How to Spend a Day in Gloucester

Gloucester isn’t an obvious day trip destination for many, mostly because unless you’re a Potterhead or live in a neighbouring city you probably don’t even know it exists! Steeped in history, with literary affiliation with Beatrix Potter and a pretty good rugby team – there are many reasons to visit Gloucester (here’s eight).

So if I’ve already succeeded in adding Gloucester to your UK day trip short list, here’s my guide for spending a day in the Cathedral City of the Cotswolds.

How to get to Gloucester

Contrary to what you might be thinking, Gloucester is incredibly easy to get too. Nestled between Cheltenham and Bristol, Gloucester is easily accessible by train with the station within the centre itself. And Assuming you’re travelling on a Saturday, an off-peak day return costs less than £10 with The Trainline.

There is only one train station in the city, and with only two physical opposing platforms you’ll have to try really hard to get lost!

*Trains to Bristol usually depart from platform 1 (obviously check this before departing), accessible by walking on to platform 2 and walking down to the right.

Let’s get started…

It’s a short and flat ten minute walk from the train station to Gloucester Cathedral. Upon exiting the station stick to the side of the road you’re on and turn right, passing with the Station Hotel and Bar on your right hand side. You’ll pass another large building – the Railway House. Keep walking until you reach the next pedestrian crossing, you’ll notice St Peter’s Church to your right – keep walking straight and eventually you’ll come to a second pedestrian crossing. It’s not a particularity pleasant walk, lots of grey and drab building but it’s worth it to reach our first stop.

You should be able to spot the red signed building that reads Vintage Flea Market – that’s your first stop.

Fab and Fated

We’re starting your visit at Gloucester’s largest flea market and up cycling centre. Three floors of  Vintage Furniture, Jewellery, Vintage Tools, Vinyl Records,  Garden items, Clothes, China and hand made Rustic Kitchens are awaiting your discovery.

Open 10am to 5pm, you’ll be passing by on your return to the train station if you feel like you need to come back for items you don’t want to carry.

Fab & Fated Flea Market.

Gloucester Cathedral

Upon exiting Fab and Fated, turn right up Worcester Street until you reach the mini roundabout at the top. Turn right, you’ll pass Sainsbury’s on your right. Pass the Abbey on your right hand side (it’s a pub) and turn right on to St John’s Ln – it’s just after Cotters Bar and Shoes. Notice the little white arches on your right hand side, and walk through them – before the Osteopathic and Sports Injuries Clinic.

Follow the path to the right before turning left and you’ll exit towards the back of the Cathedral. Turn left to reach the entrance.

Besides ogling at the famed cloisters and beautiful architecture, there are a number of tours available for a full discovery of almost 1000 years of history. The most notable tours are a Guided Tour, a Tower Tour and the Crypt Tour.  Ascending 269 steps, the Tower tour offers the best views in Gloucestershire offering forty miles across the glorious Gloucestershire countryside on a clear day.

You’ll need to check the calendar for tour times and dates, as these are volunteer led. But if you prefer to guide yourself around the cathedral, printed guides available from the Gift Shop for just £2.

Crypt tours are priced at £3, lasting around twenty minutes. Tower tours are £7 for an adult, for the duration of an hour.

Tickets can be purchased in the Gift Shop.

Gloucester Cathedral.

The House of the Tailor of Gloucester

Upon exiting the Cathedral, walk to the top left hand corner of the car park where you’ll find a small alley – College Court. It almost appears as if you’re walking between the houses but I assure you it is a lovely little walkway (and one of Gloucester’s most Instagrammable spots).

Immediately on your right is where you’ll find the House of the Tailor of Gloucester. This museum and shop is the the same building that inspired the very story and is used in the illustrations.  It’s open to the public every day where you will be served by enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers. (There words, not mine)

Take time to view the tailor’s kitchen and other displays featured in the story, and pop a coin in the Animated Mice Box at the back of the shop.

Admission is free, and the museum is open 10am to 4.30pm on Saturdays.

*Option take a tea break in Lily’s Tearoom (opposite)

Upon exiting College Court, you’ll come out on to Westgate Street – one of the four cross road that make up the City Centre and High Street. Here you’ll find the usual array of high street stores, but there’s a little hidden lunch gems I need to tell you about. Turn right out on to Westgate for a couple of steps, and find the alley to the right of Black Letter Tattoo Studio. This is where you’ll find Peppers.

Beatrix Potter's House of the Tailor of Gloucester

Peppers

Hidden on a little alley, Peppers is an organic and natural cafe offering the perfect array of baguettes and sandwiches. Fillings range from Brie and Cranberry, Blue Stilton and Apple, Goats Cheese, Avocado and Walnut, Hot Bacon and Brie or even a bespoke combination (to name a few!). Seat yourself in The Courtyard on a nice day, or upstairs in the kitsch seating area with the featured artists wall for a really lovely little spot for lunch.

