Located between the Cotswolds and Wales, Gloucester is a great place to stay when exploring this area of the United Kingdom. Don’t just use the city as your base though, make sure and take the time to explore it. With a lovely pedestrian center, Beatrix Potter museum, Gloucester Docks and Roman ruins, it is an interesting destination in and of itself.
At its heart is Gloucester Cathedral, a beautiful reminder of medieval England.
First known as The Abbey of St. Peter, the church was a wealthy and powerful institution with extensive landholdings in Gloucestershire and South Wales, and significant royal associations. In 1216, Henry III was crowned here. The coronation revitalized royal interest in the abbey. Another highly significant event for the future of the abbey was the burial of the murdered King Edward II in the church in 1377. The tomb is the only monarch’s tomb in southwest England and one of only a few outside of London.
The cloister, famous for its breath-taking fan vaulting, is the earliest of its kind in England. Originally built to house monks, the cloister provided space for them to live, work and meditate. Construction began in the late 14th century and was finished by 1412. It replaced an earlier Norman cloister. So beautiful, the cloister was used in the filming of three Harry Potter movies — “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”
The Great East Window, one of the cathedral’s most precious treasures, is situated behind the high altar. Installed in the early 1350’s, it is one of the grandest landmarks of European stained glass.
When King Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of monasteries in September 1541, he declared the cathedral as the mother church of the new Diocese of Gloucester. He remarked, “Considering the site of the late monastery in which the monument of our renowned ancestor the King of England is erected, is a fit and proper place…”
Gloucester Cathedral sustained minor damage in 1634 during the English Civil War but in 1649, under Oliver Cromwell, there was a move to demolish the cathedral building. The cathedral was saved when the mayor and Burgess of Gloucester took it over in 1656. In gratitude, the mayor was given a throne across from the bishop’s throne in the choir. It is still there today.
It is easy to spend at least an hour in the cathedral admiring its beauty and construction.
The cathedral is surrounded by beautiful gardens and located near the Beatrix Potter’s museum The House of The Tailor of Gloucester, lovely restaurants and lots of shopping options.