . Other tours are organised by The Civic Trust, who do a variety of guided walks from their home in St Michaels Tower. https://www.gloucestercivictrust.org/discover-gloucester/
Eat or Drink Out
Everyone needs to eat and when visiting places a great eatery is always nice. The city has many great restaurants and other eateries. Many of the cities bars are dog friendly which I often frequent. Many are located in the Docks and Quays area, my favourites being;
Brewhouse, a canal-side restaurant that brews its own beers and serves good food. For those that want to learn about beer they do tours and tasting sessions. My top pick here is when they have Tongerlo on tap, a strong fantastic European lager.
Greek on The Docks, a very nice restaurant serving Greek food, nice wine and have a fantastic outside seating area. I highly recommend their mixed grill, fish starters and wine.
Cafe Rene is a pub, restaurant that also hosts gigs and festivals. The atmosphere here is always nice and they have a great selection of drinks. Top choice for me at Cafe Rene is their rib-eye steak for food and black rat or other cask ciders.
For something different, The Turks Head has a vast array of ciders to choose from. This pub has some interesting rules like no phones, limiting the number of beards and more. I always find this place friendly and the dog loves their treats.
Severn Bore, a tidal wave that flows upstream of the river Severn, a spectacular feat of nature that you must see once.
Where To Stay
The city has a choice of accommodation to suit most budgets and tastes, there are many Air BNB places, chain hotels and independent hotels like The Edward Hotel not far from the city centre. More info…
There’s lots to see and do in Gloucestershire and the surrounding countryside. The Cotswolds is a picturesque region of hills and villages that is popular with walkers, foodies and artists.