There’s a host of things to see and do in Stroud in 2023, from the return of some much-loved events, to the launch of some brand-new festivals and exciting new business developments – with SoGlos compiling our pick of 23 things to look forward to across the Stroud valleys…
Celebrate snowdrops at Museum in the Park
To celebrate this year's glorious snowdrops, Museum in the Park is hosting a special weekend offering visitors the chance to see the spring flowers in full bloom, taking place on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 January 2023.
Along with the opportunity to meet the gardeners, learn about the walled garden snowdrop collection and the story of the Giant Snowdrop Company of Hyde, the weekend allows visitors of all ages to discover a collection of snowdrop varieties, take part in a giant snowdrop 'I Spy' trail for children, purchase bulbs and spot the first signs of spring and hope.
See the Bewick's swans at Slimbridge Wetland Centre
Wintery fun for the whole family, Slimbridge Wetland Centre visitors can catch sight of the majestic Bewick's swans in January 2023, before they make their journey back to Arctic Russia – the perfect opportunity to get outdoors.
Those visiting on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 January 2023 will also have the chance to experience birding workshops, advice and winter bird feeds and more as part of its Wild Winter Weekend event; or visit after hours for a special Evening with the Swans on various dates throughout January, alongside a two-course dinner.
Enjoy the new Giffords Circus show, Les Enfants du Paradis
Back with a bang, Giffords Circus's new UK tour Les Enfants du Paradis is set to showcase a performance packed with skill, humour, turmoil and excitement in 2023.
With romance at its heart and promising to be the circus's most lavish show yet, guests will be able to catch the brilliant family experience at Giffords Circus HQ on Fennells Farm from Thursday 6 to Monday 17 April 2023 and from Thursday 21 September to Sunday 1 October 2023.
Go cow spotting at Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons
What better time than spring to catch a glimpse of the famous bovine stars roaming through the fields of Stroud? Thanks to Marking Day, those in the county can once again see cows grazing and moo-ing across the commons - and you might even have the chance to get a selfie!
Marking Day - which takes place on 13 May annually - has been revived in recent years, with the Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons Advisory Committee helping to make sure that the tradition of the Cotswold cows being brought across from the overwintering fields and sheds and released back onto the commons to roam and graze isn't forgotten.
Take on Stroud half marathon
If you fancy a challenge this year, grab your running shoes and take on Stroud's 40th annual half marathon this October 2023, guaranteeing just over 13 miles of fun and frolics.
The course is suitable for racers, recreational runners and novices alike.
Stroud Country Show
Whilst a date is yet to be confirmed, Stroud Country Show will be making its grand return Stroud’s Stratford Park this summer 2023, following a successful comeback after Covid in 2022.
Boasting an afternoon of family fun, discovery and celebration, guests can also take the opportunity to recognise someone who has made an outstanding contribution to community life in the Stroud Valleys with the Edna Powell Cup.
Celebrate Stroud Arts Festival’s 77-year anniversary
Celebrating its 77-year anniversary, Stroud Arts Festival’s world-class season of events is set to return in 2023.
Whilst the lineup is yet to be announced, highlights from the last years celebrations included a hauntingly beautiful performance of ‘Dave Ayre’s Baroque Night’ and an extraordinary and rare opportunity to have seen a devotional concert of John Tavener’s ‘The Protecting Veil’.
Outdoor cinema at Berkeley Castle
Once again, the impressive medieval Berkeley Castle is hosting an open air cinema experience this summer 2023.
Promising an evening of entertainment in its gorgeous grounds, film fans can enjoy a screening of the romantic musical A Star is Born starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Visitors are encouraged to bring along their own chairs and blankets to get cosy under the stars.
Brave a ghost hunt at Woodchester Mansion
Test your nerves at the famously unfinished gothic masterpiece – Woodchester Mansion – by going on a ghost hunt in 2023.
Not for the faint hearted, the building has a history of supposed paranormal activity, leaving some people too afraid to return. With the resident spirits that are said to haunt this mansion all around, guests are invited to try and make it through the night – if they dare.
Channel your inner artist at Stroud Brewery
Budding creatives can look forward to visiting Stroud Brewery throughout 2023 to take part in a variety of 'Paint and Sip' sessions, hosted by The Paint Club.
With zero experience required, attendees will create a work of art with a glass in hand. During each session, participants will be provided with everything they need to create a beautiful work of art, as well as a canvas to take home at the end.
