An Introduction to Gloucestershire
With so many of us travelling abroad to holiday, we can easily miss some wonderful destinations much closer to home. The beautiful county of Gloucestershire has much to offer its visitors, from some of the most scenic countryside in England with the rolling Cotswold hills and the picturesque Severn Valley to festivals and plenty of culture and history.
The county is split, for the purpose of tourism, into 5 main regions; the city of Gloucester, the Cotswolds, Cheltenham Spa, The Forest of Dean and Wye Valley and Tewskesbury and Severn Vale. Each area has its own unique charm, whichever area you decide to visit first you will want to return and discover more gems hidden in one of England’s best kept secrets.
The city of Gloucester has succeeded in bringing all the elements of a modern city without compromising on its historic charm. There is much to see and do in Gloucester including several excellent shopping centres, family orientated activities, museums and numerous bars, restaurants and pubs. The magnificent cathedral is well worth a visit as are the famous Gloucester Docks, with millions of pounds invested into the regeneration of the Docklands area this has now become a thriving tourist destination with many waterfront restaurants and cocktail bars, and a designer shopping village among the attractions. With a history stretching back over several centuries you can still see the 15 warehouses dating back to Victorian times which once served what was Britain’s most inland port.
Much has been written about the stunning area of countryside known as the Cotswolds. Designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, any city dwellers who believed real English countryside no longer exists will soon discover England’s green and pleasant land, with sleepy villages, the famous Cotswold sheep grazing on the hills, thatched roofs and honey-coloured Cotswold stone at every turn, this is the real England in all its glory and a wonderful place to visit.
The picturesque town of Cheltenham, or to give it its full name, Cheltenham Spa, is known as the Festival Town of Gloucestershire thanks to its famous association with horse racing. There is more to Cheltenham than its equine fame however and it boasts an array of speciality, artisan shops, unique architecture and the spa waters which gave it its name. There are all sorts of festivals going on here throughout the year so try and coincide your visit to enjoy one of these spectacles. Many a Britain in Bloom award has been won by Cheltenham over the years, so many in fact it has the nickname of “A Town Within a Park”.
The Forest of Dean is one of the last remaining English ancient forests and covers 27,000 acres of countryside. Designated a National Forest Park way back in 1938 and known as a “Queen of Forests” there is a unique combination of outstanding natural beauty and aura of magical mystery here. It has inspired many of the greatest artists and writers including JK Rowling and Tolkein. The forest today can be described as one huge playground such is the choice of visitor attractions and activities on offer here.
The Severn Vale stretches between the Cotswold Scarp, Forest of Dean the Leadon valley and Tewkesbury in the north of Gloucestershire right across to the Severn Bridge in the south west of the county. The most picturesque of rivers, the Severn, winds its way through the orchards and meadows of the county and is a wonderful sight to behold. The ancient settlement of Tewkesbury is the meeting point of the Severn and Avon rivers and offers visitors a host of delights in terms of architecture, attractions, culture and some of the finest restaurants in the south west.
Tags: Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, Tewkesbury