We traveled to Gloucester with friends in early December and stayed at the Travelodge at Gloucester Quays. The hotel was clean and comfortable with discount parking for hotel residents – quite handy as it is a busy place for traffic.
We did not go just for shopping, but the pedestrian route to the rest of the city took us through the outlet mall, so it was an opportunity to browse for Christmas gifts. We had a good value Wetherspoon’s breakfast at the Lord High Constable of England at Gloucester Docks. The pub stands on the site of an ancient priory established by Miles de Gloucester in 1136. Apparently, the present holder of this Officer of State is merely ceremonial at coronations, so the last official engagement was in 1953!
Gloucester is the country’s most inland port, being on the River Severn and the canal system. It is no longer an industrial area and the Docks are now regenerated as a visitor destination. There was a curious sculpture at the quayside called Colour the World Scrumpty, which it seems is the only remaining one from a Scrumpty Trail, which nobody bid for at the charity auction! They were something to do with celebrating the Rugby World Cup apparently. While we were at the Docks, the outdoor skating rink and Christmas market were in full swing. There are many historic places to visit in the city – Blackfriars, the Life Museum, the Waterways Museum and the Mariners Chapel.
We visited the medieval building of Gloucester Cathedral, which is the burial place of King Edward II. It is so impressive with the fan-vaulted cloisters and magnificent stained glass. When we were there the singers were rehearsing for a future performance and we sat down to listen to their wonderful voices. Just nearby in College Street we visited a small restaurant set in a Tudor-framed building called the Comfy Pew. Just ideal for a cake and a cuppa!
If you are walking down the main shopping area in Southgate Street, you’ll see Baker & Son jewelers. Look up and see the famous clock with historic figures from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales chiming the time. There are also some unique pubs and restaurants in the city centre like Cafe Rene located on St Mary’s Lane and housing a Roman well. Then there is the New Inn,which is not new at all, but a 14th century medieval galleried inn. Robert Raikes House is a 16th century building, the former townhouse of a philanthropist who started the Sunday School movement.
So, Gloucester is a good place to visit – a blend of old and new.