10 Great Tourist Attractions For “Local Tourists” in Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire, steeped in history and full of natural beauty, has many fabulous tourist attractions. In a county popular with visitors from the length and breadth of Britain, as well as visitors from abroad, there is so much for the locals to visit too. So where do we take our family and friends when they come to stay? The choice is huge, so I’ve narrowed it down to a selection of ten great places to visit.

  • First let’s head for history, with a visit to Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe in the North Cotswolds. Sudeley is famous for a number of Royal reasons, and was once the home of Queen Katherine Parr, Henry VIII ‘s last wife. With exhibitions to see, and beautiful grounds to explore, Sudeley is definitely worth a trip.
  • Back firmly in the present, Slimbridge Wetland Centre, hailed as ‘the birthplace of modern conservation’, is the place to go to see wildlife. Whilst famous largely for its collection of swans, geese and ducks, there is a year-round programme of walks, arts, events, workshops and talks – something for everyone.
  • Another famous attraction is the National Waterways Museum. Set in the heart of the historic Gloucester Docks, the museum is packed with family-friendly galleries and exhibitions which give a window into life on Britain’s inland waterways.
  • Whilst we’re in the centre of Gloucester, let’s take a look at the magnificent Cathedral, consecrated over 900 years ago. It is an outstanding example of English cathedral design, and is also famous as the burial place of King Edward II.
  • Now it’s off into the countryside to one of the most spectacular tree gardens in the world, with over 3,000 different trees and shrub species – Westonbirt Arboretum. A host of events and things to do, from concerts to craft workshops, makes this much more than a beautiful place to explore – although it certainly is just that.
  • Underground exploration is the next on my list. At Clearwell Caves, near Coleford in the Forest of Dean, as well as an extensive natural cave system, one can experience some of Britain’s oldest underground mine workings. There are nine impressive caverns to explore, as well as deep level caving opportunities for the more adventurous!
  • Back on the surface, the Painswick Rococo Garden is a gem of a garden, originally laid out in the early 18th Century and recently restored. It’s particularly famous for its snowdrop display, but there is something to see virtually all year round.
  • The National Trust is a great source of inspiration when it comes to trips out. I’ve just chosen one of the many attractions in Gloucestershire that the Trust manages. The remains of one of the largest Roman Villas in Britain can be found at Yanworth near Cheltenham. At Chedworth Roman Villa some of the fascinating Roman remains include mosaics, bathhouses and hypocausts.
  • And now for something completely different: the 1:9 scale replica of the village of Bourton-on-the-Water is situated in the garden of Bourton’s Old New Inn. Complete with houses, Church and shops, all built in the warm Cotswold stone of the original, the model village is a masterpiece of craftsmanship.
  • It’s always nice to round things off with some music, so number 10 on my list is Keith Harding’s World of Mechanical Music in Northleach. The museum houses an amazing variety of self-playing instruments, and visitors can hear many of them in action.

That’s the end of my list and – you’ve guessed it – there’s so much to see in Gloucestershire that even my selection of ten would take a lot of trips out to complete. But then, you’ve got to start somewhere…

Out and About in Gloucestershire, part of Quoakle – the graphical directory, is one of the newest directories for Days out and Leisure activities. It’s also very easy to use: http://www.quoakle.com/gloucestershire/days-out-and-leisure

Nigel Steele is the designer of Quoakle. Its graphical directory uses images and logos to connect consumers quickly and easily to the websites of local businesses.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nigel_Steele

May 17, 2009 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

Find Timeless Beauty at Winchcombe, Gloucestershire

Cotswold villages are truly spectacular to see, and Winchcome is one of these little gems. It is a place of timeless, unspoiled beauty set amongst a mixture of medieval architecture, tea shops, butchers, bakers, green grocers and cosy stone cottages. It is an ideal base to make if you plan to enjoy some walking in the Cotswolds, and this village justifiably claims more than a thousand years of occupation.

The church of St. Peter in Winchcombe is protected by a collection of gargoyles and it is said that Lewis Carroll modeled his Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland on these. It has rather wickedly been suggested that each of these gargoyles represents a local character from the 1460’s.

