Gloucestershire is a region in South West England. The district contains one part of the Cotswold Hills, a piece of the level but the very fertile valley of the River Severn, and the whole Forest of Dean. Gloucestershire is a historic county which was first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the tenth century, however, the regions of Winchcombe and the Forest of Dean were not included in the ancient book until the late eleventh century.
Gloucestershire initially included Bristol, which was then only a small community, as opposed to the major city it has become. The county town of Gloucestershire is Gloucester which is around two and a half hours from London by bus.
Towns in Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire has one city and thirty-two towns, making it an averagely important county economically, however, a lot of these towns are very interesting in the sense of tourism.
A cathedral city, capital of its province which was first founded on a level spot of land, Gloucester is rather grandly located on the majestic River Severn and the Bristol and Birmingham Railway. Gloucester was actually established in AD 97 by the Romans under Emperor Nerva under the Latin name Colonia Glevum Nervensis and was allowed its first charter in 1155 by King Henry II.
Lord’s Square is at the heart of the downtown area and sits in what was previously a bustling livestock market and bus station. Formally opened in 1972, it was the centerpiece of a radical redevelopment of the city, The Jellicoe Plan, which was initially proposed in 1961. Gloucester has great shopping and transport links and a whole host of attractions.
Cheltenham, otherwise called Cheltenham Spa, is an old but expansive and busy spa town and district in Gloucestershire, England on the edge of the mountain range known as The Cotswolds. This grand old market town takes its name from the little River Chelt, which wanders close-by at Dowdeswell and continues through the town on its route to the River Severn.
Cheltenham Festivals arranges music, jazz, writing and science celebrations in the town every year, pulling in names of national and international fame in every field.
The name Tewkesbury originates from Theoc, the name of a Saxon who established a hermitage there in the early seventh century, and in the Old English language was named Theocsbury.
The town has numerous remarkable Tudor structures still standing, however its most famous feature and a major tourist attraction, is Tewkesbury Abbey, a fine old Norman Abbey, initially a part of a monastery which was spared from the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII after being sensationally purchased by the Tewkesbury townspeople for £453 to use as their parish church. £453 was equivalent to thousands and thousands of pounds in King Henry VIII ‘s era.
Parks and Gardens
Gloucestershire has some lovely old manor houses and great parks and gardens to see.
Berkeley Castle Garden
A sentimental twelfth-century manor-cum-castle looking out over the serene water meadows of the Doverte Brook. The bastions are rather cleverly utilized as shaded gardens.
It has a lovely old park which is well looked after, an Elizabethan bowling lawn which actually belonged to Elizabeth I, a lily lake and lots of climbing plants and different varieties of bush and shrub.
Snowshill Manor Garden
The four quarters of Hardwick Hall gardens are the delicate herb enclosure, manicured lawns, buttery and beautiful orchards, giving the air of an Elizabethan-style garden.
Lead statues in yew recesses; holly vaults to the western doorway to the herb enclosure, planted with chamomile, lavender, laurel and rue; mulberry walk and far-reaching herbaceous outskirts in the West Courtyard; sunken lake in the East Court; small avenue called The Wineglass that shuts off the eastern vista – all wonderful peculiarities that make Hardwick a mystical place to visit.
Snowshill Manor Garden
Snowshill Manor Garden is a beautiful Tudor house with a c1700 veneer front and a stunning old Crafts garden. Like William Morris, the planners, Charles Wade and Baillie Scott, respected the famed craftsmanship of medieval England. Snowshill has an arrangement of beautiful gardens fenced in by areas with an extensive variety of ornaments and inventive planting designs.
A significant number of the decorations are painted ‘Wade blue’ (a delicate, fine and very light blue) which fits extremely well with the Cotswold stone and the blue/purple planting topic.
Attractions and Places to See
Gloucestershire has a wonderful array of things to see and do, including forests, activity days and lovely days out for the whole family.
Puzzlewood is an extraordinarily beautiful and captivating place, situated in the lovely and memorable Forest of Dean. Wander through a mile of winding pathways, with its fabulous tree and rock formations and outcroppings, through this 14 section of land old forest.
It has a magical air truly all of its own and is nothing like you have ever experienced before. JRR Tolkien is rumored to have taken his inspiration for the legendary forests of Middle Earth from Puzzlewood, and it’s not difficult to see why.
Avon Valley Railway
The focal point of operations for the Avon Valley Railway is at Bitton, a unique Midland Railway station meticulously restored by its dedicated volunteer members. Bitton’s unique size has meant that many of the important facilities have been confined into a small space, in a manner that appeals to modern day guests and yet preserves the feel of a local station in the age of steam.
The Station building itself holds the Booking Hall and Booking Office from which you can buy train tickets and look for further information, with plenty of literature available about the Avon Valley Railway and the Bristol to Bath Railway line.
Clearwell Caves are naturally occurring caves, widely dug for iron mineral ore to make some of Britain’s oldest and most complicated mine workings. The mine goes back well in excess of 4,000 years when early diggers dug for ochre to make paints. Iron mineworkers later made a warren of underground ways, by joining up the gigantic caverns.
