Gloucestershire is home to some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain, with the glorious Wye Valley, ancient Forest of Dean, and the famous Cotswolds. And there are a host of exciting visitor attractions too, from magnificent castles to historic caves. If you’re thinking of taking a weekend break, Gloucestershire has to be one of the locations to top your list.
With a range of cabins available at our Forest of Dean location, you’ll find your perfect base to explore the area!
Why visit Gloucestershire? Here are just 10 reasons we think it’s amazing.
1. Gloucester Cathedral
Visit the cathedral in Gloucester, famed for its choir, and discover more about the monks that used to live here. Take your time to explore the architecture and you’ll discover something magical about the corridors – the cathedral was used to film scenes of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films, and traces of movie magic can still be found today.
2. Eastnor Castle
A magnificent castle built in the 19th century, Eastnor Castle is open on set days throughout the year for tours of the state rooms, as well as having extensive grounds to explore. Children will love the Knight’s Maze, assault course and adventure playground, while adults might prefer a home-made cake in the castle tea room.
If you are looking for something that is outdoors, quirky, atmospheric, and keeps the whole family entertained, Puzzlewood is the place to visit. Located within the ancient Forest of Dean, with winding paths through rocky crevices, it has been used as a filming location in a number of films, including a scene in Star Wars, The Force Awakens.
4. The International Centre for Birds of Prey
Combine family days out with a chance to learn something new at The International Centre for Birds of Prey. There’s plenty to see and do; incredible flying displays, 250 birds, extensive gardens and woods. You can also enjoy an experience day with different species or come in the evening to see owls in their natural element – which, of course, you may also see on a Forest Ranger Night Vision adventure, when you stay in one of our woodland cabins at Forest of Dean.
5. Westonbirt Arboretum
Are you a nature lover? Step into the Westonbirt Arboretum and you’ll feel right at home. The arboretum was planted by Victorian landowner and nature lover, Robert Halford, and contains 2,500 different species of tree from all over the world. It’s renowned not only for the diversity, but also spectacular beauty of the collection.
6. Forest of Dean
You can’t possibly mention Gloucestershire without listing the Forest of Dean as a major attraction – but how to choose just one thing about the forest to fall in love with? For the active, there’s cycling, canoeing, paddle-boarding, hiking, and zip-wires; for nature lovers there are birds, wild boar, miles of forest trails, and stunning landscapes. The forest is 42 square miles of ancient woodland, bursting with activities for those that want them.
If you just want peace and quiet, there is plenty of room for you too. You can stay for your weekend away, right in the forest in one of our cosy cabins.
7. Hillside Brewery
Discover how beer is brewed on a tour of Hillside, a working brewery, and enjoy testing four of their classic ales with a tasty meal, while enjoying beautiful views. If you are a beer drinker, you’ll discover which ingredients create the perfect taste for your palette.
8. Stroud Farmers’ Market
For your weekend shopping, a locally produced treat, or if you just want to enjoy the sights and smells, Stroud Farmers’ Market is a wonderful place to wander on a Saturday morning. An award-winning market, there are plenty of stalls from local artisans, bakers, farmers, and artists – too many to list them all, in fact. You’ll easily find something for lunch, with food sellers from a range of continents to tempt you too. A lovely way to start your weekend break.
9. Clearwell Caves
Descend deep under the Forest of Dean and discover the Clearwell Caves. Natural caverns, tranquil pools and, for the brave, deep caving experiences. The tour guides will talk to you about the history of the miners who worked in the caves, some of them children from as young as seven.
10. The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway
A gloriously gentle way to see the Cotswolds landscape, take a trip along the lovingly restored heritage railway, pulled by steam and diesel locomotives. The GWSR railway offers a 28-mile round trip, giving you plenty of time to enjoy afternoon tea from the buffet or restaurant coaches.
With so much to see and do in Gloucestershire, choosing just 10 possibilities for your weekend break is always going to be difficult. We’re sure you’ll want to visit again and again to tick them all off your list.