Gloucestershire is a county known for some of the most beautiful countryside in England. With so many things to do in Gloucestershire, you can see why this gorgeous destination needs to be on your wish list this year. This historic country is mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the 10th century. You'll see historical buildings, market towns and beautiful gardens. And there are so many attractions suitable for couples and families with kids.
Gloucestershire includes the city of Gloucester and the festival city of Cheltenham, which on their own are packed with tourist attractions and outdoor activities. Here's how to enjoy a long weekend, visiting both destinations. Be prepared for llama adventures, scrumptious afternoon tea, outdoors skiing and stunning accommodation. All of these topped with some of the best food you can wish for.
Ready? Let's get started with the fun activities.
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Gloucester is a Cathedral City that lies on the River Severn, between the Cotswold edge and the stunning Forest of Dean. Gloucester is a fantastic place to visit, as it has many attractions you need to experience.
Visit the Museum of Gloucester, and discover artwork, Roman ruins & exhibits ranging from dinosaurs to local history. The collection includes over 750,000 objects.
See the National Waterways Museum, then walk along the docks, the most inland port in England. Come back to see the docks at night, when they look truly stunning and atmospheric.
Don't forget to check out The New Inn, a 15th century Grade I listed building, often described as the finest example of medieval gallery in England.
If you love rugby, then you might want to book tickets to see the Gloucester rugby team in full swing. The club was formed in 1873, and they play in the Premiership Rugby as well as the European Challenge Cup.
Historic fact: Did you know, Gloucester was founded by the Romans?
See the Gloucester cathedral
Calling all Harry Potter fans, you must visit the Gloucester cathedral, a superb example of Norman and Gothic architecture. Once called St Peter's Abbey and founded in 678, the Cathedral is a beloved tourist attraction and for good reason. It's the burial place of King Edward ii and Walter de Lacy, and was featured in the Harry Potter films.
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.
The cathedral is one of the finest medieval buildings in England. Climb the tower with your family and see Gloucester from above, visit the Tribune Gallery exhibition, or enjoy a cup of coffee at the Monk's kitchen.
If you love festivals and quaint English towns, then you must visit Cheltenham. Also known as Cheltenham Spa, this stunning town became a popular holiday resort after 1716.
The town is famed for hosting many cultural festivals throughout the year. Time your visit to participate in the Cheltenham jazz festival, the Cheltenham literature festival and the Cheltenham Science Festival. There's also the Cheltenham Music Festival, the Cheltenham Cricket Festival and the Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival, so you have plenty of activities to pick from year around.
Cheltenham is ideal for a luxury staycation. Stay and enjoy fine dinning at The Queens Hotel right in the heart of the town. Do some shopping at indie boutiques and search for epic souvenirs, or rent an electric bike and explore the town's green spaces.
Go outdoor skiing
Want to do something truly unique? Head to the Gloucester Ski & Snowboard Centre and learn how to ski or snowboard year around. The centre offers a main slope which is 230 m as well as other recreational and nursery slopes. There's a ski lift for everyone's ease, too.
We can't recommend this activity enough as it's perfect to enjoy at any time, irrespective of the weather. The centre was established in 1973, and it's perfect for experienced and beginners alike.
Book your lessons in advance or just turn up if you want to have fun on the English slope without having to fly to Austria for the weekend.
Enjoy an escape room
See if you can solve the puzzles of an escape room in record time and have a whole hour of so much fun. Book your time at Trapped Escape Rooms and try either the Zombie Apocalypse or the Butcher. The first is more family friendly, whereas the latter is for braver escapers who love a challenge.
If you love true crime, then you are going to adore this activity. The company comes up with new rooms all the time so make sure to check their site for more information.
You'll have 60 minutes to escape and you can ask for as many clues as you need throughout the game. It's great for a couple or a group of friends. This was such a great experience, we can't recommend it enough.
Take the kids to ninja warrior
Take the kids to the Ninja Warrior in Gloucester, inspired by the ITV's hit programme Ninja Warrior UK. Climb, balance, jump and swing across obstacles. It's a lot more challenging than it looks, and it's a brilliant way for to gain skill and improve on your fitness.
