Gloucester Cathedral

There are loads of places to visit in the South West of England, so if you are visiting this part of the world then you are likely to be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing where to visit whilst you are there. However once place that demands a visit is Gloucester Cathedral which offers so much to the people that are choosing to visit.

Gloucester Cathedral is infamous for its links with religion and many people that visit are overwhelmed at just how strong the religious presence is when they arrive. However that doesn’t mean you should only visit Gloucester Cathedral because of its links with God, because actually it offers a magnificent day out and something for everyone.

There is a busy events schedule attached to Gloucester Cathedral which means that whatever time of year you choose to visit there will be something to suit you and your family. Many of the events are based around religion however everyone is welcome. Whether you want to visit morning prayer or you want to be present when one of the religious speakers are visiting to give a lecture you will be made to feel more than welcome and are sure to have an enlightening time.

It is well worth keeping an eye on the events that are up and coming because they often have unique lectures, concerts and events which are well worth checking out if you are in the area.

Even if you just want to visit the Gloucester Cathedral at a time when there isn’t an event you will still have a great time. The history and culture contained in this building is amazing and well worth a visit. From historical buildings and sculptures to breathtaking stained glass window displays there is something for everyone to see when they visit Gloucester Cathedral.

The great thing about Gloucester Cathedral is the fact that it is open to everyone and everyone who visits is made to feel welcome. From the friendly staff to the welcoming coffee shop you know from the moment that you step foot in the building that you are welcome and aren’t made to feel like you need to rush your visit or that they are simply wanting to make money out of you.

The people behind the scenes at Gloucester Cathedral recognise that many people want to learn about the history surrounding this fantastic building and how it came to be so famous. At their Education and Outreach sections they hold seminar days for school children regularly. For older students and adults who want to learn about the history around Gloucester Cathedral there are regular educational seminars so if this is something that interests you then it is worth keeping an eye out for events happening at the cathedral to see what suits you.

Gloucester Cathedral

Bourton On The Water Tourist Attractions

Bourton On The Water Tourist Attractions nicknamed the Venice of the Cotswolds, Bourton-on-the-Water has unique visitor appeal for people of all ages. As you stroll around the village you cannot help but notice the stunning architectural buildings built with local Cotswold stone with its distinctive warm hues of yellow from every angle.

Bourton On The Water has been regularly voted as the prettiest village in England. There are many tourist attractions with plenty to do on your visit, below are some of the popular must see tourist attractions:

The Dragonfly Maze

The Dragonfly Maze is an exciting traditional Yew hedge maze for all the family to enjoy, but with a twist added to differentiate from the usual mazes. It is all about finding your way to the centre of the maze to discover the golden dragonfly. Along the way are engraved flagstones with clues, which when completed will create a rebus puzzle to solve.

You will be given a clue card upon entering the maze to note down all your answers to the clues. If you can solve the rebus puzzle correctly it will reveal where you can find the golden dragonfly. Family tickets are available at a discount with under 4’s going free. A great family participation game for all ages.

www.thedragonflymaze.com

Dragon Fly Maze Bourton On The Water 

Birdland – Park and Gardens

Birdland is an oasis for over 500 birds, there are 50 aviaries housing lots of varieties of birds including toucan, parrots, hornbills, pheasant and falcons. You will also find desert and toucan and tropical houses where the more delicate birds are housed.

There are flamingos and penguins, in fact the Birdland – Park and Gardens is home to the only King Penguins to be found in England, Wales and Ireland, so well worth a visit just to see these magnificent creatures. Along with the King Penguins you will also find Humbold penguins on site. The penguins are fed at 2.30pm everyday so that’s not to be missed.

There is a nature walk through the gardens covering 7 acres around the river Windrush and 150 poplar trees. With an on-site café to enjoy rest and eat, along with a gift shop selling all sorts of nature themed products an enjoyable day can be had by all the family.

www.birdland.co.uk

Birdland Bourton On The Water 

Bourton-on-the-Water Model village

The model village based behind the villages Old New Inn is perfectly located right in the centre of the village. It is a 1/9th scale replica of the village of Bourton-on-the-Water. It took 5 years to build and was commissioned by a previous landlord of the Old New Inn. The model village was officially opened in 1937. The model village is a perfect replica of the village of Bourton-on-the-Water in the 1930’s.

