Gloucester is the biggest city in the county, a historic city with many Roman artefacts, civil war activity and museums to learn more. The city of Gloucester has a famous cathedral and on the River Severn and near the M5 Motorway for ease of access.
It is a city in the rural county, thus surrounded by pleasant countryside. However, Gloucester has two principal shopping areas; the city centre & The Quays Designer Outlet near The Historic Docks.
The city is historically a Rugby town represented by Glos RFC, who play at Kingsholm near the city centre. This means on a match day the city is typically a hive of activity.
- Docks – The historic dockland is home to many events and festivals and waterside dining.
- Restaurants – Eating out in the city, including places to suit all budgets and tastes.
- Cathedral – The centrepiece that is visible from most areas of the city. It is well worth a visit to admire its architecture and learn some local history.
- What’s On? A guide to all the major events happening in the city and local area.
There are a variety of places to eat out in Gloucester from nice exclusive or chain restaurants. There are many options to eat in the historic docks and Quays area and in the city centre.
One of my favourites in the city is Greek on The Docks, which is a waterside eatery with some great food and views. For something different and also healthy, there are some great places for lunch.
Where To Stay?
There are many options for hotels in Gloucester city centre, including some fantastic independent options. Just outside the city is The Hallmark, which has a health spa and near the ski centre.
Also, there are many apartments and cottages that you can book for a say in the city. These come in a variety of price points to suit most budgets.
Gloucester Visitor Attractions
There are some very interesting tourist attractions and places to visit in and near the city.
The historic cathedral is the centrepiece of the city and is a fantastic place to visit to learn some history and admire. There are often events including concerts hosted here, and they also have a pleasant garden to enjoy an alfresco lunch.
Gloucester offers a perfect combination; a perfect opportunity to shop and drop! The stylish Quays shopping outlet is easy walking distance from Gloucester’s beautiful, historic centre and city shops.
College court is a lovely street with some great independent retailers on it including the Beatrix Potter shop. Lillys restaurant towards the Cathedral is a nice, independent eatery and serves some great lunches.
Attend Gloucester Music Festival
Gloucester Music Festival is a free annual event that includes high quality classical, jazz, rock and folk music. The festival is 10 days of world-class music, events, hosted in beautiful venues in the city.
Beatrix Potter’s Shop – House of the Tailor of Gloucester
Beatrix Potter’s House of the Tailor of Gloucester is a charming shop and also a museum. It is open to the public every day where enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers will help you. The house is the original building used by Beatrix Potter in her wonderful story, The Tailor of Gloucester.
Inside the shop and museum, you can see many of the book’s characters. There are loads of books, souvenirs and toys available to buy and other local trinkets. The shop is lovely to browse around and see all the familiar characters from her books. It’s a great place to buy gifts for children or adults that are fans of the author. Website
Gloucester Goes Retro
Each August, the city hosts a retro festival that showcases cars and outfits of the 20th century. This event takes place throughout the city and is a must if you love classic cars. There is also entertainment on, including a sage with live music.
Visit the popular Tall Ships Festival
The Historic Docks host the bi-annual Tall Ships Festival on the Spring Bank Holiday weekend in May. From experience, this is usually a fun event and worth visiting. Hopefully, the weather will be good.
Explore the Docks
Gloucester docks are a big draw for the city because of its history and interesting attractions. It has two museums, The British Waterways Museum and also the soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum.
The docks have lots of Victorian era warehouses for you to mooch around, many of which have restaurants nearby. Sitting on the waterfront is a great relaxing way to spend some time, however, if lucky you may get to see some interesting boats.
Museum of Gloucester – Roman, Tudor & Civil War History
The Museum of Gloucester on Brunswick road in the city is a great place to visit. Especially for those keen to learn about Gloucester’s history. The Museum is a fantastic educational resource about the historical aspects of Gloucester’s past. Visitors can learn about recent history, the English civil war and The Roman Heritage of Gloucester.
This is a great attraction for adults and children to visit. The Museum also has some interactive displays where you can dress up in period costumes. The interactive experience includes a Roman kitchen playhouse and medieval street.
They arrange the museum in such a way that it tells the story of Gloucester’s origins as a Roman settlement. Then its subsequent development through the Dark Ages and Medieval period. There is an original Roman wall on display, which is fascinating. The wall makes imaginative visitors wonder what life was like under Roman rule.
There is an archaeology collection which includes the world-famous Birdlip Mirror and impressive Roman tombstones. The Gloucester Tables Set calls the museum home. This is the oldest complete backgammon set in the world.
The Museum has other significant artefacts throughout. This includes some interesting clocks, furniture, and weapons from the civil war era. The exhibitions are fantastic and really interesting, one of many great museums in Gloucestershire. Admission to The Museum of Gloucester is FREE for the general exhibits. However, some special exhibitions may incur an extra charge for visitors.
Gloucester has better sunsets than sunrises. The view down Westgate Street can be pretty spectacular if the conditions are right. You can also get a splendid view from the docks or across the river at The Quay.
Visit St Michael’s Tower
St Michael’s Tower in Gloucester city centre is over 500 years old. It was the former bell tower of the Church of St. Michael. The Tower once housed 10 bells, and the church was once a famous city landmark. The church has many stories, so has the Bell Tower.
St Michael’s Tower in the city centre of Gloucester is the home of The Civic Trust. The tower is a heritage centre with interesting exhibitions, audiovisual displays and daily show old films of Gloucester. There is no entry fee to enter. However, their guided walks have a charge for participants.
The tower is one of many photogenic buildings in the historic city. There are many angles that you can shoot from.
Gloucester Civic Trust Tours & Guided Walks
Gloucester Civic Trust for 40 years has been entertaining residents and visitors to Gloucester. They offer a wide selection of themed walks, city tours, docks tours, lectures, art classes and heritage events. Gloucester Civic Trust is a registered charity. 100% volunteer-run and managed. Their tour guides and volunteers give their time freely promoting heritage and tourism in Gloucester.
The Civic Trust host guided walks and sell DVDs about old Gloucester. They have a wide selection of self-guided walks where you go at your own pace. They also do themed walks and tailor-made walks. These often start at St Michael’s Tower. www.gloucestercivictrust.org
See The Spirit of Aviation Statue
Spirit of Aviation is a sculpture by Simon Springer, this is on Northgate Street in Gloucester, near to the now closed Debenhams store. The Spirit of Aviation statue celebrates the achievements of The Gloster Aircraft Company. They founded the company in 1917 and played a big part in the country’s aeronautical industry. The statue is one of many in Gloucester celebrating different aspects of the county’s history.
Eastgate Viewing Chamber – Roman Ruins
A fascinating thing to do in Gloucester is to see the Roman Ruins at the Eastgate viewing chamber. This is an underground chamber that shows the remains of defences and the Eastgate of the city. This dates back to when Gloucester was a Roman fortress in around AD 68. The chamber includes Roman remains, including the base of a 13th-century tower and the Tudor ‘horse-pool’. Historically, this is where wagons and they washed livestock before market.
Visitors can view a large section of the Eastgate Viewing Chamber through the windows. The chamber is on the floor outside Boots on Eastgate Street.