Gloucester is a Cathedral City located in the West of England, in the county of Gloucestershire. Gloucester is the perfect city for a long weekend or a fun staycation. There are so many fun things to do in Gloucester, that include outdoor trekking with llamas, eating delicious local food, walking by the docks and visiting an 11th-century cathedral.
Gloucester was founded by the Romans and became an important Roman city in AD 97. So if you're a history buff, a visit to Gloucester is a must. There's art, culture, and fun activities for the whole family. Couples have plenty of romantic restaurants to visit by the docks, and families with kids won't be short of tourist attractions that are joyful and educational.
Sport and outdoor enthusiasts should head to the outdoor skiing centre or take a quick day trip to the nearby Forest of Dean for walks in the woodlands and along the river Severn.
As you can already tell, there are so many activities to be enjoyed in Gloucester, so get ready to discover the top attractions.
Thank you so much, Visit Gloucester, for hosting us and showing us some fun things to do in Gloucester.
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Visit the Gloucester Cathedral
Gloucester is known for its 11th century cathedral, which is the burial place of King Edward ii and Walter de Lacy. Once called the Cathedral Church of St Peter and the Holy and Indivisible Trinity, the Gloucester Cathedral is one of the top things to visit in Gloucester.
The original foundation originates from 670s, and records show that the current foundation was laid sometimes in 1058 under the orders of Bishop of Worcester.
If you're a Harry Potter fan, then you must visit this cathedral. Gloucester Cathedral has appeared in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Make sure to see the stained-glass windows which depict the earliest images of golf. The Gloucester Cathedral is, undoubtedly, one of the finest medieval buildings in England.
See the Gloucester docks
The Gloucester docks is an historic inland port right at the heart of the city. They are the most inland port in Britain. Marvel at the fifteen Victorian warehouses, now listed buildings. They have been lovingly restored.
See the National Waterways Museum and the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, then walk along the docks. Come back to see the docks at night, when they look truly stunning and atmospheric.
Walk around the City Centre
The city centre of Gloucester is full of stunning, historic buildings waiting to be marvelled at. But much like any centre, it's also lined with restaurants, cafes and shops. While you'll find the usual high street names, you'll also find an array of independent shops and boutiques, perfect for finding souvenirs for your loved ones.
Make sure to stop and check the Eastgate Viewing Chamber, an underground chamber featuring Roman, 13th century ruins.
Walk along the Southgate street for superb architecture, then turn towards Locksmith Street to check out the Black and White restaurant, a fish and chips shop in a marvellous building.
Shop at the Gloucester Quays
Shopping enthusiasts won't have to go far as Gloucester has lots of shopping centres. The Gloucester Quays is a stylish indoor shopping mall with designer brands and discounted prices.
Once you've done your fair bit of shopping, remember that there's more to this shopping centre than meets the eye. There are local events held here, some with cookery demos, street food, live music and crafts. At Christmas, there's a Victorian Xmas market and several other festivals with food markets throughout the year.
There's a food court and a cinema as well. Besides, the Gloucester Quays is located by the docks, so you can immediately find even more fun things to do.
Be adventurous at the Gloucester ski & snowboard centre
Wish you could have snow year around? The Gloucester ski and snowboard centre has the perfect solution for you. The longest slope in England and Wales will have you ready for winter. The centre was established in 1973 and uses a dry slope, so you can enjoy your favourite activities year around.
It's the perfect place to learn how to ski or snowboard, as the centre has a nursery slope for beginners. Advanced skiers can enjoy the 255-metre main slope as well as the freestyle slope.
If you've never skied before, the instructors are really kind and will give you the confidence you need to start your adventure on the slopes. So much fun! A must-do in Gloucester.
Have a boat trip
Since Gloucester benefits from the docks connecting the city to the River Severn, you should definitely spend some time on a boat trip, or better yet, trying paddleboarding.
For beginners, start with a kayaking adventure right from the heart of Gloucester to admire the city from a new perspective. Alternatively, try paddleboarding, the perfect way to enjoy some relaxing yet fun time on the water.
Climb and jump at Ninja Warrior
Ever heard of the ITV hit programme Ninja Warrior UK? Take the family out to climb, balance, jump and swing across obstacles while getting fitter and having heaps of fun. It may look easy but it's actually quite challenging.
Adults can book their own time, usually in the evening, but nothing should stop you from booking the most convenient time. For families with kids who want something even more special, book a birthday party at the Ninja Warrior in Gloucester. Prices are very reasonable, and the obstacles were created to be so much fun!
Take a llama for a walk
Ever dreamt of taking a llama out for a walk? You can now do this at the Briery Hill Farm. Learn about the llamas from the sweetest llama caretakers, then pick your favourite llama to take it out for a walk.
