Gloucestershire's historic riverside town has packed its 2023 calendar with unmissable events, giving Tewkesbury residents and visitors plenty to enjoy throughout the year – from visiting foodie markets and sculpture exhibitions, to mustering for battle at Europe's biggest medieval festival.
And with Tewkesbury Borough stretching all the way from Snowshill and Winchcombe in the Cotswolds, to Brockworth near Gloucester – covering Bishop's Cleeve near Cheltenham, too – there's plenty to look forward to in the wider area, with SoGlos sharing 23 exciting things happening in 2023.
Gloucestershire's oldest pub reopening
First built in the early 1300s and believed to be the oldest pub in Gloucestershire, The Black Bear has been given a new lease of life and is due to reopen in 2023.
Following a painstaking restoration project, which even uncovered a secret staircase, the refurbished pub at the end of Tewkesbury High Street is proudly independent, boasting space for 300 drinkers on its new outdoor terrace overlooking the River Avon – with room for 200 more inside, as well.
Heritage events at the John Moore Museum
Delve into the past with the John Moore Museum's insightful programme of history events, including fascinating talks about Gloucestershire's ancient woodland, introductions to taxidermy and living history re-enactments, covering the important role of archers in medieval battles to a day in the life of a Tudor housewife – all taking place in spring 2023.
The museum itself is home to an extensive natural history collection inspired by the Tewkesbury-born naturalist, John Moore; a fascinating browse for anyone interested in learning more about local history.
Regular fine food and craft markets on Tewkesbury High Street
Bringing more than 70 artisan food and craft stalls to town, spanning the length of the High Street, the Tewkesbury High Street Fine Food and Craft Market is back this year.
Trading everything from local produce to artwork, as well as fine foods from further afield, stop by to browse its wares on Sunday 23 April, Sunday 20 August and Sunday 22 October 2023.
New developments at Tewkesbury Park
Dog-friendly staycations are about to get glamourous, with the launch of Tewkesbury Park's luxurious new rooms for owners and their pampered pups on Monday 13 March 2023 – each with its own fully-enclosed private terrace and luxury touches.
The hotel is also relaunching its restaurant with a brand-new name, look and feel this year. With dishes inspired by his Indian heritage, head chef Anuj Thakur's new menus champion local British produce and seasonality, as he brings a wealth of culinary experience from previous roles at top Indian restaurants like The Mahal in Cheltenham. It's hoped the new restaurant will be ready to welcome diners in the summer.
270 Climbing Park opening
Set to impress Gloucestershire's adrenaline junkies, 270 Climbing Park is due to open Europe's tallest high ropes course in April 2023 – with five levels, two zip lines and a free-fall of 22 metres!
Hoping to open by Easter, the high-ropes challenge will put elite climbers and local daredevils to the test at the brand-new activity and climbing centre, located between Cheltenham and Gloucester in the Tewkesbury Borough hamlet of Bentham.
Events at Sudeley Castle
Being in Winchcombe, one of the Cotswolds' most fascinating historical gems, Sudeley Castle and Gardens, actually sits in the Tewkesbury Borough.
There are plenty of reasons to visit the cultural venue in itself, but this year's entertaining programme of events provides some real stand-out highlights: including the legendary Giffords Circus performing its 'most lavish show yet' from Thursday 11 to Monday 15 May; and Fantasy Forest Festival bringing cosplay, re-enactments and sci-fi fun from Friday 14 to Sunday 16 July 2023.
Showborough House Garden Sculpture Exhibition
With a treasure trove of affordable garden art on display, Showborough House's annual Garden Sculpture Exhibition is a real hidden gem.
Open from Thursday 4 May until Sunday 18 June 2023, visitors can browse more than 150 sculptures by emerging and established British artists, including Gloucestershire-born and based sculptors. Best of all, it's all for sale.
Cotswold Festival of Steam
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway chugs through the Tewkesbury Borough, passing through stations in Winchcombe, Toddington and Gotherington – and this year, its ever-popular steam gala is taking place from Friday 12 to Sunday 14 May 2023.
Keen trainspotters and steam engine enthusiasts can ride behind legendary locomotives, with this year's Cotswold Festival of Steam fleet inspired by the wide range of trains that operated on the railway network around Cheltenham and Gloucester, back in the heyday of steam.
Winchcombe Walking Festival
Pull on your walking boots for the award-winning Winchcombe Walking Festival from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 May 2023, with over 20 walks to discover the best of the surrounding Cotswold countryside
There's something for ramblers of all abilities, from circular walks with a pub stop-off to strenuous 21-mile treks along the Winchcombe Way. Walkers can even follow a route that connects the places where pieces of the famous Winchcombe meteorite were discovered in 2021!
Tewkesbury BIG Weekend
Look forward to the return of Tewkesbury BIG Weekend on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 May 2023.
Attractions are likely to include a colourful walking carnival parade; a fun dog show hosted by Cheltenham Animal Shelter; as well as street entertainers, fairground rides and plenty of food, drink and craft stalls, too.
Celebrating the golden era of hill climbing, Prescott Speed Hill Climb in Gotherington is giving petrolheads the opportunity to explore nine decades of the motorsport – seeing cars and bikes from the Edwardian era through to the 1990s at the Prescott Historique meeting.
