Things to do in Gloucestershire

Things to do in Gloucestershire

The best places to discover in Gloucestershire
Forest Holidays

Explore things to do in Gloucestershire 

From exciting visitor attractions, to free things to do in Gloucestershire, to things to do with the kids in Gloucestershire, there are endless possibilities in this amazing county. To the east, the Cotswolds are the very essence of England, with chocolate-box villages and rolling hills. To the west, the Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean offer the promise of adventure. In Gloucestershire, you can meet birds of prey, follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter and walk among the treetops, you can canoe, climb and explore, and you can relax and enjoy nature. Here some ideas for things to do in Gloucestershire, when you stay at our Forest of Dean location.

Wander our winter lights

Experience an amazing mini trail at the Forest of Dean. Take a wintery walk through a small spot of flickering forest, alight with twinkling lights and woodland animals. Under the moonlit sky, there’s no better place to find your #ForestFeeling. 

Then head back to your cabin and kick back with delicious drinks packages, tasty takeaways, and a movie marathon queued up. 

Available: From 3 November 2023 - 29 February 2024.

The lights will be on over a couple of nights during each break. No booking is required - just ask at the Forest Retreat for the latest timings.

Easily add our amazing extras before your stay. Just log in to your account or call us on 03330 110 495.

Find out more about winter lights

  • Explore England's prettiest villages

    Explore England's prettiest villages

    Spend a day winding your way through the honey-coloured villages of the Cotswolds, stopping to admire pretty, thatched cottages, take tea in cute little tearooms and drink in the sweeping views from the hilltops. The Cotswolds is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which remains quintessentially English. Perfect for a romantic day out.

  • Go underground in search of history

    Go underground in search of history

    Visit Clearwell Caves beneath the Forest of Dean, where 4,500 years of mining history is told in the deep caverns, caves and tunnels. Discover how the iron mines have shaped the culture and traditions of forest dwellers over the centuries. Open late March to early November and also during December, with a special Christmas theme.

  • Get close to nature at WTT Slimbridge Wetland Centre

    Get close to nature at WTT Slimbridge Wetland Centre

    Immerse yourself in the natural word, meeting wetland birds, amphibians and mammals, including Berwick swans and flamingos, newts and salamanders, and otters and harvest mice. An enthralling venue with an educational benefit and one of the best things to do in Gloucestershire with kids.

Canoe on the River Wye

Probably the best river to canoe in the whole of the UK, the River Wye has white-water rapids, long lazy stretches and unspoilt country scenery. Stay at our Forest of Dean cabins and you can pre-book your canoe hire, including lessons if you need them.

  • Climb May Hill

    Climb May Hill

    If you’re looking for free things to do in Gloucestershire, a climb up May Hill is a great idea. It offers 360 degree views, taking in the Cotswold hills, the Forest of Dean, the River Severn and the Welsh border. Climb at dawn on 1 May and you’ll meet a band of merry Morris Dancers celebrating spring.

  • Learn more about what the Romans did for us

    Learn more about what the Romans did for us

    Cirencester was the second largest town under Roman Britain. At the Coronium Museum of Roman history, discover why this great town was so powerful, before exploring the delightful Cirencester Park, 3000 acres of landscaped gardens and woodland.

  • Go organic at Highgrove Gardens

    Go organic at Highgrove Gardens

    Created by the Prince of Wales and nurtured over the last four decades, Highgrove Gardens is an oasis of natural harmony, reflecting the prince’s artistic flair and his passion for sustainability. And, of course, it would be rude not to pop into the shop before you leave. The gardens are open April to October.

  • Follow in Harry Potter's footsteps

    Follow in Harry Potter's footsteps

    The ancient cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral have featured in many of the Harry Potter films, lending their medieval charms to the magical atmosphere of the stories. There’s much more to the cathedral of course, and it’s worth a visit for many reasons, whether or not you are a fan of the young wizard.

  • Walk among the treetops

    Walk among the treetops

    Westonbirt Arboretum is home to 2,500 species of tree from all around the world. Enjoy romantic spring or autumn walks, make a family day of it and include the dog, or have fun with friends on the STIHL treetop walkway or at one of the live music events.

  • Lose yourself in an enchanted wood

    Lose yourself in an enchanted wood

    Puzzlewood is one of Gloucestershire’s most popular attractions. This moss-covered ancient woodland is a great day out for families, with mazes, an outdoor playground and farm animals, as well as the woodland trails. Check their website for opening times as they vary throughout the year.

Book a Gloucestershire adventure

Learn about the flora and fauna of the ancient Forest of Dean with your Forest Ranger as your guide. Set off on a Nocturnal Adventure, when you might spot wild boar, fallow deer and barn owls. Go paddle boarding or pony trekking, hire bikes and explore the woodland trails or tackle the Adventure Challenge. All these Gloucestershire activities can be booked with us in advance when you stay at Forest of Dean.