Things To Do In Gloucester Massachusetts

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32 fun things to do in gloucester, massachusetts.

So, the warmer weather and longer days have you thinking about a coastal escape. We’re with you 100%. Whenever St. Patrick’s Day starts rolling around we start getting restless and start thinking of beaches, boating and consuming copious amounts of crustaceans.

If you’re thinking of heading up to Cape Ann for a little rest and relaxation this Summer or Winter/Fall for that matter, then this article is for you. Here are 32 fun things to do in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

1. Good Harbor Beach

So, we think a logical place to start a discussion about things to do in Gloucester, MA is to talk about its incredible beaches. Gloucester is home to some world class beaches that are truly some of the best in New England. One of our favorite Gloucester beaches is Good Harbor Beach.

Good Harbor Beach Things To Do IN Gloucester MA

With beautiful soft white sand, a large area to spread out, incredible views of the Thacher Island lighthouse , and the ability to walk out to Salt Island during low tide, Good Harbor is a fantastic spot to spend a Summer day.

In the off-season you can still enjoy the beach and even bring your dog out for a run to burn off some of that extra energy. To learn more about Good Harbor you can read our Definitive Guide To Good Harbor Beach

2. Take an Historic Sail

Take a step back in time and set sail out of Gloucester Harbor aboard the 65-foot Schooner Lannon. Get a feel for what life was like aboard this authentic fishing schooner. You can even book a private charter or have a wedding aboard the ship!

Schooner Lannon Gloucester

The striking schooner was built in 1997 in Essex, MA. Framed with local white oak and black locust, the schooner has a length on deck of 64.5 ft and overall length of 90 ft.

The Schooner Lannon offers a variety of food options as well as beer, wine and other drinks to enjoy during the sail. It’s a fantastic way to get a different look at Gloucester harbor.

3. Get Some Fresh Seafood From A Fishmonger

Gloucester is a working fishing port and home to some of the freshest seafood that you can buy. Whether you are looking for some fresh lobster, cod, tuna, or stuffed quahogs Gloucester has you covered! 

Fishmonger Gloucester

A few of our favorite local shops include:

Connolly Seafood: http://www.steveconnollyseafood.com/ Captain Joe & Sons Lobster: http://www.wholesalelobster.com/ Turners Seafood: https://www.turners-seafood.com/gloucester-market/

4. The Perfect Stop, For The Record

We miss record shops. The process of finding the perfect album or discovering a hidden gem and the tangible community experience. And, if you think we are the same people that still like actual books better than e-books, consider us guilty as charged.

Mystery Train Records Gloucester MA

If you’re looking to take a step back in time and find the perfect record or that CD that you used to love you have to take a trip over to Mystery Train Records .

Located right on Main Street in Gloucester, Mystery Train has a great selection of rare & collectible vinyl from just about any genre you can imagine. Heck, they even have eight track tapes!

If you’re up in Gloucester, it’s definitely worth a stop!

5. Shop at Independent Bookstores

Speaking of actual books, Gloucester has some incredible independent bookstores where you can peruse the stacks and find some incredible beach reading. A couple of stores that we love are Dogtown Books and The Bookstore of Gloucester

Things to Do IN Gloucester MA

Dogtown Books offers a wide selection of preowned books, certified pre-owned books, and just general used books to choose from. They topics range from culinary adventures to space exploration and the owners are very friendly and welcoming.

The Bookstore of Gloucester on the other hand has been serving Cape Ann readers for over 45 years and offers the perfect local alternative to Amazon. It’s a great spot to pick up the latest releases and browse the curated collection.

If you are interested in Independent Bookstores take a closer look at our article on 5 Great Independent Bookstores on Cape Ann .

6. Step Back Into Medieval Times

If you are a fan of history and architecture, you have to make a point to stop at Gloucester’s Hammond Castle. Constructed by the eccentric inventor John Hays Hammond in the 1920’s, Hammond Castle serves as a beautiful showcase for Hammond’s impressive collection of Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance artifacts.

Hammond Castle

John Hays Hammond was a legendary inventor, holder of over 400 patents and is known as “The Father of Remote Control.” Visitors can tour the courtyard, great halls, secret passageways and war room and marvel at the beauty of the castle grounds.

In October, Hammond Castle even gets in the Halloween spirit with special haunted tours. If you fall in love with the castle you can even decide to host your wedding on site! It’s such a cool venue that it made our list of the Top 5 Gloucester MA Wedding Venues .

7. Rent Some Toys

We all know the common sayings about boats: “a hole in the water you throw money in” and “break out another thousand.” Of course there is some truth in the sayings, but enjoying Cape Ann on the water gives you a whole new appreciation for this incredible landscape.

Fishing In Gloucester MA

Instead of buying a boat, paying for a slip, paying for fuel, registration, maintenance etc. why not just rent a boat? Well, at Gloucester Boat Rental you can do just that! They have a nice selection of boats from Key West, Striper, Sea Pro and Grady White that you can rent for 4 hour and 8 hour increments.

So grab a couple friends, a couple fishing poles, and something to sip on and hit the open ocean for the day.

8. If You Get Confused Listen To The Music Play

Covid has had us all itching to get back out and see some live music. A great local spot in Gloucester to catch music is Minglewood Harborside. Owned by the Serenitee Restaurant Group, they have a Jam Session every Monday night as well as other musical acts throughout the week.

Minglewood Gloucester

Recently remodeled, Minglewood offers a large bar area adorned with some hearty nods to Jerry and the Boys. The menu at Minglewood truly has something for everyone from burgers and pizza to sushi and fresh seafood dishes.

So knock back a couple more shots of whiskey and head on down to Minglewood.

9. Visit Eastern Point Lighthouse

Cape Ann has no shortage of lighthouses and one of the best around has to be the Eastern Point lighthouse. This iconic lighthouse was originally built back in 1832 and reconstructed a couple of times.

Eastern Point Lighthouse

The current 36 foot tower was built in 1890 and has an attached 2 story keepers quarters. Eastern Point You will see images of Eastern Point in publications about Gloucester and the lighthouse was even home to Winslow Homer back in 1880.

You can drive out to the light, park and take the half mile walk out on the dog bar breakwater to the Dog Bar Lighthouse. It’s a beautiful area and a great spot for a sunset or sunrise. If you want to see some incredible footage of the lighthouse you have to check out this Kenny Chesney video that was shot in Gloucester . 

10. Get Some Tasty Ice Cream

We love Ben & Jerry’s. They were the hearty pioneers that took it upon themselves to open an ice cream shop in Burlington, VT, of all places. But they had a vision and they paved the way for ice cream as we know it today.

Holy Cow Ice Cream

Following in their footsteps is Holy Cow Café in Gloucester, MA. We think Holy Cow can best be described as Ben & Jerry’s meets Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar. One bite of this ice cream will have you invoking their name.

With cereal infused flavors like Gold Rush (Frosted Flakes steeped ice cream loaded with Golden Oreos!) and Cereal Milk (Fruity Pebble steeped ice cream mixed with colorful cereal marshmallows! Colored with all natural Blue Spirulina!) you are sure to be transported back to your 11 year old self.

Holy Cow also does exclusive flavor collaborations with local businesses such as the Taste The Rainbow collaboration with Gloucester’s Cafe Sicilia (pictured above). If you have a sweet tooth then you should definitely put Holy Cow Ice Cream on your list of things to do in Gloucester, MA. 

11. Head To The Theatre

The Gloucester Stage Company, founded in 1979, is an award-winning company that is a vital part of the fabric of Gloucester.

tourist attractions near gloucester

Since 1987, the Company has called East Gloucester home. Their performance center is housed in a former Gorton’s Fish Company Warehouse that Gorton’s kindly donated to the Company. It doesn’t get much more Gloucester than that!

The intimate but comfortable venue includes a refreshment bar and foyer and is a fantastic spot to catch a show. We’d recommend grabbing a bite at nearby Duckworth’s Bistrot before the performance.

12. A Whale Of A Time

One of the most popular activities on Cape Ann is whale watching and we would highly recommend it. Sign up with Seven Seas or Cape Ann Whale Watch and head out to marvel at these mammoth mammals.

Whale Watching in Gloucester MA

The most common whales that you will find off the coast of Gloucester include the Humpback, Minke and Finback but you may also get a chance to see dolphins, sharks, and sperm whales.

On the three hour tour you will likely see the whales dive, breach, lay on their back and slap their fins and if you’re lucky you may even witness a bubble net! Learn more here: Gloucester Whale Watch Discount . 

13. Relax, They’ve Got Your Back

If you’re looking to relax and unwind, there’s no better medicine than a good massage. Gretchen and skillful team at Saltwater Massage in Gloucester are second to none and you can rest assured that you will come out of Saltwater feeling calmer and happier than when you arrived.

Saltwater Massage

Whether you are looking for CBD Massage Therapy, Therapeutic and Deep Tissue Massage, Prenatal Massage, or you’re into hot stones and cupping, they have you covered.

