The chance to explore one of the most beautiful parts of England; The Cotswolds was too hard not to turn down when offered. To see beautiful scenery, spectacular villages, wonderful flora and fauna and have some adventures into the unknown was the perfect tonic. So with camera and note pad in hand Sketches headed to Gloucester, then Stroud and finally followed in the footsteps of Laurie Lee, author of Cider with Rosie on the new Laurie Lee Wildlife Trail. So why not join us over the next few days as we give you plenty of reasons to visit the Cotswolds.
When you arrive into the city its not particularly clear what Gloucester has to offer. Mundane houses and sixties style buildings don't quite fit in with the beautiful hills that surround it. We descended into Gloucester through typical Cotswold style villages (stone washed houses that have an orange tint - well to my eyes anyway!) So the cities secrets and beauty were not immediately clear driving into the centre. The main town centre is much of a muchness, so best to avoid unless you want to do some shopping. We decided to head further into town, making for its two main attractions, hence the double Gloucester cheese reference!
Gloucester was unfortunately bombed during the Second World War, however some original parts do remain and most can be found around the Cathedral, (click on the word for more information about this majestic place.) Its well signposted, so even I could find my way. You'll be greeted by a beautiful grand gothic structure surrounded by Georgian style houses and the remains of what must be the original church. It's inside however that you will find its true delights. Tranquil, ornate but not overpowering, creating a reflective atmosphere, is how I would describe it. The colourful windows and the central area of the cathedral give way to a completely covered cloister. Or is that cloisters? It was here that we had a truly magical moment. With the passageway deserted the only sounds reverberating off the walls were the choir boys voices practicing. Their high pitched notes sounding so angelic and serene. It was a special moment. It felt like it was just for me! If you visit on a Saturday morning you too may have that same experience? The cathedral though is a delight and a true highlight of the city.
|Into the Cloisters|
To the Waterfront
If that was the single Gloucester moment (talking cheese again!) then the second comes when you head to the historic docks, (click on the word for more). Rejuvenated but also retaining the of spirit of its industrial past, this is the place to come and relax when the sun shines; which it was, thankfully. Wondering around was a real joy, there are cafes, food and clothes outlets aplenty. Or you can just lay on a bench or on the side of the docks and soak up the sun. If you can I highly recommend you head for the Gloucester Brewery close to the tall ships building yard. It's what sunny days were made for, a beer (made onsite) whilst sitting watching the canal boats and tourist cruisers go about their business. Their shop has an extensive range and I can confirm that the beer was very nice indeed.
The docks also have a museum, a number of old mechanical pieces and history boards to give you an idea of what this place was once like. It all made for a very pleasant afternoon and conjured up dreams of living a life on a boat cruising the canals and waterways of Britain.
|Anyone love a canal boat? Tours are available|
|Remembering the industrial past at Gloucester Docks|
Its hard to express how nice this little city is. Avoid the usual town centre shops and head for the historical attractions. If the sun is shining then enjoy the docks and even take a mini cruise. It really is the perfect tourist stop off. Full of hidden corners and plenty of history. Well worth at least a day trip? Most definitely and the perfect start to our little Cotswold adventure.
Have you been to Gloucester? What did you like about it? I'd love to hear from you on any of the social media buttons at the top of the page or leave a comment. Next time we explore Stroud and head down the canal.