15 Best Things To Do In Gloucestershire, England

15 Best Things To Do In Gloucestershire, England

By will

Gloucestershire, England is a stunning county filled with countless things to do. Whether you’re a history buff, outdoor enthusiast, or a shopaholic, there’s something for everyone.
I’ve rounded up the 15 best activities for your next visit, so you can make the most of your time.
From the ancient Gloucester Cathedral to a canal cruise, you won’t be disappointed.
Let’s take a look at the top 15 things to do in Gloucestershire.

Visit Gloucester Cathedral

View to Gloucester Cathedral
Photo by Philip Halling

Exploring Gloucester Cathedral is an awe-inspiring experience that will transport you back to the Middle Ages and allow you to appreciate the beauty of this ancient building.

Dating back to 1089, the cathedral has served as an important religious site for hundreds of years and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Gloucestershire.

The stone walls and stained-glass windows are particularly noteworthy, as are the stunning wood carvings and tombs.

The cathedral also features an impressive library and a beautiful cloister.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the cathedral or explore it on their own. Either way, it’s a must-see destination for anyone visiting Gloucestershire.

Taking time to admire the architecture and soak in the history of Gloucester Cathedral is an unforgettable experience.

Explore the Cotswolds

The Cotswold Way leaving Upton Wood
Photo by Tim Heaton

Immersing yourself in the rolling hills of the Cotswolds is a captivating experience that will leave you mesmerized.

Stretching across six counties, the region offers a diverse range of activities and attractions to explore. From the picturesque old-world villages and market towns to its vast countryside, the Cotswolds has something for everyone.

If you’re a history buff, you’ll love visiting the many medieval castles and abbeys scattered throughout the area. These ancient sites will take you back in time to explore their rich pasts.

The Cotswolds also has plenty of museums, art galleries, and stately homes to explore. And don’t forget to try some of the traditional village pubs and restaurants for a truly authentic English experience.

For the outdoor enthusiast, the Cotswolds offers a variety of activities to keep you busy. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a full-on adventure, the area has something for everyone. From fishing and cycling to horseback riding and golf, the possibilities are endless.

With its stunning scenery and abundance of activities, the Cotswolds is the perfect destination for anyone looking to explore the best of what England has to offer.

Take a Hike in the Forest of Dean

Birch Wood, Forest of Dean
Photo by Stuart Wilding

Stroll the ancient tracks of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire and experience the beauty of England’s oldest and largest oak and beech forest.

With over 8,000 acres of woodland to explore, you can take in the scenic views of the River Wye and the rolling hills of the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

With plenty of trails of all levels of difficulty, you’re sure to find the perfect route for you. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, take your pick from the many tracks and trails.

The Forest of Dean is full of wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for its residents. Along the way, you could spot fallow deer, badgers, foxes, buzzards, and a variety of woodland birds. You might even catch sight of the elusive wild boar.

With its ancient trees and tranquil atmosphere, it’s the perfect destination for a nature-filled day out.

So go ahead, take a step back in time and enjoy the beauty of the Forest of Dean.

Check out Cheltenham Racecourse

Take in the thrilling atmosphere of Cheltenham Racecourse, where you can witness the excitement of a horse race up close. The atmosphere of Cheltenham Racecourse is one of its most appealing features, with the grandstands buzzing with anticipation as the horses make their way onto the track.

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It’s a great place to spend an afternoon, even if you don’t plan to bet. There are plenty of viewing areas, as well as a wide selection of food and beverage options.

If you’re a horse racing fan, you’re sure to love the atmosphere of Cheltenham Racecourse. Plus, you can follow the races online if you can’t make it to the track. You can also explore the on-site museum and take a guided tour to learn more about the history of the venue and the sport.

Whether you’re a racing enthusiast or just looking for a fun day out, Cheltenham Racecourse is a great option.

Go on a Canal Cruise

Cruise along the tranquil waterways of Gloucestershire on a canal boat tour and take in the beautiful scenery of England’s countryside.

Enjoy an unforgettable journey with a knowledgeable guide, who’ll share stories about the area’s history and the cultural significance of the canals.

Glide slowly through the countryside and take a break at a lock, where you can watch the boat rise and fall with the changing water levels.

Marvel at the stunning views of the rolling hills and lush meadows, and keep an eye out for wildlife such as swans, ducks, and even kingfishers.

