How to Spend a Weekend in Gloucester and Cheltenham

How to Spend a Weekend in Gloucester and Cheltenham

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Dramatic aerial view of idyllic rolling patchwork farmland and houses with pretty wooded boundaries, lit in warm early evening sunshine in the heart of the Cotswolds, England - Weekend Itinerary for Gloucester and Cheltenham

Escape the Everyday with a weekend away in Gloucester and Cheltenham this summer time!

Looking for a getaway in England that provides a wider vary of issues to do? One with tradition, historical past, countryside, and tons of enjoyable actions to strive?

Then a weekend away exploring the neighbouring cities of Gloucester and Cheltenham might be best!

Enjoy the Regency-era grandeur of Cheltenham, with its large parks and packed schedule of occasions. There’s a purpose they name this “The Festival Town”!

Over in historic Gloucester, uncover centuries of historical past within the Cathedral, alongside the redeveloped Dockside, and within the now-abandoned Prison.

Both are proper on the sting of The Cotswolds, one of the crucial idyllic areas of England identified for its rolling countryside and quaint villages. So you’ll be able to simply mix city and countryside on a vacation right here.

In reality, top-of-the-line methods to benefit from the space is to ebook a resort on the sting of the Cotswolds AONB, between each cities. Preferably a resort with a spa! That means, you’ll be able to get up to recent nation air and views of rolling inexperienced hills, then head into both Gloucester or Cheltenham for a day of sightseeing, procuring, eating, historical past, and tradition! The better of each worlds.

My journey to Gloucester and Cheltenham was run in collaboration with Visit Cheltenham and Visit Gloucester as a part of Visit England’s Escape the Everyday marketing campaign. All phrases and opinions are my very own.

Gloucester or Cheltenham?

Wondering in the event you ought to go to Gloucester or Cheltenham? The straightforward reply is: each! The two cities are shut collectively and may simply be visited for a day every over one weekend.

If you actually need to slender it down, the query of whether or not to go to Cheltenham or Gloucester is determined by what you’re searching for!

looking down a street with a white tudor style building on the left and red brick buildigns on the right, both containing shops, with part of a cathedral visible at the end of the street
Gloucester City Centre
a fountain in front of a gold statue of nelson in front of a white collonaded building in cheltenham city centre
Neptune fountain in Cheltenham

Cheltenham is a spa city stuffed with grand Regency-era structure, in addition to plenty of parks and inexperienced areas. It’s generally known as a little bit of a procuring vacation spot, and likewise has plenty of fab bars and eating places to get pleasure from. And, in fact, being a spa city makes Cheltenham an ideal vacation spot for a spa weekend.

Gloucester, however, has extra sights and historic sights, most notably its unbelievable cathedral. The metropolis’s Historic Docks had a redevelopment in recent times, creating a horny riverside space the place the red-brick warehouse buildings now comprise trendy flats. This space additionally has many bars, eating places, in addition to the favored Gloucester Quays outlet shopping center.

Things to do in Cheltenham and Gloucester

Gloucester Cathedral

One of probably the most well-known sights in Gloucester and Cheltenham is the gorgeous Gloucester Cathedral, initially based as an Abbey in 1089.

looking down an empty cloister in Gloucester Cathedral with a carved arched cieling built from beige stone and sunlight streaming thorugh stained glass windows. gloucester and cheltenham weekend guide.
The cloisters had been a Harry Potter filming location.

The unbelievable structure of the constructing oozes historical past, a lot of it tying in with a number of huge occasions in England’s historical past. In reality, the cathedral is even house to the tomb of King Edward II.

I extremely advocate taking the guided tour (round 50 minutes) to be taught slightly extra in regards to the cathedral’s historical past and discover out a few of the extra intriguing particulars of its structure and stained glass home windows. Tours are simply £5.50 for adults and £2 for youngsters, so that they’re very inexpensive – and genuinely very fascinating.

Even in the event you skip the tour, don’t miss the attractive cloisters of the cathedral. Especially in the event you’re a Harry Potter fan. Several scenes from the flicks had been filmed inside these exquisitely carved walkways.

close up of a very old open book with thick pages made from skin and saxon writing in black ink
A hand-written manuscript courting from 1390 housed inside Gloucester Cathedral library

TOP TIP: Try to time your go to with one of many uncommon, however incredible, library open days. Dating from the early 1400s, this unbelievable area is house to over 6,000 books and manuscripts. They host particular guided excursions roughly each two months, all the time themed round a unique subject.

