Gloucestershire has a number of must-see tourist attractions which include Gloucester, Gloucester Cathedral, Hailes Abbey, Stanway House, Sudeley Castle, Cheltenham Racecourse and Tewkesbury.
Gloucester is a city and the county town of Gloucestershire, situated close to the Welsh border and on the River Severn, approximately 32 miles north-east of Bristol and 45 miles south-southwest of Birmingham. Gloucester is home to Roman foundations, Victorian Docklands, Gloucester Quays and the magnificent Norman Cathedral, and perfect for city breaks and as a base for exploring the Cotswolds and Forest of Dean
The bustling city centre boasts a wide range of shops, markets, restaurants, pubs and attractions as well as an excellent festival and events programme. Highlights include Gloucester Cathedral where Harry Potter has been filmed, the historic Gloucester docks complete with original Victorian warehouses and a central pedestrianised area, with three dedicated shopping centres for all your shopping needs.
Shopping in Gloucester
Gloucester’s city centre is home to three dedicated shopping centres: Kings Walk Shopping Centre, The Mall and Gloucester Quays Designer Outlet. The Kings Walk Shopping Centre is home to retailers such as HMV, WH Smith, River Island and Game. The Mall is located alongside Eastgate street and features several small independent shops as well as larger chains such as H&M and an indoor market dating to the 1960s.
Gloucester Quays Designer Outlet is an outlet centre with over 40 new outlet stores to offer local fashion lovers an outstanding mix of high street and designer labels at up to 60% off recommended retail prices. Gloucester Quays Designer Outlet is within easy walking distance of the city centre and opened in May 2009. You’ll find all the designer and high street brands you love, for you and your home, at up to 60% off recommended retail prices. Outside of the shopping centres are other high street stores including a large Debenhams, Waterstones, BHS and Argos, and three coffee shops, several restaurants and cafes.
Gloucestershire Tourist Attractions
Gloucester Cathedral in Gloucester, Gloucestershire stands in the north of the city near the river. Worship has taken place here for 900 years since it was built in 1100 as a Norman abbey and it continues as a place of prayer and Christian pilgrimage today. It has one of the largest medieval stained glass windows in England and the cathedral has been used from 2000 as a location for filming the first, second and sixth Harry Potter films.
Hailes Abbey, Gloucestershire
Hailes Abbey was once a Cistercian abbey founded in 1246 by Richard of Cornwall and dissolved on Christmas Eve 1539. Now all that remains of the abbey are a few low arches in a meadow with outlines in the grass and outside, and a small church – Hailes Church, which is actually older than the abbey and features Medieval paintings on its walls inside.
Hailes Abbey never housed large numbers of monks but had extensive and elaborate buildings which were financed by pilgrims when it became a site of pilgrimage when Richard’s son Edmund donated to the Cistercian community a phial of the Holy Blood, purchased in Germany, in 1270. Hailes Abbey is financed, managed and maintained by English Heritage.
Address: Hailes Abbey, near Winchcombe, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL54 5PB
Stanway House, Gloucestershire
Stanway House is a beautiful Jacobean manor house in Stanway, Gloucestershire. Currently the home of Lord and Lady Neidpath, Stanway House was owned by Tewkesbury Abbey for 800 years then for 500 years by the Tracy family and their descendants, the Earls of Wemyss. There are many attractions such as the fascinating furniture, the jewel-like Gatehouse which was built about 1630, the church and 14th-century Tithe Barn, the 18th-century water-garden (one of the finest in England), the specimen trees and avenues and the surrounding villages, farms, parkland and woodland.
Due to its location at the foot of the Cotswold escarpment, Stanway has been protected from many changes of the 20th century, although the last decade has seen the gradual restoration to its former glory of the 18th century water garden. These include a formal Canal on a terrace above the house, the Cascade (the longest in England), the striking Pyramid and eight ponds, and a single-jet fountain – the highest gravity fountain in the entire world, with all its valves open can reach a height of 300 feet. Inside Stanway House the principal rooms are in a long south-facing range forming an L-shape with the hall, unlike the usual Tudor house plan of a central hall.
Address: Stanway House, Stanway, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL54 5PQ
Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire
Sudeley Castle is a 10th century castle and award-winning gardens located near Winchcombe in Gloucestershire. With a rich history spanning over a thousand years which includes tales of royal associations, wars and periods of neglect and subsequent restoration, Sudeley Castle offers a fascinating journey into the past.
The Castle has changed hands over a dozen times during its history and today it is the private home of Lord and Lady Ashcombe, Henry and Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst and their families. The castle was built prior to 1066 but the occupied portion is mainly Elizabethan.
The 16th Century west wing houses the exhibitions and coffee shop, and there is St Mary’s Church where Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of King Henry VIII, lies buried, medieval ruins and adventure playground as well. The glorious gardens are amongst the very best in England, from the centrepiece Queens’ Garden, billowing with hundreds of varieties of old fashioned roses, to the Herbal Healing Garden which has been introduced for the 2010 season.
Address: Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire GL54 5JD
Tewkesbury is a thriving historic town in Gloucestershire and living museum of architecture and social history spanning over 500 years. The ancient settlement is situated at the meeting point of the rivers Severn and Avon, and these surrounding rivers and the flood plain have prevented the old town from expanding, meaning Tewkesbury has hardly altered since the Middle Ages.
With bundles of medieval character and charm, Tewkesbury is a must-visit for those tourists visiting the northern Cotswolds, Gloucestershire region. Discover the hidden charms along narrow alleyways where the crooked timber buildings nearly touch or take a leisurely cruise along the river and appreciate the best medieval black and white townscape in the country.
The town features many notable half-timbered Tudor buildings, overhanging upper storeys and ornately carved doorways to admire, but the highlight is the Tewkesbury Abbey, a fine Norman Abbey which has the highest Norman tower in England and was originally part of a monastery. Known to some as the ‘Westminster Abbey’ of the feudal barony, Tewkesbury Abbey has much to discover and offer.
Other attractions in the town of Tewkesbury are the John Moore Countryside Museum, the Town Museum and the Old Baptist Chapel. A busy Tewkesbury Market is held every Wednesday and Saturday and a Farmers Market is also held every month, usually hosted by Tewkesbury Abbey.
The famous Cheltenham Racecourse at Prestbury Park on the outskirts of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, is the Home of National Hunt racing and for all enthusiasts, this is earmarked as the number one race meeting of the year. With a capacity of 67,500 spectators, Cheltenham Racecourse has room for all to enjoy the regular races here such as the four-day Cheltenham Festival, held in March of each year and featuring the Cheltenham Gold Cup.