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Home | Guidebooks | Gloucester

A visitor’s guide to Gloucester

About Gloucester

Gloucester is a lively and vibrant city with lots to do. Whether you are staying in the Cotswolds and fancy a trip to Gloucester’s historic dock and Cathedral, or even if the city hasn’t been on your list to visit until now, we are sure you will enjoy time spent exploring Gloucester as part of your Cotswold tour. The city has lots to offer, including walking routes along the Gloucester and Sharpness canal, historic docklands, shopping, eating and drinking at Gloucester Quays, as well as several festivals hosted on the waterfront throughout the year. The city is a great destination for all, from Rugby supporters to Harry Potter fans and everyone in between!

  1. Gloucester Cathedral
  2. Gloucester Quays Outlet
  3. Eastgate Viewing Chamber at the Museum of Gloucester
  4. Cheltenham Racecourse
  5. Gloucester Tall Ships Festival
  6. National Waterways Museum
  7. Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum
  8. Jet Age Museum
  9. Victorian Christmas Market at Gloucester Quays
  10. Gloucester Brewery
  1. House of The Tailor of Gloucester Museum and Shop
  2. Gloucester Quays Outlet Shopping
  3. Museum of Gloucester
  4. Jet Age Museum
  5. JDR Karting
  6. Gloucester Antiques Centre
  7. Trapped Escape Rooms
  8. Warehouse Climbing Centre
  9. The Spa at Hallmark Hotel
  10. Gloucester Guildhall

Gloucester Cathedral
10-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station

Visit the Cathedral in the heart of Gloucester’s city centre and enjoy the celestial surroundings of the 678-9 AD building. Whether you choose to join in with a service, light a candle for someone special, or simply wander around, taking in the surroundings, Gloucester’s cathedral is worth a visit. The whole vast building is spectacular, but the stained-glass windows are perhaps the most dazzling to witness. For fans of Harry Potter, parts of the Cathedral may look familiar. Did someone say troll in the dungeon?

Jet Age Museum
17-minute drive from Gloucester City Centre

Staffed entirely by knowledgeable and helpful volunteers, the Jet Age Museum is home to some great displays and exhibits. This includes a full-sized replica of Britain’s First Jet, a RAF Gladiator biplane and World War II Hawker Typhoon, both of which are currently being restored at the museum.

Museum of Gloucester
7-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station

This is perhaps the best way to immerse yourself in Gloucester’s culture and history. Explore the city’s Roman origins and its past through the Dark Ages and Medieval period. The Museum has an interesting selection of art, as well as the Eastgate Viewing Chamber, where you can see Roman remains, a 13th century tower, and the Tudor ‘horse-pool’. The subterranean site has a glass ceiling and can partially be viewed from street level on Eastgate Street.

National Waterways Museum
18-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station

The award-winning National Waterways Museum is the perfect place to learn about Gloucester’s waterways in a fun and interactive way. With exhibits and displays, café and museum shop, it’s a great destination for all the family to enjoy. Best of all, your ticket is valid for 12 months, so if you missed anything on your first visit, or simply fancy another wander around the exhibits, you will be welcomed back.

Nature in Art Museum and Art Gallery
14-minute drive from Gloucester City Centre

This museum in Twigworth is the world’s first museum dedicated to displaying fine, decorative, and applied art inspired by nature. Not only is there fabulous art and curios to see within, the museum building itself is also worthy of note, earning a well-deserved place in the book, ‘England’s 1000 Best Houses’. Well worth a visit for culture-vultures.

Nature in Art

GL1 Leisure Centre
7-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station

GL1 is a large leisure complex with four swimming pools, indoor and outdoor courts, and soft play area. Whether you’re looking for something to keep the kids entertained all day, or you just fancy a morning swim before spending the rest of the day exploring the Cotswolds, GL1 is an ideal spot for family-friendly activities.

JDR Karting
21-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station

JDR Karting is fun for all the family in the heart of Gloucester. The centre provides go karting, axe-throwing, lasertag, and segway. JDR Karting is only a 6-minute walk from Gloucester Quays. After a morning spent racing around the track in a go-kart, why not head over to the Quays and docks area to refuel.

St James City Farm
18-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station

Bringing the countryside to the city, St James City Farm is a calm retreat in bustling surroundings. Expect to see sheep, goats, rabbits, horses and more. Head over to the farm to spend an hour or two in a small slice of the countryside.

Trapped Escape Rooms
11-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station

A great activity to do with older children and teenagers, Trapped Escape Rooms offer two themed rooms: Zombie Apocalypse and The Butcher. Each escape room lasts for an hour. The question is, will you get out in time? Note: there is a minimum age of 8 years old for visitors, and those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

11-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station

Virtual reality has quickly become a popular way to be immersed in another world. VRXPerience offers a variety of experiences using virtual reality headsets. Try your luck in an Alice in Wonderland themed escape game, or race against friends in a realistic driving experience – the ones the professionals use to practice!