14. When In Rome…Light One Up

So recreational marijuana is now fully legal in Massachusetts. You can now walk right into a dispensary and acquire the devil’s lettuce and a variety of other products that can heighten THC levels in your body.

Happy Valley Gloucester MA

Whether you prefer to smoke, vape, munch on edibles or drink an elixir, Happy Valley Dispensary in Gloucester has your cannabis needs covered.

Whether you are a regular user or are just looking for a flashback to the glory days, a stop at Happy Valley is sure to make your journey to Cape Ann a little more interesting.

15. Take A Sunset Dinner Cruise

Set sail aboard the Beauport and take a sunset cruise while enjoying a delicious seafood feast of lobster, corn, and clams. Enjoy the views of Gloucester Harbor including the downtown, Eastern Point, Rocky Neck, Stage Fort Park and Hammond Castle.

tourist attractions near gloucester

The boat comes equipped with a full bar so you can enjoy your beverage of choice. The cruise lasts a couple of hours and it’s a great way to cap off a beautiful day up in Gloucester, Massachusetts. In addition to dinner cruises, Beauport Cruiselines also offers lunch cruises, live jazz Sunday brunches and you can even book a deck or the entire boat for your wedding.

16. Acai Bowling 

Food trends come and go but acai bowls are forever. The acai bowl is essentially a healthy smoothie with tasty toppings that is the perfect way to start your day. Acai berries (annoying guy says that technically they are drupes) are a superfood that come from the rainforest that are loaded with antioxidants, boost brain function and lower cholesterol levels.

tourist attractions near gloucester

In Gloucester, you can get your acai on at Castaways Vintage Café . 

Castaways is an adorable café that offers acai, some delicious coffee beverages as well as vintage clothing. The vibe at Castaways is an island vibe that is mix between tiki hut and surf shop. When that Acai craving hits, Castaways is your destination. 

17. Revel In The Cut Bridge Carnage

The Blynman Bridge, also known as the “cut bridge” is a bridge that was built back in 1907 to honor Richard Blynman, the first minister and a prominent citizen of Gloucester. Blynman’s efforts were pivotal in digging the canal connecting the Annisquam with Gloucester Harbor.

Cut Bridge Gloucester

Blynam’s cut through the isthmus took place in 1643. The bridge is now a popular spot for locals and tourists to loiter and watch the boats head in and out.

Some of the boats from Wicked Tuna dock at nearby Cape Ann Marina so you can sometimes catch celebrity boats like FV Tuna.

To get a taste of the carnage you can watch the Captains navigating the tight canal on the Cut Bridge Craziness Instagram page . It’s a fun take for a few laugh and some questionable navigation decisions.

18. Get Your Vitamin Sea at Wingaersheek

If you are itching for some beach time and some of that thick salt air it’s always a great plan to head over to Wingaersheek Beach. One of our favorite Gloucester beaches, Wingaersheek offers a beautiful beach that runs along Annisquam River and Ipswich Bay.

Wingaersheek Beach

Known for its long sand bar at low tide, Wingaersheek is a great spot to spend a Summer day in Gloucester and that’s why it had to be on our list for the best things to do in Gloucester, MA. If you want to learn more about Wingaersheek, check out this Definitive Guide to Wingaersheek Beach .

19. Hop On A Foodie Tour

What better way to explore the coastal cuisine of Gloucester, Massachusetts than on a foodie tour! Try a little bit of everything and learn about some of Gloucester’s hidden gems on the Cape Ann Foodie Tour.

Cape Ann Foodie Tour

From thick and tasty claim chowder to homemade olive oil and delicious Italian sandwiches, Cape Ann Foodie tour will expose you to the culinary delights of the area.

Learn more about their schedule and some of the stops here – Cape Ann Foodie Tours

20. That’s What’s SUP

Want to get out on the water and try something a little different? How about stand up paddle? Cape Ann SUP has you covered. With locations at Pavillion Beach in Gloucester, Long Beach and on the Essex River.

Cape Ann SUP

Cape Ann SUP offers stand up paddle tours, surfboard rentals, and yoga classes.

The staff are all super friendly and knowledgeable and will provide you the necessary instruction so that you can get out there and have some fun on the water. We’re not saying you’ll become Kelly Slater by the end of the day, but we promise that you will have some fun and make some memories.

21. Scuttle Across The Rocks at Rafe’s

If you are looking for a short hike that takes little effort but offers a big reward, then Rafe’s Chasm is the hike for you! Located at 138 Hesperus Ave in the Magnolia neighborhood of Gloucester, Rafe’s Chasm provides a great cliff top view after a short flat hike through the woods.

Rafe's Chasm

Rafe’s Chasm has an interesting history death and shipwrecks and is a popular spot for adventurous divers.

Click here to l earn more about Rafe’s Chasm and it’s history .

22. Fishing For A Good Time

Embrace your inner angler with a trip out into the historic Atlantic on a deep-sea fishing charter. Set out on the same waters as Captain’s Courageous, and the Perfect Storm and try your hand at hauling in some stripers, cod, halibut, and haddock.

tourist attractions near gloucester

You can choose from a half day (4.5 hours), full day (9 hours), or a fishing marathon (12 hours). You will head out to the deeper waters and fish anywhere between 100 and 300 feet.

The Yankee Fleet offers 3 fantastic vessels to choose from: The Yankee Freedom, a 100 foot vessel that can accommodate 135 passengers, The Yankee Clipper, a 75 foot vessel that can accommodate 113 people and The Yankee Patriot II.

23. A Perfect Storm

After you get back from fishing, knock a few back at the Crow’s Nest. Featured in the blockbuster hit, The Perfect Storm, the Crow’s Nest is the perfect embodiment of Gloucester’s working waterfront.

Gloucester MA Fishermen

The Crow’s Nest has offered Gloucester fisherman, locals and tourists drinks and accommodations for over 40 years. The walls are full of memorabilia from the movie and pictures of the actual crew from the Andrea Gail. It’s a local dive, but the folks are friendly and the drinks prices are fair.

You can check out some pictures from their gallery here: Crow’s Nest Gallery  

24. Rocky Neck Art Colony

One of the oldest continuously operating art colonies in the United States, Rocky Neck is a great place for a summer visit. Over the years, the unique landscape, beautiful light, and rich culture has drawn many artists to the shores of Gloucester. Some famous plein air artists include Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, and Childe Hassam. The area was also frequented by writers Rudyard Kipling and Louisa May Alcott.

Rocky Neck Art Colony

The art colony is still a vibrant community with a large membership , many of which still have studios on Rocky Neck.  It’s a beautiful place for a stroll and there are some great restaurants like The Studio and Duckworth’s Bistrot nearby should you need some sustenance.

25. Stay At A Local Inn

One of the great things about traveling to Cape Ann is that there really are not any chain hotels in the area. All the lodging properties are privately owned and offer a unique staying experience.

One popular lodging option for travelers to Gloucester is the Blue Shutters Inn . Located right off of the shores of Good Harbor Beach, Blue Shutters provides guests a comfortable and convenient location for their coastal escape.

Blue Shutters Inn

Another option for Gloucester travelers is the stay at one of the historic inns in Rockport, Massachusetts. Rockport offers a great variety of inns including the stylish and charming, Addison Choate located right in the heart of the coastal village.

Addison Choate Rockport MA Inn

Regardless of where you choose to hang your hat, you are sure to be treated to hospitality that is second to none.

26. Outdoor Concert In The Park

Every year in August, Stage Fort Park in Gloucester turns into a mini-woodstock when the Riverfest Seaside Music Festival comes to town. The festival was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid, but in 2019 the festival featured Tall Heights, Mt Joy, Noah Kahan, and was headlined by good old Guster.

tourist attractions near gloucester

The best part is that the festival is open to the public, free of charge!

In addition to music, the festival also includes food trucks, a beer garden and other tasty refreshments to keep you cool on a hot summer day. If you need to cool off you can also walk right over to beautiful Half Moon Beach and jump on in!

27. St Peters Fiesta

A long-time Gloucester tradition, St. Peter’s Fiesta is a 5-day festival that honors St. Peter, the patron saint of fishermen. The annual festival takes place in late June every year and features parades of statues, boat races, masses and prayer.

tourist attractions near gloucester

The highlight of the event; however, is the weekend long Greasy Pole Competition. The Greasy Pole Competition traces its roots back to Sicily in the 1800’s and was brought to Gloucester by Italian immigrant fishermen.

The spectacle involves a 40ft piling that is raised up 30ft above Gloucester harbor, greased up with bacon fat, Crisco and fish guts to create a slippery surface, and contestants must then run to the end of the piling and grab flag.

Winners will treated to adulation, complimentary libations and memorialization on the St Peter’s Fiesta Wikipedia Page. You can check out the list of past Greasy Pole Winners Here . 