The event takes place on Saturday 27 May 2023 and is followed by a non-competitive hill drive for classic Minis and British cars on Sunday 28 May 2023.
Tewkesbury Food and Drink Festival
Foodies rejoice! This year's Tewkesbury Food and Drink Festival is expanding, with a bigger location for 2023 and even more street food and artisan produce to devour.
It's set to take place on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 June 2023 at The Vineyards, not far from the mesmerising Tewkesbury Abbey.
Discover one of the region's most Instagrammable highlights when Cotswold Lavender opens its pretty purple fields to the public on Wednesday 14 June 2023.
Early to mid-July is expected to be the best time to see the lavender before the fields close for harvesting on Sunday 6 August 2023, with a sea of lilac-coloured blooms to discover at Hill Barn Farm in Snowshill, which is in the Tewkesbury Borough – as well as a colourful wildflower meadow and woodland trail.
Tewkesbury Medieval Festival
Recreating the spectacular Battle of Tewkesbury on part of the original battlefield, Tewkesbury Medieval Festival transports visitors back to 1471, with re-enactors, authentic encampments and traders bringing the famous War of the Roses battle to life.
With period entertainment, a beer tent and food stalls to explore, it's the biggest free medieval gathering of its kind in the whole of Europe – taking place on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 July in 2023.
The ever-popular APP-FEST is back at Hillworth Farm in Longdon for another year of live music and festival fun from Thursday 27 to Sunday 30 July 2023.
The four-day festival is a real treat for 90s kids, with alt-rock band Republica, 'Dreams' singer Gabrielle and 'The One and Only' Chesney Hawkes on the line-up – as well as chart-topping 'Amarillo' singer Tony Christie and world-class tribute acts to get festivalgoers on their feet.
Free music at Tewkesbury LIVE
Bringing three days of free music to town, Tewkesbury LIVE is double the size this year, with more than 100 bands playing at various pubs and venues in the town centre from Friday 28 to Sunday 30 July 2023.
There's something to suit all music tastes, from soulful blues to punchy punk rock, while families can also make the most of free craft activities, music workshops and fitness taster sessions.
Celebrating, connecting and campaigning for Gloucestershire's LGBTQ+ community, Pride in Gloucestershire is coming to Tewkesbury on Sunday 6 August 2023, as part of its series of Pride on Tour events.
Essentially a mini-version of the main event, which takes place in Gloucester each year, Tewkesbury Pride encourages everyone to come together for a day of entertainment, food, drink and allyship to amplify LGBTQ+ voices.
Musica Deo Sacra festival at Tewkesbury Abbey
The sensational Musica Deo Sacra choir is returning to Tewkesbury Abbey in 2023, for a week-long music festival that brings singers from different cathedral, collegiate and recital choirs together with the congregation of Tewkesbury Abbey in worship.
This year's festival is set to take place from Monday 31 July to Sunday 6 August 2023, with services, lectures and concerts to experience in the atmospheric building throughout the week.
Bredon Cider Fiesta
Rounding off the summer season with a Mexican-themed bang, Bredon Cider Festival is back for 2023 – with Bredon Cider Fiesta and taking place on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 September 2023.
The festival site at Croft Farm Water Park, just outside Tewkesbury, will be bursting with entertainment from local bands and headlining tribute acts, with plenty of cider, hot food and free children's activities, too.
One of Gloucestershire's favourite live music events, the unmissable Witcombe Festival, takes place in the Tewkesbury Borough village of Brockworth every August bank holiday weekend.
And with stars like Craig David, Rudimental and Sean Paul on the bill in previous years, the line-up is expected to be BIG for the festival's 10th anniversary special on Friday 25 to Sunday 27 August 2023.
Tewkesbury Mop Fair
Always a highlight in Tewkesbury's annual calendar, the legendary Tewkesbury Mop Fair brings a giant fun fair, traditional fairground rides, stalls and more to the town centre every October.
Dating back to at least the 12th century, it's one of the longest-running fairs in the country – and Gloucestershire's biggest street fair, no less. Fairgoers can expect to see it return on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 October 2023.
Hot air balloon race at Gloucestershire Airport
A rare spectacle is taking place in the Tewkesbury Borough in October 2023, when hot air balloons take off from Gloucestershire Airport in a race for the oldest and most prestigious sporting trophy in aviation – The Queen's Cup.
Launching from the airport's main runway at dawn on an undisclosed Saturday morning, balloonists and their crews will have until Sunday evening to travel as far away from the airport as possible – with the balloon that touches down furthest away from the airport in a straight line being declared the winner.
Christmas in Tewkesbury
See Tewkesbury twinkle for the festive season at its annual Christmas light switch-on event, taking place on Sunday 19 November 2023. Attracting hundreds of spectators every year, there was a Christmas market, fairground rides and an appearance from Father Christmas to make last year's event all the merrier.
Plus, don't miss The Roses Theatre's annual pantomime, with Beauty and the Beast running from Saturday 2 December 2023 through to Saturday 6 January 2024. There's even a handful of strictly 18-plus shows, which promise to ramp up the innuendos on Friday 8, Friday 15, Friday 22 and Friday 29 December 2023.