Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire is the epitome of green and pleasant land with its rolling hills, yellow stone walls and pretty villages. Explore the open spaces of the Severn Vale, the Cotswolds and the Royal Forest of Dean or linger in historic Cheltenham or Gloucester.

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Gloucestershire Overview

Welcome to Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire is bordered by Herefordshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Somerset, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and the Welsh county of Monmouthshire.

Gloucestershire has a population of just under 1,000,000 people. The county town is the city of Gloucester with other large towns at Cheltenham, Cirencester, Stroud and Tewkesbury.

The landscape of Gloucestershire is characterised by the Cotswold Hills, the Royal Forest of Dean and the Severn Vale. The countryside is dotted with pretty villages and historic buildings with a backdrop of beautiful scenery.


History

Gloucestershire’s history is characterised by its geography. The forest areas abundance of timber saw them become an important feature of shipbuilding, the hill regions were important both from an agricultural and woollen trade perspective whilst other areas were heavy producers of pottery, bricks and tiles.

Today rural businesses remain important, as does tourism which draws in thousands of visitors a year to the county to enjoy the countryside and historic towns.


Places to Visit in Gloucestershire

Cheltenham receives many visitors each year – some flock to the Cheltenham Racecourse to enjoy the Gold Cup as part of the Cheltenham Festival. Others head into the regency town to enjoy the atmosphere and architecture of the famous buildings including the Pittville Pump Room – a nod to the spa town’s past, The Holst Museum, the Wilson Museum – and don’t forget the Brewery Quarter – there is plenty to sample!

Gloucester is famous for its stunning Roman and Gothic styled cathedral, where you can go underground and visit the very oldest parts of Gloucester Cathedral. With over 2,200 years of history there are plenty of historic buildings to visit including St. Nicholas Church, the Dominican priory of Blackfriars and St. Mary de Crypt church. Elsewhere in the city you can browse the antiques at the New Gloucester Antiques centre or enjoy the charming Beatrix Potter’s House of the Tailor of Gloucester. Gloucester also lays claim to the most inland port in England and the docks are well worth a visit – enjoy watching skilled craftsmen as they work or may be grab some refreshments in one of the cafes or restaurants.
Gloucestershire is packed with a number of days out – WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, Clearwell Caves Ancient Iron Mines, Gloucester Waterways Museum and Prinknash Bird and Deer Park are amongst a host of attractions in the county. It is also a sporting county with Rugby at Kingsholm stadium and Cricket – the county club, based across the border in Bristol, included a certain W G Grace amongst its founders

The castles of Gloucestershire hint at the county’s historic strategic geography. The 12th century St. Briavel’s Castle overlooks the River Wye and is the site of many an English / Welsh skirmish. A visit to Berkeley Castle reveals the final prison for Edward II before his murder at the hands of his captors. Sudeley Castle has royal connections spanning 1,000 years and is now a sumptuous home and gardens.

Gloucestershire has a large collection of stately homes available for visitors to enjoy. Stanway House and Water Gardens – complete with famous Stanway Water Fountain are a real treat for visitors. Seizencote House is a unique house built in the style of a Rajasthan palace resplendent with both a formal garden and more relaxed stream garden. Owlpen Manor, Newark Park, Lodge Park, Hardwicke Court and Rodmarton Manor are amongst other impressive houses in the county. It is also home to Highgrove the residence of the Duke of Cornwall.

The Cotswolds run to nearly 800 square miles and spans five counties. Rolling hills, chocolate box cottages in picture postcard villages typify the landscape of the Cotswolds. Enjoy exploring on foot – there are more than 3000 miles of footpath or by road as you meander through the market towns taking in the beautiful countryside. Elsewhere in the county the Royal Forest of Dean is a great place for adventure – walk, cycle, canoe or horse ride through this great outdoor space to fill your lungs with fresh air and enjoy the spectacular scenery but watch out for the Wild Boar.
Westonbirt is home to the National Arboretum and Hidcote is one of the must see gardens in the UK

Gloucestershire’s famous names include the actor Simon Pegg, England cricketer Alastair Cook, actor Robert Hardy, Olympian Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards and Sir Jimmy Young.

Gloucestershire has a large range of annual events, many of them with a rural or agricultural theme including the cheese rolling festival, the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Cheltenham Literature Festival, the Cheltenham Music Festival, the world famous horse racing event – the Cheltenham Festival and Gold Cup, Tewkesbury Medieval Festival, Cotswold Festival of Steam and the Chipping Norton Literature Festival.

The county is well known for a range of food and drink including the world famous Double Gloucester cheese, Gloucester Squab Pie which features lamb and Gloucester Pancakes.


Getting There

The M5 provides a direct motorway link into Gloucestershire making it extremely accessible from the North and the Midlands via the M6. The M4 and A40 also provide traffic with a direct route to the county.

By rail Gloucester is linked directly to London via Paddington Station, as well as being well served from the Midlands.



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