Described by Jasper Conran as ‘the Covent Garden of the Cotswolds’, and made all the more famous by Laurie Lee’s novel Cider with Rosie, Stroud is a great base to explore the south Gloucestershire countryside and Five Golden Valleys.
Stroud is famed for its textile manufacture stretching back to the 14th century and proud of its industrial heritage, with some former mills offering guided tours for tourists to find out more about its thriving wool trade of days gone by.
Today the town is a booming bohemian centre for an established community of artists and writers, as well as the odd celebrity, with a plethora of independent shops, cafés and galleries showcasing local arts and crafts, not to mention its International Textiles Festival, which attracts creatives from all over.
Visitors can wander the cobbled streets and expect to find everything from fossils and fresh produce to vintage and vinyl in this exciting Gloucestershire town, with its famous farmers’ market enjoying bragging rights of being one of the best in the country.
For those looking to stay in the town centre The Imperial Hotel is situated in a handy spot adjacent to the train station, while the Bear of Rodborough Hotel offers a charming bolthole just a short drive from Stroud. Also in the district and worthy of a special mention, check out both Tortworth Court Four Pillars Hotel and The Painswick.
Whether you want to cycle along the towpath of the Stroudwater Canal, walk the Cotswold Way, find out more about the town’s colourful history at the Museum in the Park, fly kites on the common, or experience the town’s vibrant contemporary arts scene, the Stroud district has an assortment of attractions for the whole family to enjoy.
Quality dishes using local produce come as standard across Stroud, with an abundance of traditional British inns, cafés and bistros, and more international offerings promising to tickle your taste buds.
For foodies looking to unwind after a hike on the nearby Cotswold Way, head to The Edgemoor Inn for a hearty, home-cooked meal and local ales from Uley – complete with amazing views overlooking the picturesque Painswick Valley.
While those in search of top notch Sunday lunch should check out The Hog at Horsley, a family-run pub just outside of Stroud that also benefits from a delightful rear garden – perfect for lazy weekend lunches. And, for top quality local beer head to the bar at the award-winning Stroud Brewery which also serves up mean wood-fired pizzas at the weekends.
Featuring an enviable and eclectic array of independent shops brimming with character, the streets of Stroud carry a bohemian vibe – unlike the chain store-heavy high streets.
Expect to find unique handmade gifts, second-hand books, comics and magazines, delicatessen delights and much more around every corner in the town centre, not to mention the award-winning farmers’ market every Saturday, including up to 60 stalls, 10 organic producers and a lively street entertainment.
Stroud also hosts the Threadneedle Flea Market on Saturdays, where you can enjoy a rummage for collectables, bric-a-brac, second-hand treasures and more. For more information see our Gloucestershire farmers markets guide.
For those wanting to venture further afield, check out the nearby towns of Nailsworth, for delicious cupcakes and magical children’s toys; Painswick for specialist crafts; Stonehouse for prime meats and beautiful blooms; and Dursley for charity shop bargains.
Whether you’re planning a one-night-stay or longer visit to Stroud, discover something to make your trip all the more memorable with SoGlos’s annual calendar highlights throughout the region:
Amberley Cow Hunt in May
Stroud Site Festival in May
Eastcombe Gnome Hunt in June
Slimbridge Beer Festival in June
Nibley Music Festival in July
Stroud Fringe Festival in August
Stroud Folk Festival in September
Stroud Theatre Festival in September
While there are miles and miles of countryside to explore across the Stroud district, by foot or bike, there’s also leisure centre, swimming pool and activity centre available for sporty types and adrenaline junkies alike to enjoy.
Some of its most popular attractions include Rush Skatepark, which offers keen riders the chance to practice their tricks in one of the largest parks in Europe, clay pigeon shooting, paragliding, and, of course, the chance to stretch those legs walking the Cotswold Way.
The perfect place for avid walkers, Stroud’s picturesque valleys can be explored by foot. And while bus, taxi and train services are available for visitors wanting to go further afield, SoGlos recommends using a car to explore all four corners of the area.
Most of the buses run from Merrywalks in the town centre, with the taxi rank found just around the corner and the train station being located not far from here. There’s also a train station in the nearby town of Stonehouse too.
See SoGlos’s Google-powered Gloucestershire Interactive Map to explore Stroud in incredible detail – featuring accommodation, restaurants, attractions and much more.
Friday 30 June 2017
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