From rolling cheese to kicking shins, cheering on the Cherry and Whites to chomping on Michelin Star cuisine, see how many you’ve ticked off already – and just how many you have to do in 2018 – in SoGlos’s ultimate Gloucestershire bucket list…
The jewel in jump racing’s crown, head to the Cheltenham Racecourse, whether on a crisp January morning or a balmy evening in April and soak up the electric atmosphere. Plus, nothing beats the anticipation of a little flutter on the world-class horse racing action. Find out all of this season's race meets in our handy fixtures guide.
Tackle the Cotswold Way, the famous 102-mile National Trail route, bit-by-bit this year. Said to take between five to eight days to complete for experienced ramblers, expect rolling countryside, postcard pretty villages, riverside rambles, steep hill climbs and woodland walks.
Boasting the second largest tidal range in the world, witness the natural wonder of The Severn Bore and see the impressive wave work its way up the Severn Estuary. Feeling brave? Take to the water and try to surf the Bore, fancy dress entirely optional!
Renowned for having the nosiest crowds in the Premiership, cheer on Gloucester Rugby at Kingsholm Stadium. Promising an action-packed day of sport suitable for all ages, head to The Shed with Gloucester's die-hard fans for an authentic Cherry and White experience. Find out all the fixtures for this season in our home matches guide.
Explore the corridors and classrooms of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and see where the famous blockbusters were filmed, at the iconic Gloucester Cathedral.
If you are a self-proclaimed foodie, treat yourself to a meal at arguably Gloucestershire’s best restaurant, Cheltenham’s two Michelin star-rated restaurant Le Champignon Sauvage. Opened in 1987 by chef David Everitt-Matthias and his wife Helen, expect modern French cuisine made from the finest ingredients and a surprisingly well-priced wine list.
Spot the first signs of spring in Gloucestershire around early February and check out 8 of the best places to see snowdrops, with stunning woodland areas such as Colesbourne Park, Batsford Arboretum and Trench Hill transformed by theses delicate white flowers.
Celebrate springtime at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park and as well as the rare chance to watch lambs being born, lucky visitors can bottle feed the babies, and make friends with rabbits, guinea pigs, chicks and piglets too.
It might not sound it, but elvers – baby eels – are a hard-to-come-by delicacy, with many of the elvers caught on River Severn shipped overseas. A bucket list Gloucestershire food, if there ever was one, during the elver season – from the end of February to May – you can buy fresh elvers from Severn and Wye Smokery in the Forest of Dean.
A historically important inland port, Gloucester Docks now offers an exciting mixture of shops, museums and restaurants, with a calendar chock-full of events, making it a popular attraction for locals and visitors alike, while its impressive tall ships make it a popular film location choice for many blockbusters, including Alice in Wonderland and The Colour of Magic.
The sky’s the limit, literally, at Gloucestershire Airport – with the chance to take a trial flight, gain a private pilot’s licence, enjoy some back-flipping action in an aerobatic flight, take control in a helicopter or calm your nerves with a serene and relaxing hot air balloon ride.
Dubbed ‘the eighth wonder of the world’ head to Three Ways House Hotel, near Chipping Campden, and get stuck into the desserts at its world famous weekly pudding club.
Feast your eyes upon the thousands of stunning bluebells that blanket the Forest of Dean in late spring when the wild flowers are in full bloom.
Dating back to the 1800s, Gloucestershire’s Cheese Rolling is undoubtedly the county’s wackiest tradition. On many a bucket list all over the globe, join the hordes of fearless contestants chasing the weighty 8lb Double Gloucester down the death-defyingly-steep hill or simply brave standing on the hill with thousands of other spectators on the sidelines.
Perhaps one of Gloucestershire’s most treasured authors, read Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie and have a chilled pint in the Slad author's local, The Woolpack Inn, once you’ve finished.
When it comes to quintessential Cotswold experiences, visiting a traditional tea room is definitely up there. Discover 14 charming spots to work your way through, and we know you don't need convincing, but if you do, here are 10 reasons to visit the Cotswolds.