Llamas have their unique personalities much like people. You'll know the one who speaks to you the most, and that's probably your spirit animal. Take it for a walk through the countryside and into the woodlands. Take selfies and nice pictures with your llama.
If you truly loved it, why not adopt it too to get a cute certificate that you adopted your own llama. There's lots of experience packages available at the Briery Hill Farm. The venue is splendid, surrounded by pure countryside with the Malvern hills in the background. The venue is now wedding approved too.
Have a llama-themed afternoon tea
After a long walk with your llama, why not sit down in the orangery with a delicious afternoon tea. This is no ordinary afternoon tea, though. Expect llama shaped biscuits, homemade cakes that are absolutely delicious and the freshest sandwiches. All served with tea or coffee.
The best part? Many say this afternoon tea is better than the one at the Ritz. Besides, you'll be surrounded by English plants, next to a Grade II listed building, with views stretching as far as the Malvern Hills in the background. Quite, calm and beautiful, the llama themed afternoon tea sure is one of the best things to do in Gloucester.
Enjoy the best coffee at Jamaica Blue
If you're a fan of strong coffee in the morning, then you must go to Jamaica Blue for breakfast. The restaurant offers fantastic coffee made with beans from the Jamaican Blue Mountains. There's delicious all-day brunch ready to be devoured, and the interior of the café is adorable and perfect for people watching.
Have the blueberry pancakes or their delicious vegan brunch. If you love flavour, then order the Turkish eggs with a side of large coffee. A great way to start the day in Gloucester!
Address: 33-39 Eastgate St, Gloucester GL1 1SS
Escape to the Forest of Dean
Forest of Dean is home to over 110 square km of woodland and one of the surviving ancient woodlands in England. Take the family out for a long walk in the Forest of Dean, which has more than 50 trails for every fitness level.
There's so much to do in the Forest of Dean. Cycle, walk, do some rock climbing or try something truly different like pottery classes or archery.
Many come to the woodlands for forest bathing, which is such a great way to recharge after a busy week at work. We recommend taking the sculpture trail, open from dawn to dusk every day of the year.
Want to enjoy water sports instead? You can canoe, kayak or paddleboard in the Forest of Dean.
Visit Gloucester Museum
Learn more about the city of Gloucester by visiting the museum of Gloucester. You'll understand more about its history and the city's origins as a Roman settlement. Find out what happened to the city during the Dark Ages and the Medieval period. The museum boasts a collection of over 750,000 objects that piece together the history of Gloucester.
Special exhibitions are taking place at the museum, so make sure to check with the visitor centre what's on during your visit. General admission is free of charge but special exhibitions might have a small fee.
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Buy souvenirs from the Gloucester antique centre
Everyone wants to have souvenirs and special items from their trips and travels, so why not visit the Gloucester antique centre for something unique. You'll find antique furniture, ancient books and manuscripts and all sort of valuables.
As a tip, go here to find special frames for a feature wall. Prices are surprisingly reasonable, and you'll definitely find a lot of treasure. For something unique and cool, see the railway section and purchase an old railway sign. That would go so well on a hallway wall or in a house full of character.
Escape from Trapped Rooms
Love a good challenge? Then try to escape from The Butcher in the Trapped Escape Rooms in Gloucester. You have 60 minutes to complete the puzzle and escape on time. We've tried several escape rooms all around the world, but this was the best so far. You'll start in two different rooms, and you'll have to work together to solve the first puzzle.
Then, even more fun begins. If you love True Crime, then this is the escape room for you. Trapped Rooms have online games and games you can play at home as well. They change and update rooms regularly, so keep an eye on their latest developments. Make sure to prebook your time slot well in advance.
Find gifts at Beatrix Potter's House
Visit the House of the tailor of Gloucester and discover Beatrix Potter books, gifts, and collectables. This is a small shop with a museum upstairs. Beatrix Potter created one of the most loved characters here, The Tailor of Gloucester.
Step into a charming world and find the best souvenir to take home. The building is located in the Collage Court, which stands within the shadow of the Cathedral.
Have lunch at Hooker and Eight
One of the best things to do in Gloucester is to eat your way around the city. And for lunch, Hooker and Eight is a must. Try their scrumptious pizza, with a side of chips and a dark coffee.
The restaurant prides itself in creating a delicious slow cooked sauce with their majority of the ingredients being sourced from local Gloucestershire businesses. The dough is proofed for 48 hours for extra flavour.
Address: 49 Westgate St, Gloucester GL1 2NW
Hike in Robinswood Hill Country Park
Robinswood Hill is a green space on the south-east side of Gloucester that rises to 198m above sea levels. It's the ideal place to visit for extensive views across the county. Walk and hike in the 250 acre country park and admire the countryside.
