The ancient Roman town of Glevum, built during the 1st century AD for the invasion of Wales, flourishes still as the city of Gloucester. The city's long heritage is reflected in its wealth of preserved historic buildings, dominated by its magnificent Norman cathedral.

Old watchmaker's shop

The Old Watchmaker's Shop © TAB

The only visible Roman artifacts that remain today, can be seen in the City Museum. The oldest building in Gloucester, apart from the cathedral crypt, is St Oswald's Priory. An arch incorporated in the north nave arcade may date back to the 10th century. The Church of St Mary de Crypt on the far side of town is Norman in origin, with 15th century additions and several 17th and 18th century monuments.

Westgate Street, which runs through the centre of town, contains some of city's finest old buildings, often with newer frontages. For example, the Grade I listed house at No. 26 has a Georgian facade with a carved timber-frame structure behind, and No. 66 'Hedleys', dates from the 15th century. Above the watchmaker's are five assorted figures (Father Time, John Bull, Scotsman, Welsh woman and an Irish girl), striking bells to tell the time to passers-by.

Gloucester's docks, built alongside the River Severn, were once the key to the city's prosperity. Today they have taken on a new role as a tourist attraction, with boat trips, museums, restaurants and an antique centre.

Tourist Information Centre:

28 Southgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 2DP - Tel: 01452 396572

Content by Steve B

Places of interest to visit in Gloucester

City Museum & Art Gallery

City MuseumOver the last few years Gloucester City Museum and Art Gallery has undergone extensive renovations due to a large grant from the heritage lottery fund, and investment from the Gloucester City Council. As a result the museum now has a brand new Café - Café Nerva, the fantastic City Museum shop, and a lively program of talks, exhibitions, crafts, workshops and events throughout the year. The brand new permanent displays include the Story of Gloucester through the ages, walk through Mediaeval streets, learn the story of the Birdlip lady, and keep the kids entertained with lots of hands-on activities to do throughout your stay. From 2013 the museum will also be hosting children's birthday parties and the Museum Detectives - a brand new club for children will be starting during the summer. With behind the scenes tours, talks with some of the most influential historians in the country and a variety of hands-on permanent displays, the City Museum is a hive of activity and a definite must if you're making a visit to Gloucester.

Opening times: all year, Tue-Sat 10am - 5pm. Small Admission Charge (Under 5s free)
Location: Brunswick Rd, Gloucester City Centre, GL1 1HP - Tel: 01452 396131 - Website


Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester CathedralGloucester's Norman cathedral is one of the most beautiful churches in Britain. The main structure, built between 1089 and 1260, has a massive nave lined with piers that support a Romanesque triforium and clerestory. The transepts and choir were remodeled during the 14th century to house the tomb of Edward II. The magnificent stained-glass east window (the largest in Britain) depicts the Coronation of the Virgin. Designed as a memorial to those who died at the Battle of Crecy in 1346. The 14th century cloisters are some of the finest and best preserved in Britain. They include the earliest surviving, intricate fan vaulting of the roof.

Full and partial guided tours of the crypt, tower, main church and cloisters are available daily, you can also see the areas where Harry Potter was filmed.

Opening times: daily 7.30am - 6pm, Admission Free - donations accepted
Location: City Centre

Gloucester Docks & The National Waterways Museum

Gloucester DocksThe historic quay was once a docking place for vessels before the ship canal was built and dates back to early medieval times.

The quay was later superseded by nearby Bristol docks. Artificial docks, and a canal connecting them with the Severn estuary were built in the late 18th century, to help revive the city's fortunes. The canal can accommodate ships of nearly 1,000 tons. Many of the original warehouses are still in use or have been converted into dwellings or businesses.

Located in the Docks, the National Waterways Museum takes up three floors of the seven-storey Victorian Llanthony Warehouse, with iron columns and timber beams. Exhibits document the 200 year history of Britain's canals and water-based transport system, including working models, engines, boats, interactive displays and the national collection of inland waterways. Interactive computer displays show how canals were dug and the water controlled, plus a scale model of lock and lock gate, demonstrates how the canal lock system works.

Boat trips along the canal are available between March and October.

Opening times: Open daily 10am to 5pm. Admission Charge
Location: Llanthony Warehouse, The Docks, GL1 2EH - Tel: 01452 318200 - Website
Facilities: parking (charge), café, shop, lifts, disabled facilities.

Gloucester Folk Museum

Gloucester Folk MuseumThe Gloucester Folk Museum has undergone extensive renovations during the last few years due to a large grant from the heritage lottery fund, and investment from the Gloucester City Council. As a result the museum now has a brand new purpose-built education building in it's garden, and a fantastic new Tearoom. The main museum is housed within a timber-framed tudor building. With a lively program of talks, exhibitions, crafts, workshops and events throughout the year, not to mention all housed in a tudor building, there is so much to see and learn during your visit. The permanent displays within the main museum teach us about local history, crafts and domestic life, with the garden playing host to an Ironmonger's shop, Wheelwright's shop and Carpenter's store. Step back in time in the Victorian Classroom and the toys and games gallery including a playhouse and puppet theatre, is sure to keep the kids amused.

Opening times: all year, Tue-Sat, 10am - 5pm, Small Admission Charge (Under 5s free)
Location: 99-103 Westgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 2PG - Tel: 01452 396868 - Website
Facilities: Folk Tearooms, Folk Boutique shop, induction loop, Education sessions, birthday parties, rooms for hire, disabled access to ground floor and garden only


Regiments of Gloucestershire Museum

AFV outside Regiments of Gloucestershire MuseumHoused in an early 19th century Custom House with a colonnaded front. The museum describes the 300 year history of the Gloucestershire Regiment and the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars. Exhibits cover all aspects of soldiering, including life in the trenches during WWI. Photographs, life size dioramas and audio-visual displays tell the story up to the present, including the regiment's participation in the Korean War.

Opening times: daily 10am - 5pm, Admission Charge
Location: Custom House, Gloucester Docks, Gloucester, GL1 2HE

St Oswald's Priory

This ruined Roman Catholic church, north of the cathedral, was founded around 900 AD by Lady Aethelflaed of Mercia. It once contained the relics of St Oswald, later becoming very famous for its wealth and miracles.

Opening times: any reasonable time, Admission Free
Location: behind the cathedral precinct

Map of Gloucester

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