It has great appeal with historians and photographers as well as visitors. Children love to stroll through the village, appearing like giants over the miniature buildings. Also situated in the model village is miniature world which is a unique exhibition of room sets and scenes such as grocer’s stalls and classrooms from a bygone era.

Another great experience for all the family to enjoy on a visit to Bourton-on-the-Water. The model village is open every day of the year except for Christmas day, but if you visiting in the winter time do check ahead of your visit if there has been any snowfall, as for safety reasons the village cannot open when there has been significant snowfall in the area.

The Model Village Website

Model Village Bourton On The Water 

The Cotswolds Perfumery Exhibition

Well worth a visit is the Perfumery exhibition, it has been blending perfumes for well over 40 years in the heart of Bourton-on-the-Water. As well as a splendid garden filled with plants and flowers chosen for their aroma there is a shop where customers can test all the fragrances.

If you are interested in seeing how the perfumes are made then there are also tours available of the factory where your sense of smell will be tested to the limits. The tours give a unique behind the scenes look at a business that is still today manufactures by hand by a small team of dedicated staff.

The perfumery is quite unusual in itself that it is only one of three manufacturers and retailers of perfume in the whole of Europe. The tours start in the perfume garden and take in the compounding room, the laboratory and the packing room. All tours last for 45 minutes and all bookings must be made in advance.

http://cotswold-perfumery.co.uk
 

Bourton-on-the-Water Model Railway Exhibition and Toyshop

The model railway exhibition is a real delight for any fan of model railways child or adult! It has over 500 feet of model railway with over 40 British and Continental trains. With some of the most impressive scenery, including mountains, industrial and suburban areas it makes great viewing following the train on its journey.

You also have the chance to watch the trains as they go from day to night and see the model railway as it would be at night time with some fantastic light shows. On site is also a toy shop selling an extensive range of model railways and trains.

http://www.bourtonmodelrailway.co.uk

Model railway Exhibition Bourton on The Water 

The Cotswold Motoring Museum – Bourton-on-the-Water

The motoring museum is a journey through the 20th Century with a collection of classic cars, vintage cars and caravans, motorcycles and motoring curiosities. There is an educational learning zone, where children from early years onwards can experience workshops all about the era of motoring.

As well as the normal exhibitions of motoring the museum also hosts new exhibitions each year. Open between February and December each year family ticket discounts are available to purchase. If you are a CMSA club member there is also 10% off entrance fees.

http://www.cotswoldmotoringmuseum.co.uk

Motor Museum Bourton On The Water

With all of the above attractions to visit you can be sure of a fun filled time when visiting Bourton-on-the-Water with something for everyone to enjoy.

Stanway House

While visiting Gloucestershire in the Cotswolds, you’ll want to take some time to stop by some of the region’s beautiful manor house.  One such manor house is the Jacobean Stanway House, well known for its lovely grounds and famous Stanway Fountain.  The fountain rises more than 300 feet and is the tallest fountain in all of Britain.  It’s also the second tallest fountain in all of Europe and the tallest gravity fountain in the world.  The only fountain taller in Europe is the famous 400 foot fountain in Lake Geneva, which is driven by a turbine.  While the fountain is probably the feature that accords the manor house its special fame above and beyond that of other houses in the area, it is just one of many reasons to consider adding the manor to your itinerary.

The house itself has an elegant façade constructed of the golden stone which is characteristic of Cotswolds architecture.  Most of the furniture in the house is original and has been there since it was originally constructed.  Part of the draw of the house for visitors is that unlike some other manor houses in the region, it doesn’t feel like a museum.  It feels very much like a lived-in house, which means it is easy to imagine the lives of the people who did inhabit the house, including the Earls of Wemyss.

The gardens surrounding the Stanway House and Fountain are considered to be world class.  The Stanway Watergarden was created in the 1720s, most likely by gardener Charles Bridgeman.  Bridgeman is credited with creating the English gardening style that followed the previously popular Franco-Dutch style.  The most famous feature is the Canal, which is a manmade waterfall situated on a terrace 25 feet above the house and another called the Cascade which comes from the water that flows out of the Pyramid Pond.  There is also a lovely pond called the Tithe Barn Pond, wide green lawns, and delightful groves of trees providing shade.

