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23 Fab + free things to do in Glos & Worcs

Money too tight to mention this month? We hear you. Here are a ton of great ideas for a day out with mates, family or solo - from art and an amphitheatre to winter walks, scenic bikes rides and free exhibitions.

GO MUSEUM MUSING

The Museum in the Park in Stroud regularly hosts free workshops, exhibitions and events that the whole family can enjoy. The museum is set in the grounds of the glorious Stratford Park in a Grade II listed 17th century mansion house. Pore over 4,000 objects and famous painters like Mark Stopforth and photographers such as David Corio often exhibit here, too. There’s a lovely walled garden to explore in Spring and Summer.

Fast and furious more your thing? We love the look of the Jet Age Museum we’ve recently uncovered in Gloucester, celebrating Gloucestershire’s rich aviation heritage from the early days of flight, through the birth of the Jet Age to the present – with lots of cool real jets to explore!.

Tewkesbury way? Head to Tewkesbury Museum  housed in a 17th century building with a wonderfully quirky collection of artefacts including Roman remains and war curios. It’s a great space for kids too because it’s full of activities that will keep them absorbed for hours.

FROLIC IN A REAL ROMAN AMPHITHEATRE

Did you know there was a Roman amphitheatre tucked away in the streets of Cirencester? Walk west of the town centre for just 10 minutes and you will come across this spectacular place. Once a real amphitheatre in Ciren’s Roman heydey, it’s now a grass-covered nature-sanctuary. With soaring sides and fabulous church vistas, it’s a beautiful and peaceful place to sit and admire the view, or take the kids and they will have the time of their lives rolling or riding down the slopes. Look out for the plaques dotted around explaining its history.

VISIT A SCULPTURE TRAIL

For lungfuls of fresh air head to the magical Forest of Dean & Wye Valley. It’s a perfect way to beat boredom whilst exploring one of Britain’s largest forests, as well as miles of picturesque riverside tracks and panoramic viewpoints overlooking as many as seven different counties. And check out the free Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, which celebrates all things nature with a series of forest-inspired sculptures interspersed among towering trees. Get some fresh air and burn off energy along the 4.5 mile path. Take the kids along to burn off some steam at the playground at Beechenhurst Lodge. The setting for Star Wars and many a movie, this is a magical place for a free and soul-lifting stroll.

TAKE A WANDER AROUND GLOUCESTER QUAYS & CATHEDRAL

Fifteen Victorian warehouses loom over the beautifully restored Gloucester quays. Yes, yes, it’s a retail outlet (you may not come out with the same bank balance!) but you can take a lovely free wander around the docks too. A remarkably complete example of a Victorian port. Views include many fine late Victorian era warehouses, a working dry dock, a Mariners Chapel and other dock-related buildings that have been found new uses plus some spectacular ships if you are lucky. Grab a coffee at one of the waterfront cafes. Then head over to Gloucester Cathedral, one of the finest medieval buildings in Europe. You can climb the tower, take part in a family-friendly activity, explore the cloisters or see the tomb of Edward II. Entrance is free and it’s open 265 days a year.

Or head to Worcester Cathedral for a historically fabulous day out. See Royal tombs, an early 12th Century round Chapter House, examples of every type of early English architecture, a beautiful Norman crypt, medieval cloister, magnificent Victorian stained glass. Get a stunning end to end vista. and wander around the crypt exhibition, explore interactive touch screens, a mobile app trails then the lovely cloister cafe..

SEE A FREE EXHIBITION

Check out the brilliant new exhibition at New Brewery Arts in Cirencester. Shoes Have Names is a collab with conceptual fashion designer, Jo Cope, and homelessness charity, Shelter, where 10 globally-renowned artists, shoemakers and designers team up with a formerly homeless person to create a shoe or pair of shoes telling their story. See the handmade shoes which reflect the experiences of real people dealing with homelessness, using techniques from recycling old sofas to 3D printing. The shoes are all named after the person or people who inspired them. Free entry, on from 29 January to 02 April.

GO FOR A WOW-FACTOR WALK

Head for Broadway Tower in Broadway, Worcs where you’ll get breathtaking views for miles around (nip into the Morris & Brown cafe for a coffee too). Start in the village Broadway and head up the hill to the famous tower before heading back down again (the easier bit).

Or take a trip up to the stunning Painswick Beacon – a real favourite with the locals (me included!). As you walk along the five-mile loop (don’t worry you can do shorter routes too), you’ll enjoy incredible views of the surrounding countryside. From the top, you’ll receive an outstanding panorama of the entire county below. Be camera-ready for that top-of-the-world Insta selfie.

In Worcs head to the Malvern Hills and bike or walk around this stunning AONB landscape. Get a free downloadable map here for trails.

SEEK OUT AN INSTA-FAMOUS DOORWAY

The doorway to St. Edward’s Church in Stow-on-the-Wold is so beautiful that many believe it inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s Doors of Durin. Walk through them and it feels like you’re about to be transported to a mythical world. On the inside, the building is a fantastic mixture of architectural styles. While some furnishings date back to the 1000s. After you’ve spotted it head into the centre of lovely Stow-on-the-Wold for a wander around its galleries and boutiques.

GO TO THESE PARKS

Our favourite parks? Head for Pittville Park, the largest ornamental park in Cheltenham, not only does it overlook the grand pump room and boasts a new orangery cafe, but it also has a vast play area for kids that includes a sand and water play area and a dreamy lake.

Credit: Kate Williams-Brown

Or head to Cirencester Park on the Bathurst Estate. The parkland covers hundreds of acres which border the stunning Bathurst Estate House, with its sociable main drag, secluded glades, and peaceful woodland trails, plus kids love it here for tree climbing. End up at the Beano Trailer, a converted horse box which serves up barista coffees, gluten-free hot chocolates, homemade cakes and soft drinks.

ON YER BIKE

There are so many places to take two wheels and feel the wind in your hair. Which ones are the best? Click here to find EIGHT of the best scenic bike rides in Glos & Worcs.

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