A 9th century commemoration to a martyr can be found at nearby St. Kenelm’s Well. So the legend goes, the Boy King, Kenelm was murdered by his power hungry sister. When the men who bore his coffin set it down to rest, a spring gushed out of the ground where the coffin lay. The waters at Kenelm’s Well are said to have the ability to heal. However this legend has been shot full of holes and was more than likely made up by monks to attract pilgrims, and their money to the site.

The ruins of Hailes Abbey can be found just a mile from this village. This abbey claimed to be the protector of a vial of the blood of Christ and was a popular place for pilgrims to visit before the dissolution. This vial of blood was later revealed to be a mixture of saffron and honey. A hotel was built at Hailes Abbey to put-up the more wealthy visitors, it has changed a great deal, but The George Hotel is still there.

One of the most popular attractions in Winchcombe is Sudley Castle. It was the last home in which Catherine Parr lived after Henry VIII died. A matter of weeks after his death this surviving Queen married Sir Thomas Seymour. It is said that she found him making advances on her daughter Elizabeth I (who was then still Princess Elizabeth), so she fled to live in Sudely Castle. Not long after she arrived she died in childbirth. She is buried in the chapel and it contains many mementoes associated with her.

May 16, 2009 at 10:01 am Leave a comment

Gloucestershire – History, Holidays, and Fine Food

Gloucestershire, pronounced Glostershire, is a pretty English county located south west of the English midlands yet not south-west enough to be truly part of the English south-west! The capital of Gloucestershire is the city of Gloucester, and that is where we begin our tour.

The city lies at the foot of the Cotswold Hills on the Severn River at its last point before the river widens and becomes the Severn estuary. There are still docks down on the river, yet today they are mainly used for pleasure and leisure boats. The huge stone warehouses and mills have for the most part been converted into sought after apartments and shops, particularly antique shops. The city is ancient, once Roman named Glevum, and that was by no means its earliest history.

Dominating the skyline is the majestic grey-stone Cathedral. You cannot visit Gloucester without visiting this stunning building. Oddly these days Gloucester is not the biggest town in the county, that honour belongs to nearby Cheltenham, a fast growing bustling town located just a few miles away. Only in England can the city be smaller than the town, but that is how it is here.

Cheltenham is famous for its Regency architecture, outside of the capital second only to Bath in quantity and splendour. The town is also rightly renowned for its National Hunt horse racing meeting, four days in March when half of Ireland seemingly evacuate their blessed isle and trek across the Irish sea to cheer on their favourites to victory (more often than not!) Visit in Cheltenham Gold Cup week and you will be fortunate to find vacant accommodation anywhere within 25 miles of the track. National Hunt racing is for races over jumps, and you won’t find a celebration of jump racing anywhere to match the Cheltenham Festival.

Gloucester is a rugby city, rugby and cricket, Cheltenham for the racing and football, for they possess the only professional soccer team in the county.

Journey half an hour’s drive north of the twin towns and you will come to Tewkesbury, another ancient town with a rich history. It is situated on a gravel spit just above the flood level close to where the rivers Severn and Avon merge. Particularly heavy rainfall makes the inhabitants nervous, and with good reason.

The Abbey dominates this town, the second senior church in the county, and another must see for those interested in such things. The Abbey was founded at the end of the 11th century. Today Tewkesbury still boasts an impressive array of half-timbered houses. Indeed remove the traffic and you could almost believe you were stepping back in time a century, or two, or three, or four!

Tewkesbury has another grizzly piece of history for which it is remembered. The Battle of Tewkesbury fought south of the town on May 4th 1471, a bloody affair in the War of Roses, Lancastrian against Yorkists, the Crown of England at stake. Edward, the Prince of Wales, son of Henry the Sixth was slain, and the Lancastrian cause was fatally wounded with his passing.

But enough of history, and fearsome battles from long ago. Venture south west of Gloucester and follow the Severn River to the Slimbridge Wild Fowl trust. This is a bird sanctuary where thousands of birds are fed and provided for everyday. It was established by the late Sir Peter Scott and is probably the most famous bird reserve in all of England. If you have any interest in bird watching, no matter how slight, a visit to Slimbridge is a treat in store for you.