The grounds also are home to the Stanway Watermill, which has been restored fully and operates now producing wholemeal and sifted flour.  The flour is all grown locally on the estate itself.  You’ll find the Mill on the grounds near the house and can take a tour of both the house and the mill with a combined ticket (which also gives you access to the gardens).  Since the mill is actively producing wholemeal and flour, you can see the process at work and learn something about agriculture and see how the estate made food and income in centuries past.

Stanway House is located near the village of Stanway, which is a perfect place to find accommodations.  You can also choose to stay in Stanton, which is one mile north of Stanway.  In Stanway, you’ll also find St. Peter’s Church, the Stanway War Memorial, and many historic buildings and streets which can draw you into the beauty of the Cotswolds.  You’ll discover charming bed and breakfast establishments there where you can relax and enjoy modern amenities in an old-fashioned atmosphere.

Stanway House

Stanway House Fountain

Gloucestershire Tourist Information

GLOUCESTERSHIRE
Gloucestershire is located in the Cotswolds in the southwest of England and encompasses the fertile valley traversed by the River Severn as well as the famous Forest of Dean.  It’s a popular tourist destination with lovely old market towns like Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold, Tewkesbury, Tetbury, and Cirencester.  Each of these towns has its own charm and historical backdrop, all contained within some of the most beautiful countryside in the world.  The county is also the seat of Gloucester, a city of more than 121,000 situated on the shores of the River Severn.

Perhaps the most well known destination in Gloucester is the Gloucester Cathedral.  This gothic cathedral was built atop the foundation of an abbey which was dedicated to Saint Peter in the year 681 AD.  The cathedral is familiar to many since it was used in three of the Harry Potter films for the corridors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  It is also the resting place of King Edward II and Walter de Lacy and remains a stunning example of the architecture of medieval England.  Throughout the city you’ll also see many other medieval and Tudor constructions.

If you enjoy medieval history you won’t want to miss the Berkeley Castle, located in Berkeley, Gloucestershire.  This is a great example of a defensive feudal stronghold.  Interestingly enough it was also the castle where Edward II was murdered.  Another castle well worth seeing is the Beverston Castle, which is located in the town by the same name.  The castle was built by Maurice de Gaunt in 1229 and stands in an attractive and atmospheric garden.  This is another good example of defensive architecture and was the site of an important historical battle between King Stephen and Empress Matilda in 1140 AD.

There are many famous manors and country houses scattered throughout the county of Gloucestershire, all exhibiting different periods of architecture, lovely grounds, and intriguing histories.  Some of these include the majestic golden walled Dyrham Park estate (used in the filming of a Doctor Who episode last year), the imposing Woodchester Mansion (a popular haunt for ghost hunters), and Stanway House, a large Elizabethan country house with a beautiful fountain.

No trip to the Cotswolds would be complete without spending some time touring the Gloucestershire countryside.  The many small towns dotted across the landscape will take you through some of the greenest, most fertile country in England and along the edge of the Forest of Dean.  You may want to take a trip on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, a heritage railway which runs for 12 miles between Laverton Halt and Cheltenham Racecourse railway station to take in the views.  There are even several fully operational steam locomotives which travel on the railway.

Don’t forget to make your reservations for accommodations in Gloucestershire before you arrive.  You probably should plan for a day or two at Gloucester (at least), and then plan for some nights in the market towns throughout the county.  Plan to visit some castles, abbeys, and churches to experience the region’s magnificent architectural history.  Bed and breakfast establishments throughout the Cotswolds can make you feel right at home.

Snowshill

Snowshill is the name of a small village that sits atop a hill above Broadway, Laverton, and Buckland.  The village is quiet, secluded, and not particularly well known in its own right it is more well known for the Snowshill Lavender Fields.  The name of the village derives from its location.  If there is any snow, it tends to fall on the hilltop first, and therefore on the village of Snowshill.  Snowshill is best known for being the home of the Snowshill manor house which is cared for by the National Trust.  It’s a very good example of a 15th-16th century manor house and has some lovely grounds as well as a delicious restaurant and a pleasant little teashop.

While Snowshill manor is the main thing to see in the village, you may recognize some of its familiar and scenic streets, which were used in the filming of Bridget Jones’s Diary.  The surrounding countryside also offers many breathtaking and beautiful vistas of the Cotswolds.  The vantage point of the hillside makes it easy to see the green landscape for miles in every direction.  There are many beautiful trees which cover the hillsides in this area as well, and in the fall time they are particularly lovely as they change colors.  The Snowshill Arms Pub is another well-known location in town where you can drop in and get a nice cool drink.

