23 exciting things to look forward to in Gloucester in 2023

From the hotly anticipated opening of the Food Dock, the return of Gloucester's glorious music festivals and exciting new exhibitions, there's so much going on in the cathedral city in 2023.

By Kaleigh Pritchard  |  Published
SoGlos rounds up 23 exciting things happening in Gloucester in 2023.

It's shaping up to be a fun filled and educational year in Gloucester for 2023, with festivals, shows, exhibitions, talks and so much more to enjoy.

SoGlos has teamed up with Gloucester BID to round-up some of the highlights to get in your diary now. 

100x100 at the Museum of Gloucester

Kicking off a year of exciting exhibitions, the Museum of Gloucester's 100x100 Exhibition features 100 portraits of Gloucester women taken by 100 female photographers, to highlight the impact and achievements of women in the city. 

The initiative was launched on International Women's Day in 2022 by Hundred Heroines, a local charity with the aim of encouraging more local women to get behind the lens and take up photography. The exhibition is free to visit until Saturday 11 February 2023.

International Photography Exhibition 163 at the Museum of Gloucester

Another exciting event in the Museum of Gloucester's 2023 calendar is the International Photography Exhibition 163. The second exhibition in its three-year partnership with The Royal Photographic Society brings the longest-running photography exhibition in the world back to Gloucester from Saturday 28 January until Sunday 4 June 2023. 

Showcasing incredible images and techniques from photographers all over the world, from vast landscapes to emotive portraiture, this year's exhibition centres on themes of mental health, global societal issues and cultural heritage. 

What’s Your Game at Blackfriars Priory

Britain’s largest Live Action Role Play kit fair is coming to Gloucester on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 February 2023, offering attendees the chance to enter a fantasy world and shop for everything they need for cosplay, re-enactments, steampunk stylings and war games.

Whether you're an avid gamer or a complete noob, everyone is welcome to come along - with tickets available for £3.50 each. 

Knife Angel at Gloucester Cathedral

Taking up residence at Gloucester Cathedral throughout the month of February, the imposing Knife Angel sculpture is on display at Cathedral Green as part of its National Anti-Violence Tour. 

Created by Alfie Bradley, the sculpture is a symbol of peace constructed from over 100,000 knives confiscated by 43 police forces from across the UK. Aiming to raise awareness of knife crime and to inspire social change in communities, its the first time the Knife Angel has visited Gloucestershire.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year at Nature in Art

Visiting from the Natural History Museum in London, the world-renowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition opens at Nature in Art in Gloucester from Tuesday 7 February until Sunday 2 April 2023.

Featuring extraordinary images, carefully curated from over 38,000 entries from 93 countries from around the globe, this showcase of stunning species is not to be missed.

Gloucester History Festival talks at The King's School Gloucester

The first season of Gloucester History Festival's King's Talks starts on Friday 10 February 2023 with historian and former deputy head of The King's School, David Evans, chatting about his recently published book The Ancient Schools of Gloucester.

Exploring the history of some of the oldest schools in Gloucester, Evans takes attendees on a deep dive into the impressive stories of the buildings and past pupils - including Gloucester's John Stafford Smith, who wrote the US national anthem 'The Star-Spangled Banner.'

Gloucester Folk Trail

Returning with a terrifically tuneful programme of talent, the Gloucester Folk Trail is back in 2023 to get toes tapping throughout the city. 

Bringing together the best folk musicians, poets and artists the county has to offer, Gloucester's venues transform into stages showcasing the popular festival's line-up, which includes Three Fiddles; Blind River Scare; Clint Mann; Blackthorn Buskers; and Susie and the Banjos. Fully funded by the businesses and venues involved and Gloucester BID, the event is free to attend and takes place across three days from Friday 17 to Sunday 19 February 2023.

Gloucester Bright Nights

Transforming the Redwell Centre in Matson into a giant, illuminated arcade, Gloucester Bright Nights returns this February 2023 with Light Games.

On Friday 17 and Saturday 18 February 2023, visitors can try their hand at light-up versions of Snake, connect four and memory games, as well as neon mini golf and more all for free - with hot drinks and fire pits to warm you up afterwards, too. 

Art in the Galleries at the Museum of Gloucester

Flex your artistic muscles with this creative activity at The Museum of Gloucester, where budding artists can join Claire Taylor-Jones to explore the museum's eclectic collection through the medium of putting pencil to paper. From absolute beginners to experienced sketchers, all are welcome!

The sessions take place every fourth Thursday of each month from Thursday 23 February 2023 and are free to attend, but booking is required and sketching materials are available upon request.

A Night at the Opera by Candlelight at Gloucester Cathedral

Let some romance into your life in 2023, with a Night at the Opera at Gloucester Cathedral.

Take in the talent of the experienced vocalists accompanied by the classical musicians of the London Concertante, all lit up by candlelight. Featuring an array of arias and overtures from works including Madame Butterfly, The Barber of Seville and Carmen it's sure to be an evening of class and elegance, taking place on Friday 3 March 2023 from 7.30pm with ticket prices starting from £19.