28. Visit Fisherman’s Memorial Monument

It’s no secret that Gloucester has a rich seafaring tradition. Home to one of America’s oldest fishing ports comes with its ups and downs. Over the years, the town has lost many mariners to the Atlantic and in 1925 the iconic man at the wheel was constructed to honor their legacy.

The Man At The Wheel

The eight-foot-tall bronze statue rests upon a five-foot base and is inscribed “They That Go Down To the Sea In Ships, 1623 – 1923. It’s a powerful reminder of the power of the ocean, human mortality and the brevity of our time. Being tossed at sea in a modern vessel can be nerve-wracking, it’s frightening to imagine being miles off shore in an old schooner.

The Fisherman’s Memorial is located right off Stacy Boulevard and if you are visiting Gloucester, it’s an absolute must stop.

29. Interior Design Mecca

Perched on a ledge overlooking Gloucester Harbor is the home of one of America’s first interior designers, Henry Davis Sleeper. Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House, was Sleeper’s summer retreat and the 40 room mansion houses Sleeper’s diverse collection of folk art, pottery, antiques and other artifacts.

Sleeper McCann House

A National Historic Landmark, each room is distinguished by a historical or literary figure and no two rooms are the same. The property even features a beautiful garden and a secret staircase. The Sleeper McCann House is open from late May to Mid-October and is definitely one of the best things to do in Gloucester.

30. A Day At The Museum

Another great stop for visitors to Cape Ann and Gloucester is the Cape Ann Museum . The museum is a celebration of art, history, and culture of Cape Ann.

The museum features a fine art collection which boasts some fantastic marine art from artists such as Fitz Henry Lane as well as other talented painters and sculptors who called Gloucester home.

Cape Ann Museum

It is also home to the Fresnel Lens from Rockport’s Thacher Island that dates back to 1861. Designed by French physicist August-Jean Fresnel, the lens cast a beam for 22 miles keeping Cape Ann mariners safe for many years.

In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Cape Ann museum has a fantastic rotation of special exhibits and other programs and events throughout the year.

31. Trek Through The Dogtown Wilderness 

Dogtown Common provides hikers with an incredible 3,600 acres of mysterious woods, large boulders and carved stone to explore. Originally settled back in 1693, settlers chose the location due to its rocky inland landscape that offered protection from pirates and combative natives. The settlement was abandoned back in the early 19th century and has not been inhabited since. 

Dogtown Common Rockport Gloucester

With some incredible trails, Dogtown offers a great opportunity for hiking, biking, running, cross country skiing and an outing with you furfriend. Along the paths you will find large boulders with sayings carved into them. These boulders were carved by unemployed Finnish quarrymen during the Great Depression who were commissioned by local entrepreneur Roger Babson.  There are 36 boulders that were carved with inspirational sayings such as “Never Try Never Win” and “When Work Stops Values Decay.” 

The name Dogtown is said to date back to the American Revolution and is derived from the dogs that the women kept while their husbands fought in the war. At one point it was estimated that there were anywhere from 60 to 80 homes in the area.  But after the war, the ports became safer, the fishing industry returned and so too did the settlers to the coastline. 

So if you’re in the mood for a journey off the beaten path, Dogtown is a great thing to do in Gloucester. Here is a link to a great Dogtown Guide . 

32. Get Your Omega 3 Fix 

While you are in one of America’s oldest fishing ports, you are probably going to consume some of that fresh bounty. Well, as you can imagine, there is no shortage of local restaurants serving up delicious seafood dishes.

tourist attractions near gloucester

If you are looking for a nice sit down meal with creative cuisine prepared by a talented chef, we would recommend Tonno , right on Main Street in Gloucester. If, one the other hand, you are thinking about getting a classic seafood platter with fried clams, haddock, shrimp and fries, then you should visit The Causeway . It’s a no-frills Gloucester institution that cranks out some really good eats.

Another excellent restaurant with a menu that runs the gambit from Sole Meuniere to Paella is Lobsta Land ! Located right of 128 it has old school fish shack vibes, a nice marsh view, and some tasty cuisine. There are many other great places to stop as well, but these are a few that we love. 

32 Things To Do In Gloucester 

Well, we hope that you enjoyed our 32 Suggestions! This is really just scratching the surface of all of the things that there are to do and explore on Cape Ann. If you enjoyed this article you may also enjoy our article about 40 fun things to do in Rockport, Massachusetts ! We hope that you enjoyed your trip up to Cape Ann, it’s truly a special place. 

tourist attractions near gloucester

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tourist attractions near gloucester

Home » Travel Guides » United Kingdom » England » 15 Best Things to Do in Gloucester (Gloucestershire, England)

15 Best Things to Do in Gloucester (Gloucestershire, England)

A historic inland port on the River Severn, Gloucester is at the entrance to England’s West Country on the cusp of the Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean.

Originally this was the Roman fort of Glevum, defending a crossing on the Severn, and gained its town charter under Henry II in 1155. Gloucester’s cathedral has to be a priority, for its majestic Perpendicular tower and Norman nave.

In the 19th century the city’s fortunes were transformed with the construction of the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, and striking Victorian warehouses still surround the city’s docks, which are now an upmarket residential district and mall.

After the war Gloucester had a blossoming aerospace sector, and you can view a rare collection planes made by the Gloster Aircraft Company at the Jet Age Museum.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Gloucester :

1. Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral

The roots of Gloucester Cathedral go back to an abbey set up in the 670s.

The cathedral as we see it was completed between the 11th and 15th century and has a Norman Romanesque core, and embellishments from every phase of English Gothic architecture.

From a distance you can’t help but be drawn to the 15th-century Perpendicular tower, which is 69 metres high and topped with four intricate pinnacles.

The nave is unmistakably Norman, with powerful circular columns supporting semi-circular bays, under a later Early English Gothic vaulted ceiling.

Look for the late Decorated Gothic East Window, which has Medieval stained glass, while the cloisters have England’s earliest fan vaults, produced between 1351 and 1377. The most important monument in the cathedral is the tomb for Edward II, who was murdered not far away at Berkeley Castle in 1327.

2. Gloucester Docks

Gloucester Docks

Gloucester has England’s most inland port, which came about in the first decades of the 19th century when the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal was completed.

With the advent of railways and road freight the docks fell into disuse in the 20th century, before being revived as a stylish residential and commercial area in the 1980s.

There are 15 monolithic Victorian warehouses here, testifying to the volume of goods that passed through Gloucester when the port was at its peak.

You can also check out a chapel built for the city’s mariners in the 19th century, a dry dock in working order and all sorts of other historic infrastructure, beautifully preserved.

The warehouses have since been turned into museums and housing, while some have been adapted by the Gloucester Quays mall.

3. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal

Gloucester and Sharpness Canal

Opened in 1827, this 16.5-mile canal cuts across a loop in the River Severn between Gloucester in the north and Sharpness in the south.

When it was completed it was the broadest and the deepest canal in the world, allowing far larger ships to visit Gloucester’s docks than had been possible on this difficult stretch of the river.

The large span of the canal is crossed by bulky swing bridges, beside dainty bridge-keepers’ houses, which lend the canal a distinctive character.

For a peaceful day in the countryside you can amble along the towpath, stopping on the grassy banks for a picnic or pub lunch.

There’s a superb wetland centre at Slimbridge beside the canal where you can sight wildlife, from migrating waterfowl to otters.

4. Gloucester Life

Gloucester Life

This museum for Gloucestershire’s social history is in two stunning half-timbered houses on Westgate Street.

Side by side, these are a 16th-century Tudor merchant’s residence and a town house from the 1600s.

According to tradition John Hooper, the Anglican Bishop of Gloucester stayed in the merchant’s house the night before he was burnt at the stake by Queen Mary I in 1555. Some of the things to see inside these houses include equipment related to fishing on the River Severn, period costumes, a reconstruction of a classroom in Victorian times, scenes from domestic life over five centuries and the interior of a pin factory that used to be on this site.

5. Robinswood Hill Country Park

Robinswood Hill Country Park

This 200-metre hill to the south of Gloucester once provided the city’s water supply.

Springs bubble through Robinswood Hill and were harnessed by Gloucester Abbey in the 1200s.

Reservoirs were dug in the 19th century, and these were filled in during the second half of the 20th century to provide facilities for the country park that occupies the hill today.

In these 250 acres you can take in stirring views over to the Black Mountains in the west, south to the Severn Bridge and Cotswolds, and north to the Malvern Hills.

A historic orchard has been restored on the hill, while the space is nature reserve, offering a habitat for species like badgers, foxes and red kites.

6. Nature in Art

Wallsworth Hall

A three-mile drive north of Gloucester will take you to this wonderful gallery of art inspired by nature, housed in the splendid Georgian mansion Wallsworth Hall.

This is claimed to be the largest collection of nature-based art in the world and comes in a host of media.