The boat tours are great for all ages, and you can even bring your own picnic and drinks on board.

After the cruise, explore the nearby towns and villages and stop off at a local pub for a traditional meal.

There’s no better way to experience the beauty of Gloucestershire than by taking a canal boat cruise.

So don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to explore one of England’s most picturesque counties.

Hike Up the Malvern Hills

Soak in the stunning views of Gloucestershire as you hike up the Malvern Hills! The Malvern Hills are a range of hills in the English Midlands that offer some of the most breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

The hills are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with expansive views of the counties Worcestershire and Herefordshire. There are various trails of varying lengths and difficulty, so hikers of all levels can enjoy the scenery.

The longest trail is the Worcestershire Way, which is approximately 35 miles long. The path offers a variety of landscapes, from forests and fields to quaint villages and hidden gems.

Enjoy the fresh air and scenery as you make your way up the hills, taking in the beauty of Gloucestershire. Take a break at the top and admire the views of the Severn Valley, the Black Mountains, and the Cotswolds.

Hiking the Malvern Hills is a great way to experience the beauty of Gloucestershire.

Take a Photo at Stroud Water Canal

Capture the beauty of Gloucestershire and take a snap of the Stroud Water Canal!

One of the most unique and picturesque places in the county, the Stroud Water Canal is a great spot to take a few photos while exploring the area. The canal has a long history, having been built in the 18th century to transport goods to the area’s industrial centers. Today, it remains a popular destination for visitors, who can take in the tranquil beauty of the canal while snapping a few photos for their albums.

The Stroud Water Canal is a narrow channel that winds its way through the countryside, lined with trees and lush greenery. The banks of the canal are lined with stone walls, and the wooden bridges that span its width make for stunning photographs.

The canal is a great place for a leisurely walk, as it takes you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Gloucestershire. You can also take a boat ride along the canal, which provides a unique view of the surrounding area.

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Whether you’re a budding photographer or a seasoned traveler, the Stroud Water Canal is an ideal spot for capturing the beauty of Gloucestershire.

Visit Westonbirt Arboretum

Take a stroll through Westonbirt Arboretum and discover its incredible beauty for yourself!

This stunning arboretum is located in the Cotswolds Hills of Gloucestershire and is home to an impressive collection of trees, shrubs, and plants from around the world.

It’s a great place to explore with its incredible variety of exotic species, diverse wildlife, and beautiful landscapes.

You can take a leisurely walk or even rent a bike and explore the trails.

There are plenty of activities to choose from including bird watching, wildflower spotting, or just soaking up the tranquility of the area.

You can also take a guided tour to learn more about the history and botany of the arboretum.

It’s an excellent way to spend a day in Gloucestershire, and you’re sure to be amazed by the beauty of Westonbirt Arboretum.

Take a Tour of Tewkesbury Abbey

Experience the grandeur of Tewkesbury Abbey as you wander its awe-inspiring halls.

Tewkesbury Abbey is a historic religious building located in Gloucestershire, England. Built in the 11th century, the abbey is a magnificent example of Norman architecture, and its grounds offer some of the most stunning landscapes in the region.

As you explore the abbey, you’ll find a plethora of fascinating artifacts, including stained glass windows, ornate tombs, and richly decorated chapels. The abbey’s history is reflected in its many features, from its tranquil cloisters to its grand central tower.

Take a guided tour of this remarkable site and learn about its past and present. You’ll be able to explore the many chapels, crypts, and monuments that make up the abbey, as well as its impressive collection of art and artifacts. From the Great East Window to the stunning fan vaulting, you’ll be amazed by the craftsmanship and artistry of this stunning building.

After your tour, take some time to relax in the abbey’s peaceful gardens or enjoy a cup of tea in the café.

A visit to Tewkesbury Abbey is sure to be a memorable experience.

Try a Local Cider

Sipping a glass of local cider is a great way to relax and enjoy the beauty of Gloucestershire. The county is home to some of the best ciders in England, made from apples grown in the region.

The best way to get a sampling of the local cider is to visit one of the many cider farms in the area. You’ll be able to try different varieties and learn about the history and production of cider. Many farms offer tours that provide a unique opportunity to learn about the cider-making process and sample some of the best cider available.

You can also find local cider pubs that serve a variety of ciders on tap. These pubs are a great place to meet locals and experience the authentic culture of Gloucestershire. Enjoy a pint or two and get to know those living in the area while sampling the best ciders of the region.

