The much-loved quintessentially English South West county is home part of the Cotswolds, the River Severn Valley, and the entire Forest of Dean. Filled with dreamy, honey-coloured villages, elegant towns, ancient churches and cathedrals, and rolling hills this is one seriously gorgeous county, here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Gloucestershire…
Gloucester and Gloucester cathedral – the fine county town of Gloucestershire
Gloucester Cathedral is one of the finest medieval buildings in Europe. It consists of a Norman nucleus with additions of Gothic architecture making it a sight for sore eyes. The Cathedral opens its doors 365 days a year to all, regardless of background and faith.
Over 300,000 people from across the world visit the Cathedral annually to take part in its services. With 450 enthusiastic and efficient volunteers, your visit is rest assured to be enjoyable. Music lies at the heart of Gloucester Cathedral and it is host to an exciting range of concerts. Visit the Cathedral and get the chance to listen to exquisite singing determined to keep alive Britain’s great choral traditions.
Bibury – one of the prettiest villages to visit in Gloucestershire
Annotated with picturesque cottages, Bibury has been notably described as ‘the most beautiful village in England’ by William Morris. Here there are many attractions to see.
From Arlington row with all of its weaver cottages built of local stone to the Church of St Mary with its stained-glass window designed by Karl Parson in 1927, you are guaranteed to have an enriching experience. The Bibury Trout Farm where you can enjoy delectable meals is also a popular spot for the visitors that come from all over the world.
Cheltenham – a handsome spa town to explore in Gloucestershire
Known for its Regency architecture, Cheltenham is a mix of tradition and modernity. Popularly known as a health and holiday spa town resort, Cheltenham is the perfect and safe town to unwind and renew your mind.
This culturally rich town is host to several festivals of culture such as the Cheltenham Literature Festival and the Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
Royal Forest of Dean and Puzzlewood – an ancient woodland site and tourist attraction to explore in Gloucestershire
At the Royal Forest of Dean, you will have the opportunity to see some of the Best Roman remains in Britain like the Roman Temple. One of the most fascinating regions in Britain, the Royal Forest of Dean is nestled between two great tidal rivers, the Severn and the Wye.
Visit during summer, and you can enjoy a cruise along the River Wye. In April and May, you can also relish in the beauty of the rhododendrons, azaleas, and flowering shrubs at Lydney park Spring Garden. Royal Forest Dean is also home to Puzzlewood, a 14-acre woodland site dating back to the Roman Period. This area contains strange rock formations, secret caves, and ancient trees, with a confusing maze path. It is one of the most important regionally important geological sites and has also been set to films like Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Tewkesbury Abbey – renowned for being one of the UK’s greatest examples of medieval architecture
Start your visit to Tewkesbury abbey with a trip to Abbey Mill. This 18th-century watermill was owned by Abel Fletcher – a Quaker who inspired the miller in Dina Craik’s 1856 novel ‘John Halifax – Gentleman’.
A historic market town at the confluence of Severn and Avon rivers, Tewkesbury also has the oldest inn in Gloucestershire – Black Bear Inn built in 1308. In this town whilst revelling in its heritage, you are welcome to take relaxing strolls and bask in the glory of all you find in Tewkesbury Museum or the crowning jewel of the town – The Abbey Church.
Bourton-on-hill – a charming Cotswold village to visit in Gloucestershire
This beautiful English village with honey-coloured stone is a hillside village overlooking the town of Moreton in Marsh in the valley below. Home to one of the Cotswolds finest 16th-century barns, there are many attractions to explore.
The local pubs, Sezincote House and Batsford Arboretum and Garden Centre are just a few. Visit Bourton-on-hill and never run out of exciting things to do. From musical festivals like the Wilderness Festival to musical and art exhibitions to theatrical productions, you are rest assured to revel in the creative essence of the region.
Dover’s Hill – a beautiful and popular walking area to explore in Gloucesterhire
Standing 230m above sea level, Dover’s hill is an outstanding natural beauty with brassy slopes cared for by grazing sheep. Its large open field and woodlands are popular walking areas for nearby towns. This historical hill has terraced sides that are alleged to be all that remains of a Roman vineyard.
The Costwold Olimpicks which dates back to 1622 continues its annual celebration on the first Friday after Bank Holiday. With events such as shin-kicking, morris dancing and tug-of-war, visitors and locals are encouraged to engage and get their hearts racing. Whether it’s walking your dog or learning old farming techniques, Dover’s Hill offers much more than a pretty view.