In the permanent collection are pieces by British painters and illustrators who devoted their careers to wildlife, like George Edward Lodge, Eric Ennion, Charles Tunnicliffe and Archibald Thorburn, as well as universally known artists like Picasso and an array of Flemish Masters.

There are bronze sculptures, works of contemporary glass, porcelain items from the Far East, watercolours, engravings and woodcarvings.

Kids can attend workshops in the school holidays, and there’s a coffee shop looking out over a sculpture garden.

7. Blackfriars Gloucester

Blackfriars Gloucester

Maintained by Gloucester City Council, Blackfriars is an unusually complete Dominican black friary that you can visit on Sundays and Mondays in summer.

The friary was founded beside Gloucester’s southern walls in 1239, with the backing of King Henry III. After the monastery was dissolved in the mid-16th century, Blackfriars was preserved as a mansion, while its cloisters became a cap factory and then dwellings in the 1700s.

Restored in 1960, the complex has lots of riveting things to check out, like the scissor-braced roof in the dormitory and the oldest purpose-built library to survive in the UK.

8. Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum

Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum

This military museum in the former Custom House on the docks recounts the history of the Gloucester Regiment and the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars.

The objects on show span three centuries and relate to the many conflicts that these regiments have been involved in, from the Napoleonic Wars to peacekeeping in the Balkans in the 1990s.

The museum has two Victoria Crosses, the highest award for gallantry in the UK honours system.

There’s also a series of lifelike tableaux, archive footage, audio snippets, weapons, pieces of equipment, heavy machinery, paintings, silverware and uniforms.

9. Museum of Gloucester

Museum of Gloucester

In a Victorian Renaissance Revival building, the Museum of Gloucester is an engaging miscellany, covering fine art, applied art, palaeontology, archaeology and local history.

One piece to keep on your agenda is Rufus Sita Tombstone, a 1st-century Roman stele discovered on London Road and more than 1.2 metres in height.

In the art collection are works by Thomas Gainsborough and J. M. W. Turner, while there’s also Dutch Delftware and Arts and Crafts bowls by Alfred and Louise Powell.

Kids will be enthused by the dinosaur fossils, and one of the more peculiar exhibits is a portrait of Oliver Cromwell without his characteristic warts.

10. Gloucester Waterways Museum

Gloucester Waterways Museum

In the Gloucester Quays development, the Gloucester Waterways Museum examines the 200-year history of Gloucester Docks, and shipping and navigation on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

The attraction is an a portion of the Llanthony Warehouse, constructed in 1873 and formerly used for alcohol, timber and grain.

In the galleries are interactive exhibits, models, vintage signs and a fleet of historic vessels like tugboats, barges and narrowboats.

You can see what a canal repair yard would have looked like, entering its machine shop and forge, and checking out its hydraulic accumulator, heavy oil engine, steam crane and weighbridge.

11. St Mary de Crypt Church

St Mary de Crypt Church

On Southgate Street, this beautiful Medieval church has a blend of Gothic and Norman architecture.

St Mary de Crypt was consecrated in the first decades of the 12th century and then reworked in Perpendicular Gothic style in the 14th and 15th centuries.

Over the west door you can view a preserved Norman tympanum, depicting a lamb and flag, symbolising the Resurrection of Christ.

The nave dates to the 1400s and has a beautiful pulpit carved in the Renaissance style in the early 1600s.

One of the founders of Methodism, George Whitefield, gave his first sermon at St Mary de Crypt in 1736 before travelling to America to spread this denomination.

12. Highnam Court Gardens

Highnam Court Gardens

On weekdays from March to September you can drop by this estate on Gloucester’s western outskirts to view the fabulous gardens that have been restored over the last 25 years.

The Mannerist house at Highnam court is one of just a few to have been built during the Commonwealth (Interregnum) in the 17th century, and was designed by a student of Inigo Jones.

Surrounding large ponds, the gardens were designed by the artist Thomas Gambler-parry, after he bought the estate in 1838. After a fallow period in the 20th century, the gardens have slowly been brought back to their former glory, with a boxwood knot garden, kitchen garden, wisteria walk and a Pulhamite winter garden, featuring waterfalls, waterfalls and rock gardens.

13. Jet Age Museum

Jet Age Museum

In the post-war period Gloucestershire firms like the Gloster Aircraft Company, Smiths Industries and Dowty Rotol all contributed to the UK’s aviation boom.

That chapter of local history is recorded at the Jet Age Museum on the north side of Gloucestershire Airport.

It’s the only museum in the world with four complete Gloster Aircraft Company jets in one place.

These are two Gloster Meteors (T.7 and F.8) and two Gloster Javelins (FAW.4 and FAW.9). You can also find full-scale models of a Gloster E28/39 and a Hawker Hurricane, as well as the cockpits of an Avro Vulcan and a Hawker Siddeley Trident.

14. Severn Bore

Severn Bore

A curious phenomenon occurs on the Severn, Britain’s longest river, when the rising tide surges up the river in the form of a wave.

If the bore takes place during the day you may see groups of surfers and canoers trying to catch it.

The Severn Bore can be seen around 260 times a year, taking place twice a day on 130 days.

The highest bores roll in around the equinoxes, although they can take place at other times of year: They are rated on star system, five being the highest, but even three-star bores are worth seeing.

If you’re in Gloucester during a bore, you can see it just west of the city, between Stonebench and Maisemore Weir.

15. Gloucester Quays

Gloucester Quays

With upwards of 120 stores in 2018, the Gloucester Quays shopping centre has continually expanded since it opened in 2009. In 2017 it was announced that a further £100m would be invested into the development, adding an additional floor to the main centre.

What sets Gloucester Quays apart from typical malls is that the designer outlet department is housed in brick former warehouses on Gloucester Docks, with long alleys and waterfront terraces for alfresco dining in summer.

The 10-screen cinema complex, Cineworld, opened here in 2013, while new chain restaurants arrive by the year.

15 Best Things to Do in Gloucester (Gloucestershire, England):

  • Gloucester Cathedral
  • Gloucester Docks
  • Gloucester and Sharpness Canal
  • Gloucester Life
  • Robinswood Hill Country Park
  • Nature in Art
  • Blackfriars Gloucester
  • Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum
  • Museum of Gloucester
  • Gloucester Waterways Museum
  • St Mary de Crypt Church
  • Highnam Court Gardens
  • Jet Age Museum
  • Severn Bore
  • Gloucester Quays

Top Things to Do in Gloucester

Things to do in gloucester, explore popular experiences, tours in and around gloucester.

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Stonehenge, Avebury, Cotswolds. Small guided day tour from Bath (Max 14 persons)

Tours & sightseeing.

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Top Attractions in Gloucester

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1. Gloucester Cathedral

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2. Jet Age Museum

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3. Gloucester Docks

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4. Nature in Art

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5. Gloucester Quays

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6. Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum

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7. Over Farm

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8. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal

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9. Kingsholm Stadium

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10. Ninja Warrior UK Gloucester

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11. National Waterways Museum Gloucester

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12. Gloucester Antiques Centre

Cultural & theme tours, walking tours, what travellers are saying.

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  • Gloucester Cathedral
  • Jet Age Museum
  • Gloucester Docks
  • Gloucester Quays
  • Kingsholm Stadium
  • Gloucester and Sharpness Canal
  • The Barn Owl Centre
  • Highnam Court Gardens
  • Robinswood Hill Country Park
  • Gloucester Ski & Snowboard Centre
  • Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum
  • Nature in Art
  • Saul Junction Marina

Gloucester Attractions Information

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  • Whale Watching & Fishing
  • Schooners & Boating

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  • Arts & Entertainment
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Things to Do in Gloucester

Outdoor adventure, family activities, arts, culture & fun.

Looking for things to do in Gloucester, Massachusetts? We have world-class museums to explore, gorgeous beaches to stroll, and interesting art galleries to visit, not to mention whale watching, schooner sails, foodie tours and more. Come visit, experience, explore and discover all that Gloucester has to offer.

Gloucester Lighthouse

You’re never very far from the beach when you’re in Gloucester. Relax on one of our spectacular beaches and visit lighthouses dating from as early as the 1780s. For more information on beach parking, click here .

Whale Breaching Gloucester

Whale Watching & Fishing Tours

See 40 ton whales breach on a whale watching trip just 15 miles off Gloucester’s rocky shore or catch cod, haddock and tuna on a deep sea fishing trip. To make your own Seafood tour, click here !

Whale Breaching Gloucester

Schooners & Boating

Kayaking, sailing, fishing, harbor cruising – activities in, on and around the water are endless off the coast of Gloucester or on one of our local rivers.

Sargent House Museum

Historical homes and cultural museums keep history alive in Gloucester, celebrating eminent people and events that shaped our maritime history and culture.

Sargent House Museum

Arts & Entertainment

Enjoy live music, arts, culture and entertainment all year long and meet the artists at the Rocky Neck art colony, America’s oldest working art colony!