With your belly sufficiently full, and your taste buds tantalised it’s time for a spot of shopping.

Upon exiting Peppers, turn right and head to the end of Bull Lane – in the opposite direction of where you came in. (Turn around to look at the street art on the side of peppers) The road will brand off to the right behind a red bricked NCP car park, continue straight until your reach the end.

You are now on Longsmith Road, turn left to rejoin the high street and follow the road until the end. Take the pedestrian crossing and descend the stairs to enter into the harbour. Follow the harbour to the end, and continue walking straight (you’ll pass McColls on your right) and you’ll eventually come to Gloucester Quays and the Docks area.

 

Peppers Cafe exterior

 

Gloucester Docks and Quays

 

This outlet has great named brands such as Cath Kidston, Cadbury, Nike and Lindt it’s worth at least a little browse. You can enter Gloucester Quays, walk around in a circle and come back roughly where you started. Having explored the Cathedral and the Docks, it’s time to return back toward the Train Station – but not before dining at Gloucester’s best restaurant! (IMO)

Gloucester Docks

Sebz

It’s a little walk back towards the train station, but you’ll be rewarded with the best of traditional Portuguese and Mediterranean cuisine at Sebz. Read here why I think it’s the best restaurant in Gloucester.

Assuming you’ve completed the loop of Gloucester Quays and are now standing back at Ted Baker and All Saints. We’ll make our way back in the direction you came. Head towards the harbour area, keeping The High Constable (Wetherspoons) on your left.

This time when you enter the courtyard, walk straight between the harbour and the car park. Car park on your right, harbour on your left. This is another great Instagram location – especially if you can notice the spires of the Cathedral peeking through.

Walk to the end of the car park, passed the next building and you’ll notice some steps on your right hand side between two buildings. Walk up the steps. Cross the road at the crossing in the direction of the CD Holder looking sculpture. Follow the path back into town, Aroma Indian Restaurant should be on your right hand side. You’re now on Southgate Street , you’ll pass a number of shopping as you’re back within the City Centre, keep walking straight until you reach the cross roads.

Continue across to Northgate Street. Walk straight until you reach the mini roundabout with Wilkinson on your left. Continue straight, but on the left hand side there will be a restaurant called Sebz – next to the Cash Converters. I know it looks a little suspect but trust me on this one!

best restaurants in Gloucester - Sebz Portuguese Tapas

Sebz Tapas Restaurant

Go Hard or Go Home

At this point you can either go hard or go home, if you’re going hard then there’s really two choices here.

Catch a game at Gloucester Rugby, or catch a flick at Sherbourne cinema.

Gloucester Rugby

If its the former, you may need to have purchased tickets in advance depending on the game but often tickets can be purchased on the day. Price varies. To reach Kingsholm Stadium, exit right out of Sebz and turn right at the mini roundabout heading towards Fab and Fated.

At the end of the road, use the pedestrian crossing to reach the other side but continue straight down the road opposite – this is Worcester Street. If you haven’t already spotted the hoards of cherry and whites, continue straight and you cant miss the Kingsholm Stadium on your left.

Gloucester Rugby

Gloucester Rugby

To return to the train station after the game, follow the main road back the way you came. Turn left and follow the road all the way until you reach the train station on your left, directly after the Station Hotel and Bar.

Sherborne Cinema

If however you fancy catching a flick, Gloucester’s vintage cinema is the perfect setting. Sherbrone Cinema shows the latest films in a unique art-deco 137 year old cinema, which is fully equipped with up-to-date digital projection and Dolby surround sound.

With tickets at just £6 and refreshments from £1 for a hot drink in a mug your visit won’t break the bank. There is only a single screen so you’ll need to check the programme before your visit.

There are 141 seats, available to ourchase on arrival to the box office. The box office opens 30 minutes before the start of each show – cash only. Films start at 6.30pm or 8.30pm with no advertisements.

To reach Sherborne cinema, follow the directions above down Worcester Street but take the second right on to Sweetbriar Street – this is also directly opposite the Rugby Stadium. Keep following this road, passed the playing field as the road curves round to the right and then to the left – the road continues but becomes Union Street. Continue straight until you come to a dead end. Walk through the opening on your right hand side between the houses and you’ll come into a car park.

You’ll now be on Sherborne Street, when you read the road turn left and you’ll see Sherborne Cinema on the opposite side of the road.

To return to the train station, exit left out of the cinema and follow the road around to the left. Turn right at the T-junction and follow the road around to the left (Oxford Street) – you’ll pass the back entrance to Stagecoach on your left. Turn right at the main road (London Road) and follow it to the end. You’ll pass a petrol station on your right, and you’ll see St Peter’s Church on the corner to your right. Turn left and follow the road all the way until you reach the train station on your left, directly after the Station Hotel and Bar.

