Gloucestershire - History, Holidays, and Fine Food

Gloucestershire, pronounced Glostershire, is a pretty English county located south west of the English midlands yet not south-west enough to be truly part of the English south-west! The capital of Gloucestershire is the city of Gloucester, and that is where we begin our tour.

The city lies at the foot of the Cotswold Hills on the Severn River at its last point before the river widens and becomes the Severn estuary. There are still docks down on the river, yet today they are mainly used for pleasure and leisure boats. The huge stone warehouses and mills have for the most part been converted into sought after apartments and shops, particularly antique shops. The city is ancient, once Roman named Glevum, and that was by no means its earliest history.

Dominating the skyline is the majestic grey-stone Cathedral. You cannot visit Gloucester without visiting this stunning building. Oddly these days Gloucester is not the biggest town in the county, that honour belongs to nearby Cheltenham, a fast growing bustling town located just a few miles away. Only in England can the city be smaller than the town, but that is how it is here.

Cheltenham is famous for its Regency architecture, outside of the capital second only to Bath in quantity and splendour. The town is also rightly renowned for its National Hunt horse racing meeting, four days in March when half of Ireland seemingly evacuate their blessed isle and trek across the Irish sea to cheer on their favourites to victory (more often than not!) Visit in Cheltenham Gold Cup week and you will be fortunate to find vacant accommodation anywhere within 25 miles of the track. National Hunt racing is for races over jumps, and you won't find a celebration of jump racing anywhere to match the Cheltenham Festival.

Gloucester is a rugby city, rugby and cricket, Cheltenham for the racing and football, for they possess the only professional soccer team in the county.

Journey half an hour's drive north of the twin towns and you will come to Tewkesbury, another ancient town with a rich history. It is situated on a gravel spit just above the flood level close to where the rivers Severn and Avon merge. Particularly heavy rainfall makes the inhabitants nervous, and with good reason.

The Abbey dominates this town, the second senior church in the county, and another must see for those interested in such things. The Abbey was founded at the end of the 11th century. Today Tewkesbury still boasts an impressive array of half-timbered houses. Indeed remove the traffic and you could almost believe you were stepping back in time a century, or two, or three, or four!

Tewkesbury has another grizzly piece of history for which it is remembered. The Battle of Tewkesbury fought south of the town on May 4th 1471, a bloody affair in the War of Roses, Lancastrian against Yorkists, the Crown of England at stake. Edward, the Prince of Wales, son of Henry the Sixth was slain, and the Lancastrian cause was fatally wounded with his passing.

But enough of history, and fearsome battles from long ago. Venture south west of Gloucester and follow the Severn River to the Slimbridge Wild Fowl trust. This is a bird sanctuary where thousands of birds are fed and provided for everyday. It was established by the late Sir Peter Scott and is probably the most famous bird reserve in all of England. If you have any interest in bird watching, no matter how slight, a visit to Slimbridge is a treat in store for you.

Venture further east and south of Gloucester and you must climb the Cotswold Hills, a huge limestone ridge that runs diagonally across England almost from Bristol to Oxford. Take the steep road up to Birdlip and turn right at the Air Balloon pub. Look out for the fantastic views from the right as you journey further up and over. The stone is an easy on the eye cream and gold, and the houses, rarely thatched here, preserve the traditional stone colour throughout the county.

Once over the Cotswolds you descend to Cirencester, another ancient town, known as Corinium in Roman times. You can still follow the ancient perfectly straight Roman road from here all the way southeast to Sarum (Salisbury). Today it is a fast four-lane highway, but somehow you just know the ancient Roman road builders would have approved of the new modern highway that follows their route.

Within the Cotswold district you will find umpteen picture postcard villages and small towns with poetic sounding names, such as Bourton-on-the-water, Moreton-in-the-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold, and the more oddly named Upper Slaughter, and Lower Slaughter. In summer these towns become crammed with tourists and day-trippers alike. Perhaps you may prefer quieter sleepier places, perhaps explore some of the lesser known and smaller villages, there are plenty to choose from, and all within easy drives.

