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Touring Gloucestershire


See also our Cotswold Villages article

Old Mill at Lower Slaughter by Barbara Ballard Forest of Dean Heritage Center by Barbara Ballard Thereís no doubt the county of Gloucestershire occupies some of Englandís loveliest landscape. Here are the Cotswold hills, the Royal Forest of Dean, and the Severn Vale. The River Severn is noted for its Severn Bore, a natural tidal wave. Itís a natural attraction viewed at different times and places during the year. The Forest of Dean consists of 24,000 acres of ancient forest and the River Wye. The Forest of Dean was once a mining area, which is reflected in its villages and towns, but there are some attractive winding roads and walking trails. Be sure to include a visit to the Forest of Dean Heritage Centre. Itís a fascinating museum chock full of information and displays.

Westonbury Court Water Garden by Barbara Ballard Westbury Court Garden, in the Forest of Dean, is a water garden. It was created by Maynard Colchester I and dates from 1696-1705. He planted thousands of yew trees and holly bushes and began the pattern of hedges and topiary. It was designed to be productive and vegetable and fruit trees were intermingled with flowers that included tulips, irises, and hyacinths. A warren supplied rabbit meat and the canals were stocked with fish. The garden was neglected over the centuries as well as having flooding problems. It has been restored and although small is perfectly formed and a lovely peaceful place to relax in.

Great Rissington St John the Baptist church by Barbara Ballard Fairford church window by Barbara Ballard The Cotswolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty extending from Chipping Campden in the North to Bath in the south, have justly earned their reputation for delighting visitors. The mellow Cotswold stone is used in the construction of field fences as well as in the village homes and properties. Wool brought prosperity to the Cotswolds and that money is reflected in its wool churches. Donít miss the 28 medieval stained glass windows in the church at Fairford.

Tetbury Old Market Place by Barbara Ballard Cotswold towns and villages in Gloucestershire include Lechlade, Fairford, Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, Northleach, Upper and Lower Slaughter, Chipping Campden, Cirencester, Tetbury, Moreton- in-Marsh, Winchcombe, Stow-on-the-Wold, and Stroud. For details on all Cotswold villages see our Cotswold villages article.


Winchcombe Houses by Barbara Ballard The Severn Vale towns include Tewkesbury where the rivers Avon and Severn meet. The town has black and white Tudor buildings and narrow alleyways, a 12th century abbey, and a market. A major battle of the War of the Roses took place here. Winchcombe existed as a walled town in Saxon times, raked in the money trading in wool, and then grew tobacco. This monied past shows in the 16th and 17th century homes. Visit the museum for full details of the townís past. Winchcombeís church of St Peter is the place to see gargoyles.

Sudeley Castle by Barbara Ballard Hailes Abbey ruins by Barbara Ballard Near Winchcombe is Sudeley Castle, famous as the home of Katherine Parr, sixth wife of Henry VIII. She is buried in the church in the grounds. Royalty who paid visits to the castle include Elizabeth I and Henry VIII. The castle apartments show off the furniture and paintings. There is also a costume exhibition. The grounds highlight a topiary garden, old-fashioned roses, a Tudor knot garden, and a tithe barn. The extensive remains of Hailes Abbey, founded in 1246, are found near Winchcombe; thereís a museum at the site.

Gloucester Cathedral from the cloisters by Barbara Ballard Gloucester is the main city of the county and a very busy commercial centre. Visit the cathedral, which was used in the filming of Harry Potter. A religious community was founded on the site in 678; in 1017 it became a Benedictine monastery. The abbey church was begun in 1089, and there was continued building and rebuilding over the ensuing centuries. King Henry IIIís coronation was held in the cathedral in 1216. Thereís a tower to climb, a treasury to see, and the ďwhispering galleryĒ to try out. Architectural highlights include the Norman nave, the east window of medieval glass, and the fan-vaulted cloisters. King Edward II is buried here.

Gloucester Folk Museum by Barbara Ballard House of the Tailor by Barbara Ballard Gloucesterís other attractions are a city museum, a folk museum (a fascinating building with an interesting collection of artefacts and information), the Victorian docks and warehouses, the National Waterways Museum (5000 items on display), the Gloucester Transport Museum, and the House of the Tailor (site of Beatrix Potterís story of the same name).

Cheltenham was a spa town. Visit the pump room, have a look at the Edwardian architecture, then visit the Art Gallery and Museum to see the arts and crafts collection. Cheltenham is also the home of the famous racecourse.