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Sports & Recreation

Gloucester is truly a year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers. With trails to hike, run, bike, or ski, water activities of all types, and all sorts of running, rowing, and bike races, it’s all here.

Cape Ann SUP

Gloucester boasts many charming boutiques, independently owned shops, and specialty stores and markets. Find locally-made handcrafts and jewelry, high-quality furniture and antiques, fashion-forward styles, fun souvenirs, and more.

St. Peter's Fiesta

Gloucester loves to party! Visit during one of our local festivals and socialize, eat local cuisine and dance the night away. You’ll find seasonal and annual events that celebrate music, food, schooners, maritime culture, and more. Riverfest? Schooner Festival? We got it!

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Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled

Top 15 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Gloucestershire

The much-loved quintessentially English South West county is home part of the Cotswolds, the River Severn Valley, and the entire Forest of Dean.

Filled with dreamy, honey-coloured villages, elegant towns, ancient churches and cathedrals, and rolling hills this is one seriously gorgeous county, here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Gloucestershire…

1. Gloucester and Gloucester cathedral – the fine county town of Gloucestershire

Gloucester - best places to visit in Gloucestershire

Gloucester Cathedral is one of the finest medieval buildings in Europe. It consists of a Norman nucleus with additions of Gothic architecture making it a sight for sore eyes. The Cathedral opens its doors 365 days a year to all, regardless of background and faith.

Over 300,000 people from across the world visit the Cathedral annually to take part in its services. With 450 enthusiastic and efficient volunteers, your visit is rest assured to be enjoyable.

Music lies at the heart of Gloucester Cathedral and it is host to an exciting range of concerts.

Visit the Cathedral and get the chance to listen to exquisite singing determined to keep alive Britain’s great choral traditions. 

2. Bibury – one of the prettiest villages to visit in Gloucestershire

Bibury village England

Annotated with picturesque cottages, Bibury has been notably described as ‘the most beautiful village in England’ by William Morris. Here there are many attractions to see.

From Arlington row with all of its weaver cottages built of local stone to the Church of St Mary with its stained-glass window designed by Karl Parson in 1927, you are guaranteed to have an enriching experience.

The Bibury Trout Farm where you can enjoy delectable meals is also a popular spot for visitors that come from all over the world. 

3. Cheltenham – a handsome spa town to explore in Gloucestershire

Cheltenham - best places to visit in the Cotswolds

Known for its Regency architecture, Cheltenham is a mix of tradition and modernity. Popularly known as a health and holiday spa town resort, Cheltenham is the perfect and safe town to unwind and renew your mind.

This culturally rich town is host to several festivals of culture such as the Cheltenham Literature Festival and the Cheltenham Jazz Festival. 

4. Royal Forest of Dean and Puzzlewood – an ancient woodland site and tourist attraction to explore in Gloucestershire

Forest of Dean Gloucestershire

At the Royal Forest of Dean, you will have the opportunity to see some of the Best Roman remains in Britain like the Roman Temple. One of the most fascinating regions in Britain, the Royal Forest of Dean is nestled between two great tidal rivers, the Severn and the Wye.

Visit during summer, and you can enjoy a cruise along the River Wye. In April and May, you can also relish in the beauty of the rhododendrons, azaleas, and flowering shrubs at Lydney park Spring Garden.

Royal Forest Dean is also home to Puzzlewood, a 14-acre woodland site dating back to the Roman Period.

This area contains strange rock formations, secret caves, and ancient trees, with a confusing maze path. It is one of the most regionally important geological sites and has also been set to films like Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

5. Tewkesbury Abbey – is renowned for being one of the UK’s greatest examples of medieval architecture

Tewkesbury Abbey Cotswolds

Start your visit to Tewkesbury abbey with a trip to Abbey Mill. This 18th-century watermill was owned by Abel Fletcher – a Quaker who inspired the miller in Dina Craik’s 1856 novel ‘John Halifax – Gentleman’.

A historic market town at the confluence of Severn and Avon rivers, Tewkesbury also has the oldest inn in Gloucestershire – Black Bear Inn built in 1308.

In this town whilst revelling in its heritage, you are welcome to take relaxing strolls and bask in the glory of all you find in Tewkesbury Museum or the crowning jewel of the town – The Abbey Church.

6. Bourton-on-hill – a charming Cotswold village to visit in Gloucestershire

Bourton-on-hill Gloucestershire

This beautiful English village with honey-coloured stone is a hillside village overlooking the town of Moreton in Marsh in the valley below. Home to one of the Cotswold’s finest 16th-century barns, there are many attractions to explore.

The local pubs, Sezincote House and Batsford Arboretum and Garden Centre are just a few. Visit Bourton-on-hill and never run out of exciting things to do.

From musical festivals like the Wilderness Festival to musical and art exhibitions to theatrical productions, you are rest assured to revel in the creative essence of the region. 

7. Dover’s Hill – a beautiful and popular walking area to explore in Gloucestershire

Dover’s Hill Gloucestershire

Standing 230m above sea level, Dover’s hill is an outstanding natural beauty with brassy slopes cared for by grazing sheep. Its large open field and woodlands are popular walking areas for nearby towns. This historical hill has terraced sides that are alleged to be all that remains of a Roman vineyard.

The Costwold Olimpicks which dates back to 1622 continues its annual celebration on the first Friday after Bank Holiday. With events such as shin-kicking, morris dancing and tug-of-war, visitors and locals are encouraged to engage and get their hearts racing.

Whether it’s walking your dog or learning old farming techniques, Dover’s Hill offers much more than a pretty view.

8. Chipping Campden – one of the most stunning places to visit in Gloucestershire

Chipping Campden Cotswolds

On arrival, the first thing that will bewitch you is the honey-coloured limestone buildings that line the street. Followed by the fine vernacular architecture.

Historically a rich wood trading centre in the Middle Ages, this small market town has evolved into a popular Cotswold tourist location.

With old inns, hotels, restaurants and specialist shops, it is the perfect location for a full vacation or a short break. Chipping Campden has a wealth of attractions in and around Chipping garden.

Whether it is taking part in Tai Chi and Barefoot Yoga at the Hidcote National Trust Garden or attending the Campden Literature Festival and Chipping Campden Music Festival, a visit to Chipping Campden is guaranteed to be a great experience.

9. Symonds Yat Rock and the rest of the Wye Valley – a gorgeous beauty spot to explore in Gloucestershire

Symonds Yat Rock Gloucestershire

Nothing screams more beautiful than the views of River Wye and the surrounding area that is evergreen. From its fantastic viewpoint and the telescopes provided, you can spot birds of prey by the river and bask in all that nature has to offer.

There is also a walkway from the car park to the forest area and the viewpoint.

At any time of the year, you can enjoy a walk with your dogs before retiring to one of the many pubs for a pint or some food. The cycling trail means you’re welcome to bring along a bike and get your heart racing.

For a less active visit, you might want to bring your biggest picnic basket as there is enough room at Symonds Yat Rock and the rest of the Wye Valley. 

10. Cirencester – a fine town and one of the best places to visit in Gloucestershire

Cirencester Cotswolds

Often referred to as the Capital of the Cotswolds, Cirencester was the second largest town in Britain during Roman times. The town is host to many magnificent buildings spanning centuries making it the perfect place for sightseeing.

The market square for instance is dominated by the cathedral-like Parish Church of St. John Baptiste.

Its large south porch and impressive fan vaulting was built in the late 1400s. Cirencester Park remains a tourist attraction as the forest-style garden and the castellated building that stands at the entrance are well worth the visit.

Experience the art Cirencester has to offer by visiting in June as the Festival of Arts is held annually. 

11. Lower Slaughter – one of the prettiest villages to visit in Gloucestershire

Lower Slaughter Cotswolds

This ‘wet land’ has been inhabited for over 1,000 years. The historic village of Lower Slaughter is built on both banks of the River Eye.

At the west end of the village lies a 19th-century watermill built with red brick that is worth the visit. A popular tourist location, there are several places to stop by on your visit.

The Old Mill Museum and its River Café and Riverside tearoom are only the tip of the iceberg. 

12. Berkeley Castle – a fantastic historic attraction in Gloucestershire

Berkeley Castle Gloucestershire

The history of this masterpiece can be traced back to the 11th century and the history that played out within its walls make it one of the most remarkable buildings in Britain.

It is traditionally believed to have been the scene where the murder of King Edward II took place in 1327.

In more modern times, the castle was used for many scenes of the 2003 film The Other Boleyn Girl. Belonging to the same family since the 12th century, The Berkeley family welcomes visitors for an exciting and unique experience as they discover the historical site and its adventures.

13. Stow-on-the-Wold – a very picturesque market town to visit

Stow-on-the-Wold Gloucestershire

This market town and civil parish in Gloucestershire is the highest of the Cotswold towns. It stands exposed at 800 feet high at a junction of seven major roads including the Roman Fosse Way, which is of Roman Origin.