While you’re visiting the Snowshill manor house, you can look for accommodations in the village.  This is a nice, off-the-beaten-path location where you can enjoy escaping from the crowds if you’re visiting during the tourist season.  Since Snowshill is less busy than some of the surrounding locations, it may give you a better idea of what life is really like in the English countryside throughout the year.

You also might choose to stay in one of the nearby towns since they both will put you within easy reach of the attractions at Snowshill.  Broadway is quite well known, particularly for the nearby Broadway Tower, which is a folly on top of a hill and the second highest point in the Cotswolds.  The Broadway Tower is an architectural gem which is quite different from the Snowshill manor, and which will provide you with additional insights into England’s past.

Broadway, being a larger market town, has more accommodations than you might find in Snowshill alone, so you may find more options there if the hotels and bed and breakfast establishments in Snowshill are booked up.  There are also many more restaurants and shops in town which you can enjoy during your visit, as well as additional draws like the Church of St. Eadburgha, a historic building which has stood since the 12th century and continues to serve as a working church today.

Snowshill, Broadway, and the surrounding area should be a stop on any trip to the Cotswolds.  While the Snowshill manor house and the Broadway Tower are the main attractions, the towns themselves can offer much to entertain you and you’ll remember them fondly for years to come.

Snowshill Wikipedia

Guiting Power

Guiting Power nestles snugly in the slopes of a valley formed by a tributary of the River Windrush.  Originally the site of an Anglo-Saxon town called Gyting Broc, it is now a beautifully preserved medieval style Cotswold town.

Despite being very tiny, Guiting Power has a Post Office, village hall, two public houses and more amenities.  Just outside of town are a couple of Saxon excavations in progress of a barrow and a church.  A lovely Norman church with a Victorian transept is situated on the edge of town called St. Michael and All Angels.

Guiting Power is considered one of the finest examples of Cotswold architecture.  The buildings in Guiting Power of constructed of local stone and the beautiful St. Michael church has an impressive Norman south doorway.  The beauty of the town motivated producers to use it in the filming of the movie The Wyvern Mystery.

Nearby attractions include the Cotswold Farm Park, Winchombe, Sudeley Castle, Broadway, Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-Water.

Even though it is small, Guiting Power has several inns and cottages in which you can stay as well as the gorgeous Temple Guiting Manor.  Since accommodations are limited you may want to make your reservations in advance!

Guiting Power Gloucestershire

Ilmington

Ilmington is a tiny village of less than a thousand people, situated just underneath the Ilmington Downs, which are the highest point in Warwickshire.  From the top of the Downs, there is an incredible view of the surrounding green countryside.

Ilmington is known for its typically English architecture with honey coloured thatched cottages built of local Cotswolds limestone.  The quiet atmosphere of this little village has helped it to retain its olden day quality of carefree simplicity and to preserve the beauty of its architecture.  Lovely gardens and a restored Manor House are both open to the public to stroll through and explore.  There is a wonderful Norman church called St. Mary which you can reach only on foot by walking up a tranquil pathway.  The church was built in the 12th century.  A number of additions were made in the subsequent centuries and a restoration project in the 19th century and several repairs in the 20th century have kept the church in prime condition.

The Ilmington Morris Men dance troupe can be seen performing in Ilmington and other nearby towns on Wednesday evenings all throughout the summer months.  The dances they perform are part of a three hundred year old tradition.

Ilmington’s picturesque village centre has a general store and a post office and two inns called The Red Lion and The Howard Arms.  Since accommodations are limited you probably should make your reservations early.

ilmington

Fairford

Fairford is a small Gloucestershire town along the River Coln just six miles east of Cirencester.  The town is nearby the Cotswold Water Park and is principally known for its wonderfully preserved churches and its proximity to the RAF Fairford air base.

Fairford was originally a river-crossing town which traded in wool.  During the Middle Ages it became very profitable and was able to construct the impressive Saint Mary Church.  Saint Mary’s set of 28 stained glass windows is the most complete set of medieval stained glass windows in all of England.  The structure of the church has been marvelously preserved relatively unaltered over all these years.