Enjoy a Day at Berkeley Castle

Immerse yourself in history and explore the ancient walls of Berkeley Castle for a truly memorable day. Located in the small village of Berkeley, the castle has been standing since the 11th century and is one of the oldest structures in the country.

The castle is best known for being the site of the murder of King Edward II in 1327. Nowadays, the castle is open to visitors who can explore its grounds and learn about its rich history.

In addition to its fascinating history, Berkeley Castle also offers a wealth of attractions for visitors. You can explore the castle’s grounds and take in the beautiful gardens and grounds. Inside, you will find a state-of-the-art museum, offering a comprehensive look into the castle’s past.

You can also take part in a guided tour of the castle, where you can learn more about the castle’s history and architecture. There is also a café onsite, offering delicious refreshments to enjoy while you take in the stunning views.

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Whether you’re looking for a day of exploration or simply want to soak up the atmosphere, Berkeley Castle is a must-see destination when visiting Gloucestershire.

Visit Painswick Rococo Garden

Discover the beauty of Painswick Rococo Garden, a stunningly landscaped 18th-century garden located in Gloucestershire, England.

Located on the foothills of the Cotswolds, the garden is a true masterpiece of the rococo style. It features sculpted hedges, winding paths, and beautiful waterfalls.

This Grade I listed garden is a perfect spot to relax and unwind. The garden is open to visitors from April to October and is a great place to explore.

The garden has a number of features, such as a deer park, a lake, an orchard, a beautiful arboretum, and a walled kitchen garden. Visitors can also take part in various activities, such as guided tours, workshops, and educational activities.

Painswick Rococo Garden also hosts a number of events throughout the year. These include a summer concert series, a winter lantern festival, and a sculpture exhibition.

The garden is a great place to explore and admire the beauty of nature.

Go Shopping in Cheltenham

Take a stroll around Cheltenham, a beautiful town in Gloucestershire, England, and experience the exquisite shopping opportunities it has to offer.

Whether you’re after a luxury shopping experience or looking for a bargain, Cheltenham has something for everyone.

From high-end boutiques and designer shops to vintage and second-hand stores, you’ll find everything you need in Cheltenham.

The town is also home to a number of independent retailers, offering unique items that you won’t find anywhere else.

There are also plenty of options for food and drink, with a variety of cafes, bars and restaurants dotted around the town.

With its charming streets and historic architecture, Cheltenham is a great place to spend a day exploring and shopping.

Take a Tour of Gloucester Docks

Explore the picturesque Gloucester Docks for a glimpse of the city’s maritime history. Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about the city, this is one of the best places to visit in Gloucestershire.

Located in the city center, Gloucester Docks is home to many historic buildings, including warehouses, basins, and canals, as well as a variety of shops, restaurants, and pubs. On the dock, you can find historical artifacts, including a replica of a trading vessel that was built in the 18th century.

Take a leisurely stroll along the quay to admire the old warehouses and take in the beauty of the canals. You can also take a guided tour to learn more about the history of the docks.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day out or an educational experience, a visit to Gloucester Docks is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

Take a Steam Train Ride Through the Cotswolds

Experience the stunning countryside of the Cotswolds with a steam train ride through the region’s rolling hills.

A ride on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is the perfect way to take in the breathtaking views of this picturesque landscape.

The journey passes through villages like Toddington, Winchcombe, and Broadway, providing passengers with plenty of opportunities to explore quaint market towns, visit historic sites, and experience the beautiful countryside.

The steam train ride is a great way to make the most of a day out in the Cotswolds.

You can enjoy a leisurely ride along the route, stopping off at interesting places of interest along the way.

There are plenty of opportunities to take picturesque photos and capture the beauty of the region.

The train also stops at charming country pubs for a bite to eat and a chance to sample some of the local specialties.

Whatever your interests, the trip offers a unique experience and a chance to explore the beauty of the Cotswolds in a truly unique way.


I’ve had a great time exploring all the best things to do in Gloucestershire, England.

From taking a canal cruise to exploring the beautiful Cotswolds, there’s something for everyone here.

Shopping in Cheltenham and taking a steam train ride through the Cotswolds are also great ways to enjoy the area.

I’m sure I’ll be back to experience more of what Gloucestershire has to offer.

I definitely recommend it as a must-see destination for anyone looking to experience the best of England.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.