Tour of Gloucester Prison

looking down the centre of an abandoned prison with white walls and blue cell doors in rows

One factor I didn’t count on to be doing on my weekend in Gloucester and Cheltenham was visiting a jail. Nor did I count on to get pleasure from it a lot!

Gloucester Prison run common guided excursions by means of the now-empty penetentiary, to find out about its fascinating (and at occasions considerably grizzly) historical past.

Built on the positioning of an earlier Norman citadel, the Gloucester County Goal and Penitentiary was opened in 1791, and was rebuilt and expanded a number of occasions over the centuries, till it was closed in 2013. Over the years, it’s hosted public executions and hangings, so there are fairly a couple of grotesque tales to listen to as you discover the eery, deserted area.

emily looking out of an opening in a blue painted cell door in gloucester prison. you can only see the top half of her face.

You’ll additionally hear a couple of ghost tales. Our information appeared fairly real in telling us the unexplainable issues he’s seen and heard, and a Most Haunted Christmas particular was filmed right here. You’ll get extra of those particulars on the extra grownup 5:30pm tour, so select that one if that type of issues sounds up your road!

Independent Shops to Explore in Gloucester

I cherished exploring the unbiased outlets dotted across the streets close to the Cathedral – and past. Here are a couple of you shouldn’t miss…

Historic Docks and Gloucester Quays

the edges of two canal boats against a walkway with a brown river behind them lined with large red brick warehouses - gloucester docks

One of the primary areas to discover in Gloucester is the historic Gloucester Docks. The most inland port within the nation, this was as soon as a bustling trades space that’s been in use for hundreds of years.

Today, it’s had a significant redevelopment to create a classy area that’s stuffed with eateries, bars, and outlets. The outdated red-brick warehouses have been was trendy flats, and there’s an ideal buzz to the realm, particularly on sunny days.

Head to the National Waterways Museum to be taught extra in regards to the historical past of the docks and canal, or just wander the dockside, searching for picturesque canal boats.

Shoppers may even love the Gloucester Quays designer outlet shopping center – the right place to cut price hunt!

DON’T MISS: Gloucester Brewery for craft beers, artisan gins, and a cute dockside beer backyard!

couple walking hand in hand towards a red brick shopping centre labelled Gloucester Quays
National Waterways Musuem by the docks in Gloucester - a large red brick warehouse building under a blue sky. Gloucester and Cheltenham weekend itinerary.

Gloucester Guildhall

Looking for some night actions in Gloucester? Check what’s on at Gloucester Guildhall throughout your go to.

Right within the coronary heart of the town centre, this charming constructing dates from 1890, and as soon as housed varied council workplaces, the mayor’s parlour, and a public corridor. Today, it’s a significant arts centre, and types Gloucester’s cultural hub.

From reside music and theatre in the primary corridor, to movie screenings in the small however stunning cinema, to exhibitions, occasions and courses… there’s all the time one thing enjoyable occurring on the Guildhall . Perfect so as to add a novel twist to your weekend in Gloucester and Cheltenham.

Hire Bikes to Explore Cheltenham

Emily wearing a denim jacket cycling a bike along a paved track towards a white bridge under a blue sky - cheltenham and gloucester weekend
Cycling the Honeybourne Line

Next up: the attractive Regency city of Cheltenham. It’s an enthralling city with plenty of parks and gardens, so top-of-the-line methods to get round is by bike.

Hire a set of wheels from The Bicycle Hub and set off to find the grand Georgian structure of the city. They actually have a cell app which accommodates detailed route guides with maps. I cherished biking alongside the Honeybourne Line, an outdated railway monitor transformed into a motorcycle path, dotted with road artwork and murals leftover from the Cheltenham Paint Festival. This pageant is an annual occasion, so the murals you see will change yearly.

If you’ve a bit extra time in your palms, you would rent some electrical bikes and cycle the nation lanes into the close by Cotswolds.

Discover What’s On in The Festival Town

people dnacing in front of an outdoor stage in front of a large classical building with lots of columns

Did you realize that Cheltenham is nicknamed The Festival Town? Despite its comparatively small dimension, the city performs host to an enormous calendar of festivals and occasions all year long, lots of them world-leading.