See spring colour in a Stroud beauty spot
Now that spring is on its way, Stroud has an abundance of scenic Cotswold locations to visit and take advantage of in 2023, with areas ideal for stretching your legs and spotting rare plants and wildlife.
Take a trip to Box Wood where the grounds will be carpeted by gorgeous anemones, bluebells, herb-Paris and wild garlic. What’s more, you may even spot early purple orchids in the glades, too.
Ecotricity’s new football stadium
Stroud’s green electric company – Ecotrictity – will continue working on the new football stadium for Forest Green Rovers FC throughout 2023.
Once the development is complete, it is estimated that it will create 5,000 new jobs and contribute £150 million annually to the county economy.
See bluebells at Frith Wood Nature Reserve
An idyllic location for a spring walk, take one of a number of routes at Frith Wood Nature Reserve near Stroud to enjoy the sights of bluebells carpeting the surroundings.
The ancient woodland overlooks Painswick Valley and Slad Valley, forming part of the five-mile Laurie Lee Wildlife Way route.
Cotswold Soaring Championships 2023
Taking place from Saturday 17 until Sunday 25 June 2023, Stroud's Cotswold Gliding Club will be hosting the Cotswold Soaring Championships, at Aston Down airfield.
Whether it's your first competition or you're an experienced competitor, any cross-country pilot with a silver badge can enter, taking part in a brilliant week of fun and flying.
Stroud Book Festival
While dates are yet to be confirmed for Stroud Book Festival 2023, literature lovers can look forward seeing to big names from the book world, with previous guests including critically acclaimed authors like Mary Portas, Michael Morpurgo, Kate Mosse and Madeleine Bunting.
Catch a show at The Sub Rooms
Catch a movie from the Stroud Film Festival, see Craig Charles DJ, or go on a comedy journey with Gary Delaney – with many more unmissable highlights, all taking place at The Sub Rooms in 2023.
Stroud Festival of Food and Drink
Back for its second year, the FREE food festival is set to return to Stroud this May 2023, featuring a brilliant line-up showcasing the best local food and drinks venues, alongside live music, culinary games, breakfast yoga and more.
There will also be talks and masterclasses taking place throughout the town, from the likes of Jay Rayner, Oz Clarke, Lloyd Grossman and Jack Stein. Stroud’s foodies won’t want to miss it!
Stroud Shakespeare Festival
Immerse yourself in all things Shakespearean during a brilliant four-day event as the Stroud Shakespeare Festival plans to present a diverse, vibrant and engaging programme of theatrical experiences to suit a new generation of audiences in 2023.
The festival will take place at Museum in the Park, hosting four main stages with performances from both established artists and amateur performers, bringing Shakespeare's literary brilliance to life.
Get creative at Miserden
If one of your goals is to be more creative this year - or you already have a passion for art - why not try out painting spring with natural paints at the beautiful grounds of Miserden this year?
This unique workshop will introduce keen participants to natural, plant-based paints, promising a fun-filled and inspiring day, whilst lending the chance to experiment with new techniques and colour, putting newfound knowledge into practice.
Learn to bake with The Artisan Baker
Become a baking pro with help from The Artisan Baker in 2023, with a selection of sourdough, French bread and general bread baking masterclasses, all taking place in its beautiful, open-plan bakery.
As well as learning how to stretch, fold and shape the dough, participants will have the opportunity to make a selection of other baked goods including sourdough chocolate chip cookies and crackers, Fougasse and Pain au Levain.
Stroud Film Festival 2023
Running from Friday 3 until Sunday 19 March 2023, Stroud Film Festival is set to make its anticipated annual return with a selection of brilliant movies to watch on the big screen.
From Fantastic Mr Fox to The Quiet Girl, stories from all over the world will be brought to venues that are just as diverse as the programme, including: Stroud Brewery, the Sub Rooms, Minchinhampton Market Hall and even a mill, as they're transformed into temporary cinemas.
Back for 2023, those in the county have the opportunity to see a huge programme of artist led projects in Stroud, celebrating the diversity of creative talent that exists here in the valleys, as well as supporting artists making a living from their work.
Whilst the finer details are yet to be confirmed for this years festival, 2022 saw works from established artists such as Chris Bingle and Jo Casling, to emerging artists such as Elena Ferro Kirby.
New special school to open in Stroud
The regional director has approved SAND Academies Trust as the chosen sponsor to run Stroud's special school for children aged 4-11, with plans to admit its first pupils at the learning centre in September 2023.
Opening in the former Severn View Primary School building, the 60-place special school will be able to support children from across the county with moderate and additional learning difficulties.