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Go to Glorious Gloucester.
Gloucester in General
Member Name: Lawrencian
Gloucester in General
Date: 10/07/01, updated on 25/11/02 (83 review reads)
Advantages: Beautifully Friendly, Historic, Plenty to do. Good Shopping.
Disadvantages: Slow pace of living.
I've been to Gloucester twice. I have friends who live there and my visits encompass a stay, over a weekend, catching up with the latest family news and gossip and exchanging old memories. I never really "looked", at Gloucester until just lately; the second time that I visited.
Did you know that it is home to Britain's most inland port? I only found out, during conversation that it recently celebrated its BI-centennial, which is techno speak for 200th anniversary. Once the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal had been built to link the City with the Bristol Channel, giving grain ships access to the docks, the area never looked back - at one time, ships would apparently queue for miles along the canal waiting to unload grain and timber.
This does not happen any more but there are about 15 red brick, Victorian warehouses which stand, like guardians, around the three basins of water and, today, provide homes to fascinating attractions.
The National Waterways Museum is appropriately placed in the restored Llanthony Warehouse and covers the 200 years of life on Britain's inland waterways. You can try your hand at steering a narrowboat - on a simulator of course! - along the canal, but watch out for the locks, they're trickier than you think! The museum is full of simulators, models and displays, all bringing to life the people who once worked on the canals. If this isn't enough, the museum continues outside with a variety of colourful narrowboats and barges as well as a massive steam dredger.
It may be that a trip along the canal or River Severn is more to your taste instead of the simulators. The Queen Boadicea II, one of Dunkirk's "little ships", runs regularly, every day, throughout the summer. I prefer to be taken on a cruise by someone that knows what they are doing as I once experienced a day out on a tributary of the Medway in Kent. We spent all day opening and closing lock
gates to the exclusion of enjoying the beautiful view along the riverside.
The Gloucester Antique Centre is found near the lock. A warehouse full of impressive tables, grand cabinets and elegant desks. On the upper floors are small shops selling everything from books, porcelain and clocks to jewellery, glassware and paintings.
In the heart of the Docks you'll find, Merchants Quay Shopping Centre, with specialist shops which will meet all tastes and waterside cafes and restaurants, including the aptly named, Dr. Foster's. From the eponymous poem, Dr. Foster went to Gloucester.....(You remember the old nursery rhyme?)
All this is only five minutes walk from Gloucester's city centre with its majestic Cathedral. I feel that I was missing out on so much over the years and will, in the future, tell you more about my visit during which I saw so much more of Gloucester, a beautifully friendly, ancient and modern City.
Gloucester is ideally situated on the M5 and therefore it is so easy to get down into the West Country, Devon and Cornwall for instance. It is also on the River Severn, just over the bridge is Wales. Just a few miles away is the Wye valley and the beautiful towns of Hay and Ross on Wye are accessible during an afternoon drive. We visited Symonds Yat (named after a local worthy, a Yat is local, old English, for a gateway or entrance) The Yat is an opening in the hills above the Wye Valley and there is a viewing point at the crest of a 500 foot high Rock from where you can look over three counties, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Monmouthshire in Wales. The view is fantastic, the river Wye curls across the landscape and around the hills in the foreground whilst across the valley ?Twitchers? (Bird watchers to you and me, watch Peregrine Falcons wheeling above and diving down to their eyrie in the cliff face.
Drive around and through the Forest of Dean - not as many trees as there once was bu
t the countryside is unique and beautiful nonetheless. The ?Forest? is about 27 miles square and full of little villages, mostly mining communities where coal and tine were once mined and, in some cases, are mined to this day. ?Foresters? have a language or at least a dialect which is all their own and are probably quite in-bred keeping the local families to themselves.
Across the valley through which the M5 runs and only a stones throw away is the beautiful University town of Cheltenham whilst, just a few miles north is the old historic town of Tewkesbury.
More about Glorious Gloucester when next I visit.
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