Another highlight is the 19th century church St. Thomas of Canterbury.  This lovely church includes an organ and stained glass windows, as well as a gargoyle in the churchyard dedicated to the memory of a boy who jumped off the roof and died.

The largest military air show in the world is held annually at the neighboring air base, RAF Fairford.  The Royal International Air Tattoo is held each July and attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators.  Definitely expect the roads around Fairford to be backed up in the summer; the air show is an exciting event; if you’re in the Cotswolds in July you may wish to include it on your to-do list!

fairford

Tetbury

Tetbury Tourist Information Guide

Tetbury is a mid-sized Cotswold town located in Gloucestershire.  It was founded in 681 by an Anglo-Saxon who built a monastery there, most likely Ine of Wessex.  Tetbury established its importance in the wool industry in medieval times.  To this day the Tetbury Woolsack Races pay testament to the history of the town.  Contestants in the races on Woolsack Day run up a steep hill carrying a 60 pound sack of wool.

Tetbury is perhaps best known for its shopping.  While antique shops are a popular attraction throughout the Cotswolds, Tetbury is regarded as the premier town to buy antiques with over thirty stores to choose from.  People travel from all over England and throughout the world to shop in Tetbury.  You will also find plenty of tea houses, pubs and inns along Tetbury’s streets in which to relax or stay.  Nearly all the shops in Tetbury are locally owned.  In the town centre you’ll come across the Market House, an intriguing building that seems to stand on stilts.  The House contains the clock and dolphins which you see featured on the town’s emblem.  Also popular and located in the city centre is the Tetbury Police Museum which exhibits the history of the policing trade in the county since 1839.

If you want to get out and see the countryside, just east of the town you can enjoy Preston Park which follows the Railway Yard Path toward Long Newnton.  You can enjoy both long and short walks as well as picnics here at the picnic tables.

Another attraction just outside of Tetbury is Westonbirt Arboretum.  The 600 acre park showcases over 16,000 exotic and rare trees and offers many woodland paths for you to amble along.  The arboretum holds many events including pop concerts, charity walks, fireworks and a yearly Festival of the Tree.

Also of interest (although less accessible) is the Highgrove House where Princes Charles, William and Harry live.  The House is less than a mile from Tetbury and is closed to the public, but occasionally you can get in on garden tours.  It is not uncommon to see one of the princes visiting town!

One magnificent house with lovely grounds you can explore is Chavenage House on the edge of town.  This Elizabethan style manor is located near the National Arboretum and was constructed on 600 acres of land with 17 miles of paths which are open to the public.  Many tourists and locals consider the grounds of Chavenage to be as glorious as the Arboretum itself, particularly during the autumn as the foliage changes colours.

The Cotswold Water Park is within easy reach of Tetbury and contains the largest inland body of water in the country.  Here you can partake in a variety of activities and sports and relax in the tranquility of nature.

Tetbury is a haven for antique shoppers but also offers a wide variety of activities both in town and in the immediate surrounding area for people with diverse interests.  There is plenty to see and do here that can keep you busy for days!

Tetbury Wikipedia

Cotswold Water Park

The Cotswold Water Park near Cirencester is one of the more unique highlights of the Cotswolds is the UK’s largest water park consisting of 147 lakes set in 40 square miles of land.  The lakes were once gravel quarries which were “de-watered” but have been permitted to refill naturally.  You can fish in 74 of the lakes and enjoy walking or biking on 150km of paths!  Many of the lakes are privately owned but plenty are open to the public.

You will find public car parks and picnic sites in a number of locations including Neigh Bridge, Clayhill Copse, Bridge Car Park, Lakeside Car Park, Waterhay Car Park, Gateway Centre Car Park and Riverside Car Park.  These car parks provide access to secluded walkways, playgrounds for children and tables for picnics.

The sporting activities you can participate in at the Cotswold Water Park are practically endless.  You can enjoy aerial adventure, angling, cycling, farm visits, golf, paintball, walks along sculpture trails, wilderness training, canoeing and kayaking, diving, sailing, snorkeling, swimming, waterskiing and windsurfing.  Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran at any of these sports, you are sure to have a great time in a beautiful country setting.

Accommodations are conveniently available in the neighboring area including hotels, bed and breakfasts, caravan sites and more.  Cotswold Water Park is an exciting and accessible diversion for the whole family!

Cotswold Water Park

Official Cotswold Water Park Website