The Cotswolds is a very pretty area, rolling lush pastures, rich farmland and no surprise then that Royalty choose to live here. Prince Charles and Princess Anne both keep their main residences in Gloucestershire. Gloucester and Cheltenham boast fast road and rail links to London, two to three hours with a following wind, the local produce is fine cheese, excellent meat, and local lush fruit and vegetables.

Continue your journey across the Severn westwards towards Wales, but before you reach there, explore the Forest of Dean that lies between the Rivers Severn and Wye. Hilly and thickly forested it is home to deer and more recently re-introduced wild boar, not to be trifled with, especially when they are chaperoning youngsters.

Then you descend into the Wye Valley, and once you cross the river, you are in a different country, Wales, home of the Celts. The huge ancient castle at Chepstow and another at Monmouth are reminders of wars gone past, and of the very fact that you are leaving Gloucestershire behind.

If you visit Britain for two weeks, and decide to spend one week in London, a second week in the Cotswolds will come as a welcome change. A chance to wind down. To do some walking, contemplating a slower pace of life, and none the worse for that. Enjoy.

You will find more than 6,000 holiday cottages, villas and apartments worldwide on my web site www.pebblebeachmedia.co.uk

David Carter has written hundreds of articles published in a wide variety of publications. His latest work is SPLAM! A 240+ page property letting manual. Check out http://www.splam.co.uk for details. He also runs a holiday cottage website, http://www.pebblebeachmedia.co.uk where you can choose from over 6,000 fantastic holiday cottages, apartments and villas throughout the world. You can contact David directly at supalife@aol.com on any matter.

With Vacation Rentals You Can Stay For a Long Time

Vacation rentals are an option when you plan to go on a vacation and stay... Read More

Living and Retiring in Bolivia

A beautiful and inexpensive place without a tourist in sight. Sound like a dream? It's... Read More

Staying In A Vacation Cabin Rental

Did you know that staying in a vacation cabin rental is a much better deal... Read More

Costa Rica has been Called the Hawaii of Central America

Considering a romantic or family Costa Rica vacation? You're choosing one of the best tourist... Read More

Dare to Dream: The Vacation of a Lifetime In A Timeshare

What are your chances of getting the vacation of a lifetime without having to save... Read More

Tips to Visit Valencia, a Lovely City of Spain

Valencia is the third city of Spain, by number of inhabitants. It is located to... Read More

Apartments are Good for Your Health

Work-rate, health and even personal relationships may be affected if you stay in hotel accommodation... Read More

The Lake Havasu RV Resort

Lake Havasu, Arizona has become a treasured destination for tourists, campers, and RV enthusiasts.For those... Read More

Looking For A Holiday With A Difference?

Fancy holidaying somewhere unusual? How about a 7 day tornado chasing safari? Care for a... Read More

Finding The Best Timeshare For You ? Make The Search An Adventure!

Taking the plunge from average vacationer to vacation property owner is a big jump. The... Read More

Looking for a Vacation in Paradise? Try a Bahamas Vacation

Plan your next vacation where most people call paradise...the Bahamas Islands. Choose from the many... Read More

Oceanside Vacations on Hilton Head Island

The largest barrier island on the Atlantic coast between New Jersey and Florida is Hilton... Read More

Tranquil Setting for the Weary Traveler

The DeLaunay House, located 185 N. Pioneer in Ashland is a wonderfully remodeled 1909 Craftsman... Read More

You Only Have One Life, Let Your Caribbean Dream Come True

Turning your dream to Reality?Buying in the CaribbeanBuying a home in the Caribbean is something... Read More

Town Homes for ALL Your Pleasure in Orlando, Florida!