The most well-known, in fact, is The Festival (aka Cheltenham Festival) – a four-day horse racing occasion held in March at Cheltenham Racecourse.

But there’s SO way more past horse racing. Cheltenham hosts quite a few arts, music, and cultural festivals, together with the world’s oldest Literature Festival.

a pink and white classic american car with the us flag on the bonnet
Retro Americana Festival
a food stall selling Severn Cider at a festival in a park in Cheltenham
Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival

Plus there are tons of smaller festivals and occasions. When I visited, each the Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival and the brand-new Retro Americana Festival at Pittville Pump Rooms had been going down.

Both had been incredible occasions, held in two of Cheltenham’s quite a few parks, with an ideal ambiance and many reside leisure. And each will probably be again subsequent 12 months, so you should definitely verify them out!

Check Visit Cheltenham’s What’s On Listings to see what’s occurring while you go to, or plan your journey to coincide with one of many greater festivals for a incredible atmosphere whilst you’re exploring the city.

Explore Cheltenham’s Historic Regency Buildings

esterior of a row of beige coloured recengy houses - things to do in cheltenham and gloucester
The Royal Mews Georgian homes in Suffolk Square

Cheltenham rose to prominence as a spa city through the Georgian interval, when the aristocracy started flocking to spa cities like Bath and Tunbridge Wells to spend a season “taking the waters”.

That recognition led to a growth in guests and a fast enlargement, with a lot of the city centre rebuilt within the classical Regency architectural fashion.

Head to the grand Pittville Pump Room, set inside a fairly park with lawns main all the way down to a lake. Or you would go to the Holst Birthplace Museum to see a superbly preserved Regency lounge.

Although it’s not Georgian, you additionally shouldn’t miss The Queens Hotel, a shocking Victorian resort in-built the identical 12 months as Queen Victoria’s coronation. The most important staircase nonetheless options the unique wallpaper from 1838 – which simply so occurs to be the identical because the wallpaper used within the Houses of Parliament in Westminster! For one thing a bit particular, you’ll be able to ebook an afternoon tea within the Dukes Tea Room on the resort.

Unwind at a Spa

empty pool in a spa with a window at the far end looking out onto green trees
The Spa at Cowley Manor Hotel has an indoor and out of doors pool (each heated)

You can’t go to a spa city like Cheltenham and never go to a spa! In reality, I like to recommend reserving a spa resort in between Gloucester and Cheltenham to be able to simply discover each cities. That means, you’ll be able to benefit from the spa after a protracted day’s sightseeing!

I stayed at Cowley Manor, on the sting of the Cotswolds, which has a good looking spa. I’d extremely advocate this gorgeous resort for a spa weekend in Cheltenham and Gloucester. But in the event you want to remain within the city centre, there are a number of day spas you’ll be able to go to – I’ve advisable a couple of within the subsequent part.

Weekend Itinerary for Gloucester and Cheltenham (Short Version)

To make issues simpler, I’ve damaged down the next Gloucester and Cheltenham weekend itinerary into three days, permitting for a full day in every, plus a day at a spa.

You don’t should comply with this precisely, however the beneath ought to provide you with an concept of find out how to benefit from your time within the two cities.

Gloucester Docks at dusk a cloudy day
Gloucester Docks at evening

Day One: Exploring Gloucester

  • Arrive in Gloucester – head for the Cathedral and take a tour.
  • Browse the unbiased outlets across the cathedral and historic metropolis centre.
  • Head all the way down to the Historic Docks for a wander – go to the National Waterways Museum, store and dine at Gloucester Quays, or swing by Gloucester Brewery for a pint of craft beer.
  • Take a tour of Gloucester Prison – the 5pm one
  • After dinner – see what’s on on the Grade-II-listed Gloucester Guildhall.

Food suggestions

  • Vietyummy: informal eatery with genuine Vietnamese meals.
  • Greek on the Docks: modern restaurant with pretty dockside views, serving up hearty Greek and Mediterranean dishes made utilizing solely native components.
  • Hubble Bubble Coffee House: quirky, family-run espresso store and cafe.

