7 Best Things to Do in Gloucestershire
From castles and enchanted forests to a tiny Taj Mahal and river surfing, these are some of the best things to do in Gloucestershire.
The county of Gloucestershire is home to some of the UK’s most beautiful landscapes and quaint villages. At Plum Guide, we’re here to tell you about some of the best places you can visit and things to do in this historic part of the UK. It’s safe to say that Gloucestershire is just as appealing for families as it is for couples looking for a romantic getaway. Make sure to pack a good pair of walking shoes, as one of the best things to do in Gloucestershire is to explore the English countryside and enjoy the great outdoors.
Hidden beneath the Forest of Dean, Clearwell Caves is a network of natural caves over 4,500 years old. If the caves look familiar that’s because they’ve been used as the location for small screen classics like His Dark Materials, Dr Who, and The Chronicles of Narnia. Adrenaline seekers can take longer guided tours through the deeper labyrinths of natural and mined caves some 200 ft (62m) below the surface.
If healthcare professionals recommend forest bathing to treat stress then Puzzlewood is the arboreal equivalent of a rolltop tub with bubbles. This enchanted woodland within the ancient Forest of Dean is famous for its rock formations and fauna carpets which cover every surface in a green blanket. Its also home to a hodgepodge of cute woodland creatures and a great place to reconnect with nature.
This is definitely one of the more unique things to do in Gloucestershire. On a visit to Sezincote, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d left Gloucestershire and been transported to India. The Mogul Indian palace in the Cotswolds was heavily influenced by Hindu and Muslim architecture and is credited with influencing the design of the Brighton pavilion after a visit by The Prince Regent in 1807. Take high tea overlooking the garden with its temples, grottoes, waterfalls and canals reminiscent of the Taj Mahal.
While Sezincote Estate is open to the public its bedrooms aren’t. Luckily, those looking for accommodation near this picture-perfect home won’t be disappointed. A night’s stay in nearby Moreton-in-Marsh doesn’t come any better than at Siskin’s Wing. This two-bedroom home which sleeps up to four guests is close to some cute cafes and antique shops, and makes for a luxurious base from which to see some of the best things Gloucestershire has to offer.
Have the Cotswolds taken your fancy? Check out our guide on where to stay in this lovely, bucolic area of England.
Westonbirt, The National Arboretum
We continue with the nature theme at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum. What’s an arboretum we hear you ask? It’s a botanical garden specialising in conifers. This beautifully maintained reserve is well worth a visit not least of for the family-friendly walking and cycling trails.
Bragging rights in the Cotswolds goes to whichever village has the oldest building and they don’t come more historic than Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe. The castle has been called home by kings and queens for nearly 1,000 years and has plenty of stories to share with all those who visit. Wander through the castle’s gardens and don't miss the pheasantry. Sudeley Castle is home to one of the largest public collections of rare and endangered species of pheasants from around the world.
The Severn Bore
Not only is the Severn River the longest in the UK, winding its way 220 miles across the West of England, it’s also home to one the most unusual natural phenomena on these isles. Rising tides move into the funnel-shaped Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary forcing their way upstream in a series of waves, as far as Gloucester and beyond. Surfers come from across the UK to ride the river waves which you can watch from the comfort of a cosy riverside inn. Your best chance of catching the bore is between February to April and August to October.
If the call of the wild is your thing, look no further than Second Nature for a stay with a difference. This hand-picked home offers a sumptuous experience on the outskirts of Cheltenham. It also happens to be close by to the idyllic villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter and a short drive from The Cowley Manor spa for a spot of pampering after a day braving the elements outdoors.
Gloucester Cathedral is one of the oldest in the UK and a must-visit for architecture buffs. Reenact scenes from the Harry Potter films beneath the vaulted ceilings which were often used as locations for the movies, listen to the acclaimed choir, explore the underground crypt, and climb the tower with views over Gloucester. Just a stone’s throw from the cathedral you’ll find the National Waterways Museum, and for the more adventurous, The Warehouse Climbing and Caving Centre.