The eccentric market square is cornered by an elegant array of Cotswold townhouses and shops leaving you with a lot to do and see.

Whether it is antique shopping, eating out or visiting the Cricket Museum, Stow-on-the-Wold offers you different ways of exploring its beauty.

14. Severn Way – a beautiful waymarked long-distance footpath 

Severn Way Gloucestershire

The Severn Way is a 224-mile footpath which follows the course of River Severn through Mid Wales and western England. Originally the path finished at Severn Beach, but it has recently been extended to Bristol.

The mountainous landscape all through the train is a glorious sight. Alongside the excellent riverside scenery, dozens of rural towns and villages with captivating stories of origin are littered across the trail. 

15. Snowshill Cotswolds – a village known for its exceptional unspoilt beauty

Snowhill Village cotswolds

Snowhill is best known for nearby Snowshill Manor – a beautiful picturesque building owned by the National Trust. The manor house hosts an unusual collection of furniture, musical instruments, and toys all collected by the architect and craftsman Charles Wade.

Snowhill is also home to Snowhill Lavender. Start your visit with a tour through 35 acres of lavender fields guaranteed to take your breath away. Here you can also purchase plants, local crafts, and lavender products as souvenirs. 

Where Is Gloucester Located?

Gloucester is a cathedral city in Gloucestershire, England. The city also holds the title of being the oldest recorded city in the United Kingdom.

What Is The Best Time To Visit Gloucester?

The best time to visit Gloucester is during the summer months when the weather is warm and sunny. However, there are plenty of attractions and things to do in Gloucester all year round.

The county of Gloucestershire is a place that will steal your heart and capture you with its beauty. From the quintessentially English villages to the rolling hills and green meadows, and even to some of England’s most stunning cathedrals, this is one seriously gorgeous region. Do yourself a favor and plan your next holiday around exploring all that this gem has to offer! Which are some places in Gloucestershire that have stolen your heart? Let us know below.

We also have posts on… 

  • The most beautiful places to visit in The Cotswolds
  • The most beautiful places to visit in Oxfordshire
  • The most beautiful places to visit in Bristol
  • The most beautiful places to visit in Somerset
  • The most beautiful places to visit in Worcestershire

Beth Pinches

Beth Pinches – writer and photographer

Beth was born under a wandering star, with drama in her veins and ink in her pen. After stints studying theatre in Dublin and Utrecht she used her creative streak to see as much of the world as she could on as little money. She toured Italian Schools with a children’s theatre troop, lived as an au pair in both Rome and Washington DC, explored the British countryside, worked her way through much of Europe, Salsa danced in Cuba and road-tripped down America’s west coast where she discovered her spiritual home; Portland, Oregon. Other places she loves include Croatia, Finland, Japan and India. In between adventures, travel writing and performing she resides peacefully with her family, cats and ukulele. Find Beth on Linkedin or   Facebook .

Hotel Reviewing Experience – Asked by many tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including Visit Jersey , Visit Sweden , and Israel Tourist Board. Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos . Listed as a top UK travel journalist .

Portland Reviewing Experience – Lived in Portland for 6 months and spent many months scouting out all the coolest spots.

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15 Best Things To Do In Gloucester, England

Gloucester, England is an amazing city with a rich history and plenty of fun activities to enjoy. From visiting the beautiful Gloucester Cathedral to exploring the National Waterways Museum and discovering the history of Gloucester Docks, there’s something for everyone.

I’m here to give you a rundown of the 15 best things to do in Gloucester, so you can get the most out of your trip! Whether you’re after a relaxing day in the park or an exciting boat trip along the River Severn, you won’t be disappointed.

So come with me and let’s explore all that Gloucester has to offer!

Table of Contents

Visit Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral

Visiting Gloucester Cathedral is an absolute must while you’re in Gloucester – you won’t regret it!

This magnificent building stands as a testament to over a thousand years of history, having been built in the late 11th century. It’s a stunning example of architecture, with its iconic Norman towers rising high up above the city.

Inside, the cathedral is just as impressive, with intricate stained glass windows, beautiful sculptures, and the impressive tombs of Edward II and Robert Curthose.

The cathedral also offers a range of organ recitals and concerts throughout the year, making it a great place to experience a unique cultural event.

Even if you’re not religious, Gloucester Cathedral is a must-see while you’re in the area – its beauty and history will take your breath away.

Explore the National Waterways Museum

National Waterways Museum

Exploring the National Waterways Museum in Gloucester offers a captivating journey through England’s maritime history. From the moment you enter, the museum transports you to a time when the nation’s waterways were the lifeblood of its industry.

Everywhere you look, there are artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays that tell the story of England’s canals, rivers, and docks. Discover the stories of the country’s navigators, engineers, and laborers, and learn how the nation’s waterways were developed and used.

The museum even features a full-sized narrowboat, so you can get an up-close look at how people lived and worked on the canals. Take part in educational activities, such as learning to tie a knot or operating a lock, or just stroll through the museum and take in the sights and sounds of England’s maritime history.

Discover the History of Gloucester Docks

Gloucester Docks

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Gloucester Docks, where the bustling river traffic of centuries past still echoes through the streets.

Located in the heart of the city, the dockyard dates back to the 18th century and is a major part of Gloucester’s maritime history. It was a busy port for the coal and grain trade, and later became an important industrial center with the construction of the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal in 1827.

Today, the dock is home to a vibrant community of businesses and organizations, and is a popular spot for visitors to explore. The Gloucester Docks Heritage Centre offers a range of interactive exhibits, telling the story of the area’s history, with a focus on its maritime and industrial past. Visitors can see a variety of boats, including barges, ferries, and tugs, as well as the remains of a wrecked steamboat.

The docks are also home to a number of independent shops and restaurants, and offer stunning views of the surrounding area. Whether you’re interested in learning about the area’s past or just want to take in the sights, Gloucester Docks is the perfect place to visit.

Take a Boat Trip Along the River Severn

Experience the beauty of the River Severn from the comfort of a boat trip, taking in majestic views of the English countryside as you go.

As you sail along the winding river, you’ll pass by iconic landmarks and villages, as well as the stunning Gloucester Cathedral.

The boat trip is a great way to explore the local wildlife, including swans, herons, and kingfishers, while admiring the stunning river views, with the Cotswold Hills in the distance.

You’ll also have the chance to pass through the Gloucester Docks, a great reminder of the city’s industrial heritage.

As you make your way through the locks, you’ll pass by the unique architecture of the Victorian warehouses, providing a beautiful contrast with the natural beauty of the River Severn.

With knowledgeable guides on board, you’ll learn all about the area’s history, while enjoying a relaxing boat ride.

Check Out the Edward Jenner Museum

Discover the fascinating history of Edward Jenner, the discoverer of the smallpox vaccine, at the Edward Jenner Museum in Gloucester, England. Located within the village of Berkeley, the museum is set in a house that was once the home of Jenner and his family.

As you explore the museum, you’ll learn about Jenner’s fascinating life, his groundbreaking work, and the impact of his discoveries. I was particularly impressed by the special exhibitions that often feature scientific discoveries by Jenner and other prominent figures in the field of medicine.

The museum also includes interactive activities that make learning about Jenner’s discoveries fun and engaging for visitors of all ages. For example, I enjoyed trying out the interactive microscope and looking at the different slides they provided.

On the museum grounds, there is also a lovely garden that is perfect for a leisurely stroll, complete with a summer house and a pond.

I highly recommend a visit to the Edward Jenner Museum for anyone interested in the history of medicine.

Visit the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum

Head to the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum to explore the history of the Gloucestershire Regiment, a military unit that’s served in numerous conflicts since its formation in 1694.

Dating back to the War of the Spanish Succession in 1702, the regiment has a long and proud history.

At the museum, visitors can explore the museum’s impressive collection of artifacts, including uniforms, medals, weapons, and other objects from the regiment’s past.

The museum also has a variety of interactive exhibits, allowing visitors to gain a better understanding of the regiment and its history.

From artifacts of battles fought to stories of Soldiers’ bravery, the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum is a great way to learn about the Gloucestershire Regiment and its significant role in Britain’s military history.

Wander Through the King’s Walk Shopping Center

After learning about the history of Gloucestershire in the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, it’s time to take a break and enjoy some shopping.

King’s Walk Shopping Center offers an array of shops to explore. Located in the heart of Gloucester, it is the perfect place to spend an afternoon.

This vibrant shopping center is comprised of two floors of stores ranging from high-end fashion to budget-friendly fashion. There are also plenty of places to kick back and relax in between stores.

For those looking for a bite to eat, there are numerous restaurants and cafes to choose from. From traditional English fare, to more exotic cuisines, there is something for everyone.

Additionally, the shopping center boasts a great selection of beauty and health stores, perfect for those looking for the latest beauty trends. Plus, there are plenty of entertainment options, including a cinema, bowling alley, and arcade.