There is no fee to enter the country park, and it's open to all visitors. There is a car park available at the entrance which can accommodate over 30 cars.
Trek to the top and admire the Severn Vale, the Cotswold, and the Forest of Dean.
Celebrate nature at Nature in Art
For nature lovers, we recommend visiting the beautiful Nature in Art museum, dedicated exclusively to art inspired by nature.
The museum is in a beautiful 1700s Georgian mansion featured in Simon Jenkins's book 'England's 1000 Best Houses. The museum changes the displays regularly and is meant to appeal to those interested in nature and heritage.
Always wanted to take an art course? You can now do this at the museum which runs courses throughout the year in a variety of subjects. It caters for all levels from beginners to advanced. Most of the courses are run by artists who have work in the museum collection.
Have an authentic Italian dinner at Settebello
Fancy an authentic Italian pizza? You don't have to fly to Italy for it, just book a table at the Settebello in Gloucester, by the docks. The restaurant prides itself in making authentic Neapolitan pizza with San Marzano tomatoes and fior di latte cheese.
It's not just about the food here, the drinks are just as great. Start the evening with an Aperol or dare try an authentic Italian cocktail, which is most refreshing in the summer. At Settebello you will feel like you're enjoying a home cooked meal in an Italian home. Perfection!
Address: Unit B Merchants' Rd, The Docks, Gloucester GL1 2EW
Visit the Gloucester Waterways Museum
Visit the Gloucester Waterways Museum located in a Victorian warehouse at the Gloucester Docks. It is located along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal and River Severn.
Climb aboard historic boats, enjoy hands-on activities and learn about the city's canal heritage.
Then, take a 45 minutes boat trip along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal on Queen Boadicea II, a Dunkirk Little Ship.
Marvel at the St Mary de Crypt Church
As you stroll around Gloucester, it's inevitable that you'll come across the stunning St Mary de Crypt Church located on Southgate Street. St Mary de Crypt is a Grade I listed church and locals regard it as one of the city's most important medieval churches.
The church is of Normal origin and while first recorded in 1140 as The Church of the Blessed Mary, it was substantially rebuilt in the late 1300s.
Take a day trip to Cheltenham
Head to Cheltenham, a spa town which became a popular destination in 1716. Now dubbed the city of festivals, Cheltenham welcomes visitors from all over the country. Rent electric bikes and explore the towns at your leisure, stroll around the beautiful Imperial Gardens or head to the shopping streets lined with indepoendent shops and boutiques.
There's great food in Cheltenham too, and a visit to the local cheesemonger, The Cheeseworks, is a must. Enjoy fine dinning at The Queens Hotel, then have an afternoon tea at Once Upon a Tea Room.
Where to stay in Gloucester
The Judges Lodging in Gloucester - A boutique holiday let, The Judges Lodging sure knows how to wow with its exquisite interiors. The accommodation is in a Grade II building, located in the centre of Gloucester, just minutes from the shops or the docks. The flats come with free parking and a well-equipped kitchen for your convenience. Book your stay.
Is Gloucester worth visiting?
Yes, Gloucester is worth visiting. It boasts medieval buildings with Roman and Norman architecture, is surrounded by pristine countryside and is home to so many incredible restaurants. There are also the Victorian docks which look great day and night, dotted with museums, shopping centres, bars, and restaurants. Hard not to fall in love with this city.
Is Gloucester a posh area?
Some areas of Gloucester is home to incredibly posh houses. Gloucester is surrounded by so much natural beauty, it's easy to imagine why some areas are so desirable. Locals will tell you that Gloucester is home to the most beautiful English Cathedral, has a unique English rugby club and the best cider in the country. There's a lot of history and pride in Gloucester.
Where can I take the kids in Gloucester?
Take the kids to Ninja Warrior to have fun climbing and jumping over obstacles or take them to the ski and snowboard centre to enjoy the slopes year around. Do a family-friendly escape room at Trapped in Gloucester, then have a walk by the Gloucester docks. Have fun at the local museums and explore all the hands-on interactive activities or take to the countryside and go on a long walk in one of the many country trails near Gloucester.
What's Gloucester famous for?
Gloucester is renowned for its most inland docks as well as for its stunning cathedral. Having been featured in movies, many come to Gloucester specifically to see it in real life. The cathedral is also the burial place of King Edward II and Walter de Lacy.
We had so much fun exploring Gloucester, and we just can't wait to be back. We take great pride in writing content based on our experiences to ensure you're going to enjoy your trip to Gloucester just as much.