Gloucestershire is a county in South West England, and it is a great place for history and nature buffs to explore. It is approximately 180 km from London and you can reach it by car, bus, train, or boat in a few short hours. Here are just a few wonderful things to see and do during your visit.
- The Gloucestershire Cathedral is a must see. The architecture and the stain glass windows are stunning and it hosts art exhibitions. Parts of the Harry Potter movies were filmed here as well so your kids will surely be captivated too.
- Berkley Castle was built in the 11th century and you can tour through eighty five percent of the castle. The other fifteen percent is still being inhabited by the original Berkley family.
- Tewkesbury Abbey was formerly a Benedictine Monastery and is the second largest parish church in the country. Construction was started in 1121 and it is considered one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in the country.
- The Gloucester Quays is a new shopping area built around the original docks of Gloucestershire. It hosts many shops, bars, and restaurants. It also recently opened a new 10 screen 60m Cineworld Cinema, so catch a movie while you are visiting the area. There are also three floors of antiques in the Gloucester Antiques Centre for those antique hunters.
- The Cotswolds are located to the east of Gloucester and it is a great place for beautiful walks, exploring lovely villages and spectacular scenery.
- You can rent holiday cottages in the Forest of Dean. The Forest of Dean is a known destination for bird watchers and nature lovers. You can see Wood Warblers, Pied flycatchers, Hawfinches, and Redstarts at RSPB Nagshead. The viewpoint at Symonds Yatrock is a good place to see Peregrine Falcons . Reed warblers and Mandarin ducks, can be seen at Cannop Ponds and you can see Dippers at Cannop Brook and the ponds that it runs into. It is also a great place to see insects and butterflies such as White Admiral, Wood White, and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. The glow-worms at Gorsty Knoll and dragonflies at Woorgreen’s lake flutter around freely. There are also many wild boars in the forest for those people interested in spying on a larger wild creature. For the hiker or nature loving walker, there are plenty of trails to explore.
- You can also visit Clearwell Caves in the Forest of Dean. They were once a mine and are now home to a mining museum as well as nine chambers that are easily accessible by the public. In the summer, there are concerts, barbecues and plays in these chambers. There are other chambers to explore for the more adventurous if you hire a guide and wear proper caving gear as well.
- Cardiff, Wales is a lovely place to visit if you’re up for an hour long road trip to the west.
- Oxford is only an hour to the east and it is another great destination when exploring England.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.