There is such a diverse collection of things to do in Gloucestershire: wildlife, natural wonders, heritage sites and museums, upmarket boutiques and restaurants, and a lot more. Indeed, this county in South West England packs so much into its seven districts.
Gloucester is the main city while principal towns include Cheltenham, Cirencester, Stroud, and Tewkesbury. But mainly, Gloucestershire is split into three areas, which includes a major part of the Cotswolds, the entire Royal Forest of Dean, and the Severn Vale.
Count on it, wherever you go, there is something spectacular for you to experience. Go over this list of top 10 things to do in Gloucestershire and have a great time.
1. International Centre for Birds of Prey
The International Centre for Birds of Prey changes your view about aviaries. If you think it is all quiet and peace – you are in for a surprise. Watch one of the three daily flying sessions and marvel at raptors swooping and fiercely diving in this complex. Hands-on experiences are available, too.
Price: £10.90 for adults and £7 for children
Hours: 10.30 AM to 4.30 PM February to November
Location: Boulsdon House, Newent, Forest of Dean, England
2. Symonds Yat Rock
Expansive and towering, a visit to this outstanding limestone outcrop is on every list of the best things to do in Gloucestershire. Soaring 504 metres above Symonds Yat East, it is all too easy to get lost in nature here. The countryside views are stunning and lucky visitors get greeted by a pair of resident peregrine falcons.
Hours: Open access
Location: Symonds Yat East, Forest of Dean, England
3. Berkeley Castle
This historic Norman fortress dates back to the 11th century and has been home to the Berkeleys for almost 900 years. Edward II was also imprisoned here and allegedly murdered in 1327.
These days, there is a lot to see inside this fine red-stone castle: the King’s Gallery, cell, and dungeon, the Great Hall, and the keep that dates back to the 12th century. A tour of the medieval castle is definitely one of the top things to do in Gloucestershire. Make sure you catch the free guided tours!
Price: £11 for adults and £6 for children
Hours: 11 AM to 5 PM every Sunday to Wednesday from April to October
Location: 1 High St, Berkeley GL13 9BH, United Kingdom
4. Great Witcombe Villa
It takes a bit of effort to reach the Great Witcombe Villa but it is all worth it. Visitors are taken back in time in and amongst the ruins of this large and luxurious villa built during the Roman occupation of Britain.
It is located on the hillside in a quaint and peaceful setting near Cotswold Way – the views are breathtaking! Highlights include the remains of the bathhouse complex, water spirit shrine, and stunning mosaic pavement. Parking is free. It can get packed so come early to experience one of the top things to do in Gloucestershire.
Hours: Open daily at 10AM to 6 PM from April to October; 10 AM to 4 PM from November to March
Location: Brockworth, Gloucestershire, GL3 4TW, United Kingdom
Churches and Cathedrals
5. Gloucester Cathedral
A world of wonders await inside the Gloucester Cathedral. An incredible example of English Perpendicular Gothic style, it has been around since the 12th century and has been a favourite of tourists seeking to experience the best things to do in Gloucestershire ever since. It features the finest of Norman Romanesque and Gothic design and its Great East Window, overlooking Edward II’s tomb, is the largest in Europe.
Further, Harry Potter fans recognise the Great Cloister of the Gloucester Cathedral, which featured in the first, second, and sixth movie installments. Come in the morning to see the stained-glass windows lend a pink tinge to the cloister.
Price: Free admission; tower tours cost £7 for adults and £1 for children
Hours: 7.30 AM to 6 PM
Location: 12 College Green, Gloucester GL1 2LX, United Kingdom
6. Tewkesbury Abbey
There is no mistaking the honey-coloured stone columns of Tewkesbury Abbey – it stands out in the sweeping landscape between the Cotswolds and the Malvern Hills. Founded in the 11th century, this ornate church is the second largest parish in the country and a former Benedictine monastery. It features a superb Norman arch with flanking turrets and a 12th century Romanesque tower that is the finest in England.
Hours: Open access
Location: Church Street, Tewkesbury GL20 5RZ, United Kingdom
7. Gloucester Life Museum
Learn more about local life and history and visit this folk museum housed in a series of 16th and 17th century Tudor and Jacobean timber-framed buildings. Exhibits include domestic life displays, industries dating back to the 1500, Civil War weaponry, a Tudor-era bed, and a retro lounge from the 1950s.
Price: £5 for adults and £3 for children
Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM every Tuesday to Saturday
Location: 99-103 Westgate St., Gloucester, England
8. Holst Birthplace Museum
The childhood home of Gustav Holt presents travellers another one of the best things to do in Gloucestershire. The composer was born here in Cheltenham in 1874 and the four-floored museum today reflects much of the period. Holt’s personal possessions are on display, as well as pictures, and the piano where he composed the orchestral suite, The Planets.
Price: £5 for adults and £2 for children
Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM every Tuesday to Saturday and 1.30 PM to 5 PM every Sunday from June to September; 10 AM to 4 PM every Tuesday to Saturday from February to May and October to mid-December
Location: 4 Clarence Rd., Cheltenham, England
9. Three Choirs Vineyard
250,000 bottles of quality English wine come out of the Three Choirs Vineyard every year. It is the third largest winery in England, offering 20 varieties of wines like pinot noir, bacchus, and siegerrebe. Call in for the guided tour and enjoy a fine dining experience in the attached restaurant.
Hours: Guided winery tour with tasting session starts at 2.30 PM every Wednesday to Sunday
Location: B4215, Newent, Forest of Dean, England
10. The Promenade
Anyone who sets foot in The Promenade gets infected by the unique life, colour, and vibe of this main street. One of the most beautiful in England, its lovely atmosphere stems out of wide, tree-lined boulevards embraced by period buildings and lovely gardens. Attractions include the historic Municipal Offices, statue of Edward Wilson, Imperial Gardens, and the upmarket district of Motpellier.
Hours: Open access
Location: Promenade, Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Budget – , starts at USD98
Mid-Range – starts at USD110
Luxury – , starts at USD430
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