If there was a league for the variety of sports available in one British county, Gloucestershire would be sure to be the winner!
Whether you want to spectate at first-class sporting events, participate in your favourite activity or try something new like netball or powerchair football, there’s plenty of choice. And what better excuse to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful countryside?
The Forest of Dean
Fishing is said to be the most popular participation sport in the UK and, with four rivers and countless lakes, why not enjoy a peaceful day by the water? Many offer day tickets, child tickets and access for disabled anglers and some allow night fishing. Fly fishing is popular at trout fisheries, for example Lechlade, Bibury and Stow.
Pull on your boots and follow one of the many waymarked footpaths in order to appreciate Gloucestershire’s wooded hillsides, secret valleys and green ways. Winchcombe Welcomes Walkers is just one project providing information and upgrading footpaths locally. The Cotswold Way offers more than 100 miles of varied walking and is part of a network of paths criss-crossing the county. For an adrenaline hit and to burn off energy, the Forest of Dean’s biking trails and bike hire is ideal. Ranging from family-friendly to advanced Enduro lines, with steep descents and jumps, everyone can join in the woodland adventure at their own pace.
First-class county cricket has been played in Gloucestershire since 1870. The Cheltenham Cricket Festival in July is held at Cheltenham College. Watch the game in convivial surroundings, with marquees, Pimm’s or beer and national or county team opponents. There are many village teams, including Frocester, which fields five teams.
At Croft Farm Water Park, you can windsurf, sail, canoe or powerboat or hire wetsuits and take lessons from RYA experts to help you get the most out of the experience. The Cotswold Water Park is a complex of former gravel-extraction pits, now naturalised and ideal for windsurfing, water skiing, SUP and kayaking.
Pull on your boots and follow one of the many waymarked footpaths in order to appreciate Gloucestershire’s wooded hillsides, secret valleys and green ways
“Glawster! Glawster!” cry the ‘cherry and whites’ fans at Kingsholm, where Gloucester’s rugby is played. It’s friendly location, especially in The Shed with the locals, and a thrilling, hair-raising time is likely.
Set in the natural amphitheatre of Cleeve Hill, Cheltenham Racecourse is where Arkle, Best Mate and Kauto Star ran the races of their lives, while punters tried to beat the odds. Jump racing takes place from October to May, and the Gold Cup in March draws thousands of Irish spectators. Come and see and be seen with royalty in your best hat and heels or in tweed and boots, depending on your style.
Skiing, snowboarding and tubing are among the high-adrenaline activities available at Gloucester Ski Centre on Robinswood Hill. Country pursuits, such as shooting, clay shooting and stalking can be arranged by local hotels, many of which have arrangements with local shooting schools.
There are more than 40 golf courses in beautiful Gloucestershire. The bare Cotswold slopes behave like links courses, while the stands of trees of the Forest hills are all part of the challenge.
Gloucestershire’s five active airfields are home to flying clubs where you can appreciate the county from the air. Fixed wing, helicopter, gliding and parachuting can be arranged, with tuition as appropriate.
There’s a selection of gyms, recreation centres and swimming pools with waterslides, where you can get fit and have fun, including open air lidos in Cirencester and Cheltenham. Football is popular in the area and you can watch a match in most towns. Forest Green Rovers, at the New Lawn in Nailsworth, play in League Two. Twice a season, they now play Cheltenham Town, who are known as the Robins. Gloucester City (based in Evesham temporarily) and Cirencester Town compete in the lower leagues.
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