Warehouse Climbing Centre
12-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station

Warehouse Climbing Centre offers climbing, bouldering, and caving experiences within the refurbished Victorian warehouse. The perfect destinations for families and children, the Warehouse has an Activity Ticket, which allows visitors to try taster sessions of the various activities on offer. Great for those who haven’t attempted climbing before and for children who just want to try everything!

Café Rene
11-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station
Perfect for: lunch, dinner, drinks, pub grub

‘Gloucester’s best-known secret’, Café Rene is a classic characterful and charming English pub. It’s renowned for its live music scene and great food, so why not pop by for a relaxed pub lunch, or make an evening of it with a pint whilst enjoying music from a local band.

11-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station
Perfect for: breakfast, lunch, coffee, cakes, ice cream

Clementine is situated just across from Gloucester Cathedral and is a great spot to relax. There is the option to sit outside or inside, and the café is spacious, light, and airy. Enjoy a range of fresh cakes or try their artisan gelato. Clementine has a sister café in Montpellier, Cheltenham.

Greek on the Docks
16-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station
Perfect for: tapas and small plates, dinner, drinks, Greek, Mediterranean

Greek on the Docks is a lovely inviting place to dine and socialise. With large glass windows and doors overlooking Gloucester’s historic dock, and delicious authentic food, the restaurant is a great place for dinner and drinks.

Guru Coffee House
11-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station
Perfect for: breakfast, lunch, coffee, smoothies, juices

Guru Coffee House is a hidden gem in the centre of Gloucester. The café has a lovely atmosphere and is great for a relaxed, unhurried breakfast or lunch. Guru offers a wide range of coffees, as well as freshly made smoothies and juices.

On Toast
17-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station
Perfect for: lunch, coffee, snacks

A favourite with the locals, On Toast serves toasties with a twist. With savoury and sweet options including traditional choices like ham and cheese, and more unusual fillings, including Mars bar and Crème Egg. Order your toasties on the phone ahead of time and pick them up on your walk along the docks.

Queens Fish and Chips Restaurant
25-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station
Perfect for: good old fish and chips!

Queens serve lovely, traditional fish and chips from their restaurant and offer eating in or takeaway options. If you’re staying nearby, Queens is on Deliveroo, so you don’t even need to leave your cottage!

The Comfy Pew Café and Bistro
11-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station
Perfect for: breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, coffee, cakes

Like Clementine, The Comfy Pew is just across from Gloucester Cathedral. The café and bistro serves hearty, wholesome food, including full English breakfasts, freshly made sandwiches with chips, and Sunday roasts. Take a pew at The Comfy Pew and enjoy a great meal in characterful surroundings.

The Knobbly Cob
10-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station
Perfect for: lunch, coffee, cakes

Another hidden gem and a favourite with the locals, The Knobbly Cob serves fresh sandwiches and baguettes, salad boxes, jacket potatoes, and homemade soups. Sit in, or take your lunch to the Cathedral grounds, a 2-minute walk away, to enjoy lunch with a view.

The Square
10-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station
Perfect for: breakfast, lunch, coffee

The Square serves hot meat and bacon baps, freshly made sandwiches, as well as jacket potatoes, and cakes. Choose to sit within their intimate outdoor seating area or take your freshly made breakfast or lunch at sit by the waterfront at the Quays, less than a 5-minute walk away.

The Square, Gloucester

Battle-Hill Ultimate Laser Tag
12-minute drive from Gloucester City Centre

Unlike with paintballing, you won’t come away from laser tag covered in bruises. Battle-Hill laser tag is suitable for children over six, and is described as ‘Call of Duty in the woods’. A breakdown of your game is available at the end of your match, so there need be no arguments about who shot who! A fun and interactive experience for all.

Gloucester Ski & Snowboard Centre
11-minute drive from Gloucester City Centre

Ski, snowboard, or tube down Gloucester’s all-year-around ski slope. Perfect for novices and experts alike, the centre offers a great day out for all. They also have a lodge on site, so visitors can indulge in some après ski – just like being in Verbier!

International Centre for Birds of Prey
25-minute drive from Gloucester City Centre

See rare Birds of Prey up close and watch flying demonstrations delivered by experts in the field – literally and figuratively! You can expect to see a variety of unusual birds, and the centre offers experience days including Country Walk with a Hawk and an Owl Evening. A brilliant way to learn about unusual and magnificent bird species.

Newbridge Farm Park
31-minute drive from Gloucester City Centre

Newbridge Farm Park is a great option for families with young children. The Farm offers a fun and bumpy tractor ride, and exotic animals, including skunks, snakes, bearded dragons, and tortoises. Experience the Exotic Animal Encounter, where you are able to see and touch unusual animals!

