Amanda and Paul Barns recently helped to organise a fam visit to their home county of Gloucestershire for fellow members of the New Meridian Association. They report back.
‘The four-day trip was organised with the help of Ben Hay of Marketing Gloucester and we stayed at the 4-star Mercure Bowden Hall Hotel – 15 minutes from Gloucester city centre.
Travelling with Cathedral Coaches, our first day’s visit was to Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust with its far reaching Severn Estuary views, and we also enjoyed visiting the recently opened home of one of its founder, the naturalist Sir Peter Scott.
On the second day we explored Gloucester Cathedral and the city having informative tours led by volunteers from the Civic Trust. After a covered boat trip along the Gloucester and Sharpness canal we had a tour around the National Waterways Museum. A short walk across the docks area brought us to the Soldiers of Gloucester Museum – a modern display with many hands on exhibits appealing to all ages.
Day three was spent in the Forest of Dean visiting Dean Heritage Centre, Clearwell Caves and The Speech House, where the Verderer’s Court is still held, making judgements on land disputes and Forest laws, with a final stop at Highnam Church, which is connected to the Gambier-Parry family and to Hubert Parry who composed the music to Jerusalem.
Our last morning visits were to two lesser-known attractions – The Jet Age Museum, based near Staverton Airport, is free to enter. It preserves planes and memorabilia from the past, with a focus on Sir Frank Whittle who is attributed with the invention of the jet engine. A short drive away is the Nature in Art gallery housed in Wallsworth Hall and set in beautiful grounds, and a captivating talk by owner and curator Simon Trapnell was much appreciated.
The trip gave everyone good insights into what was available for group trips to Gloucester and we’d like to thank all attractions for their warm welcome.’