Steeped in history, with royal connections spanning a thousand years, Sudeley Castle and Gardens in Winchcombe is one of Gloucestershire’s most popular visitor attractions. Its gardens are well-worth the visit alone, particularly its Queen’s garden, so named because Queen Katherine Parr, Queen Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey and Queen Elizabeth I have all walked there.
Starting at Beechenhurst Lodge, the famous Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail celebrates all things nature with a series of forest-inspired sculptures interspersed among towering trees. Spot the beautiful collection of art along the 3.5 mile path, which is particularly popular with families in the warmer months.
Head to Minchinhampton Common on a breezy day and you’re sure to spot some kite-flying. Bring along you own kite to fly or simply admire the colourful aerobatics of the many others.
An English travelling circus at its barmy best, Giffords offers lashings of talent, a dollop of drama and a good pinch of bonkers British humour, not to mention Tweedy the Clown!
Forget Glastonbury, Gloucestershire is home to a number of boutique festivals altogether more intimate – and closer to home! Wychwood Festival is a firm SoGlos favourite, boasting three days of fantastic live music and family entertainment at Cheltenham Racecourse, while Barn on the Farm is renowned for showcasing up-and-coming artists, including the likes of Ed Sheeran and George Ezra.
Cheltenham’s largest ornamental park, head to Pittville Park for pretty walks, rowing on the lake and two popular cafés – plus the chance to play Pooh sticks! See SoGlos’s for 10 of Gloucestershire’s best public parks for more places to relax in 2018.
Get up very early, arm yourself with a hot flask and hike up Cleeve Hill – the highest point in Gloucestershire – to watch the sun rise. Exhilarating views and a sense of achievement are the rewards.
Lace up your running shoes and embark on a challenge. Whether you take in the Regency sights in the Cheltenham Half Marathon or get involved with Gloucester City Marathon, set your sights on the finish line and give yourself something to train for this year.
From pitching a tent in a woodland setting to glamping in an eco pod, Gloucestershire is home to picturesque camping spots aplenty, perfect for romantic getaways, family staycations and group holidays. So before you go booking that sunny getaway, check out SoGlos’s hot list of 25 of the best camping spots in Gloucestershire right here on the doorstep.
Enjoy a classy evening of high musical entertainment at Longborough Festival Opera the Cotswolds, with four stunning productions to choose from every summer. Plus, don’t forget your picnic and Champers.
Gloucestershire offers a whopping 51 Wildlife Trust nature reserves to explore – one for every week of the year, almost! So, seize the chance to find near extinct animals, rare flowers, beautiful sanctuaries and Jurassic fossils in some of the most impressive natural areas in the UK.
Enjoy the sport of kings at the renowned Beaufort Polo Club, near Tetbury. Boasting a quality sporting spectacle, a quintessentially British day out, and the chance to rub shoulders with royals – entry costs are surprisingly reasonable too.
Wander amongst the 100 or so yew trees in the pretty grounds of Painswick church and try to count them. While the trees are almost 300 years old, no two people get the same answer!
One of the biggest, busiest and most popular farmers’ markets in the UK, head to Stroud Farmers’ markets on Saturday for heaps of local produce, a wide range of traditional and contemporary crafts, a market café for a welcome rest and even a buskers’ corner. And the county has plenty more to offer for foodie, with our round up of 14 must-visit Gloucestershire Farmers' Markets providing plenty of inspiration.
Take to the rushing river at Symonds Yat, with canoeing and kayaking available for a daring day out sure to get those hearts pumping.
Join up to 250,000 equestrian enthusiasts hoping to see one of only six annual CCI**** events at Badminton Horse Trials. Described as ‘the most prestigious four-star competition in world eventing’, the horse trials is an unmissable affair for eventing fans, offering the chance to see Olympic champions and royalty right on your doorstep.
Forget the 21st century, travel through time and witness an authentic re-enactment of the Battle of Tewkesbury at the town’s summertime Medieval Festival, complete with period entertainment, music, dance, drama, children’s entertainment and a colourful medieval market.
Join forces with a brave Roman soldier and venture deep beneath the pavements at The Museum of Gloucester's Eastgate Chamber Tours, offering the chance to discover a whole new world, discover Roman and Medieval walls and learn all about the secrets from the past.
