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South West - Gloucester and Gloucestershire

top 10 places

Top 100 places to visit in south west england

Gloucester and Gloucestershire

1. Cotswold Farm Park – Home of Rare Breed Conservation

Established in 1971, Cotswold Farm Park can be aptly described as a pageant of history on four legs. Alongside the serious aims of conservation and education, visitors of all ages will find themselves easily entertained. On display is an unrivalled collection of rare breeds of British farm animals including sheep, cattle, pigs, goats, horses, poultry and waterfowl. Why not take a stroll along the Wildlife Walk, enjoy a Horse Fun Ride or take a break in the Cotswold Kitchen cafe.

2. Westbury Court Garden

Originally laid out between 1696 and 1705, Westbury Court is the only restored Dutch water garden in the country – a rare and beautiful survival. Visitors can explore canals, clipped hedges and working 17th century vegetable plots, and dicover many old varieties of fruit trees. Westbury court is reputedly home to England's oldest evergreen oak and contains many other 16th and 17th-century trees and shrubs.

3. Bourton-on-the-Water

Bourton-on-the-Water is is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds.’ The River Windrush runs right through the centre, and the combination of clear sparkling water and the attractive low bridges make this a popular destination. Houses are built in the traditional honey coloured Cotswold stone. Attractions including the Model Village and Birdland. Visit nearby Salmonsbury Meadows wildlife reserve, or simply stroll around the village and shops, stopping off in a pub for a leisurely drink.

4. Dyrham Park, 17th Century Mansion, Deer Park and Gardens

Dyrham Park is a spectacular late 17th-century 'William and Mary' mansion, nestling in 274 acres of ancient garden and deer park. The lavish 17th-century collections reflect the fashion for all things Dutch and the Victorian domestic quarters give an insight into life below stairs. There are elegant formal gardens, woodland, and lakes to explore. Dyrham Park was also the film location for Remains of the Day (1993). Facilities include a shop/plant sales and cafe/restaurant.

5. The National Waterways Museum, Gloucester

Housed over three storeys in a Victorian warehouse in the heart of the city’s historic Gloucester Docks, The National Waterways Museum recreates the story of the people who lived and worked on the canals. Hear tales from former workers, see historic craft and discover how fortunes were made and lost through the museum’s interactive share game. The boat collection includes narrow-boats, river barges, canal and river tugs, as well as a steam powered dredger.

6. Chedworth Roman Villa

Chedworth Roman Villa is the 1700 year old remains of one of Britain's largest Romano-British villas set in the heart of the Cotswolds. Discover over a mile of walls, surviving mosaics, hypocausts, bath-houses, a water shrine and latrines. Visit the museum which houses objects from the villa and an audio visual presentation. Facilities include a shop selling gifts and snacks. During the summer, exciting Living History events for children help bring archeology to life.

7. The City Museum, Gloucester

The City Museum in Gloucester houses collections including a group of iron-age treasures buried around AD 50 along with their owner, Roman and Norman archaeology and artefacts such as the Gloucester Tables Set – playing pieces carved from antler.  There are paintings by Turner and 17th century Dutch masters including Jan Bruegel. Alongside them are works by great 18th and 19th century British painters such as Thomas Gainsborough and John Atkinson Grimshaw.

8. Museum in the Park, Stroud

Housed in a 17th century wool merchant's mansion with a smart modern extension, the Museum in the Park in Stroud houses more than 5,000 objects, most of which relate to the local area. They range from dinosaur and mammoth remains to Roman altars, landscape paintings and two of the world's first lawnmowers! There's a lively programme of exhibitions and events throughout the year, and facilities include a gift shop and cafe.

9. Keith Harding’s World of Mechanical Music

The World of Mechanical Music is a museum of self playing musical instruments and automata. Listen to Rachmaninov and Gerschwin giving concert performances of their own compositions on the 'reproducing pianos in the Victorian Drawing Room. Savour the decadence of 'Cabaret' with a performance from the 1920's Berlin Cafe Piano, and hear the latest in 'Hi-Fi' from the1930's on the enormous E.M.G. handmade gramophone.

10. The Cotswold Way National Trail

The Cotswold Way is a long distance walking Trail that runs between the market town of Chipping Campden in the north and the city of Bath in the south. At 102 miles long, it runs for most of its length along the Cotswold hills, and passes through many picturesque villages and close to a significant number of historic sites. These include example the Roman heritage at Bath, Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe, Hailes Abbey and many beautiful churches and historic houses.
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