I’ve just returned from a housewarming party hosted by a friend in Cheltenham, a city which isn’t usually on the tourist map, though there is a lot to do in Gloucestershire. Here are some suggestions for things to do if you find yourself in the county:
1. Visit Gloucester Cathedral
Gloucester is home to one of the most beautiful Anglican Cathedrals in the country, which can be visited free of charge, though I recommend leaving a donation. The land around the Cathedral is currently being redeveloped into a green space in the city centre of Gloucester. The building is rich in history, local and national, and is well worth making the trip into Gloucester to see.
2. Walk the Cotswold Way
The Cotswolds, an area of outstanding natural beauty in western England offers well managed walking routes for ramblers, across green countryside and rolling hills. The Cotswold way is a 100 mile route stretching the length of the county as far south as Bath. The map you will need is the OL 45, though the terrain is very safe and most routes are along well marked paths.
3. Visit a Spa in Cheltenham
Cheltenham developed massively as a city after it was turned into a Spa town in the late 18th century, becoming a place where the wealthy could come to visit spas in order to improve their health. This continues today, and Cheltenham is home to a number of spas at various price points, the cheapest being Leisure at Cheltenham, where you can enter the spa for £7.40 as an adult – this offers a relaxing end to a long walk.
4. Visit Chedworth Roman Villa
Gloucestershire was one of the most Romanized parts of Britain, a fact which is reflected in the large number of Roman sites excavated in the county and borne tribute to by a statue of the emperor Nerva in Gloucester city centre. Chedworth Roman Villa, a National Trust site, is one of them and is well worth visiting.
5. Visit the Forest of Dean
The Forest of Dean is a large wooded area in the western part of the county, and can be visited for walking, horse-riding, kayaking and a variety of other outdoor activities – it is worth making the trip!