Chedworth Roman Villa by Barbara Ballard Near Cheltenham are the remains of the Chedworth Roman villa, comprising one of Englandís largest Roman ruins. For starters, thereís a mile of walls, bath houses, and mosaics. Uncovered objects are on display in the museum, which shows an AV presentation.


Cirencester church by Barbara Ballard The Corinium Museum at Cirencester is a must-see. The town was Roman Britainís second largest, and the museum collection reflects that past. Of special interest are the mosaic floors. Cirencesterís parish church of St John the Baptist and the abbey (demolished) were founded in Norman times. Displayed in the church is the Boleyn Cup, a gilt cup made in 1535 for Anne Boleyn.

Berkeley Castle by Barbara Ballard Berkeley Castle Garden by Barbara Ballard Berkeley Castle has been in the same family for 850 years. It was the scene of the infamous murder of Edward II in 1327 and also came under attack by Cromwellís troops. On view in the state apartments are the centuries of collections: furniture, paintings, tapestries, and silver. Check out the stained glass windows in the main hall and the oak roomís panelling. The grounds include terraced gardens, a bowling green, and lawns.

Chavenage archway by Barbara Ballard Chavenage is a Cotswold stone house built in Elizabethan times. Inside are tapestries, furniture, paintings and objects relating to Cromwell, whom the family supported. Itís a favourite venue for film and TV shows. The house is shown by tour.

Hidcote garden in bloom by Barbara Ballard Hidcote Manor Garden dates from the early 20th century and is a series of small connected gardens. Go first thing during the week as it gets overcrowded with bus tours and hard to move around from garden room to garden room. Itís a bit of a challenge to find but more than worth it.

Stanway Water fountain by Barbara Ballard Stanway House is in the Jacobean style with a baroque water garden, gravity fed cascade, pond, and canal in the grounds. Kiftsgate Court Gardens offers views over the Malvern Hills, along with its unusual shrubs and plants.

Westonbirt Trees by Barbara Ballard Westonbirt Arboretum, begun in 1829, spreads over 600 acres and contains 18,000 trees. Savill Glade is a new addition to the original, having been planted in 1956. The area, though, is not new as it was first planted around 1829 by the Holford family with oak and Scots pine. It was later cleared to make room for other species. You can easily spend a day here walking along the many paths through the trees and enjoying the restaurant and shop. During the Christmas holiday season paths are lit with twinkling lights.
Sherborne Park Lodge by Barbara Ballard Rodmarton Manor pig topiary by Barbara Ballard Sherborne Park Lodge, on the 400 acre Cotswold hills Shelborne Estate, was built in 1634. Its owner loved to gamble, eat, and entertain. It was used as a grandstand for viewing deerhound races. There are walks on the estate as well as the lodge interior to see. Shelborne is the local village (on the other side of the A road), and the National Trust owns the shop, school, post office, and other buildings. Rodmarton Manor is a traditional country house. It contains china, needlework, and furniture. It has beautiful gardens in the grounds. Donít miss the bird and pig topiary.

Owlpen Manor by Barbara Ballard Owlpen Manor is a Tudor house, built 1450-1616, in a wooded valley. There are Arts and Crafts collections in the home and a Victorian church. Dyrham Park, constructed between 1691 and 1702, remains little changed. Delftware, textiles, paintings, and Victorian rooms can be enjoyed. The kitchens, bakehouse, larders, tenantsí hall, and dairy comprise the ďdownstairsĒ rooms.

Woodchester mansion gargoyle by Barbara Ballard Woodchester Mansion is a 19th century home that was never finished. The workers walked off the job in 1868, and nothing more was ever done. There are 27 rooms, many unfinished, shown by guided tour. A colony of bats live in the attic and are viewed through a live TV link. Gargoyles and other curiosities adorn the mansion. Itís a fascinating place.

Snowshill Manor Gardens by Barbara Ballard Another unusual manor house is Snowshill in the tiny Cotswold village of the same name. It contains the collections of one man, Charles Paget Wade. Japanese armour, weavers' and spinnersí tools, musical instruments, clocks, bikes, toys, and much more are on show in the chock-filled rooms. There is a small garden to enjoy as well.