Chipping Campden – one of the most stunning places to visit in Gloucestershire
On arrival, the first thing that will bewitch you is the honey-coloured limestone buildings that line the street. Followed by the fine vernacular architecture. Historically a rich wood trading centre in the Middle Ages, this small market town has evolved into a popular Cotswold tourist location.
With old inns, hotels, restaurants and specialist shops, it is the perfect location for a full vacation or a short break. Chipping Campden has a wealth of attractions in and around Chipping garden. Whether it is taking part in Tai Chi and Barefoot Yoga at the Hidcote National Trust Garden or attending the Campden Literature Festival and Chipping Campden Music Festival, a visit to Chipping Campden in guaranteed to be a great experience.
Symonds Yat Rock and the rest of the Wye Valley – a gorgeous beauty spot to explore in Gloucestershire
Nothing screams beautiful than the views of River Wye and the surrounding area that is evergreen. From its fantastic viewpoint and the telescopes provided, you can spot birds of prey by the river and bask in all that nature has to offer. There is also a walkway from the car park to the forest area and the viewpoint.
At any time of the year, you can enjoy a walk with your dogs before retiring into one of the many pubs for a pint or some food. The cycling trail means welcomes to bring along a bike and get your heart racing. For a less active visit, you might want to bring your biggest picnic basket as there is enough room at Symonds Yat Rock and the rest of the Wye Valley.
Cirencester – a fine town and one of the best places to visit in Gloucestershire
Often referred to as the Capital of the Cotswolds, Cirencester was the second largest town in Britain during Roman times. The town is host to many magnificent buildings spanning centuries making it the perfect place for sight-seeing. The market square for instance is dominated by the cathedral-like Parish Church of St. John Baptiste.
Its large south porch and impressive fan vaulting was built in the late 1400s. Cirencester Park remains a tourist attraction as the forest-style garden and the castellated building that stands at the entrance are well worth the visit. Experience the art Cirencester has to offer by visiting in June as the Festival of Arts is held annually.
Lower Slaughter – one of the prettiest villages to visit in Gloucestershire
This ‘wet land’ has been inhabited for over 1,000 years. The historic village of Lower Slaughter is built on both banks of the River Eye.
At the west end of the village lies a 19th-century watermill built with red brick that is worth the visit. A popular tourist location, there are several places to stop by on your visit. The Old Mill Museum and its River Café and Riverside tearoom are only the tip of the iceberg.
Berkeley Castle – a fantastic historic attraction in Gloucestershire
The history of this masterpiece can be traced back to the 11th century and the history that played out within its walls make it one of the most remarkable buildings in Britain. It is traditionally believed to have been the scene where the murder of King Edward II took place in 1327.
In more modern times, the castle was used for many scenes of the 2003 film The Other Boleyn Girl. Belonging to the same family since the 12th century, The Berkeley family welcomes visitors for an exciting and unique experience as they discover the historical site and its adventures.
Stow-on-the-Wold – a very picturesque market town to visit
This market town and civil parish in Gloucestershire is the highest of the Cotswold towns. It stands exposed at 800 feet high at a junction of seven major roads including the Roman Fosse Way, which is of Roman Origin.
The eccentric market square is cornered by an elegant array of Cotswold townhouses and shops leaving you with a lot to do and see. Whether it is antique shopping, eating out or visiting the Cricket Museum, Stow-on-the-Wold offers you different ways of exploring its beauty.
Severn Way – a beautiful waymarked long-distance footpath
The Severn Way is a 224-mile footpath which follows the course of River Severn through Mid Wales and western England. Originally the path finished at Severn Beach, but it has recently been extended to Bristol.
The mountainous landscape all through the train is a glorious sight. Alongside the excellent riverside scenery, dozens of rural towns and villages with captivating stories of origin are littered across the trail.
Snowshill Cotswolds – a village known for its exceptional unspoilt beauty
Snowhill is best known for nearby Snowshill Manor – a beautiful picturesque building owned by the National Trust. The manor house hosts an unusual collection of furniture, musical instruments, and toys all collected by the architect and craftsman Charles Wade.
Snowhill is also home to Snowhill Lavender. Start your visit with a tour through 35 acres of lavender fields guaranteed to take your breath away. Here you can also purchase plants, local crafts, and lavender products as souvenirs.