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As the largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in England and Wales, the Cotswolds covers a vast area of six counties, giving you a world of exploration. Gloucestershire is one of these counties, and it is home to some of the prettiest villages in Britain. Packed with traditional English charm, lush countryside and divided by the River Severn, this region is one of the UK’s most beautiful.
Gloucestershire is located on the northern edge of South West England and covers vast areas of the North Cotswolds and South Cotswolds. Well-preserved nature and wildlife is all around, but what this region is really known for is its abundance of elegant spa towns, market towns and chocolate box villages. There are simply too many to name them all but some of our favourite destinations include Bibury (described as “the most beautiful village in England” by William Morris), Bourton-on-the-Water (nicknamed the “Venice of the Cotswolds”), Blockley, UpperSlaughter, Lower Slaughter, Stow-on-the-Wold, Painswick (dubbed the “Queen of the Cotswolds”) and Chipping Campden (known to have the prettiest high street in England).
There is also the city of Gloucester or the town of Cheltenham for visitors looking for great places to eat or shop, or to do some sightseeing, culture and top nightlife. Another favourite of ours is Tewkesbury, a delightful market town set along the banks of the Severn; best known for its striking Abbey with its 12th Century ceiling and stained glass windows. Other architectural gems of the area include the 15th Century Sudeley Castle, Hidcote Manor and the surrounding gardens, Gloucester Cathedral, the gothic revival Woodchester Mansion, the Grade II listed Hardwicke Court, Snowshill Manor, as well as the 13th Century ruins at Hailes Abbey.
Gloucestershire also has a rich literary history, with famous authors and poets who have lived in the region throughout time. Stroud-born Laurie Lee MBE was an accomplished author in the 50s and 60s, and Beatrix Potter’s ‘The Tailor of Gloucester’ was inspired by Harescombe Grange. Other literary icons to have links to beautiful Gloucestershire include Jane Austen, T.S Eliot, J.M Barrie and J.R.R. Tolkien. A number of festivals take place each year for fiction and poetry fans, such as the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Stroud Book Festival and the Gloucester History Festival. No matter what time of year you decide to visit our fantastic region, there’s always something going on.
For foodies, this is indeed the place to come to experience authentic British cuisine made with locally sourced, quality ingredients. Like other counties in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire is extremely proud of its produce and you won’t have to search far for mouth-watering gastronomy. The Taste of Gloucestershire Food & Farming Awards is just of the many events which celebrate local food, whilst there are Farmers’ Markets happening every weekend from North to South.
There are many regional flavours to try, such as the iconic Double Gloucester cheese, the famous Stinking Bishop, Gloucester Elver, and the Gloucestershire Old Spot Pig which has seen a resurgence in local Michelin star venues.
For information on the best places to eat in Gloucestershire, visit our Food & Drink section.