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Thornbury Castle Hotel and Restaurant

Easter Bank Holiday in Gloucestershire

The Easter Bank Holiday Weekend (15–18th April) is a time to spend with the family. Take advantage of the extra days off work and explore Gloucestershire, home to some of the finest countryside England has to offer, as well as vibrant market towns and an historic city.

Forming a large part of the Cotswolds, and with the Royal Forest of Dean to the west, Gloucestershire is truly blessed when it comes to incredible landscapes. Rolling green hills sit alongside historic woodlands and clusters of spring flowers.

The Royal Forest of Dean is one of the country’s few remaining wild forests, full of natural beauty and a magical ambience that will enchant your family for the duration of the Easter weekend.

The countryside is dotted throughout with spectacular stately homes, many of which have been transformed into luxury Gloucestershire hotels. These large estates offer plenty of space to stretch your legs and enjoy the country air.

The county is also home to plenty of towns, including Cheltenham and Stroud, as well as the historic city of Gloucester, full of exciting landmarks, such as Gloucester Cathedral and Gloucester Docks.

Trains to Gloucestershire travel direct from London Paddington, Plymouth, Bath and more. Find further travel inspiration, or other destinations for you to explore.

Thornbury Castle Hotel and Restaurant

Places to stay

Thornbury Castle Hotel and Restaurant

Built in the early 1500s by Edward Stafford, the third Duke of Buckingham, Thornbury Castle is an opulent Tudor fortification that’s held strong against the maelstrom of British history. It was for a period in the hands of the erratic Henry VIII, who confiscated the property when the Duke was beheaded – he stayed there with his now infamous wife Anne Boleyn.

Today, the castle is a luxury retreat, full of historic details, coupled with 21st-century comfort. With family-friendly rooms, and 15 acres of grounds and gardens ripe for exploring, the hotel is an excellent destination for those with youngsters in tow (Thornbury accepts children aged eight and upwards, who can fully appreciate the thrill of staying in a fortification).

Take the number 622 bus from Yate, or the number 10 bus from Bristol Parkway station, to Thornbury, and the hotel is a short onward walk. You can save money when combining rail and bus travel. Find out more about integrated travel options, such as the Freedom Travelpass.


Outdoor Activities

De Vere Tortworth Court

Just a short distance from Bristol, in South Gloucestershire, stands this Grade II listed hotel, with 30 acres of surrounding estate, two restaurants and a spa. The ancestral seat of the Ducie family for 350 years, Tortworth Court is full of original Victorian-era features and home to an arboretum, housing 300 plant and tree specimens.

De Vere Tortworth Court

Over Farm

Over Farm’s annual Easter Eggstravaganza is upon us! From 9–23 April, visitors can enjoy a day filled with live shows, egg hunts, cute animals (including lambs), tractor rides and more. Best suited to children aged two–eight, Over Farm’s Easter celebrations cost £11 per adult and £14.50 per child, which includes a go on each of the attractions, a chocolate egg to take home, and a schedule of shows. Free for babies.

Daffodil Way

Along the Leadon Valley, on the border of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, sits one of spring’s many wonders, attracting thousands of walkers every year. Here you’ll find seasonal flowers, such as wild daffodils, in abundance in the woods and fields around Dymock and Kempley. February and March are the ideal months to catch the blossoms, but April should offer a few late bloomers.

The Barn Owl Centre of Gloucestershire

The Barn Owl Centre is a Gloucestershire-based charity promoting the conservation of owls and other raptor species. A sanctuary for captive-bred birds, the centre offers interactive experience days, where visitors get the chance to handle birds of prey. Sessions are scheduled around the animals’ feeding time, so booking by phone is essential. Adults: £45.00; Children (4-15yrs): £20.00 – all children must be accompanied by at least one paying adult; Spectators: £20.00.

Getting there: from Gloucester station, walk to Gloucester bus station, where you can catch the number 66 bus service.


Nature in Art Museum

Housed in Wallsworth Hall, an attractive Georgian mansion north of Gloucester, the Nature in Art Museum is the world’s first museum dedicated exclusively to art inspired by nature. An ideal attraction for animal-lovers and art-appreciators alike, the gallery is home to works from the last 1500 years, including Pablo Picasso. Adults: £7.00; Concessions: £6.50 (over 60s and under 16s); Family: £20.00 (two adults and two children); Under eights go free.

Museum of Gloucester

The Museum of Gloucester charts the history of the city, from its origins as a Roman settlement onwards. It’s also home to a significant art collection that includes paintings by Richard Wilson and Thomas Gainsborough. This year’s highlight, however, is the Royal Photographic Society’s annual exhibition (until 5th June 2022), showcasing exciting new work from 43 international artists, exploring portraiture, landscape, the environment and more.

Landmarks in Gloucestershire

Gloucester Cathedral

Any visitor to Gloucestershire would be remiss not to visit the ever-impressive Gloucester Cathedral. One of the finest medieval buildings in the country, with stunning vaulted ceilings, the cathedral is the burial place of royalty, and starred in not one but two Harry Potter films – a true national treasure, and a fun way to spend your day this Easter holiday.

Clearwell Caves

For thousands of years, the Clearwell Caves (open from 8 April 2022) have been mined for iron ore and, to this day, you may encounter Forest Freeminers – men whose birthright entitles them to dig for minerals in the caves. Explore the history of these fascinating caves and the wildlife that inhabit them, including several species of bat, such as the greater horseshoe. There’s also a café above ground – the Lamproom Café – where visitors can enjoy hot and cold drinks, soups, sandwiches and cakes.

Dyrham Park

The 270 acre-estate that surrounds Dyrham House, the baroque English country house near Bristol, is popular among locals and visitors, full of walking trails, formal gardens and woodland terraces. The house itself, due to reopen in early April, contains artworks and furniture from around the country, and includes a collection of Dutch Masters.

Pittville Park Cheltenham

Cheltenham’s largest ornamental park is a vast green space north of the town centre. It’s a great place to walk and explore, with a sizeable playpark for the kids. At its north-east edge sits the Pittville Pump Rooms, a Grade I listed building that was once a destination during the town’s heyday as a spa resort. Today, it’s home to a café and bar, ideal for a spot lunch.

Food and drink days out

Stroud Farmers’ Market

Every Saturday, 9am–2 pm, in and around Cornhill Market Place, is the amazing Stroud Farmers’ Market. It’s one of the most popular of its kind in the UK and is known for selling top quality local produce, including cheese, wine and fruit and veg, as well as clothes, plants and pottery.

Food and Farm trails

Foodies, be sure to explore the county using one of Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership’s beautifully designed food and farm trail maps. Free to download, the maps show suggested walking and cycling routes in Stroud, Cheltenham, Stonehouse and Lydney, indicating the area’s local food and drink suppliers

Looking for more inspiration on what do with your Easter break? Check out our other destinations and book your tickets today.

Please also note, our network stretches across England and Wales. When you travel it’s important to know what restrictions apply.