SUP Gloucester
29-minute drive from Gloucester City Centre

Stand up paddle boarding is the fastest growing watersport in the world. SUP Gloucester gives visitors the opportunity to explore Gloucester and its waterways at a distinctly slow pace… unless the current is with you! They offer a range of options for your ride and can devise bespoke routes and experiences for visitors.

SUP Gloucester

Eastgate Shopping Centre
11-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station

Eastgate Shopping Centre is home to high street favourites, including Marks and Spencer, which has a food hall, H&M, and Boswells cafe, amongst others. Eastgate indoor market, situated inside the shopping centre, is great for fresh meat, fish, cheese and olives, as well as stalls offering key-cutting services and kitchenware.

Gloucester Antique Centre
10-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station

Located on Westgate street, Gloucester Antiques Centre is a treasure-trove of curios from times gone by. The centre has featured on BBC’s Bargain Hunt, and it’s modest exterior belies the fantastic and extensive displays within. Why not take a look – you might just be surprised!

Gloucester Quays Outlet
21-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station

Gloucester Quays shopping has big brands, including Nike, Levi’s, and Marks and Spencer – all with a discount. The Quays also have a great selection of restaurants and eateries, including Wagamama’s, Coal, and Bill’s. Bag a bargain, then enjoy relaxed dining and drinking on the waterfront.

High Street
11-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station

The high street in Gloucester comprises of four main streets – Northgate, Eastgate, Southgate, and Westgate. Expect high street favourites and look out for the great independent shops that are dotted along the high street, too. Visit on a Friday and you’ll find a small number of local stalls selling cookies, breads, and hot food.

Kingswalk Shopping Centre
11-minute walk from Gloucester Train Station

Kingswalk is a small, covered shopping area in the heart of the city centre. Superdrug, WHSmith’s, Greggs, and Costa are all available here, and it’s a great addition to the high street and Eastgate Shopping Centre.

Gloucester Civic Trust Walking Tours
Starting points vary

Gloucester Civic Trust offer numerous different walking tours around the city. Why not try a guided walking tour – it’s a great way to soak up as much of the history and culture of Gloucester as you can.

Gloucester Walking Tours
Starting points vary

Gloucester Walking Tours have three walking routes available to access for free; Gloucester City Centre, Gloucester Docks, and Kings, Queens and Martyrs tour. Choose one or try all three for a great day exploring the sights.

Robinswood Hill
11-minute drive from Gloucester City Centre

Robinswood Hill is a great walk. As the name suggests, it’s a fairly steep climb, but for those who take on the challenge, you will be rewarded with brilliant views of Gloucester, Gloucestershire, and the surrounding areas.

For more information about walking and cycling, take a look at our Walking and Cycling Guides online.

Cedars Health and Beauty
11-minute walk from Gloucester City Centre

Take a moment away from the hustle and bustle of the city to unwind at Cedars. They offer lovely treatments, including manicures, lash extensions, pregnancy and regular massages.

The Spa at Hatherley Manor
14-minute drive from Gloucester City Centre

Hatherley Manor offers brilliant spa treatments in calming and tranquil surroundings. From wraps and scrubs to biotech facials and manicures, you’ll feel totally relaxed and serene by the time you leave.

ZenZero Spa
11-minute walk from Gloucester City Centre

ZenZero Spa is an intimate and relaxing spa on Gloucester Docks. Head over for a massage with a view of the waterfront, or pamper yourself with a manicure before heading out for dinner and drinks at the Quays.

Barnwood Park and Arboretum
10-minute drive from Gloucester City Centre

Barnwood Park is open 24/7, whilst the Arboretum has changing opening hours. The Arboretum is a local nature reserve and a great way to spend a couple of hours. Visit in autumn to see the trees at their most spectacular.

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens
48-minute drive from Gloucester City Centre

A little further afield but worth travelling for, Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens is a great destination to visit whilst in Gloucester and the Cotswolds. The park has a huge selection of animals and runs daily activities, which include Penguin feeding, Lemur feeding talk, and, if you’re lucky, Big Cat feeding time!

Painswick Rocco Gardens
20-minute drive from Gloucester City Centre

Spend some time in the beautiful, manicured gardens at Painswick. Wonderful all year round, you can enjoy snowdrops in winter, daffodils in spring, roses and sweet peas in summer, and the gold and auburn leaves of exotic trees in autumn.

WWT Slimbridge
26-minute drive from Gloucester City Centre

Get closer to nature at Slimbridge Wetland Centre as you meander by the lakes and pools, home to a range of bird species, including unusual ducks, geese, swans, and flamingos. Purchase a bag of seed and hand feed the birds – just look out for the cheeky pigeons who take full advantage of the food!

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