Gloucestershire is bursting with things to do, places to see and incredible food and drink to enjoy, so even on the shortest trip, there’s plenty to pack in.
In this one-day Gloucestershire itinerary, SoGlos cherry picks just two manageable destinations, Gloucester and Cheltenham, rounding up our pick of the must-visit places and things to do when you’ve only got 24 hours in The Shire.
9am – Stroll around Gloucester Docks
The capital of the county, a visit to Gloucestershire isn’t complete without a trip to Gloucester.
Start the day with a morning constitutional around the history-packed Gloucester Docks. As well as being the most inland port in England, the docks are overflowing with beautiful examples of Victorian architecture – from restored warehouses to the fascinating Mariner’s Chapel.
As well as a mix of colourful barges and boats, you can often spot some magnificent tall ships in Gloucester Docks too.
10am – Coffee in the docks
As Gloucester Docks is also home to Gloucester Quays, there are plenty of options for a caffeine-fuelled pitstop.
A few of our favourite independents include Café on the Cut, which is onboard a barge; local legend On Toast, where all the food is – you guessed it – served on toast; and the brilliant Bake & Brew – all scattered around the docks.
11am – Admire Gloucester’s iconic cathedral
Take a short walk from Gloucester Docks into Gloucester city centre, where you’ll find one of the most famous sights in the county – the striking Gloucester Cathedral.
Harry Potter fans can follow in the footsteps of Harry, Ron and Hermione as they explore the world-famous Cloisters; architecture-lovers can marvel at the cathedral’s features – from one of the biggest stained-glass windows in the world to some of its incredible examples of perpendicular architecture; while history buffs can visit the tomb of King Edward II too.
On selected days, the cathedral also offers tours of its famous tower. For anyone brave enough to climb the spiral staircase to the top, they’ll be treated to some of the most beautiful views across the county.
12pm – Lunch in Gloucester
Head next door to The Monk’s Kitchen for a spot of lunch or, when the weather is good, a takeaway ‘tea on the green’ to enjoy in the cathedral grounds.
While nearby, in Gloucester city centre, there’s also The Fountain Inn for a classic pub lunch with a pint; the Gloucester Rugby-themed Dough from Dough, which makes some of the best pizza in the county; or for the more adventurous, grab a Banh Mi at the county’s first Vietnamese restaurant, Viet Yummy.
1pm – Bunting and Beatrix Potter
Wander down Gloucester’s prettiest street, the bunting-adorned College Court, and stop for a photo for the ‘Gram at the 14th century St Michael’s Gate.
If you’ve got little ones in tow, enjoy a quick peek inside The House of the Tailor of Gloucester, the building which inspired the famous Beatrix Potter story.
2pm – Head to Pittville Park
In the afternoon, head across the Golden Valley to explore Cheltenham. Just a short walk from Cheltenham town centre lies the utterly gorgeous Pittville Park. Boasting beautiful lawns, a boating lake and two cafés offering coffees, ice creams, cakes and snacks, it’s the ideal place to stretch your legs and soak up the scenery. There’s a huge wooden play area for little ones to let off steam, too.
Pittville Park is also home to one of the most impressive examples of Regency architecture in town, the iconic Pittville Pump Room, which is a must-see – with visitors able to stop off for a coffee or a glass of wine at the Heritage Deco Café next door, too.
4pm – Soak up the Regency sights
In the afternoon, head to Cheltenham’s famous Promenade and admire some of the sights of the Regency town, including the Municipal Buildings and Neptune Fountain.
Take a walk up to Montpellier to see the famous Caryatids and do a spot of shopping in some of the town’s unique independent shops, including The Union Project, the delightful Pink Vintage, The Department of Hope, Joy and Wonder and artisan deli Maison Chaplais. For art lovers, there’s also the Paragon Gallery with artworks for sale from local and internationally-renowned artists.
6pm – Have an early dinner at one of Cheltenham’s independent restaurants
Diners in Cheltenham are spoiled for choice. For fine dining, you’ll find Gloucestershire’s only Michelin-star restaurant, Le Champignon Sauvage, on Suffolk Road, with its French-inspired menu; plump for Purslane on Rodney Road for fabulous seafood; while Lumiere is an elegant favourite with local foodies.
For more casual dining, KIBOU on Regent Street boasts a stunning interior and beautiful Japanese cuisine; The Tavern on Royal Well Road serves mean American-inspired comfort food; while, a little further out of town, there’s laid-back vibes and incredible Sri Lankan street food at The Coconut Tree in St Paul’s.
7.30pm – Catch a show at the Everyman Theatre
With its impressive Matcham-designed auditorium, the Everyman Theatre is the liveliest arts venue in the county, playing host to a diverse variety of shows all year-round.
From world premieres from contemporary greats like Matthew Bourne and musicals straight from the West End through to stand-up comedians – there’s something to enjoy most evenings.
10pm – Grab a nightcap at one of Cheltenham’s independent bars
If cocktails aren’t your thing, John Gordons Whisky & Wine Bar in Montpellier has over 200 whiskies and 80 wines to try.
11pm – Spend a night at one of Cheltenham’s gorgeous hotels
For pure luxury, Gloucestershire’s only five-star hotel, Ellenborough Park, is located just outside the town on a 15th century country estate, with No.38 The Park offering boutique rooms in the leafy Pittville area.