Your kind of county
The county of Gloucestershire is located in South West England. The area is home to the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Forest of Dean, as well as the Severn Vale which lies between the two. The county is associated with picturesque villages such as Bourton-on-the-Water, Bibury, Broadwell and Didbrook; as well as the regency town of Cheltenham and the bustling market towns of Tewkesbury and Cirencester.
Travel and transport
The county is easily accessible by car, including the M5 motorway from Bristol to Birmingham, with convenient links to the M4 (connecting Bristol to Reading) and the M40 (which links London to Birmingham). Together with main line rail networks this puts Gloucestershire within easy reach of many metropolitan areas; Oxford and London to the east, Birmingham to the north, Bristol to the south and Cardiff to the west.
Direct trains to London Paddington run from both Gloucester and Cheltenham and there are also direct services to Bristol, Cardiff, and Birmingham. There are trains to major airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick operating from stations across the county. Direct trains from Gloucester to London take less than two hours.
Airports at Birmingham and Bristol are within an hour’s drive, offering flights to a wide range of domestic and international destinations.
The quality of education in the county is amongst the best in the country. Gloucester has a wide range of primary, secondary, grammar schools, boys and girls schools and is home to a number of private schools.
Further education is available through Gloucestershire College, University of Gloucestershire, Hartpury College, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and Cirencester College.
Gloucestershire is rich in ancient woodland, meadows and rolling hills, dotted with honey-coloured stone cottages. Meanwhile, our towns are packed with quirky shops, tea rooms and traditional inns.
Walking, horse riding, cycling and more adventurous sports such as climbing are all popular. For the more adventurous, the Forest of Dean offers mountain biking, zip wiring, kayaking as well as the long distance paths of Offa’s Dyke Path and Wye Valley Walk which begin in the forest. In the south of the county, the Cotswold Water Park provides a range of water sport activities.
But there’s also plenty to do in the city of Gloucester and other major towns such as Cheltenham, Cirencester, Stroud and Tewkesbury. Boutiques, theatres, pubs and cafés line the winding streets. In summer, festivals such as WOMAD mark the area’s history, food and culture and draw large crowds. Cheltenham is also home to large jazz, literature, science, and music festivals, as well as smaller festivals for comedy, cocktails and cricket.