Our Top Days Out In Gloucestershire


Friday 13th October, 2023

Our Top Days Out In Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire really is the most extraordinary place. This county in the West of England features parts of the Cotswolds, the Wye Valley, the Forest of Dean and Offa’s Dyke. As well as Gloucester itself, there’s elegant Cheltenham and historic Tewkesbury, as well as some of the prettiest market towns and most photogenic villages in England.

Add to this a rich collection of historic sites and visitor attractions and you really do have one of the best places for a varied holiday. With so much on the doorstep of your Gloucester holiday cottage, it can be hard to know where to start! Here’s the Handpicked Cottages guide to the best things to do in Gloucestershire.

Historic Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire has a long history of human occupation, as its large collection of prehistoric sites shows. Try the chambered burial tomb at Belas Knap, Nympsfield Long Barrow or Salmonsbury Camp near Bourton-on-the-Water.

Compared with these scheduled ancient monuments, Chedworth Roman Villa is positively modern. The ruins of this once-impressive villa are very well explained, and there’s a museum that goes into further detail. As you’d expect from the National Trust, Chedworth has a fine shop and cafe.

Fast-forward a few more centuries to the medieval Berkeley Castle, where Edward II was brutally murdered (please don’t ask us how). Don’t miss the splendid Sudeley Castle, best-known for being the residence of Henry VIII’s surviving queen, Katherine Parr. 17th-century Dyrham Park is set in the most glorious old parkland, while if you love a smaller-scale garden, visit Snowshill Manor near pretty Broadway.

Family days out

If you’re on holiday in Gloucestershire with the kids, you’ll find plenty of family-friendly attractions to visit. Birdland Park & Gardens in Bourton-on-the-Water is a must-visit attraction if your children love wildlife and there are nine acres of wooded gardens to explore.

Stay in Bourton to see the famous Model Village in the grounds of the Old New Inn. It’s a perfect little replica of the picturesque spot, including its famous bridges. It’s still not time to leave: this relatively small place boasts yet another family-friendly attraction, the Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection. Parents: prepare to feel old…

Fancy a real adventure with the family? Explore Clearwell Caves in (or rather, under) the Forest of Dean. It’s quite a challenging trip and suitable for children over 7 only. Daredevils will also love the two Go Ape locations in the Forest of Dean (this time, well above ground level!). If they’re still not tired, a few laps at JDR Karting should do it.

Walking in Gloucestershire

Gloucester is fantastic walking county. There’s a choice of well-maintained and clearly signed walking routes in the Cotswolds, including the Cotswolds Way, which stretches for 102 miles between Chipping Campden and Bath, the Warden’s Way and the Windrush Way. Most of these routes incorporate welcoming local pubs and shallow rivers for your pooch to splash in.

There’s also excellent walking in the beautiful Forest of Dean. For a stroll with a difference, try the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail. The famous Offa’s Dyke walk also passes through Gloucestershire, taking in some of the county’s most stunning scenery on its way along the Wye Valley.

Beautiful Gloucestershire Gardens

Painswick Rococo Garden was once the grounds of an 18th-century estate. Its highlights include water features and a topiary walk, and check out their events programme for outdoor theatre.

Hidcote Manor Gardens (National Trust) near Chipping Campden is a gorgeously intricate collection of Arts and Crafts-style gardens. You’ll need to book your ticket in advance (try to time it around lunch, to make the most of the garden’s cafe!).

See the trees from a whole new perspective at Westonbirt National Arboretum near Tetbury, with its impressive Stihl Tree Top Walkway. The path is 13 metres above the forest floor, with features like a rope bridge adding fun for younger visitors. Batsford Arboretum (Moreton in Marsh) is also worth exploring. These beautiful gardens are home to specimens from all over the world, as well as a rather lovely garden centre.

Exploring Gloucester and other Cities/Towns

Gloucestershire may be known for its pretty little villages and verdant countryside, but it’s also home to some vibrant towns and cities. Gloucester itself is a great place to shop, eat and drink, and of course, see its famous cathedral.

Visit elegant Regency town Cheltenham, famous for its racecourse and lovely architecture. Find out more about Romano-British Cirencester in its fascinating Corinium Museum, before heading off to explore its collection of independent shops. Tewkesbury is a riverside medieval market town, with some wonderful old buildings including the Abbey.

Food and drink in Gloucestershire

Stinking Bishop cheese washed down with a pint of Yubby: Gloucestershire food and drink is hearty, traditional and absolutely delicious. If you love food, you’ve come to the right county, as Gloucestershire produces so many fabulous ingredients.

There are plenty of local independent food shops, delis and markets: perfect for your self-catering Gloucestershire holiday cottage or picnic basket. However, you really must make time for lunch or dinner at a traditional Gloucestershire pub. Many of these cosy hostelries have stood for centuries and you’ll have your pick of old thatched buildings, snug inglenooks and pretty riverside gardens.

Relax in your Gloucestershire Holiday Cottage

After an invigorating walk along the River Windrush, pick up your Gloucester Old Spot sausages and local cider and head back to your comfortable holiday cottage. Here at Handpicked Cottages, we have a selection of luxurious holiday homes in Gloucestershire, all within easy reach of these wonderful places.

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