Soak up the sights and explore the historic Berkeley Castle, a fascinating family-friendly destination that dates back to the 12th Century. Climb the turrets and play king of the castle when the attraction opens from March to October.
Quaff a glass of Gloucestershire’s own Champagne, the Classic Cuvee from Three Choirs Vineyard, and wander around the 75-acre vineyard, one of England’s oldest and largest vineyards, near Newent.
Held annually each July at RAF Fairford, the Royal International Air Tattoo is one of the world’s largest military airshows, with thrilling aerobatic displays, the chance to meet the crew, have a go on flight simulators, and a whole host of sideline attractions.
Promising a fortnight of first class cricket every summer, the Cheltenham Cricket Festival is a must-see event for sports fans, attracting thousands of spectators to the green pitches of Cheltenham College. Read SoGlos's review to see why you don’t have to be a cricket aficionado to enjoy the action.
Café Rene in Gloucester will once again be hosting its Rhythm and Blues Festival promising a week-long party of live music, drinks aplenty, good food and laughter. For music fans, fun-loving families and revellers, this is one of Gloucester’s most anticipated annual event.
In late August, the usually peaceful River Windrush is invaded by two boisterous teams of local players, ready to battle it out in the annual Bourton-on-the-Water Football in the River. Spectators line Bourton’s grassy banks for the highly anticipated 30-minute match, making it one of SoGlos’s annual highlights – just be warned, wear your waterproofs.
Explore some of Britain’s oldest underground mine workings at Clearwell Caves in the Forest of Dean. Travel 200ft underground, with the chance to crawl and explore through the mysterious mines.
Create a signature ale and even make your own bottle label too at the Forest of Dean’s Hillside Brewery, with the chance to meet the brewer, embark on a brewery tour, and sample a pint or two, of course!
With a 240 metre main slope, racing and nursery slopes, not to mention a Big AirBag for practising freestyle moves and fun park with grind rails and quarter pipes, head to Gloucester Ski & Snowboard Centre – one of the only dry ski slopes in the south west – for some winter sports action.
Tens of thousands of literary lovers flock to the Cheltenham Literature Festival to catch authors, comedians and stars of the stage talk about their work over 10 autumn days. With the likes of J.K. Rowling, Bill Bryson, Salman Rushdie and Simon Pegg having graced the stage in the past, if you’ve never been before make 2018 your Lit Fest year.
A firm favourite in the calendars of local, erm, allium-lovers the history of the Newent Onion Fayre can be traced back a staggering 800 years. A highlight is the annual onion-eating competition, which welcomes dozens of brave – and perhaps teary-eyed – contenders on stage. There is even a Guinness World Record up for grabs.
Head to one of Britain’s oldest trout farms and catch your very own fish at Bibury Trout Farm. Situated in one of Gloucestershire’s most picturesque locations, you might just get hooked on a new hobby too…
Put out your pinkies, pull on the pearls and enjoy a quintessential English afternoon tea in Gloucestershire, with dainty finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and steaming pots of the finest blends.
From the spectacular acers at at Westonbirt Arboretum to the cherry and maple trees at Batsford Arboretum, head to SoGlos's 10 spots to see stunning autumn colour in Gloucestershire for a breathtaking autumnal day bursting with colour, not to mention plenty of photo-opportunities.
Dig out your old clothes and fake flood and start practicing your scariest face, as hordes of the undead take to the streets of Gloucester, in Café Rene’s annual Zombie Walk. Taking inspiration from large-scale events in London and Manchester, the zombie walk sees the city centre transformed into a scene from The Walking Dead, proving to be a real Halloween highlight.
Come November, the Everyman Theatre will be granting festive wishes across the county and offering a laugh-a-minute evening of family-friendly comedy and sing-a-long songs at its ever-popular annual pantomime.
Each winter thousands of Bewick’s swans migrate from Arctic Russia to Slimbridge Wetland Centre, attracting tourists from all over the globe.
Take a break from the turkey this Christmas and embark on a chilly challenge at Cheltenham’s Sandford Park Lido at its Christmas Swim, where the very brave will be taking a dip in the freezing water as part of the venue’s festive tradition, which has been going for more than 50 years.
By Alice Lloyd
Tuesday 02 January 2018
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