Instead of making various posts, I am going to keep coming back to this post and update it as and when we do a day trip from Swansea this year.
Last Saturday we woke up and felt like going on a day trip. So we looked at the map and checked out places we haven’t been to and the ones where we would like to go. Finally, after much deliberation, we decided on Gloucester. We have driven past it many times in the past when we had been to other places but never made a stop at Gloucester. It is only around 2 hours drive from Swansea and perfect for a day trip. We started at around 10.30 am and reached by 12.30 pm. We found Hare Lane Car Park which according to the map was closer to the Cathedral. It is only a few minutes walk from the car park to the city centre and our first stop was to find a restaurant. After checking out a few places and shops around, we decided to head to Aroma Indian restaurant. This was closer to the Docks, which by the way I thought was something unusual for a city which is much further away from the seaside. And the docks were quite huge too.
After roaming around the Docks, we headed towards the Cathedral but got distracted on the way by the Eastgate Shopping Centre, which hosts Gloucester Market. We don’t miss the chance to check out any local market so in we went. There was some cool stuff in there. After that, it was only a few minutes walk to the Cathedral. I didn’t expect it to be this big. It reminded me of Hereford and Canterbury Cathedral in its structure.
The more we started exploring it, the more interesting it got. Did you know that not one, not two but three Harry Potter films were shot in this location for various scenes? It was amazing to read all about it given that we were just back from our Harry Potter tour.
The Cathedral itself is so huge that it keeps going on and on. You can go to the Gallery level, which was a bit scary for me given my fear of heights but awesome to look down from there. The famous window of the Cathedral is so beautiful it is amazing.
Once we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Cathedral, we checked out other places in and around, but by around 3.30 pm or so a lot of places started closing down and the streets were getting deserted. It might have been due to the freezing weather. The layout was very higgledy-piggledy. It took a while to get around the streets and corners 🙂 After almost 4 hours of enjoying the city and given that it was getting darker and we were already half-frozen by 4.30 pm, we decided to head back home. It was a pleasant trip altogether and the Cathedral visit was the highlight for us.
Just before our move to India, we decided that we cannot leave the country without visiting the famous monument, the Stonehenge. Funnily we ended up watching “Stonehenge: The Lost Circle” documentary on BBC which was discussing how the bluestones were originally from Preseli Hills in Wales and it gave us some background information on the site itself. We booked the tour from 1 pm which gave us a lot of time to drive from Swansea and stop somewhere for lunch too. We started at around 9-9:15 am and we were in Warminster by 11:15 am or so for our lunch. After a quick walk around the high street and a sumptuous lunch, it took us only 30 minutes to get to our destination.
For some reason, I thought I would be able to see the stones from the road, but we were coming from the other direction so we weren’t able to see it. The car park is huge. You are better off booking in advance as the prices are almost 10£ more when you go there and get your tickets. We had booked for a 1-1:30 pm slot but by the time we arrived at the car park, walk to the queue, got our tickets sorted (they get your booking and give you a map and a ticket there), it was already 2 pm. The walk to the stones is almost 30 mins from the ticket centre or there is a shuttle bus that goes every 5 minutes. We decided to take the shuttle given that we had a long drive back again and didn’t want to tire ourselves out. It is a lovely place overall. You could download an app and have a self-guided tour yourself. Having the documentary in our minds, it is absolutely amazing to see the structure of the stones and how they are arranged. These stones are absolutely huge in size and the whole place has a quiet and pleasant vibe to it. To just think how these stones stand there among all the fields and endure the harsh weather and still standing…it’s mind-boggling. In spite of all the age, they look fresh. We also spotted a bird making a nest in one of the nooks and crannies between the rocks. They also have got some events for kids, an exhibition in the ticket centre area and a huge food place too. The place around the stones is also a very nice picnic spot on a very good day. I would say we went on a good day because it was not too hot, neither cold nor rainy. It was a bit cloudy, but it added more mystery to the place.
We were very glad that we could make this day trip before we left the UK and I guess we saved the best for the last 🙂