From its magnificent historic cathedral to its thriving music and arts scene, Gloucester is one of the county’s cultural hotspots.
And with so much to offer families – including fantastic schools, festivals and attractions – it’s a wonderful place to raise children too, with SoGlos sharing 10 reasons Gloucester is a great place for a family to live.
Excellent schools in Gloucester
Gloucester boasts some of the county’s most impressive education establishments, including forward-thinking, independent day school, The King’s School Gloucester and outstanding grammar schools, such as The Crypt School.
For higher education, the University of Gloucestershire has a campus at Oxstalls offering fantastic facilities for business, healthcare and performing arts, while Hartpury College and Hartpury University is located just outside Gloucester, with a world-renowned reputation for sport and equestrian studies. For further education, Gloucestershire College also offers opportunities in a range of sectors.
Gloucester’s incredible history
Known around the world for being the home of Hogwarts, Gloucester’s famous cathedral – which was formerly a Norman abbey and is the final resting place of King Edward II – is just one of the many historic attractions in the city, which are sure to inspire young minds.
Gloucester dates back to the Roman era, with parts of the original Roman walls on display at the family-friendly Museum of Gloucester, the medieval Blackfriars Priory houses the oldest standing purpose-built library in northern Europe, and Gloucester Docks includes a number of beautifully preserved buildings, from warehouses to a working dry dock and even the Mariners Chapel – all contributing to the unique architecture of the city.
Exciting new developments in Gloucester
Gloucester city centre is currently undergoing an £85 million regeneration, set to transform King’s Square with an impressive development of homes; office spaces; a hotel; new creative hub; and a new multi-storey car park, as well as exciting new digital campus, The Forum.
The Debenhams building next to King’s Square is set to become the University of Gloucestershire’s new city centre campus, which will see three floors of the former department store dedicated to students, with the city’s library moving into the ground floor, if its ambitious plans are approved.
Westgate Street is also set to undergo extensive redevelopment work to repair and restore some of Gloucester’s most historic buildings, including The Fleece Hotel, with additional funding in place to bring a programme of cultural events to the area.
And, on top of that, Gloucestershire Airport has had major runway improvements done to secure a sustainable future for the airfield, as well as building a brand-new business park set to create up to 1,500 jobs in the county. So for families looking for an exciting and successful future for their children, Gloucester is an ideal choice.
Green spaces and parks in Gloucester
With parks and nature reserves all around Gloucester, outdoor-loving residents have plenty of glorious green spaces to choose from. The 11-hectare Gloucester Park in the heart of the city is a great spot for families, with a café, children’s play area, skate park and sports facilities – as well as toilets and baby changing. It also plays host to occasional festivals, bands and comedy acts, with McFly taking to the stage in June 2022.
Barnwood Arboretum offers a delightful tree trail with a beautifully carved tree trunk to admire; while nature and wildlife enthusiasts will love exploring Alney Island nature reserve; and soaking up the spectacular views from Robinswood Hill, both right on the city’s doorstep, too.
Family festivals in Gloucester
Gloucester has a packed programme of festivals taking place throughout the year, many of which are family-friendly, including the historic Tall Ships Festival that takes over the Docks; Gloucester Rooftop Festival which transforms a car park into a showcase for the newest local talent; Gloucester Goes Retro which takes the city back in time for a weekend; Gloucester Pride celebrating the local LGBTQ+ community; and Gloucester History Festival which offers visitors a chance to explore the city’s fascinating past.
For music lovers, the annual Barn on the Farm festival has brought hundreds of artists like Lewis Capaldi, James Bay and Ed Sheeran to Over Farm; with Café Rene hosting the annual Gloucester Rhythm and Blues Festival and many other musical celebrations too.
Affordable property prices in Gloucester
According to Rightmove, the average property price in Gloucester is £249,651, making it one of the most affordable places to buy a property in Gloucestershire.
Semi-detached family homes are the most popular properties in Gloucester and sell for an average price of £248,599, with terraced properties providing an even more affordable option, with an average sale price of £187,557.
Great career opportunities in Gloucester
Gloucester is home to diverse businesses providing employment opportunities in sectors from construction and engineering to IT and finance – with the likes of Barnwood Group; CM Downton; Ecclesiastical Insurance; G-TEKT; and Fasthosts, as well as respected local family firms like E.G. Carter, all headquartered in the city.
Gloucestershire is also on track to becoming the cyber capital of the UK, with Gloucester’s The Forum development contributing to that goal – plus GCHQ and the Golden Valley Development, located in nearby Cheltenham.
Sport in Gloucester
With the Premiership Gloucester Rugby team; men’s and women’s football teams; netball league; hockey club; basketball team; roller derby league; climbing centre; and even stand up paddleboarding, sporty families are spoilt for choice in Gloucester.
For aspiring professionals, the prestigious Hartpury University offers unrivalled sports coaching and world-class equestrian facilities, too, with the likes of Paralympian Mel Nicholls and England Rugby star Jonny May among its notable alumni.
Gloucester’s close proximity to the Cotswolds AONB
Being close to the countryside is high on the agenda for many families – and Gloucester’s close proximity to the open fields, rolling hills and magical woodlands of the Cotswolds makes it a fantastic place for kids to grow up.
Active families will love taking in the sights across the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with keen walkers able to pick up the Cotswold Way walking route from Birdlip, past the site of the famous cheese rolling event at Coopers Hill and on to the Painswick Beacon.
Easy commuting from Gloucester
For anyone working outside of the city, Gloucester offers easy access to the M5 towards Bristol or Birmingham and the A40 towards Cheltenham.
There are direct train services between Gloucester and London Paddington for those commuting to the capital, while Gloucestershire Airport in nearby Staverton offers charter flights for journeys further afield.