You will be surprised how much you can pack into 48 hours in Gloucestershire. Take some inspiration from our weekend guide.
Start the day with a bacon butty or a full English breakfast and a mug of steaming tea along with a heavy serving of nostalgia at the Flag and Whistle cafe, next to the Toddington GWSR railway station. Enjoy the Cotswold countryside as your heritage steam train or railcar transports you on the round trip to Cheltenham Racecourse. If you have time, include the loop north of Toddington to Broadway.
Head to the idyllic village of Stanton, pause to admire its thatched cottages, and take lunch at The Mount Inn. In this typical Cotswold pub, we recommend Gloucester Old Spot sausage and mash and a glass of cider, as you admire the stunning view over the vale to the Malvern Hills.
A 20-minute drive climbs up and across the Cotswold hills to Bourton-on-the-Water, where the River Windrush flows through the village. Take a stroll through the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’, visiting the penguins and their friends at Birdland, marvelling at The Model Village or seeing Brum at Cotswold Motoring Museum, which are our recommendations for the afternoon.
There’s a choice of main or country roads to take you back to Cheltenham, where aperitifs and dinner in the fashionable No 131 Georgian townhouse hotel in the tree-lined Promenade will set you up for the night.
Enjoy the Cotswold countryside as your heritage steam train or railcar transports you on the round trip to Cheltenham Racecourse
Breakfast at the vegan-friendly Guru Coffee House in Brunswick Road, Gloucester then head for the Cathedral. Suitably impressed by its magnificent stained glass, gravity-defying architecture and Harry Potter connections, head out by car past the docks towards the Forest of Dean.
Your destination is the Dean Heritage Centre at Soudley, where you can see outdoor reconstructions of life in the Forest of Dean, and industrial archaeology exhibits relating to the area’s coal and iron mining tradition. Children might like to follow the Gruffalo trail.
Take the road through the Forest to the White Horse Inn at Staunton, near Coleford. This classic inn feels lived-in and cosy, while producing top-class gourmet pub dining. If you’ve worked up a thirst, a glass of Wye Valley ale might be in order. The afternoon’s activities could be the 4.5-mile hike to find the art works along the Sculpture Trail at Beechenhurst, which celebrate the natural and industrial heritage of the Forest. Or you might opt to book a mountain bike at Pedalabikeaway, for a more energetic exploration of the Forest’s scenic beauty.
Round off your 48 hours in Gloucestershire at The Speech House Hotel, where the ancient Verderer’s Court still meets, for an intimate dinner or a family meal in the beamed Verderers’ dining room.
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