Sezincote roof dome by Barbara Ballard Sezincote is a big surprise externally. Its architecture is in the Indian style. It has a central dome, minarets, peacock tail windows, jali-work railings and pavilions. The house was built in 1810 by Charles Cockerell who had worked in India for the East India Company. The interior, however, is done in the traditional English country house style. Repton designed the grounds. Thereís an orangery and a garden complete with elephant statues. You reach it by walking over a bridge with sunken gardens on either side. The gardens have pools, a grotto, waterfall, and a temple to the Hindu sun god.

Cotswold Rare Breeds Farm chicken by Barbara Ballard Cotswold Farm Park is a great family outing with rare breeds of British farm animals including sheep, cattle, pigs, goats, horses, poultry, and waterfowl.





Gloucestershire Attractions

Gloucester City Attractions

Gloucester Cathedral
College Green
Tel. 0 1452 528 095
Web: Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester City Museum and Art Gallery
Brunswick Road
Tel. 0 1452 396 131

Gloucester Docks
The Docks
Tel. 0 1452 311 190
Web: Gloucester Docks

Gloucester Folk Museum
99 - 103 Westgate Street
Tel. 0 1452 396 868

Gloucester Transport Museum
Longsmith Street
Tel. 0 1452 396 467
Open: phone for details

Gloucester Waterways Museum
Gloucester Docks, Gloucester city
Tel. 0 1452 318 200
Web: Gloucester Waterways Museum

House of the Tailor
9 College Court
Tel. 0 1452 422 856
Web: House of the Tailor

Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum
In former custom house at Gloucester Docks
Tel. 0 1452 522 682

Other Gloucestershire Attractions

All Saints Church
Turkdean

Batsford Arboretum
Batsford Park, Moreton-in-Marsh
On the A44 near Bourton-on-the-Hill and Moreton-in-Marsh
Tel. 0 1386 701 441
Web: Batsford Arboretum

Berkeley Castle (HHA)
Just off the A38, 26 mile south of Gloucester
Midway between Bristol and Gloucester, just west of M5
Tel. 0 1453 810 332
Web: Berkeley Castle

Bourton House Gardens
Bourton on Hill, 1.75 miles west of Moreton in Marsh
Tel. 0 1386 700 754
Web: Bourton House Gardens

Chavenage (HHA)
1.25 miles north-west of Tetbury between B4014 and A4135
Tel. 0 1666 502 329
Web: Chavenage

Chedworth Roman Villa (NT)
Yanworth, Cheltenham
Tel. 0 1242 890 256

Cheltenham Pittville Pump Room
East Approach Drive, Pittville Park Cheltenham
Tel. 0 1242 523 852

Corinium Museum
Park St, Cirencester
Tel. 0 1285 655 611

Cotswold Falconry Centre
Batsford Park, one mile from Moreton-in-Marsh Glou
Tel. 0 1386 701 043
parking
Web: Cotswold Falconry Centre

Cotswold Farm Park
Guiting Power near Stow-on-the-Wold
Tel. 0 1451 850 307
Web: Cotswold Farm Park

Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection
The Old Mill, Bourton on the Water, Glos
Tel. 0 1451 821 255
Web: Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection

Dyrham Park (NT)
Dyrham near Bath and Chippenham
Tel. 0 1179 372 501

Edward Jenner Museum
The Chantry, Berkeley
Tel. 0 1453 810 631
Web: Edward Jenner Museum

Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Heritage Railway
The Railway Station, Toddington Glos
Tel. 0 1242 621 405
Web: Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Heritage Railway

Hailes Abbey (NT and EH)
Two miles north-east of Winchcombe
Tel. 0 1242 602 398

Hidcote Manor Garden (NT)
Hidcote Bartrim, four miles north-east of Chipping Campden
Tel. 0 1386 438 333

Kelmscott Manor (HHA)
Kelmscott, near Lechlade
Tel. 0 1367 252 486
Web: Kelmscott Manor

Kiftsgate Court Gardens (HHA)
Four miles north-east of Chipping Campden
Tel. 0 1386 438 777
Web: Kiftsgate Court Garden

Lodge Park and Sherborne Estate (NT)
Aldsworth near Cheltenham
Approach via A40 three miles east of Northleach
Tel. 0 1451 844 130

Mill Dene Garden
School Lane, Blockley, Moreton-in-Marsh
Tel. 0 1386 700 457
Web: Mill Dene Garden

Misarden Park Gardens
Six miles north-west of Cirencester, A417 or B4070
Tel. 0 1285 821 303