TV shows like Dr. Who, Merlin, Atlantis and Da Vinci Demons have been shot here regularly. Stroll through nine mysterious and amazing natural caverns, to experience exactly what it was like to be a minor over four thousand years ago.
Things to Do
Gloucestershire has a lot of great days out for the whole family to try.
Cotswold Farm Park
As the home of Rare Breeds Conservation, guests can meet more than 50 herds and groups of farm creatures, including the charismatic Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs and mysterious looking Highland Cattle. The Touch Barn and Demonstration Barn can be accessed throughout the entire year, as they are protected from the weather, being undercover.
With a great adventure play area, farm safari, Cotswold Lion maze, a fun tractor school, large and exciting sandpit and bouncing pads, there is heaps of excitement for kids of all ages (yes, even those kids aged 21+!).
Gloucester Waterways Museum
Children of all ages will love getting their hands wet and uncovering for themselves how canals actually function. You can explore a lock, race different watercraft to test out different and interesting designs and have a go at boat building and traditional painting and decoration on one of our hi-tech computer displays.
Guests can go on board and explore heritage vessels in the Waterside Gallery, dig into the intriguing world of Gloucester’s Victorian docks and meet the individuals and wildlife of these wonderful old waterways.
Gl1 is Gloucester’s best leisure center offering a mixed bag of things to do for young and old alike, from swimming for the entire family to indoor sports and activities of all shapes and sizes.
It has a fantastic complex of four swimming pools with a large variety of sessions from beginners and splashers to genuine and experienced swimmers – including a kids’ fun pool with slide, fun bubble seat and exciting water jets for the under 11’s.
Afternoon Tea Ideas in Gloucestershire
Gloucester tea is an English specialty and is enjoyed nationwide and afternoon tea is a favorite custom in this grand old county.
Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham
Ellenborough Park is an old house on the original Cheltenham Racecourse estate which has been restored as a remarkable and beautiful hotel. Situated only ten minutes from Cheltenham and set in parkland near to this world acclaimed racecourse, it is absolutely perfect for romantic breaks and family festivals.
Exquisite sandwiches made with newly baked bread and loaded with smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise or cucumber and tomato. Mouthwatering orange or sultana scones, made on request and presented lovingly with the finest jam and preserves from Wales and rich Cornish clotted cream, homemade cakes and a far-reaching mix of teas from far and wide.
Thornbury Castle, Thornbury
Thornbury Castle is a grand old Tudor-era mansion/castle set in expansive gardens and parkland. The third Duke of Buckingham got a royal permit to begin building the mansion in 1510. Lord Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn lived here in 1535 and Queen Mary I also inhabited Thornbury for a few years.
It reeks of elegance and grandeur which befits the menu perfectly, featuring beautifully made fresh finger sandwiches, warm scones with cream and a lovely selection of teas and coffees.
The Dial House Hotel, Bourton on the Water
The Dial House Hotel exhibits a mix of conventional and modern to help you relax in comfort and style whilst being found in the heart of one of Britain’s most beautiful and picturesque old towns.
Enjoy a relaxing Afternoon Tea in this lovely old lodge set in the heart of the stunning Cotswolds, where you will be served with a delightful and delicious range of finger sandwiches, scones, cakes, baked goods, teas, and espressos.
Wedding Venues in Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire enjoys a fine tradition of country house building and has many superb, high-class wedding venues available.
Manor By The Lake, Cheltenham
Located in the Regency spa town of Cheltenham, Manor By The Lake is a hidden jewel in the heart of the town. This splendid old Victorian house has rooms packed with resplendent cut wooden panels, stained glass and great marble fireplaces all of which looks out over seven acres of award-winning, well-tended gardens, characteristic forest, and a pleasant, tranquil lake.
With the recent addition of a dazzling new West Wing Ballroom seating up to 200 visitors and twelve select en-suite rooms, Manor By The Lake is rapidly turning into the most visited luxury venue in Cheltenham.
Charingworth Manor Hotel, Charingworth
With its beautiful and tranquil setting, Charingworth Manor is perfect for your fairytale wedding day in the Cotswolds. The hotel itself is licensed for civil ceremonies of up to eighty-five visitors, and the selection of three different sized suites means that they can cook for weddings from a personal gathering of ten to marquee weddings of up to one hundred and fifty.
The assortment of wedding menus and bundles, in particular, will help you discover the particular wedding style and size that suits you. Pose for photos in the absolutely exquisite gardens with views unmatched anywhere in the Cotswolds, and for summer weddings, enjoy the special event marquee out in the main garden.
Campsites / Caravans:
Gloucestershire has many outdoor specialties to sample and are accompanied by a large number of camp and caravan sites.
Caravan Club Sites
• Bourton-on-the-Water Caravan Club Site, Cheltenham Road, Bourton-On-The-Water, Gloucestershire
• Cheltenham Racecourse Caravan Club Site, Prestbury Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
• Plusterwine Farm Certificated Site, Station Road, Woolaston, Lydney
• Pinnock Wood Farm, Winchcombe, Cheltenham
• Stansby Touring Caravan Park, Redding Road, The Reddings, Cheltenham
• Lemington Lakes Caravan Park, Todenham Road, Moreton In Marsh