King’s Walk Shopping Center is the perfect place to spend a day in Gloucester.

Enjoy the Scenic Views at Robinswood Hill Country Park

Nestled on the outskirts of Gloucester, Robinswood Hill Country Park offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Whether I’m looking for a short stroll or a longer hike, this park has something for everyone.

I can take in breathtaking views of the Cotswolds, the Malverns, the Severn Estuary, and the Forest of Dean.

The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, so I’m sure to spot some local birds, insects, and other animals.

Robinswood Hill Country Park also features four waymarked trails, so I can explore at my own pace.

There are plenty of picnic areas, so I can enjoy a delicious lunch while admiring the views.

I can also take part in a range of activities like orienteering, archery, and cycling.

The park is also home to a Visitor Centre, where I can learn more about the history and wildlife of the area.

Explore the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust

Surrounded by lush wetlands, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust is a haven for wildlife lovers.

Located in the historic city of Gloucester, the Trust is dedicated to protecting and restoring wetlands, safeguarding vulnerable bird species, and helping people to connect with nature.

It offers guided tours, bird watching sessions, and educational activities, as well as a variety of events throughout the year.

Visitors can view the majestic birds up close and be immersed in the beauty of the natural surroundings.

The Trust is home to a variety of species, including ducks, geese, swans, herons, and other rare birds.

The knowledgeable guides provide an in-depth look into the wetlands and the wildlife that inhabits them.

Whether you’re a bird enthusiast or simply looking for a peaceful place to relax, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust is an excellent place to explore.

Spend a Day at Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre

Experience the thrill and excitement of winter sports at Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre – the perfect place to enjoy the slopes all year round!

Whether you’re an experienced skier or snowboarder, or a beginner looking to learn the ropes, the centre has something for everyone.

They offer tuition on the slopes, with experienced instructors helping you perfect your technique, as well as taster sessions for those who want to try skiing or snowboarding for the first time.

The centre also offers a range of packages for groups, so you can take advantage of the fantastic facilities with your friends.

With state-of-the-art equipment, modern facilities and dedicated staff, you can be sure that your day at Gloucester Ski and Snowboard Centre will be an unforgettable experience.

Learn About Gloucester’s Aviation Heritage at The Jet Age Museum

Discover the unique history of aviation in Gloucester at the Jet Age Museum – a one-of-a-kind destination for aviation enthusiasts!

Here, you’ll get to explore the amazing history of aviation and its impact on Gloucester and the surrounding area.

From vintage aircraft to artifacts from the past, the Jet Age Museum is a great place to learn about the history of aviation in the area.

You’ll get to explore the development of aircrafts, the evolution of aviation technology, and the amazing stories behind the pioneers.

You’ll also get to see firsthand the impact that aviation has had on the local economy and the wider area.

There’s also a wide variety of interactive exhibits and activities to keep the whole family entertained.

Whether you’re an aviation enthusiast or just looking for something fun to do, the Jet Age Museum is the perfect destination.

Take a Tour of the Historic Blackfriars Priory

After learning about the fascinating aviation heritage of Gloucester at the Jet Age Museum, it’s time to explore one of the city’s oldest buildings – the Blackfriars Priory.

This historic priory has stood for over 800 years and is a great example of a medieval monastery.

The Priory is one of the best-preserved monastic sites in England, with a great deal of its original features still intact. Visitors to the site can take a guided tour to learn more about its history and admire its architecture.

The Priory is also home to a beautiful garden, where visitors can take a stroll and enjoy some peace and quiet.

As one of the oldest surviving buildings in Gloucester, the Blackfriars Priory is a must-see for anyone visiting the city.

Relax at Pittville Park

Take a break from sightseeing and relax in the stunning Pittville Park. With its lush green lawns, picturesque lake, and abundance of wildlife, it’s the perfect spot to while away an afternoon.

Once you enter the park gates, you’ll find a variety of activities, such as walking and cycling trails, a playground, and a skate park. You can also enjoy a picnic with friends or family, or just take in the beautiful views of the lake and surrounding countryside.

You can even take a boat trip on the lake, or just enjoy a leisurely stroll. Regardless of what you choose to do, Pittville Park is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a long day of exploring Gloucester.

Visit the Gloucester Antiques Centre

Unearth hidden gems and explore the charming Gloucester Antiques Centre! Situated in the heart of Gloucester, this charming centre holds countless treasures just waiting to be discovered.

From vintage jewellery to antique furniture, you’ll find a wide range of items from different eras. Whether you want to find a unique item to add to your collection or just want to browse, the Gloucester Antiques Centre is the perfect place to explore.

The centre is made up of a variety of independent antique dealers, all offering something different in their own unique style. Each dealer has their own speciality so you can be sure to find exactly what you’re looking for.

The team of friendly staff are always willing to help and offer advice, so you can be sure to get the best possible experience when visiting the centre.

With its wide range of items, the Gloucester Antiques Centre is the perfect place to spend a day exploring the past.

See the Historic Houses at The Holst Birthplace Museum

Immense yourself in the unique history of England and explore the historic houses of The Holst Birthplace Museum!

This museum is an interesting and exciting place to learn about the life and music of composer Gustav Holst.

The museum is a collection of three historic houses, which were the birthplace of Gustav Holst, his family home, and the first home he shared with his wife.

The museum contains many of Holst’s personal belongings, photographs, and musical scores.

Visitors can also take part in interactive tours, which take visitors through the history and life of Holst and his family.

During the tour, visitors will learn about Holst’s musical composition and early life.

The museum also features a library, which contains many of Holst’s musical works and a collection of rare books.

The museum also includes a cafe for visitors to enjoy refreshments before or after their tour.

The Holst Birthplace Museum is an interesting and educational place to learn about the life and music of one of England’s most famous composers.

I’ve had a great time exploring all that Gloucester has to offer. From the impressive Gloucester Cathedral, to the historic Blackfriars Priory, to the lovely Pittville Park, there’s something here for everyone. I’ve especially enjoyed learning about the history of the city at the Edward Jenner Museum and the Waterways Museum. All in all, Gloucester is a great place to visit if you want to take in some culture, history, and nature. I highly recommend adding it to your list of must-see destinations!

You may also like:

  • Best walks in Gloucester
  • Best things to do in England

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.

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THE 10 BEST Hidden Gem Attractions in Gloucester

Best gloucester hidden gem attractions.

  • Hidden Gems
  • Budget-friendly
  • Good for Kids
  • Good for Couples
  • Good for a Rainy Day
  • Good for Big Groups
  • Good for Adrenaline Seekers
  • Adventurous
  • Honeymoon spot
  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

tourist attractions near gloucester

1. Jet Age Museum

karenhG4780AM

2. Nature in Art

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3. Highnam Court Gardens

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4. Blackfriars

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5. Trapped Escape Rooms

SlimboyFat1991

6. The Falconry School

Gilly756

7. Sherborne Cinema

ciaranotts

8. The House of The Tailor of Gloucester

687bevs

9. Saul Junction Marina

BeckyandUan

10. SUP Gloucester

steverJ6811AA

What travellers are saying

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Attractions around Gloucester

The top 18 attractions around gloucester.

tourist attractions near gloucester

Gloucester Cathedral

Bike Touring Highlight

Situated close to the River Severn, Gloucester Cathedral first appears in records in the 11th century. Built as an abbey church, it has a Norman nucleus as well as touches … read more

Robinswood Hill

Hiking Highlight

Robinswood Hill's nature trails and viewpoints are an absolute delight. Easily accessible from Gloucester, the park is a great place from which to survey the surrounding countryside. Rising to 650 … read more

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Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.

Gloucester Docks

Road Cycling Highlight

Beautiful restored area of Gloucester - perfect for a wander around in any weather. If you get peckish... check out the Toasty shop on the far side of the docks... … read more

LV14 SULA Lightship

LV14 SULA is a nationally registered historic Lightvessel commissioned by the Humber Conservancy Board in 1959. Stationed on the Humber Estuary for 26 years until being decommissioned in 1985, for … read more

Cycling World Record Broken here

This plaque marks the spot that Gloucester Boy Jamie McDonald broke the world record for longest time ever spent on a static bicycle. read more

Tip by Anna McNuff

The Canal Path through Gloucester

Road Cycling Highlight ( Segment )

Apart from one very short (slightly muddy) section near the marina (100 yards), this section of the towpath is absolutely pristine and joy to ride on. It is by far … read more

Over the River Severn NCN Route 45

Ace, traffic-free trail. A nice break from some of the surrounding roads. :)

Gloucester Docks Area

Forget what Komoot says about the track between here and Elmore... it is pristine gravel or paving and very smooth. There's only one 100 yard stretch where it's a bit … read more

Tip by Ecce Homer

Permanent feature on the Gloucester docks, you are not allowed to climb aboard unfortunately.

