Gloucester: The Complete Guide

Gloucester is a cathedral city located on the River Severn situated between the Cotswolds and Forest of Dean. It is the most inland port in the UK, Gloucester has a proud industrial past, intertwined with a rich history that dates back to Roman times. Combine this with an ever-changing and developing city, and Gloucester offers the perfect mix of old and new.

Gloucester was founded by the Romans and became an important city and colony in AD 97 under Emperor Nerva as Colonia Glevum Nervensis.

It was granted its first charter in 1155 by Henry II. In 1216, Henry III, aged only nine years, was crowned with a gilded iron ring in the Chapter House of Gloucester Cathedral. Gloucester’s significance in the Middle Ages is underlined by the fact that it had a number of monastic establishments, including: St Peter’s Abbey founded in 679 (later Gloucester Cathedral), the nearby St Oswald’s Priory, Gloucester founded in the 880s or 890s and Llanthony Secunda Priory, founded 1136. The town is also the site of the siege of Gloucester in 1643, during which the city held out against Royalist forces in the First English Civil War.

Visiting Gloucester for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Gloucester on the first visit. Top help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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13 Best places to See in Gloucester

This complete guide to Gloucester not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Gloucester and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Museum of Gloucester

Gloucester City Museum & Art Gallery
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Jaggery /Gloucester City Museum & Art Gallery
The Museum of Gloucester tells the story of the city’s origins as a Roman settlement and its subsequent development through the Dark Ages and Medieval period. This fine Victorian building also has a significant collection of art including paintings by Richard Wilson, Thomas Gainsborough, John Atkinson Grimshaw and Thomas Dibdin. The museum features ground floor […]
| Hours: PEAK SEASON (February half-term to end October half-term) Tuesday-Saturday | 10am-5pm and Sunday | 11am-4pmOFF-PEAK SEASON (End October half-term to February half-term) Tuesday-Saturday | 10am-4pm and Sunday | 11am-3pm | Website | Distance: 0.60km
Visiting Museum of Gloucester

Greyfriars Priory, Gloucester

Greyfriars, Gloucester April 2016
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Philafrenzy
The Franciscan house of Greyfriars was founded in 1231 on land granted to the church by Lord Berkeley. It was one of three Gloucester monasteries supported by Henry III. By 1285 the priory was home to the forty begging friars – religious men who had all taken vows of poverty, chastity and obedience – that […]
Location: Greyfriars Walk, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, GL1 2EZ | Hours: Any reasonable daylight hours | Price: Free | Website | Distance: 0.60km
Visiting Greyfriars Priory, Gloucester

Blackfriars Priory Gloucester

Gloucester Blackfriars
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Philafrenzy
Blackfriars Priory, with its magnificent timbered roof, is the most complete example of a medieval Dominican Priory in Britain. The original medieval cloister, completed in 1239, includes the scriptorium where the friars were trained for their preaching mission over 750 years ago. The original study cells or carrels are housed in the oldest surviving library […]
| Hours: The priory is open Sunday to Tuesday from 10am to 3pm | Website | Distance: 0.70km
Visiting Blackfriars Priory Gloucester

The House of the Tailor of Gloucester

The House Of The Tailor Of Gloucester
© Visit Gloucester
Beatrix Potter created one of her most loved characters here (The Tailor of Gloucester). This charming shop and museum, housed the same building that inspired the very story and is used in the illustrations, is open to the public every day where you will be served by enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers. Visitors may enjoy viewing […]
Location: 9 College Court, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, GL1 2NJ | Website | Distance: 0.70km
Visiting The House of the Tailor of Gloucester

Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Gary Ullah
Gloucester Cathedral, formally the Cathedral Church of St Peter and the Holy and Indivisible Trinity, is one of Britain’s greatest buildings, representing over 1,300 years of Christian faith and heritage. The Cathedral is open daily, entry is by donation, and all are welcome. The Cathedral stands in the north of the city near the River […]
| Website | Distance: 0.70km
Visiting Gloucester Cathedral

Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum

CC BY-SA 3.0 / Chris Ryland
The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum makes for an enjoyable visit for all. There is no substitute for seeing the items in our magnificent collections first hand. There is something for everyone here from researchers to young children, from detailed archives and research facilities to children’s quizzes that help to explore and explain the displays. Our […]
Location: Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, Commercial Road, The Docks, Gloucester, UK | Hours: Wednesday to Sunday (10am - 4pm) including EasterPlease note that the last entry is at 3pm. | Price: Adult £5.00 per ticket Child £3.00 per ticket Concessions £4.00 per ticket Family £12.00 per ticket | Website | Distance: 0.80km
Visiting Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum

