From picture perfect postcard villages to homes and high streets just bursting with history, you’ll find that you’re never far from an unforeseen treat beyond Bristol’s borders.
Home to England’s oldest inhabited castle, Berkeley Castle offers something many historic homes don’t: A tour by the owner. Charles Berkeley himself can be pre-booked (subject to availability) to give a personal guided tour around the 12th century property, showing you cells and dungeons where Edward II was imprisoned and murdered and a lawn where Elizabeth I once played bowls, among other delights.
In town, check out the Edward Jenner Museum and discover more about the Berkeley man known as the father of immunology.
With the Prince of Wales as a neighbour, you won’t be far from a royalist in Tetbury. Tours of Highgrove’s gardens are available and there’s a Highgrove shop on the high street. If you’re not a Charles fan, this chocolate-box Cotswold village has many an antique shop, tea room, cosy pub and quirky boutique B&B to entice you.
For an alternate view, check out the local police museum. It tells the story of crime and punishment in the region, and includes the nation’s collection of handcuffs among its unusual treasures.
A natural phenomenon, the tidal surge that is the Severn Bore is worth seeing at least once. Due to the shape of the Severn Estuary, water is funnelled into a narrow channel as the tide rises, travelling upstream at speeds of up to 13 miles per hour, create a wave reaching 7 feet in height.
The villages of Stonebench and Minsterworth – provide the best viewpoints. Local pubs often host ‘Bore’ events around tide times, while local surfers try to ride the waves.
You wouldn’t think a pair of villages called The Slaughters would be as pretty as they are. But they are. Standing either side of the banks of the River Eye, Upper Slaughter draws foodies with Lords of the Manor’s Michelin-starred restaurant, while Lower Slaughter features the Old Mill Museum which, run by ex-Jazz singer Gerald Harris, has 30s and 40s jazz playing in its riverside tearoom.
Both villages ooze charm, but if you’re unconvinced, wander down Copse Hill Road, voted ‘Most Romantic Street in Britain’ by Google users in 2011.
1 hour 10 minutes
No theatres here, but Broadway has been a favourite of many an artist over the centuries. Cosy pubs and antique shops can be found along its chestnut tree-lined ‘broad way’, as well as a museum dedicated to 20th century furniture designer Sir Gordon Russell – who had his factory here.
Drive up to Broadway Tower, the second highest point in the Cotswolds, built in 1799. On a clear day you can see up to 14 counties – once you’ve caught your breath.
1 hour 15 minutes