St. Oswald's Anglo-Saxon Minster and Medieval Prior

The standing wall on this site incorporates remnants of the church built about 900 AD by Æthelflæd, the daughter of King Alfred the Great and also known as the Lady of Mercia. read more

Severn Cycle Path

A great cycle path that follows the Severn. Due to its proximity to the Severn in can get a little moist (to say the least) after a lot of rain.

Telford's Bridge

Built between 1825 and 1828 by Thomas Telford, this span is actually named Over Bridge. However, it's more well known as Telford's Bridge and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Closing … read more

The New Inn

The announcement of Lady Jane Grey's succession to the British throne was made from the Inn gallery in 1553.

Tip by Mark

Robinson Loop

The canal towpath near quedgeley.

A bit rough in places and only really suitable for the more sturdy kinds of bikes, but still pleasant nonetheless.

Bench with a view

Bench with a view across the fields and city and great place for sunset. It’s half way up Robinswood Hill so a great place to stop mid way

St Catherine's Viaduct

This lovely brick viaduct spans the east channel of the River Severn at Gloucester. With seven arches, it also carries trains across a park and neighbours the Ham Viaduct, just … read more

Tip by Kit P

NCN41 - Gloucester

A great way through the city to or from the docks using a combination of cycle paths and quiet residential road. Passes right through the Cathedral grounds.

Map of the Top 18 around Gloucester

Popular around gloucester.

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Explore the most popular Tours around Gloucester

Are you keen on exploring more awesome places nearby? Browse our guides:

Still not found the Highlight you’re looking for? See guides of the top attractions in other regions:

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THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Gloucester

Things to do in gloucester.

  • Budget-friendly
  • Good for Kids
  • Good for Big Groups
  • Good for Couples
  • Good for a Rainy Day
  • Honeymoon spot
  • Good for Adrenaline Seekers
  • Hidden Gems
  • Adventurous
  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

tourist attractions near gloucester

1. Gloucester River Wines

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2. Bucketts Mountains

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3. Hillview Herb Farm

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4. The Gloucester Gallery

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5. Billabong Park

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6. Faulls Ridge Wine

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7. Tugwood Wines

tourist attractions near gloucester

8. Woko National Park

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9. Gloucester Information Centre

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10. The Open Mind Space

tourist attractions near gloucester

11. Essentially Barrington

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12. Wild Gloucester

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13. As The Crow Flies 4wd Tours

What travellers are saying.

Freedom26870309010

  • Bucketts Mountains
  • Billabong Park
  • Hillview Herb Farm
  • The Gloucester Gallery
  • Woko National Park

Gloucester Attractions Information

Top Things to Do in Gloucester, Cotswolds

Places to visit in gloucester, explore popular experiences, tours in and around gloucester.

tourist attractions near gloucester

Cotswolds Tour App, Hidden Gems Game and Big Britain Quiz (7 Day Pass) UK

tourist attractions near gloucester

The New Inn Ghost Tour

tourist attractions near gloucester

Guided walking tour : Ghosts & Giggles Of Gloucester

tourist attractions near gloucester

Pilgrimage Private Tour in London

tourist attractions near gloucester

Cotswolds in a Day Tour from Moreton-in-Marsh / Stratford-on-Avon

tourist attractions near gloucester

Private Cotswold Village Tour - 4th & 5th guest travel FREE

tourist attractions near gloucester

Discovering Cheltenham: A Self-Guided Audio Tour

tourist attractions near gloucester

Cotswolds Experience - full day small group day tour from Bath ( Max 14 persons)

tourist attractions near gloucester

Cotswold Way National Trail South Route (7 days, 6 nights)

tourist attractions near gloucester

Stonehenge, Avebury, Cotswolds. Small guided day tour from Bath (Max 14 persons)

Tours & sightseeing.

tourist attractions near gloucester

Top Attractions in Gloucester

tourist attractions near gloucester

1. Gloucester Cathedral

79elainem

2. Jet Age Museum

tourist attractions near gloucester

3. Gloucester Docks

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4. Nature in Art

tourist attractions near gloucester

5. Gloucester Quays

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6. Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum

tourist attractions near gloucester

7. Over Farm

tourist attractions near gloucester

8. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal

87ClaireM

9. Kingsholm Stadium

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10. Ninja Warrior UK Gloucester

tourist attractions near gloucester

11. National Waterways Museum Gloucester

tourist attractions near gloucester

12. Gloucester Antiques Centre

Cultural & theme tours, walking tours, what travellers are saying.

ACud

  • Gloucester Cathedral
  • Jet Age Museum
  • Gloucester Docks
  • Gloucester Quays
  • Kingsholm Stadium
  • Gloucester and Sharpness Canal
  • The Barn Owl Centre
  • Highnam Court Gardens
  • Robinswood Hill Country Park
  • Gloucester Ski & Snowboard Centre
  • Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum
  • Nature in Art
  • Saul Junction Marina

Gloucester Attractions Information

Gloucester, Bicentennial tree climb closures hit Pemberton region hard as tourists go elsewhere

The Gloucester tree in Pemberton from the ground

There are fears visitors are changing their itineraries to bypass Pemberton, resulting in the loss of millions of tourism dollars, after the closure of Western Australia's iconic Gloucester Tree.

Key points:

  • Climbing trees near Pemberton have been closed for months as engineers review the attractions
  • Tourism operators say people are changing their itineraries to bypass the town in WA's South West
  • Some fear the climbs may never re-open

For decades, travellers to Pemberton in the South West region have climbed almost 60 metres to the top of the Gloucester and Dave Evans Bicentennial trees without a harness or supervision.

However, both trees have been closed for months as structural engineers work out how to make the trees and infrastructure safe.

It's still unclear when the trees will re-open.

Graeme Dearle, who runs a tourism business, said the closure was a "real concern".

"To have our main attractions closed, it's a serious blow to our tourism industry," Mr Dearle said.

"Our international visitors and interstate visitors are keen to check these trees out. You can't do this anywhere else in the world.

"We are hearing from operators adjacent to Pemberton that they are looking at changing their itinerary and staying in other towns longer."

A man in a grey shirt stands in front of a closed tree

Mr Dearle said the town would continue to feel the economic impact of the closure.

"It'll be into the hundreds of thousands [a year], if not millions [of dollars]," he said.

"We're afraid that the trees might never open again."

'Copped a few hits'

The WA government recently banned native logging, prompting some  nearby timber businesses to shut.

Two people look at a closed tree

Shire of Manjimup President Donelle Buegge said the closure of the trees to climbers was a further "blow" to the region.

"We've copped a few hits of late with the deregulation of dairy, deregulation of potatoes, closing of the native forestry so we really have been thrown into tourism quite heavily," she said.

"In the short term, I would like to see [the trees] opened somewhat, so that people can still climb that little way up, take their Instagram photo, and they're happy with that.

"In the long term, I'd like to have it revisited … to be able to get to the top."

A woman stands in front of a forest

New experience backs competition

A new high ropes course has opened next to the Gloucester Tree, using a $100,000 state grant aimed at transitioning the region away from native logging.

Owner Cecile Leclere has backed calls to re-open the Gloucester Tree.

"I really, really want it to re-open," Ms Leclere said.

"It's too unique to close down in my opinion … and it's not a competitor, it's really a complementary activity near us."

A woman stands in front of a ropes course.

'Still book the trip'

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions hasn't ruled out closing the trees for good but acting regional manager Tim Foley said it was not something he was keen to see happen.

"If anything our commitment is the opposite of that, to really keep the climbing trees experience," Mr Foley said.

"I think there are options to look at, you know, [like the] replacement of a lookout platform at the top of the trees versus a partial climbing option."

A man in a DBCA uniform in front of a forest

Mr Foley urged people not to bypass the region on their travels.

"There's so much to see in the Pemberton areas … We definitely want people to come here and still visit the tree," he said.

"Still book the trip and hopefully if it's in the next year or two there will be the opportunity to come back and climb the trees in some shape or form."

Paul Trezona grew up in Manjimup and said climbing the tree as a child was a rush.

"There wasn't all the wiring that you see up there today, there was just the pegs," he said.

"So we would climb up just the pegs and you would hang on.

"Maybe there was a bit of white-knuckling in those days."

'Mummy, I did it'

For tourists like Claire and Simon Leonard, from Wales, the thought of climbers not ever being allowed back on the Gloucester Tree was "disappointing".

Mrs Leonard still remembered the feeling of seeing her daughter climb the tree more than 20 years ago.

"Oh my God. It was the most incredible thing ever. There she is a five-year-old, in flip flops and she just went up there like a drainpipe basically and she went right to the top," she said.

"[My daughter exclaimed], 'Mummy, I did it!

"Personally, I would be gutted [if it closed]. You know when you associate a place with memories?

Two people look at the Gloucester tree

  • X (formerly Twitter)

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  • Regional Communities
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