Day Two: Exploring Cheltenham

a large green lawn surroudned by trees with a beige coloured classic style building in the centre with many columns along the ground floor - weekend in gloucester and cheltenham
The well-known Pump Rooms in Pittville Park, Cheltenham
  • Hire bikes to discover the city – take the Honeybourne Line to Pittville Park and go to the Pittville Pump Rooms.
  • Head to a pageant or occasion in Cheltenham – there’s one thing on nearly each weekend!
  • Soak up the Regency structure and grand outdated homes round Cheltenham.
  • Dinner suggestion: Victoria restaurant on the gorgeous Queen’s Hotel.
  • After dinner: discover the Brewery Quarter for drinks, or go to Gin & Juice at No131, which was named ‘The Best Hotel Gin Bar’ on this planet by Gin Magazine.

Day Three: Spa Day

If you’ve booked a resort with a spa, just like the gorgeous Cowley Manor close to Cheltenham, you’ll positively need to spend not less than half a day having fun with it earlier than you head house. If not, ebook into one of many following day spas in Cheltenham to unwind…

  • Chapel Spa
  • Hatherley Manor
  • Ellenborough Park
  • Margaret Dabbs London (therapy clinic – no moist spa)

Where to Stay close to Cheltenham and Gloucester

Cowley Manor

If you’re searching for a spa resort that offers you quick access to Cheltenham, Gloucester, and the countryside of the Cotswolds, Cowley Manor Hotel & Spa is ideal.

Looking across a lake and a green lawn surrounded by trees towards Cowley Manor Hotel - where to stay near Cheltenham and Gloucester

I spent one evening right here and it’s top-of-the-line resort experiences I’ve had shortly!

Set inside a historic nation manor with a grand Italianate exterior and sweeping landscaped grounds, this stunning boutique resort looks like one thing out of a interval drama. The interiors are beautiful too; an ideal mix of conventional and modern, with plenty of vivid colors.

But it’s the spa that steals the present. There’s each an indoor pool and heated out of doors pool, in addition to sauna and steam room, a gymnasium, and an ideal menu of therapies. It’s housed in a brand new advanced reverse the manor, surrounded by timber, so it feels extremely tranquil – you’ll battle to tear your self away!

Hatton Court

large country house built from grey stone covered in green ivy with a dark grey tiled rook - hatton court hotel gloucestershire

Just on the sting of Gloucester, the place the Cotswolds AONB begins, lies the charming, ivy-clad Hatton Court Hotel. I additionally spent an evening at this pretty nation home resort and it’s an ideal place to remain if you wish to mix countryside and metropolis in your vacation.

The views from this picturesque resort are gorgeous – particularly from the eating room. Eating breakfast while having fun with the views of rolling countryside is a beautiful approach to begin the day.

If you’re searching for a cushty place to stick with ultra-friendly service and cosy, country-house vibes, this might be good to your journey to Gloucester and Cheltenham.

How to Get from Gloucester to Cheltenham (and Vice Versa)

Gloucester and Cheltenham are only some miles aside, so getting from one to the opposite is extremely straightforward. In reality, you would nearly stroll it (although I don’t advocate it!).

Emily wearing a black t shirt and leopard print skirt sitting in an old broken blue helicopter in Gloucester Prison
Helicopter at Gloucester Prison

By Car: It takes round 20 minutes to drive from one metropolis centre to the opposite. Of course, the precise driving time is determined by your departure and arrival factors.

In Gloucester, St Michael’s Square Car Park is close to the city centre, whereas Gloucester Quays is in the very best location for visiting the Docks. Cheltenham’s Town Centre Car Park and the Regent Arcade shopping center’s automobile park are each near the excessive road and procuring space.

By Train: On common, it takes about 10 minutes to journey from Gloucester to Cheltenham or vice versa by prepare. According to, there are usually 59 trains a day, and the journey begins from simply £3.80.

The draw back is that neither prepare station is bang within the centre. Gloucester Station is a couple of 10-minute stroll from the centre, whereas Cheltenham Spa Station is round 15-25 minutes stroll from the city centre. Alternatively, you’ll be able to rent bikes from The Bicycle Hub proper subsequent door to the prepare station. You may also hire electrical scooters from the prepare station by way of Zwings.

By Bus: Stagecoach Buses run from Gloucester to Cheltenham and again pretty commonly, and take round 25 minutes. See Stagecoach for timetables and extra information.

I hope you’ve discovered this weekend itinerary and information for Gloucester and Cheltenham useful! Scroll down to depart a remark you probably have any questions!

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