Nature in Art Heritage Museum
Wallsworth Hall, Twigworth
Two miles north of Gloucester on the A38
Tel. 0 1452 731 422 (Tue-Fri); 0 1452 733 946 (Sat and Sun)
Web: Nature in Art Heritage Museum

Owlpen Manor (HHA)
Half mile east of Uley off B4066, in own valley
Tel. 0 1453 860 261
Web: Owlpen Manor

Rodmarton Manor (HHA)
Off the A433 near Cirencester
Tel. 0 1285 841 253
Web: Rodmarton Manor

Sezincote House and Gardens (HHA)
Near Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire
Tel. 0 1386 700 444
Web: Sezincote House and Gardens

Snowshill Manor (NT)
Snowshill near Broadway
Tel. 0 1386 852 410

Stanway House and Water Garden (NT)
Stanway, Cheltenham, off the B4077
Tel. 0 1386 584 469

St Mary the Virgin and St Mary Magdalen Parish Church
Tetbury, Glouc

Stanway House and Water Garden
Stanway, Cheltenham, off the B4077
Tel. 0 1386 584 469
Web: Stanway House, Garden, and Fountain

Sudeley Castle (HHA)
Winchcombe near Cheltenham, off the B4632
Tel. 0 1242 604 244 (Visitor Centre)
Web: Sudeley Castle

Tetbury Market House
Tetbury
Tel. NA

Tetbury Heritage Centre and Police Bygones Museum
Old Court House, 63 Long St, Tetbury
Tel: 0 1666 504 670

Tewkesbury Abbey
southern edge of the old town, Tewkesbury
Tel. 0 1684 850 959
Web: Tewkesbury Abbey

Tewkesbury Museum
64 Barton Street
Tel. 0 1684 295 027
Web: Tewkesbury Museum

Westbury Court Garden (NT)
Westbury-on-Severn, on the A48
Tel. 0 1452 760 461

Westonbirt Arboretum
Three miles south-west of Tetbury, on the A433
Tel. 0 1666 880 220
Web: Westonbirt Arboretum

Woodchester Mansion
Five miles south of Stroud on the B4066
Tel. 0 1453 750 455
For more details and photos see our feature at Woodchester Mansion
Web: Woodchester Mansion

Gloucestershire Tourist Information Centres

Bourton-on-the-Water
Victoria Street
Tel. 0 1451 820 211

Cheltenham
77 Promenade
Tel. 0 1242 522 878

Chipping Campden
The Old Police Station, High Street
Tel. 0 1386 841 206

Cirencester
Corn Hall, Market Place
Tel. 0 1285 654 180

Coleford
High Street
Tel. 0 1594 812 388

Gloucester
28 Southgate Street
Tel. 0 1452 396 572
Open: Mon, 10am-5pm; Tue-Sat, 9.30am-5pm; also Sun during July and Aug, 11am-3pm

Moreton-in-Marsh
Cotswold District Offices
Tel. 0 1608 650 881

Newent
7 Church Street
Tel. 0 1531 822 468

Stow-on-the-Wold
Hollis House, The Square
Tel. 0 1451 831 082

Stroud
Subscription Rooms, George Street
Tel. 0 1453 760 960

Tetbury
33 Church Street
Tel. 0 1666 503 552

Tewkesbury
The Museum, 64 Barton Street
Tel. 0 1684 295 027

Winchcombe
Town Hall, High Street
Tel. 0 1242 602 925

Official Gloucestershire Government Tourism website: Gloucestershire Tourism

Official Gloucester City Tourism website: City of Gloucester

Photos by Barbara Ballard

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Our Gloucestershire Articles
Cotswold Villages
Bibury
Berkeley Castle and Church
St Nicholas Church Oddington
Chavenage House
Gloucester Docks and Waterways Museum
St Peter Church at Duntisbourne Abbots
Woodchester Mansion
Westonbirt National Arboretum
Westbury Court Garden
St Peter and St Paul Church
St Leonardís Church, Bledington
Bourton House Garden
St James Church, Chipping Camden
Rodmarton Manor and Gardens
Hidcote Manor Garden
Cirencester Parish Church of St John the Baptist
Trull House Garden
Gloucester City
Sherborne Park Lodge and Estate
Westonbirt National Arboretum
St Mary the Virgin Parish Church, Tetbury, Gloucestershire
St Mary the Virgin Church, Fairford
Other England Articles

Stay at Holly House in the Cotswolds
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