There are different leagues for children and adults, as well as the option to book for parties and schools.
Adults can book Monday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. There's something for all abilities, so challenge yourself to try something unique and different.
Go on a llama trekking
Imagine meeting and petting llamas right in the heart of Gloucestershire. You can, thanks to the fantastic Briery Hill, a specialised farm that looks after a wide range of llamas.
Book a llama experience and meet with the farm owners Lisa, Angel, and Steve who will tell you everything you need to know about llamas and what's it like caring for them.
Llamas have unique personalities, and they are kind animals looking forward to being taken out for a walk. The farm is located on the outskirts of the Forest of Dean, and is home to 30 llamas, five rescue dogs, pigs, chickens and two cows.
Meet the llamas, and pick the one you will be taking out for a little walk. Just make sure you book your experience in advance.
Have a llama themed afternoon tea
Had fun with your llamas? I bet you did, as these are the sweetest, most adorable animals who just want to be taken out for walks. Once you come back from your llama trekking, enjoy a llama themed afternoon tea at the Grade II listed building, ideally located with the Malvern hills in the distance.
Sit down in the orangery and admire the tranquil landscape, then eat homemade cakes, all llama inspired. You'll even get superb llama biscuits and a delicious Victoria sponge.
Loved the location? Book your hen party here or hire the venue for a superb wedding surrounded by pure English nature.
Have dinner at Settebello
Tour the Gloucester docks in the evening, then sit down for a superb Italian dinner at Settebello. The restaurant prides itself in making authentic Neapolitan pizza with San Marzano tomatoes and fior di latte cheese.
For something truly unique, get your friends together and order a metre long pizza experience. You'll probably want some epic Italian cocktails to go with that.
The concept of the restaurant revolves around creating authentic food and a perfect ambiance so everyone who sits down in Settebello feels like they are in Southern Italy, eating around an Italian family dining table.
Address: Unit B Merchants' Rd, The Docks, Gloucester GL1 2EW
Enjoy the perfect coffee at Jamaica Blue
Coffee lovers must head to the Jamaica Blue. This welcoming coffee shop in the centre of Gloucester is your perfect destination for breakfast and brunch.
Not only they serve delicious food at very decent prices, but they serve varieties of Jamaican coffee beans too. Have a flat white made with Jamaica Blue mountain coffee, one of the most famous coffee origins in the world.
The coffee is strong, full of flavour and perfect before you start the day exploring.
Address: 33-39 Eastgate St, Gloucester GL1 1SS
Walk by the Gloucester docks
Head to the Gloucester docks, where you'll find a collection of restored Victorian warehouses. Walk with your loved ones and sit down to admire the views. Visit the Gloucester Quays Designer Outlet, Gloucester Waterways Museum, The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum and Gloucester Quays Antiques Centre.
Once you need some rest, head to one of the many restaurants located in the area or grab a cocktail from the waterfront bars.
The Ship Canal was opened in 1827, and it's Britain's most Inland Port. Back in the days, these Docks would have been full of narrow boats, sailing ships, steam ships and barges.
Visit the Berkeley Castle
Love history? Head to the Berkeley castle, a superb 11th century castle that's a Grade I listed building. The castle has remained within the Berkeley family since they reconstructed it in the 12th century. The Berkeley Family are the only English family still existing that can trace its ancestors from father to son back to Saxon times. It's also the oldest building to be inhabited by the same family who built it.
Some suggest that the Berkeley Castle might have been the scene of the murder of King Edward II in 1327.
The castle appeared in many movies and tv series, including the of The Other Boleyn Girl. There is a small entry fee for the castle. Guides tours are also available.
Walk along the Wye Valley
Wye Valley is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and an important natural landscape at the border between England and Wales. If you love the great outdoors, then this is the place for you. The Wye Valley is an incredible spot for nature. Walk along River Wye, and visit a picturesque village for a delicious lunch. The River Wye is the fourth-longest river in the UK.
There are over 50 walks to pick from, some that cross between counties and even countries! The are is predominantly rural, making it the perfect location for a tranquil afternoon.
