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A medium-sized city in South-West England, dominated by its waterways

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Gloucester Docks
Gloucester Cathedral
Gloucester Canal
Gloucester is a medium-sized city to the west of the Cotswold hills. Its recorded history begins during the time of the Roman Occupation - and since then it has grown steadily into a home for 120,000 people.
It has the unusual distinction of being a port city that isn't actually on the coast - Gloucester sits 30 miles from the sea, and yet still features extensive and historic docks. One of the things that helps make this possible is the river Severn, which runs right next to the city. However, for the last 200 years, most of the local water traffic has used the canal instead.

Old Warehouses.
Photo tekdiver
The full name of this main waterway is the "Gloucester and Sharpness Canal", and it has been in place since the 19th century. Construction work actually began many decades before its eventual completion, but the project was plagued by delays, mostly due to expensive, unforeseen costs. However, the canal eventually proved its worth. It provided extremely big ships with access to the city, and because of this, it became one of Gloucester's most important transport links.

Moored on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.
Photo nicksarebi
Today, Gloucester Canal is no longer used by trade or cargo ships - but the route is still enjoyed by hundreds of pleasure craft. It links directly to the city's docks, which are a major attraction in their own right. Thanks to a major reconstruction and refurbishment project in the 80s, all the old buildings now house a variety of charming shops, restaurants, and pubs. It's heaven on earth for sailing fans, who can take part in guided tours, view model boat shows, and go on leisure cruises of both the canal and river.

Rennovated Buildings.
Photo Dave Hamster
A little way away from the docks is the town's true centre, which clusters around its major landmark - Gloucester Cathedral. This Norman and Gothic-styled building is a striking place, with dozens of delicate architectural details. Its stained glass is also notable, as it features some of the earliest-ever recorded images of the sport of golf! The building was recently used in several film and TV productions, including Harry Potter, and Doctor Who.

Gloucester Cathedral.
Photo Saffron Blaze
The cathedral is just one of many religious buildings in the city. In fact, Oliver Cromwell was once heard to remark that there were "more churches than godliness"! One of these, St. Mary de Lode, is particularly notable, as it is rumoured to be built on the site of England's first ever Christian church.
There are many other interesting sights within a very short distance of the city. Gloucester has the good fortune to be surrounded by some of England's most celebrated scenery, including the Forest of Dean - which is one of the very few remaining ancient woodlands in the UK - and the Cotswolds, an area of rolling hills and quaint villages.
But Gloucester's main character lies in its waterways, and no visitor should leave without taking the time to float lazily down the river, watching the scenery pass by.

Gloucester Docks.
Photo alexliivet
Visitor Information
Gloucester Tourist Information 28 Southgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 2DP. Tel: 01452 396 572
Gloucester Cathedral is open weekdays from 8am until Evensong, plus 11am to 4pm on Saturday and 12 noon to 2.30pm on Sunday. Entry is FREE. 12 College Green, Gloucester, GL1 2LX. Tel: 01452 528 095

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