Gloucester Waterways Museum

Gloucester Waterways Museum Tall Ships Day
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Rodw
Housed in the old Llanthony Warehouse in the heart of what once was the bustling Gloucester Docks, the museum will take you on a whole new journey, charting the ting 200-year history of the docks and the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal. The museum opened in 1988. Formerly known as the “National Waterways Museum, Gloucester”, it […]
Location: National Waterways Museum Gloucester, The Docks, Gloucester, UK | Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. Open daily over the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend, 2nd to 5th June. | Price: Adult (16+) £8.50. Child (6-15) £5.00. Child (5 and under) Free. Family £20.00. Concession £7.50. Boat trips charged seperately. | Website | Distance: 1.00km
Visiting Gloucester Waterways Museum

Gloucester Historic Docks

Gloucester Docks Tall Ships Day
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Rodw
Free to visit, visitors can experience a complete example of a Victorian port. Gloucester Docks is Britain’s most inland port ands consist of fifteen Victorian warehouse. The former dock estate has become a popular destination where visitors can enjoy interesting views and a range of modern facilities while wandering around a remarkably complete example of […]
Visiting Gloucester Historic Docks

Gloucester and Sharpness Canal

Gloucester And Sharpness Canal At Frampton On Severn
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Celuici
The Gloucester and Sharpness Canal also known as the Gloucester and Berkeley Canal is a canal in the west of England, between Gloucester and Sharpness. For much of its length it runs close to the tidal River Severn, but cuts off a significant loop in the river, at a once-dangerous bend near Arlingham. It was […]
| Website | Distance: 9.60km
Visiting Gloucester and Sharpness Canal

Chedworth Roman Villa

Chedworth Roman Villa 2012 View From Northeast
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Pasicles
Chedworth Roman Villa is located near Chedworth, Gloucestershire, England and is a scheduled monument. It is one of the largest and most elaborate Roman villas so far discovered in Britain and one with the latest occupation beyond the Roman period. The villa was built in phases from the early 2nd century to the 5th century, […]
Location: Chedworth Roman Villa, Cheltenham, UK | Hours: 10am-5pm Apr-Oct, to 4pm mid-Feb–Mar & Nov | Price: adult/child £10.50/5.25 | Website | Distance: 22.10km
Visiting Chedworth Roman Villa

Hailes Abbey

Hailes Abbey Landscape
Hailes Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey, in the small village of Hailes, two miles northeast of Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, England. It was founded in 1246 as a daughter establishment of Beaulieu Abbey. The abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539. Little remains of the abbey. It is a Grade I listed building[1] and a […]
| Hours: 10am-6pm Jul & Aug, to 5pm Easter-Jun, Sep & Oct | Price: adult/child £5.90/3.50 | Website | Distance: 24.30km
Visiting Hailes Abbey

North Leigh Roman Villa

North Leigh Roman Villa
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Lolalatorre
North Leigh Roman Villa was a Roman courtyard villa in the Evenlode Valley about 0.5 miles (800 m) north of the hamlet of East End in North Leigh civil parish in Oxfordshire. It is a scheduled monument[1] in the care of English Heritage and is open to the public. It was enlarged over time from […]
Location: North Leigh, Witney, Oxfordshire , OX29 6PZ | Hours: Open any reasonable time during daylight hours| Price: Free | Website | Distance: 56.00km
Visiting North Leigh Roman Villa

Old Wardour Castle

Wardour Castle From The N
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Ukiws
The unusual hexagonal ruins of Old Wardour Castle stand serenely in their lakeside setting, protected by acres of wood. But their beguiling scene of rural tranquillity masks a bloodthirsty past – a terrible battle was fought here in 1643 when Parliamentarian forces besieged the castle for several weeks. By the time the occupants surrendered, the […]
Location: Old Wardour Castle, Tisbury, Salisbury, UK | Hours: 10am-6pm Apr-Sep, 10am-4pm Oct, 10am-4pm Sat & Sun Nov-Mar | Price: adult/child £5.40/3.20 | Website | Distance: 92.60km
Visiting Old Wardour Castle

Tours and Activities from Gloucester