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The inland docks of Gloucester have gone through a transformation in the past twenty years. There are 15 huge Victorian warehouses around the main dock basins and these have been restored and turned into a number of excellent tourist attractions, plus the whole area has been made accessible to visitors to wander around and soak up over 200 years of history. The whole area is now very vibrant, colourful and very interesting. There are of course all the normal attractions that you would expect in a dock, canal and river area. There are boats of various shapes and sizes, from pleasure craft to traditionally decorated canal narrow boats. There is also a busy canal lock (onto the River Severn), a swing bridge and a lifting bridge over the canal. The cries of the seagulls remind you that the docks were originally for seagoing craft, bringing their goods up the river to Gloucester for distribution around the country by canal. Each of the warehouses that has so far been restored has been turned into a different attraction and these include: * The National Waterways Museum. * Gloucester Antiques Centre. * The Museum of Advertising and Packaging. * Merchant Quay Shopping Centre. * Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum. There is also a Mariners Church in the docks and an information centre. Around the whole area there are restaurants, bars, tea rooms, snack bars and cafes, the majority of which overlook the water. You can walk around the whole area and there is a good mix of old and new, giving you the feeling of the importance of these docks in the past, whilst enjoying all of the modern facilities that have been provided. There is a large dry dock that is still used for the repair and maintenance of boats and if a boat is in the dock then you will be able to see the local craftsmen working on the vessel. You can take a 45 minute boat trip from the docks along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal and see how
the area looks to the boatmen, or have a stroll along the riverside walk. On Sundays there are guided tours if you want to learn more about the history and traditions of the docks. You can certainly spend a whole day in this area and the prices for the museums are all very reasonable. Entrance to the dock area is free and they are open every day. (except Christmas day) The Docks are easy to find as there are brown tourist signs all around the town directing you to the entrance. There are large pay and display car parks all around the docks, but if you are planning on staying all day then look out for the long stay car park by the Victoria Basin which works out a lot cheaper. If you want to wander off to the town centre of Gloucester this is only a five minute walk from the Docks. Throughout the year there are many events held at the Docks (mostly at weekends) and these include Vintage Car rallies, craft demonstrations, fun fairs and Firework displays. If you just want to relax and watch the boats go by, or visit one of the many attractions at the Docks then I am sure that you will enjoy a visit to this lovely part of Gloucester. Before visiting the city of Gloucester I had not heard of these Historic Docks, but as the restoration project continues I know that this is going to become a very famous area for this part of the country. There are already plans for the continuing restoration of the remaining warehouses, and for the building of extra leisure facilities on one side of the dock area. You can find out more about the docks at their web site at: http://www.glosdocks.co.uk If you want a good day out then I can highly recommend the Gloucester Historic Docks.
Gloucester Docks are a wonderful surprise. I hadn't realised that there were any docks in Gloucester until I was asked to go on a visit there. And there they were canal side docks capable of harbouring sea going vessels on a canal on the edge of the Cotswolds. It is a brilliant example of good planning, the area being regenerated to not only be a tourist attraction, but a small shopping/resturant complex, business accomodation and the town hall. If you are lucky enough to be able to look round the civic offices, a converted wharf building, the make sure you see the Council chamber with the Mayors seat underneath an old pulley system beam. The packaging museum was my favourite part. And for any fans of the Onedin Line, the docks were used to film the Liverpool docks scenes.
Gloucester docks are the most inland set of docks in the country, and have a rih history. Recent work has revitalised the area, taking advantage of the massive warehouses and creating a really exciting site. The docks are working, and always have boats in - narrow boats are common, and if you are lucky, there may be a tall ship. The Inland aterways museum is situated on the docks, and it in itself a great attraction. In the warehouses around the docks are shops, restaurants, a museum to the Gloucester regiments, many antique shops and some good pubs. Its a lively area with a good atmosphere, and really great as aplace to chill out in the summer. There are boat trips from the docks that will take you down the canal - these are good fun and excellent for children. There are frequent events on the docks - musical events, re-enactment groups, and sometimes fireworks over the water - a truly amazing experience and well worth getting to if you can. The docks are within walknig distance of the town centre, there is good parking around them, and you can pass a monring or afternoon very enjoyably at this spot.