Coast’s Choice: Gloucestershire

This week, Coast’s Choice is visiting Gloucestershire – home of the Cotswolds – on our quest to find the country’s most exciting tourist attractions. 

There are many well-known towns in the county including Cheltenham, Cirencester, Gloucester, Stroud and Twekesbury. Famous descendents include Sir Edward Jenner, inventor of vaccination, and authors J.K. Rowling and Laurie Lee, while thousands of people flock to the area during the year for national events such as annual cheese rolling festival at Cooper’s Hill and the Cheltenham Gold Cup horse racing event.

Cotswold Wildlife Park

Although technically on the Oxfordshire border, Cotswold Wildlife Park is still one of the Coast team’s favourite days out when visiting Gloucestershire. Animal lovers can get up close to 250 exotic species including anteaters, giraffes and lions at this expansive 160 acre parkland. Visitors can enjoy daily educational talks at feeding time for the park’s lemurs, penguins and big cats, while there’s hands-on fun being offered in the children’s farmyard. The walk-through Madagascar exhibit brings a taste of Africa’s plant life and animal kingdom to Gloucestershire, plus there are dedicated houses for reptiles and insects.
In addition to hundreds of creatures, Costwold Wildlife Park provides plenty of family activities to keep you entertained, from a trip on the narrow gauge railway to the brass rubbing centre and adventure playground.

The site prides itself on being wheelchair and pushchair friendly, with facilities including a restaurant and gift shop. Open throughout the year from 10.00am, tickets cost £13.00 for adults and £9.00 for children – click here to find out more.

Nearest caravan site: 16.7 miles

Forest of Dean

There is an unbelievable amount to see and do in this picturesque forest, with activities and attractions to suit all types of personalities. Highlights include Elton Farm mazes, a sculpture zoo, butterfly trail and steam railway.

There are many sporting activities to do in the Forest of Dean, from cycling and fishing to golf and assault courses. Water babies can take a canoe trip down the River Wye or enjoy a scuba diving course.

If you prefer a more sedentary day out, there are a number of craft centres and museums dotted around the area, celebrating the county’s culture and history. Visit the Forest of Dean website for full details. 

Nearest caravan site: several located within the Forest of Dean

Holst Birthplace Museum

The famous English classical composer Gustav Holst was born in Cheltenham in 1874, and this quaint museum pays tribute to his life and music. In addition to its period features including an Edwardian nursery and Victorian kitchen and laundry, visitors can see many of Holst’s personal possessions, including the piano on which he wrote The Planets.

The museum also features regular exhibitions celebrating the influence of Holst and other eminent English composers, along with a series of live musical performances during the year – click here for further information.

Entry to the Holst Birthplace Museum costs £4.50 for adults and £4.00 for children, with discounted family tickets also available. Opening hours are February-December 10.00am-4.00pm, with an extended closing time of 5.00pm in July, August and September.

Nearest caravan site: 1.5 miles

St. Oswald’s Priory

These beautiful ruins were once a Priory Church founded by Alfred the Great’s daughter, Lady Aethelflaed of Mercia, in 900. Made from recycled Roman stones, the building was originally built for St. Peter, but was rededicated to St. Oswald after his relics were housed there shortly after the Priory opened.

After changing hands many times down the centuries, the church was badly damaged by cannon fire during the Civil War in the late 1500s. This led to its decline and it was demolished in order to construct a market house using its stone.

Further buildings were constructed on the site in the Victorian era, meaning only the northern part of the nave survives today. The remaining section is located in a Gloucester park and tourists are welcome to view it free of charge all year round. The St Oswald’s Priory website contains further details.

Nearest caravan site: 7.2 miles

Tewkesbury Abbey

This impressive abbey was built in the Norman era but pays tribute to many centuries of architecture and design. Its nave roof has a 14th century decorated style while the central nave features fifteen carved stone bosses illustrating the life of Jesus Christ.

Tewkesbury Abbey is famous for the medieval stained glass in its seven quire windows. It also showcases some of the finest stained glass craftsmanship from the Victorian era to the present day.

Visitors are often entranced by the Romanesque architecture of the abbey tower – the largest Norman church tower in existence. Its collection of bells attract campanologists from across the country, which are rung every Sunday from 10.15 – 11.00am.

Entry to Tewkesbury Abbey is free of charge, although pre-booked guided tours are available at a cost of £4.00 per person. Tower tours are offered during the summer at a cost of £3.00 for adults and £1.00 for children – although be warned that there are over 200 steps to reach the top! Click here to find out more. Nearest caravan site: 0.2 miles

Whatever your destination this Spring, make sure your touring caravan insurance is up to date in order to ensure you’re protected whilst out and about. Coast an offer you a competitive caravan insurance quote by calling Freephone 0800 614 849 or click here for an instant online quotation.