This area covers parts of the counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Monmouthshire, and is recognised in particular for its limestone gorge scenery and dense native woodlands.
See the Old Mill Museum
The Old Mill museum is located in Lower Slaughter, voted the most beautiful village in the Cotswolds. Visit this beautiful attraction with superb surroundings and a small river.
The museum has a range of unique gifts. Inside, you'll learn about the history of bread making and how a corn mill works.
For a quick pick me up, get some local ice cream with all natural ingredients.
Address: 14 Mill Ln, Lower Slaughter, Cheltenham GL54 2HX
Take the family to the Forest of Dean
Gloucestershire is home to some of the best English countryside, so naturally you'll want to enjoy as many days out as possible. The Forest of Dean is a dream to visit in Gloucestershire, and it's especially beautiful during early summer months when it's in full bloom. It's also the perfect time to see Foxgloves and other similar plants.
The Forest of Dean is home to mixed woodlands as well as one of the surviving ancient woodlands in England. There's so much to do here, including walking, biking, rock climbing and even craft experiences such as pottery.
Do some forest bathing, paddleboarding and try your luck at archery.
Escape to the Cotswolds
There are so many unbelievable places to visit and things to do in the Cotswolds. See the village of Snowhill known for its unspoiled beauty and home to the Snowhill Manor house. There's also the Snowhill lavender, 35 acres of lavender fields perfect for superb photos with the loved ones.
Visit Bibury, perhaps the most photographed village in England and a popular tourist attraction. Also named 'the most beautiful village in England' by William Morris.
The villages in the Cotswolds do get popular, so ideally you'll want to visit during the week. Avoid weekends and bank holidays or make sure to book your accommodation well in advance.
Take a walk in Cirencester Park
Cirencester Park is a superb Grade II listed country house. The gardens are Grade I listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. The park was originally a 1700s deer park laid out by the first Earl Bathurst.
The house has the tallest yew hedge in Britain. And the semi-circular hedge has been planted about 1710. Tourists have to pay to enter through the main gates at Cecily Hill, although the entry remains free of charge to residents of Cirencester.
Don't forget to visit the market town of Cirencester, an important early Roman area. Back in the first and second centuries AD, the Romans built the Roman Fosse Way, a road that linked Isca Dumnoniorum (Exeter) and Lindum Colonia (Lincoln), via Lindinis (Ilchester), Aquae Sulis (Bath), Corinium (Cirencester), and Ratae Corieltauvorum (Leicester).
Marvel at the Tewkesbury Abbey
Visit the Tewkesbury Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery considered one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Britain. The building you see today was started in the early 12th century.
The abbey is renowned for its medieval stained-glass in its seven quire windows. The abbey also has the largest Norman church tower, which measures 14 metres square and 45 metres high. You are welcome to visit the abbey or join one of the services.
There is a shop and a tearoom on site for your convenience.
Address: Church Street, Tewkesbury GL20 5RZ
Visit the theme parks
Gloucestershire days out are all about taking the family to have lots of fun. There are many adventures and theme parks suitable for kids and adults alike.
Visit the Perrygrove Railway and ride the steam train, stopping off at various stations along the line. Or if you prefer getting lost in the woods, head to Puzzlewood, a maze of pathways winding through deep gulleys of moss covered rocks and branches.
Where to stay in Gloucestershire
There are lots of accommodation options all throughout the county, but we recommend staying in Gloucester and Cheltenham to explore both cities with ease. From both locations, you can easily take day trips to other villages and attractions.
The Queens Hotel in Cheltenham - For a luxury stay, you'll want to book a stay at The Queens Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel positioned right at the heart of the town. The hallways feature a wallpaper designed by A.W. Pugin and installed in 1838, the same as in the Houses of Parliament. Stay in the Imperial Suite to enjoy lots of space and lovely views over the Imperial Gardens. Book your stay.
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.
There are so many fun things to do in Gloucestershire, so on your next weekend off or bank holiday, make sure to pack the bags and head to this stunning English county. Eat great food, enjoy the great outdoors and take plenty of photos with your loved ones. Are you excited? Tell us about your staycations in the comments section below.