Venture further east and south of Gloucester and you must climb the Cotswold Hills, a huge limestone ridge that runs diagonally across England almost from Bristol to Oxford. Take the steep road up to Birdlip and turn right at the Air Balloon pub. Look out for the fantastic views from the right as you journey further up and over. The stone is an easy on the eye cream and gold, and the houses, rarely thatched here, preserve the traditional stone colour throughout the county.

Once over the Cotswolds you descend to Cirencester, another ancient town, known as Corinium in Roman times. You can still follow the ancient perfectly straight Roman road from here all the way southeast to Sarum (Salisbury). Today it is a fast four-lane highway, but somehow you just know the ancient Roman road builders would have approved of the new modern highway that follows their route.

Within the Cotswold district you will find umpteen picture postcard villages and small towns with poetic sounding names, such as Bourton-on-the-water, Moreton-in-the-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold, and the more oddly named Upper Slaughter, and Lower Slaughter. In summer these towns become crammed with tourists and day-trippers alike. Perhaps you may prefer quieter sleepier places, perhaps explore some of the lesser known and smaller villages, there are plenty to choose from, and all within easy drives.

The Cotswolds is a very pretty area, rolling lush pastures, rich farmland and no surprise then that Royalty choose to live here. Prince Charles and Princess Anne both keep their main residences in Gloucestershire. Gloucester and Cheltenham boast fast road and rail links to London, two to three hours with a following wind, the local produce is fine cheese, excellent meat, and local lush fruit and vegetables.

Continue your journey across the Severn westwards towards Wales, but before you reach there, explore the Forest of Dean that lies between the Rivers Severn and Wye. Hilly and thickly forested it is home to deer and more recently re-introduced wild boar, not to be trifled with, especially when they are chaperoning youngsters.

Then you descend into the Wye Valley, and once you cross the river, you are in a different country, Wales, home of the Celts. The huge ancient castle at Chepstow and another at Monmouth are reminders of wars gone past, and of the very fact that you are leaving Gloucestershire behind.

If you visit Britain for two weeks, and decide to spend one week in London, a second week in the Cotswolds will come as a welcome change. A chance to wind down. To do some walking, contemplating a slower pace of life, and none the worse for that. Enjoy.

You will find more than 6,000 holiday cottages, villas and apartments worldwide on my web site http://www.pebblebeachmedia.co.uk

David Carter has written hundreds of articles published in a wide variety of publications. His latest work is SPLAM! A 240+ page property letting manual. Check out http://www.splam.co.uk for details. He also runs a holiday cottage website, http://www.pebblebeachmedia.co.uk where you can choose from over 6,000 fantastic holiday cottages, apartments and villas throughout the world. You can contact David directly at supalife@aol.com on any matter.

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May 15, 2009 at 8:29 pm 1 comment

