Gloucester has retained many of its historic buildings. Often at street level there are modern shops – then look up to see the original old buildings on the first level and above.
Let's start in the centre of the City where Westgate, Eastgate, Northgate and Southgate Streets intersect at 'The Cross'. This walk is mainly through a pedestrian precinct and is therefore hassle free.
On the corner of Eastgate and Southgate Streets is the 15th century St Michaels Tower, all that now remains of St Michael's Church which was demolished in 1956.
Let us now head down the right hand side of Westgate Street. This will take us to the majestic Gloucester Cathedral.
- Maverdine Lane
Before arriving at the Cathedral, and only about 100 yards from The Cross is Maverdine Lane (look for the Gloucester Trust blue plaque). From the street, this medieval right of way looks like a narrow dark lane between the buildings. However it holds a wondrous treasure.
At the entrance to the lane is hidden a magnificent 16th century Merchant’s House. Look up to see its overhanging upper storey. It is said to be the largest and finest 16th century timber-framed urban building in Britain. It was also Colonel Massey's headquarters during the Siege of Gloucester in the 1643 Civil War.
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Back in Westgate Street
Continue until you reach a lane named College Court. This was the pilgrim's route to the Cathedral and passes The Tailor of Gloucester Museum & Shop made famous by Beatrix Potter in her aptly named book. This street has hardly changed over the centuries.
The main entrance to the Cathedral is from College Street, a little further down Westgate Street. However it is fun to enter the Cathedral Close through College Court's medieval archway!
There is a lot to see in the Cathedral Close and the Cathedral itself, far more than can be covered in this walk. Do not miss the article in this website relating to Gloucester Cathedral.
Standing in the Close facing the south porch, let's turn left and go through the stone archway into St Mary's Square where we will find Bishop Hooper's Memorial. On this very spot Bishop Hooper was burned at the stake in 1555.
A short distance to the south of the memorial is another medieval church – the St Mary de Lode Church, built on the site of a Roman Villa and used as a prison in the Civil War.
After leaving St Mary de Lode, walk back to Westgate Street via Three Cocks Lane. Almost directly opposite the exit onto Westgate Street is the Gloucester Folk Museum. This amazing half-timbered building where Bishop John Hooper spent his last night before martyrdom, was an 18th century pin factory and now houses fascinating displays covering Gloucester’s history and folk culture.
Retracing our steps up Westgate Street towards The Cross, we pass (on the right) the imposing stone building housing the County Shire offices.
At The Cross, we turn right into Southgate Street and now look across the street to Bakers Jewellers with its interesting 'striking Jack' clock - do not miss the Baker's Clock article in this website.
On the corner of Southgate and Longsmith Streets is the Gloucester Tourist Information Centre
(Gloucester TIC), a useful stop for picking up brochures and of course booking your accommodation.
Almost opposite the TIC is St Mary de Crypt Church, the first Crypt Grammar School and the remains of Greyfriars Priory. St Mary de Crypt is the oldest church in Gloucester. It has strong associations with the Sunday school founder Robert Raikes.
On the other side of Longsmith Street is the highly decorated half timbered building known as Raikes House. Look for the Blue Plaque marking it as Robert Raikes birthplace.
After Robert Raikes house and as you leave the traffic free area of Southgate Street, you will come upon a lane leading to Blackfriars Street and Blackfriars Priory.
Interestingly where Kimbrose Way meets Southgate Street is the site of the now demolished South Gate through the original city walls.
On retracing our steps up Southgate Street towards The Cross, we pass the imposing statue of the Roman Emperor Nerva mounted on his horse. The Roman city of Gloucester was named after this emperor and was then known as Colonia Nerviana Glevensis.
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At The Cross, let's investigate Eastgate Street.
In Eastgate Street are a number of banks and financial institutions – an ideal place to make your financial arrangements.
The three major points of interest in this street are:
- The Guildhall, now an entertainment complex. It is on your left as you walk down past the banks
- On the right hand side is Eastgate Market and shopping complex. This indoor market has individual stalls selling everything from meat to clothes; there are many local delicacies such as Double Gloucester Cheese and you may be lucky enough to buy Elvers (baby eels) in season.
- Just past the market entrance is Boots the chemist and right outside their front entrance you can look down through the glass viewing chamber at the preserved Roman and medieval East Gate of the city. There is a descriptive plaque.
Now, turn right into Brunswick Road and about 200 yards on your right is the Gloucester City Museum & Art Gallery, formerly the Gloucester College of Art. Brunswick Road ultimately leads the visitor to Gloucester Park.
Let's now retrace our steps back to Eastgate Street and The Cross and we now look at Northgate Street.
The notable building is of course the galleried 'The New Inn'. This historic hotel was initially built to house pilgrims attending the shrine of King Edward II in St Peter's Abbey (now Gloucester Cathedral). This is a great place to have a meal, drink or just a coffee break after your Walk around Gloucester.
The visitor can tour the historic Gloucester Docks by walking further down Southgate Street. At the Docks, the visitor can visit the Gloucester Waterways Museum and Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum.
Cross over the Llanthony Lift Bridge and a short walk takes the visitor to Llanthony Secunda Priory.
Contact & Further Information
Google Maps - Gloucester City Streets