Home to the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire is a popular holiday destination in the UK, either for a weekend stay or longer. Renowned for its scenery and local attractions it has some famous festivals, in literature, music and sport.
Here are some of the most popular attractions in the county.
1. Cotswold Country Park and Beach
In good weather especially this attraction comes into its own, boasting the biggest inland beach in the UK. It actually has two beach areas, one reserved for bathing and the other primarily for activities on the water including rowing boats, pedalos and also kayaking.
2. Tewkesbury Abbey
One of the best examples of medieval architecture in the country, it is a beautiful church set in large and attractive grounds. Much of the abbey sits as it did when built in the early 12th century and has some particularly attractive stained glass windows. Tewkesbury Abbey is the second biggest parish church in the country.
3. Rugby Union
Gloucestershire is a rugby union stronghold and the local team, Gloucester Rugby, is one of the biggest, competing in the Aviva Premiership. Playing in famous cherry and white hooped shirts the team has won the UK club championship three times, the most recent in 2007-08 and has many fiery west country derbies with Bath also playing in the Premiership and Bristol in the division below. Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium will host four group games in the 2015 Rugby World Cup including Scotland’s clash with Japan.
4. Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park
Adam Henson has become something of a television personality through his appearances on BBC’s Countryfile programme and he has his own farm park in the county. Opened in 1971 the attraction concentrates on the conservation of rare breeds including Guernsey goats, Cotswold sheep and crested ducks. It is also however a working farm and visitors get a chance to feed some of the animals and see lambing, milking and shearing in action.
5. Cotswold Wildlife Park
With animals including the Asiatic lion, giraffes, zebra and Bactrian camels, the park is hugely popular in the area and is another local attraction committed to conservation. In particular it has a collection of extremely rare Visayan Warty pigs and a herd of Scimitar horned oryx.
6. Cheltenham Festival
For those interested in horse racing, the Cheltenham Festival is one of the best in the country, the four-day event culminating in the world famous Gold Cup, won last year by Lord Windermere. The festival next takes place in March 2015 and will again attract race goers from all over the UK and beyond, many no doubt looking for Cheltenham Festival tips.
7. Cheltenham Literature Festival
Formed in 1949, this is the longest-running festival of its kind in the world and remains one of the most prestigious. The 2014 festival takes place in October and features speakers including Ranulph Fiennes, Geoffrey Boycott, Nicholas Parsons and Paddy Ashdown.
8. Cheltenham Music Festival
The Cheltenham Music Festival was first held just after the war in 1945 and has grown to become an integral part of the town’s social calendar. The festival also makes full use of Cheltenham’s attractions with events held in the town hall, the Pittville Pump Room and the cathedral among others. The 2014 artist in residence was the renowned violinist Nicola Benedetti.
9. Pittville Pump Room
This pump room is the biggest of the Spa buildings in the town, built between 1825 and 1830. A Grade 1 listed building in its own grounds, it contains the original Pump and of course visitors can try the spa water for themselves.
10. Forest of Dean
This area of outstanding natural beauty encompasses Gloucestershire together with Herefordshire and Monmouthshire and is popular for walking and hiking holidays. Covering over 42 square miles, it is one of the last surviving ancient woodlands in the UK.