A weekend in Gloucester
Enjoy a fascinating long weekend in this cathedral city
With Roman, Norman, Saxon and medieval remains, Gloucester is a must-visit for any history buff. A wander around the helpfully named four principal streets – Westgate, Eastgate, Southgate and Northgate – offers visitors a pleasingly varied cacophony of old and new buildings with the historic butted up against the modern.
The changing fortunes of the city over the centuries are laid out for all to see, from its ancient origins through a long period of ecclesiastical prestige to its more recent industrial heritage. Thinking of paying a visit? Take a look at our recommendations, all of which are rated by the AA and/or VisitEngland.
Things to do
Founded as Roman Glevum, a garrison town on the very western frontier of occupied England, Gloucester slowly evolved to become a settlement for retired legionnaires. The sheer number of villas in the area remain testament to this. Little remains of the Roman town itself though, aside from sections of city wall and mosaics, housed in the Museum of Gloucester on Brunswick Road.
Most of the city’s main sites of interest are Saxon or later. In the 7th century, the Saxon’s established the monastery of St Peter and the city’s status as a religious hotspot began. Gloucester Cathedral which stands on the site of the first abbey church is a superb blend of Norman and Perpendicular Gothic, with ornate vaulting, stained glass windows and an impressive (albeit later) tower that houses Great Peter, the last Medieval Bourdon bell.The city is dotted with other medieval buildings, including Blackfriars, the finest surviving Dominican friary in the country.
No visit to Gloucester is not complete without a walk around the docks. Now home to cafés, shops and restaurants, the city’s once-crucial role as the most inland port in the country is still clear. A visit to the National Waterways Museum here tells the tale.
Where to eat
Whether you’re looking for a cosy pub meal or refined modern dining, Gloucester should have something to suit most tastes. The foodie hub of Cheltenham is also within easy reach.