Comedy Nights at Gloucester Docks

Stand-up comedy fans are in for a treat as Gloucester Brewery hosts its very own monthly comedy nights throughout 2023, with a stage right by the waterfront at Warehouse 4. 

MC Nik Hill compères proceedings with a hilarious line-up of comics from the national circuit, with an impressive selection of craft beers, gins and vodkas all made on site to sip on and street food trucks serving up delicious hot food all evening. Tickets are available from the Gloucester Brewery website, starting at £10 per person.

Gloucester Spring History Festival

Celebrating the return of spring after the long, cold winter months the Gloucester Spring History Festival is returning to the historic Blackfriars Priory from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 April 2023.

The weekend features 15 informative and engaging talks, including What Makes a Good Monarch? - aptly timed for two weeks before the coronation of King Charles III - with speakers including top historians like Greg Jenner, Janina Ramirez and Peter Frankopan. 

The opening of Gloucester Food Dock

The highly anticipated £3.5 million Gloucester Food Dock is nearing completion, with its opening expected to take the city by storm. Championing local, up-and-coming food businesses and eateries, the huge development is situated beside the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum by the waterfront at Gloucester Docks and is set to become a must-visit destination for local foodies.

The exact opening date is still under wraps, but the wait is nearly over as it is expected to be officially unveiled in April 2023.

Gloucester Mind Body Spirit Show at Blackfriars Priory

For the more spiritually minded or anyone looking for a more holistic approach to easing feelings of anxiety, worry and stress, the Gloucester Mind Body and Spirit show may be just the ticket.

Taking place during National Stress Awareness month, the show at beautiful Blackfriars will offer more than 30 talks, workshops and demonstrations on everything from reflexology and reiki to candles and crystals. Taking place from Saturday 29 to Sunday 30 April 2023, entry is just £2. 

National Flower Association Festival at Gloucester Cathedral

The National Flower Association Festival takes over Gloucester Cathedral on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 May 2023. Filling the stunning setting with flowers, visitors will be treated to a variety of arrangements to admire, as well as workshops, demonstrations and talks. 

The cathedral's famous Cloister will also be filled with traders selling a variety of floral-themed products, ideal for green-fingered guests.

Marti Pellow's Pellow Talk at Gloucester Guildhall

Wet, Wet, Wet's frontman Marti Pellow will visit the city for a night of music and insight into his star-studded life. He'll be at Gloucester Guildhall from 6pm until 10pm on Sunday 28 May 2023 and fans will get the chance to meet the man himself as well as sit in the front row for £80. General admission starts at £30.

So if you really love him, come on and let it show!

Orchard Street Food & Craft Market

From February 2023 through to October 2023, there'll be around 70 pop up traders to browse at Gloucester Quays on the first weekend of every month.

With everything from jewellery, plants and homeware to artisan food and drink, there's plenty to sip, savour and enjoy from 10am to 4pm.

Three Choirs Festival at Gloucester Cathedral

The long-standing classical music festival returns to Gloucestershire once more for its 308th year, taking place from Saturday 22 to Saturday 29 July 2023.

Whether you’re looking for powerful choral concerts, orchestral performances, or mesmerising solo and chamber recitals, the family friendly festival is largely centred around Gloucester Cathedral which provides a magical setting to soak up the sensational sounds. The event also hosts the Festival Chorus, giving singers a chance to be mentored by professional choir directors.

Gloucester Rhythm & Blues Festival

Taking place from Wednesday 26 to Sunday 30 July 2023, the fantastic Gloucester Rhythm & Blues Festival returns to the city for another exciting event.

The line-up and venues are yet to be revealed, but with the huge success of last year's largely free event, it's expected to be bigger and better than ever for 2023!

Gloucester Goes Retro

Step back in time on Saturday 26 August 2023 as Gloucester Goes Retro transforms the city streets into a bygone era.

As well as a huge collection of vintage vehicles, visitors can see people dressed up in period costumes spanning the 1900s, the roaring 20s, World War II through to the swinging 60s, plus live music and entertainment at the Mariners Square stage at Gloucester Docks. 

Gloucester History Festival

Gloucester’s Blackfriars Priory welcomes the Autumn Gloucester History Festival from Saturday 2 to Sunday 17 September 2023, offering history buffs a chance to hear from some of Britain's top historians. 

The popular festival is now in its 13th year and is set to educate and inspire enthusiasts from across the county and beyond with nine days of talks from Saturday 9 September 2023.

Americana Music Festival

This hotly anticipated new festival brings live music from this ever more popular genre to the city in September 2023.

Running from Friday 15 to Saturday 16 September 2023, the venues and line-up are set to be released very soon. We can't wait!

Christmas in Gloucester

Christmas in Gloucester is a truly magical time of year, with illuminations at Gloucester Cathedral; the annual Lantern Procession and Christmas Light Switch On; Festive Orchard Street Market and the open-air ice rink at Gloucester Quays; Santa's grotto at The Fairview Gardener; and the annual Santa Fun Run to look forward to. 

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