Ten Family-Friendly Attractions in Gloucestershire

  • A castle is a good place to start, and Berkeley Castle is one of the best. It is possibly one of the most outstanding examples of Medieval domestic architecture in England. Special events such as the Steam Rally and the ‘Berkeley Skirmish’ medieval re-enactment are well worth looking out for.
  • Slimbridge Wetland Centre is world renowned for its collection of swans, geese and other wildfowl, and is hailed as the birthplace of conservation. There is a year-round programme of walks, events, workshops and spectacular wildlife encounters. Many of the facilities and activities have been designed specifically with children in mind.
  • Two-wheeled exploration is next on the list, with a trip to Pedalabikeaway near Coleford in the Forest of Dean. Here you can hire bikes for the whole family and hit the trail on one of the many marked cycle tracks in the Forest. Natural beauty, tranquility and exercise all rolled into one!
  • Ideal for children, the 1:9 scale replica of the village of Bourton-on-the-Water is situated in the garden of Bourton’s Old New Inn. Complete with houses, church and shops, all built in the warm Cotswold stone of the original, the model village is a masterpiece of craftsmanship.
  • Underground exploration in Clearwell Caves, near Coleford, will make an exciting trip for the family. There are nine impressive caverns to explore, and some of Britain’s oldest underground mine workings.
  • If it’s wild , action-packed non-stop fun you’re after, then Cattle Country near Berkeley is the place for you. In the play barns you’ll find drop slides, wavy slides, ball pools and much more, whilst outside there is lots to do as well, including rides on the mini train, or bouncing on Britain’s largest jumping pillow. For animal lovers there are opportunities to see deer, bison and cattle, as well as the chance to handle smaller animals.
  • This next one has a more limited season than most attractions, but it’s such fun that I just had to include it: Elton Farm creates three new Giant Maize Mazes every year, large, medium and small. The mazes are themed and provide an unusual and entertaining challenge (potentially a long one!) for all ages , and a number of special events. The Late Night Special is a good one, but don’t forget the torches!
  • The Dean Forest Railway is a good place for railway enthusiasts young and old. In addition to heritage train services for visitors to the Forest of Dean, the railway runs special events suitable for all the family, such as a ‘Day out with Thomas’.
  • Back in the past again, Gloucester Folk Museum is a treasure trove of items relating to local history, domestic life, crafts, trades and industries from about 1500 to the present day. There is a Toys and Childhood gallery, with hands-on toys and a puppet theatre, and there are often events, activities and demonstrations, many of them specifically for children. Another good reason to make the Folk Museum a priority is that it’s absolutely free!
  • Sometimes it’s fun to go somewhere really unusual, so how about being able to tell your friends that you’ve seen the tallest fountain in Britain? Opened on 5th June, 2004, the single-jet fountain at Stantway House rises to 300 feet or more, and is a sight that can’t fail to impress all the family. The house is definitely worth a visit too, but it’s the fountain that steals the show for me.

If you and your family manage to visit all these attractions this year you will be doing well, but rest assured, there are plenty more places to go next year…..and the next…..

“Out and About in Gloucestershire” is one of the newest Days Out and Leisure directories. It is part of Quoakle – the graphical directory: http://www.quoakle.com/gloucestershire/days-out-and-leisure

Nigel Steele is the designer of Quoakle. Its graphical directory uses images and logos to connect consumers quickly and easily to the websites of local businesses.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nigel_Steele

May 15, 2009 at 5:20 pm Leave a comment

Small Town Moreton-In-Marsh, Gloucestershire, England

Southwest England boasts a classic in small town Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, England. The town also sits near the junction of the Fosse Way, once a historic Roman road that ran through the region. Additionally, it lies at the extreme edge of the Cotswold Hills range, in an extremely flat portion of the area. It contributed to the nation’s WWII effort by hosting a Royal Air Force airfield in the same location.

Moreton-in-Marsh has made valuable use of the regionally-famous Cotswold stone in the construction of many of its buildings. When the stone ages over time, it takes on a soft golden tone to its facing. With a history going back over a thousand years to the Saxon era in England. Because of its proximity to the Cotswolds, it makes for a good base from which to go out and explore the surrounding areas.

Moreton-in-Marsh is easily accessible from London, with a major roadway nearby. It also has the benefit of its own railway station, which runs direct from Paddington, in central London. There are several nice hotels and restaurants around the town, making it an excellent tourist stop for a day or even longer.

An interesting geological note is that the areas around the town seem to have been the stopping point of the southernmost advance of ice during the last Ice Age. Also of note, Moreton-in-Marsh, like many English towns, originally grew up around a church. In this case, the town developed outward from a spot still known as ‘Old Town.’ Its original market was begun under charter of King Charles I in 1637.

The county in which Moreton-in-Marsh resides is Gloucestershire. It’s a historic county, first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon chronicle of the 10th century. With a population of nearly 840,000 people, it also is noted for the number and quality of ancient castles which dot the region. Tourists roaming through southwestern England will have an interesting time in both the town and the county.

For a wide selection of Halifax hotels just click here

May 15, 2009 at 4:25 pm Leave a comment


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