Sherborne Cinema Gloucester

Have you visited Gloucester? Is there any things to do that you would add? Let me know in the comments.

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26 Comments

  1. September 28, 2018 / 3:52 pm

    Never heard of this place before but def would like to check it out after reading this post, great photos!

    • Charlie
      Author
      October 1, 2018 / 2:10 pm

      Glad to hear it! It’s a little town in the South West of England, easily accessible from Bristol 🙂

  2. Joanne
    September 28, 2018 / 8:46 pm

    We visited London several years ago and I would love to return to see a few locations outside the London area. Gloucester looks lovely! Fab and Fated is such a unique location and the Cathedral is beautiful. I have to say, while I love Beatrix Potter, I spent my time looking for references to Harry Potter when I read Potterhead LOL. Great post!

    • Charlie
      Author
      October 1, 2018 / 2:10 pm

      Oh I hope you do make it back some day, you’ll love the Cathedral if you’re a Potterhead!

  3. Archana
    September 28, 2018 / 11:16 pm

    I myself have been planning to visit Gloucester for very long and you have explained it so well that I can’t wait.

    • Charlie
      Author
      October 1, 2018 / 2:11 pm

      Thank you Archana, I hope you visit soon!

  4. September 29, 2018 / 12:02 am

    Love this post. We lived in Gloucester for 6 years and I had no idea you could visit the prison!

    • Charlie
      Author
      October 1, 2018 / 2:12 pm

      It was only a recent activity, when a company called Jailhouse Tours started running tours! It closes on 14th October and then unfortunately, it’ll become flats – such a shame!

  5. September 29, 2018 / 9:00 am

    This was a great post. I’ve lived in Gloucestershire all my life but haven’t really visited Gloucester city centre in years, favouring other cities like Bristol. Definitely pinning this for later.

    • Charlie
      Author
      October 1, 2018 / 2:12 pm

      I too spend most of my time in Bristol, but felt it was time to look back to my roots and remember what it has to offer! 🙂

  6. September 29, 2018 / 9:53 am

    I lived not far from Gloucester for 5 years and spend many cold winters days watching rugby. It’s a gorgeous city and well worth visiting and spending a day or two exploring.

    • Charlie
      Author
      October 1, 2018 / 2:13 pm

      Does that make you a Cherry & Whites fan too then?

  7. September 29, 2018 / 11:15 am

    The rugby match sounds like a really cool thing to do given that I have never seen one! The House of Beatrix Potter picture is so adorable!

    • Charlie
      Author
      October 1, 2018 / 2:13 pm

      Oh you’re in for a treat!

  8. September 29, 2018 / 5:31 pm

    What a great post! Gloucester has so much to offer – you could make a fun weekend out of it all. The shops look especially sweet. 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Charlie
      Author
      October 1, 2018 / 2:14 pm

      It’s a lovely little city hidden away between Bristol and Cheltenham who tend to take all the glory!

  9. September 30, 2018 / 5:30 pm

    I wish you had published this article a couple of months ago. We were in Bristol in July and we would have planned a day trip to Gloucester had we read this post. But it’s OK, you’ve inspired us to go back to that part of the UK without much delay 🙂

    • Charlie
      Author
      October 1, 2018 / 2:14 pm

      Ohhh such bad timing, I hope you do come back though 🙂

  10. September 30, 2018 / 7:53 pm

    Gloucester sounds like a great place to spend a day or two! I wish that I explored more outside of London when I visited England. When I go back I’ll have to add in a day in Gloucester!

    • Charlie
      Author
      October 1, 2018 / 2:14 pm

      Oh you absolutely do have to come back, there’s so many cities outside of London worth visiting!!

  11. October 1, 2018 / 7:34 am

    The Cathedral is exceptional in its magnificence! Plus I love flea markets and cute boutiques. Gloucester seems perfect for a weekend trip 🙂

    • Charlie
      Author
      October 1, 2018 / 2:15 pm

      Absolutely, I hadn’t realise until I wrote this article that you could even go on a tower tour! So now I have to go back myself 🙂

  12. October 1, 2018 / 9:16 am

    Looks like a great place to visit! That little cafe Pepper especially grabbed my attention, I love trying out quaint cafes in small towns. 🙂

    • Charlie
      Author
      October 1, 2018 / 2:15 pm

      It’s such a delightful little place, and the menu is just amazing!

  13. October 1, 2018 / 10:45 am

    I had never heard about Gloucester before! The place seems really interesting. I would love to make a visit there!

    • Charlie
      Author
      October 1, 2018 / 2:16 pm

      It’s often over shadowed by Bath and Bristol, but the rail network makes it easily accessible for a day trip!

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