Gloucestershire is one of the most gorgeous counties in England. Home to the Forest of Dean and vast swathes of the Cotswolds, this charming county is known for its beautiful landscapes, distinctive architecture and spectacular visitor attractions.
From quiet towns to bustling cultural hubs, there are many places to stay here. There will surely be one to suit your holiday needs, and to help you find the perfect place here is a handy guide to help you decide.
Tempted by a gorgeous Gloucestershire getaway? Check out the best holiday cottages in Gloucestershire.
Best for: Shopping and Food
Stroud is famously home to one of the best loved farmers’ markets in England. It is a top spot to visit if you enjoy trying a local produce and hunting for hidden gems. This town’s wide choice of shops means you can find all manner of gifts while strolling around town.
Stroud is a real cultural hub with plenty of attractions for all the family to enjoy. The famous Museum in the Park is a must visit. Situated in Grade II listed merchants house and tells the story of the region’s rich history.
After enjoying the stunning views across the surrounding Five Valleys, why not pop into the Gallery Pangolin to see how local artists have been inspired by the local landscape.
Best place to drink: Opened in 2006, the Stroud Brewery quickly established itself as a must visit destination for beer-drinkers. The award-winning organic craft beer has proved so popular that the brewery recently decided to expand to a canal-side taproom which is the perfect place to unwind after a busy day shopping.
Best place to eat: Toni’s Kitchen at Bisley House offers fantastic seasonal food. The affordable menu really packs a punch and stays true to authentic Italian recipes. In a relaxed and welcoming environment, the friendly staff will nevertheless ensure that your evening has a sense of occasion.
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Best for: Cotswold Charm
Stow-on-the-Wold is a beautiful market town with plenty to do and is the perfect base to explore Gloucestershire. It’s just the place if you’re looking for some iconic Cotswolds charm and the Market Square and St Edwards Church have been attracting visitors for decades.
As well as enjoying the pretty cottages, there are a number of fantastic galleries to enjoy, such as the Artysan Fine Art Gallery. Once you’ve taken in the sights, you’ll be spoilt for choice for places to eat and drink too.
The town is a great hub for walking, with several walking routes starting and ending in town. You can enjoy an afternoon taking it slowly and soaking up the views and fresh air before returning to relax in the evening.
Best place to drink: The Bell at Stow is a family-friendly countryside pub that oozes charm. With cask-conditioned ales, lagers, wines and fizz by the glass, and a carefully selected range of soft drinks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Best place to eat: The Sheep on Sheep St offers some of the best pizza in Gloucestershire. You can watch your pizza being made in the wood-fired oven and the relaxed atmosphere and dedicated children’s menu makes this the perfect spot for families.
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Best for: Culture
Cheltenham is the cultural capital of the Cotswolds. Not only is this town a bustling hub of activity, but it’s also utterly beautiful. From the tree-lined promenade to the stone buildings, Cheltenham is the perfect town to wander without a plan and be surprised at every turn.
As well as the famous Cheltenham Festival and Gold Cup, the town is also home to independent restaurants, top attractions and family events all year round. For lovers of culture, the Wilson Arts and Crafts Centre is a must visit for any art lovers and the Holst museum celebrates one of England’s most famous composers.
The River Coln starts a short distance from here. From there you can enjoy some of the best walks in the region. If looking for a more active day out, you can rent a bike from the Bike Hub or go for a dip at Sandford Parks Lido.
Best place to drink: Wine lovers should be sure to pay a visit to the Montpellier Wine Bar. The knowledgeable and friendly staff will be able to recommend a wine to your taste and with a large selection from around the world, you can enjoy an old favourite or try something new.
Best place to eat: Cheltenham has a wide range of restaurants to choose from. If looking to try something different, think about booking a table at the Coconut Tree. This place couldn’t be further from the average Cotswold pub, instead it offers vibrant and exciting Sri Lankan street food. A real treat for fans of Asian spices and hospitality!
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Best for: Romantic Getaways
This small market town is one of the prettiest in the Cotswolds. Once a thriving and bustling hub for the local wool trade, Chipping Campden now has a distinctly peaceful and romantic feel.
The Cotswold Way also starts in Chipping Campden. The 102 mile trail follows the Cotswold escarpment all the way to Bath but you needn’t attempt the trip all in one go! The staff in the local Information Centre will be more than happy to suggest the best route for you.
The town is also known for its quaint charm, with iconic stone country cottages and beautiful gardens. The views from Dover’s Hill are truly breathtaking and the elegant High St is the perfect place to get lost for a few hours. Once you’ve soaked up the spectacular scenery and charming architecture, there are plenty of welcoming spots to relax in the evening too!
Best place to drink: The Red Lion Inn is a traditional Cotswold Stone Inn. Centrally located on the High St, it is the perfect spot to unwind after a long walk or a day’s shopping. With all your favourite drinks on offer, the cosy and relaxed traditional pub is guaranteed to make you feel welcome.
Best place to eat: If you want to treat that someone special in your life, you can’t go wrong heading to the Garden Room Restaurant at the Dormy House Hotel. Head Chef Paul Napper’s cooking has been attracting foodies from far and wide for good reason. With beautiful views across the surrounding gardens and offering an elegant and generous menu, it is a fantastic place for that special occasion.
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Best for: Attractions and Day Trips
Small but perfectly formed, Moreton-in-Marsh is the ideal base for enjoying some of the best attractions and natural sights that the Cotswolds has to offer. At the North Eastern edge of the region and with fantastic transport links, you couldn’t be better located for some truly memorable day trips.
The spectacular Chastleton House and Broadway House are both under a ten minute drive away and the extravagant Sezincote House & Garden is virtually on your doorstep.
For nature-lovers, Batsford Aboretum and the Cotswold Falconry Centre are both also easily accessible. There are also direct train links from London and, if not looking to travel far, there are plenty of walks to be enjoyed from the town itself.
Best place to drink: The Black Bear is a must visit if you want to sample some of the best local Ales from the region. The pub specialises in celebrating the beers of the Donnington Brewery which still brews real ale in the heart of the Cotswolds at the same 13th-century watermill bought by the Brewer’s founder in 1827. There is also an extensive international wine list to enjoy.
Best place to eat: The Cotswold Farm Store and Cafe is a quaint and welcoming farm shop overlooking rolling hills serving delicious local produce, tea and cakes. It’s a great spot for breakfast and lunch after a busy day’s sightseeing and the welcoming staff are sure to make you feel at home.
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Best for: Local History
Found where the River Severn and the River Avon meet, Tewkesbury is a beautiful riverside town. As well as being a pretty place to stay, this town also has a rich and varied history and is a great place to stay if looking to have everything you need for a truly memorable trip on your doorstep.
From Tewkesbury Abbey to the John Moore museum, there are plenty of sights attractions to help you soak up the unique history of this place but you can also just get lost exploring the town’s 350 listed building at your own pace.
There are also several walking trails and cycling routes to take advantage of and if just looking to relax you can book some time at the Tewksbury Spa, which boasts a wide range of treatments, a pool and hot tub.
Best place to drink: In a Grade II listed property, the Berkley Arms, couldn’t be a better place to enjoy a drink after a day of soaking up the local history. The dog friendly pub is full of character and lovingly celebrates it’s centuries old past.
Best place to eat: With fantastic views over the river Avon, the Boathouse is a great spot to enjoy some fantastic grub and watch the world go by. With deep historical ties to local food traders, the menu celebrates some of the best meat and fish to be enjoyed in the Cotswolds. A real hidden gem!
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