Have you ever done something spontaneous? Are you in love with warm weather? Do you... Read More

Wiltshire - Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, & Much More

Wiltshire is a large English county situated in central southern England. Although it does not... Read More

Use Sydney Apartments, Not Hotels, To Save Yourself Money

If you're planning a visit to Australia, then you'll be glad to know you can... Read More

Washington, DC a Bargain Travel Guide

Welcome to Washington, DC - The nation's capital is a city with public museums and... Read More

What You Need to Know About Costa Rica

More than one million tourists visit Costa Rica each year. What draws so many people... Read More

Florida Beachfront Rentals - Finding Florida Beachfront Vacation Homes

Florida beachfront rentals are a great way to enjoy a Florida vacation. Florida beachfront rentals... Read More

What are the Lodging Options when Visiting Orlando Florida for Our Family Vacation

Lodging Hotels in Davenport, FLThere are numerous choices for lodging hotels in the Kissimmee, FL... Read More

Journeying Through Dorset - & The Jurassic Coast

The county of Dorset on England's south coast is a county of great contrast but... Read More

You Have To Love The Location, Say These Owners Of Orlando Florida Villas

It has been said that in real estate there are three things that count the... Read More

Keys to Contentment

Most of us take vacations for the express purpose of getting away from it all.... Read More

Consider A Private Kauai Vacation Rental For Your Next Getaway

There are many wonderful resorts with tons of activity in the Hawaiian Islands. However, have... Read More

Home Exchange

Have you ever wanted to travel to far away places and live like a native... Read More

Alternatives for Business Travelers

"I'm coming home. I've been away too long. Been away so long. I'm coming home"... Read More

Come to Orlando and Vacation Like You Never Have Before in a Town Home!

Of course you are anxious to take a vacation this year, to enjoy time with... Read More

A Guide to Cozumel Hotels

Cozumel has something to suit the tastes and budgets of a wide variety of travelers.... Read More

Hotels In India

With India being a major world tourist in the world, availability of hotels is not... Read More

Five Affordable World Travel Destinations

Five Affordable World Travel Destinations Locations That Offer More But Cost Less ... Read More

Amazon Lodges

I had always been told that if you wanted to see wildlife do not go... Read More

Pigeon Forge Hotels

Hotels are a large component of Pigeon Forge lodging. As with any major tourist destination,... Read More

Villa Rentals on South Carolinas Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island is a vacation destination for over two million people each year. While... Read More

Timeshare Presentations: Scams or Opportunities

Timeshare presentations are tricky animals. They can either be an excellent method of obtaining expensive... Read More

Gatlinburgs Real Estate Market

Real estate in Gatlinburg is thriving. While the 2000 census estimated that some 3,300 people... Read More

Vacationing in a Gatlinburg Cabin

For many decades Gatlinburg has been a favorite resort getaway for both families and couples.... Read More

Preparing To Travel To Europe ? Four Important To-Dos

You have your tickets, your hotel or vacation rental reservations, passports are up to date,... Read More

Is a Vacation Rental Near Disney World the BEST Choice?

Orlando is calling to you and your family to come and visit! You have been... Read More

Peru-Lima, Miraflores Vacation Rentals Deals

Miraflores is the turistic district of Lima. The main hotels are located in this nice... Read More

Sea Pines Plantation - The Pearl of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Sea Pines Plantation ? The Pearl of Hilton Head IslandHilton Head Island is one of... Read More

Guide for Selecting a Villa Near Disney in Orlando Florida

This article is meant to be a guide for those who wish to enjoy their... Read More

Love the Outdoors? Consider a Gatlinburg Cabin Rental

Love the outdoors, looking for adventure, a romantic getaway, or a family vacation? Gatlinburg, Tennessee,... Read More

Villasin Algarve - No1 For Property Investors

The Algarve, and particularly the areas around Carvoeiro, Albufeira, Praia da Luz, Vale do Lobo,... Read More

A Guide to Cozumel Vacations

What kind of traveler are you? Do you want everything handled for you so all... Read More

7 Tips To Avoid Costly Surprises When Travelling Abroad

==> Try to buy your vacation travel package from a business you know.If possible, deal... Read More

An Island A Day

Stand by the shores of Casco Bay on the coast of Maine and you may... Read More

So You Want to Sell Your Timeshare

You are the owner of a timeshare and have decided the time has come to... Read More

Summer Vacations: 7 Universal Laws for Survival

Summer vacations - what better topic could there be for a mental health column than... Read More

Vancouver, Hidden Jewel Of The Pacific Northwest

Vancouver will receive a lot of attention as the 2010 Olympics approach, but why wait... Read More