Britain – the choice is yours

20th March 2022

Living and working in Britain we are very fortunate with the sheer variety of landscapes, cities, towns, villages and places to visit and things to do. In this blog we have picked out 10 of our favourite outdoor places to visit or things to do, 5 each within easy reach of our StayLets apartments in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and Egham, Surrey. Stay with us and enjoy these locations, here are our recommendations.

Five within easy reach of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

1. Historic Gloucester -16-minute drive

Gloucester has a number of historic places to visit all within easy walking distance once you are in the City. So we are going to cheat a little here by naming a few.

We picked out a couple of the gems. Gloucester Cathedral is a stunningly beautiful Cathedral with nearly 1,000 years of history. Take a guided tour, explore for yourself and see the magnificent tomb of Edward II, the Pilgrim’s Chapel, the world-famous cloisters (used in no less than three Harry Potter Films). Also take in the Pilgrim’s Progress; a beautiful green space in front of the Cathedral. Free but charges vary for different tours e.g. Tower tours Adults £7, children (6-16) £3.

Gloucester Docks as well as being a historic gem are also enjoying a renaissance with investment in the surrounding area. The docks themselves are Britain’s most inland port and are surrounded by 15 Victorian warehouses. As well as a great selection of bars and restaurants, you will be spoilt for choice with The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, the National Waterways Museum (Adults £8.50, concessions £7.50, children 6-15 £5) and the Gloucester Quays Designer Outlet Centre.

2. The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway – 24-minute drive to Tooddington
One of the main stations for this award winning, volunteer operated heritage railway is Cheltenham Racecourse, but currently passengers can only travel from Toddington or Broadway. Trains are running Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and pre-booking is essential. The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway takes you through some of the most stunning scenery in the Cotswolds with wonderful views of villages, and the surrouncing countryside. All day rover ticket Adult/Senior £20, children 5-15 years £8.

3. Forest of Dean – 43-minute drive
There is so much to see and do in the Forest of Dean; an area renowned for its breath-taking views that span Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Monmouthshire. We have singled out a few of our favourites.

The first is Symonds Yat Rock; an internationally renowned view point, definitely worth the trip. Free. Second is Puzzlewood; a unique and atmospheric ancient woodland attraction that has been used in many films including Star Wars The Force Awakens and very recently The Secret Garden. Adults £7, concessions £6, children (3-16) £6. Next is a spectacular natural phenomenon; the Severn Bore, a large surge wave on the River Severn where the tidal range is the second highest in the world, being as much as 50 feet. Free.

4. Chedworth Roman Villa – 23-minute drive
The history of this National Trust operated Roman Villa can be traced back nearly 2000 years. Rediscovered 150 years ago, these are the remains of one of the grandest Roman Villas in Britain. You will be able to view the extensive mosaic floors, the bath house rooms and a small museum which houses a range of finds and artefacts from the site. Adults £11.50, children £5.75.

5. Batsford Arboretum – 37-minute drive
This internationally renowned Arboretum features 1,300 different trees, shrubs and bamboo. It has also been home to the National Collection of Japanese Flowering Cherries since 2002. Adults £8.95, concessions £7.95 and children (4-15) £3.50.

5 within easy reach of Egham, Surrey

1. The London Eye – 49 minutes by car or 1 hour 33 minutes by foot and train
Originally built as part of London’s Millennium celebrations, a ride on the London Eye is a great way to get a bird’s eye view of some of the city’s most famous landmarks. A ride on the London Eye takes about 30 minutes and is best pre-booked to ensure you get on. Tickets £27.50 if pre-booked online £31 on the day.

2. Changing of the Guard Windsor Castle – 13-minute drive, 27 minutes by foot and bus
The Changing of the Guard Ceremony is full of pomp and ceremony and is a sight to behold with the backdrop of Windsor Castle (which is the oldest and largest continuously inhabited castle in the world and one of the Queen’s three official residences). Different regiments and bands feature and dates do vary, but typically the ceremony starts at 11am and is on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Free.

3. Thames City River Cruises – 49 minutes by car or 1 hour 33 minutes by foot and train
Thames City River Cruise is a great way to experience the Thames and see many of London’s most famous landmarks, including the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, The Tower of London and the London Eye. An adult return peak season from Westminster to the London Eye and back costs £13.75, children 5-15 £9.

4. Runnymede and Magna Carta – 8-minute drive or 41-minute walk
When our apartments are in a building called Magna House, this had to be on our list. The Magna Carta, which means “The Great Charter”, was one of the most important documents in British history. It established the principle that everyone is subject to the law, even the King (at the time) and it guaranteed the rights of individuals, the right to justice and the right to a fair trial.

The Magna Carta was sealed at nearby Runnymede by King John on the 15th June 1215. Although little is known as to why this exact location was chosen, it’s proximity to Windsor was undoubtedly a key factor. Runnymede is now regarded by many as the birthplace of modern democracy and is an open, riverside park cared for by The National Trust, where you can have a picnic or take one of the many marked countryside walks. As well as being home to a Monument to the Magna Carta, Runnymede also has memorials to John F. Kennedy and the Commonwealth Air Forces. Free.

5. Visit Denbies Wine Estate – 32-minute drive
Established in 1986, Denbies Wine Estate is one the UK’s largest wine producers. Denbies can lay claim to producing multi gold award winning sparkling wines and a UK first of a gold award for Rose wine. Their estate includes 7 miles of public footpaths, restaurants, a farm shop, gift shop and brewery. There are a variety of tours including outdoor “train tours”, indoor wine tasting winery tours and other group tours. Many of their events sell out months in advance so booking is highly recommended. Free apart from tours.

We hope you enjoy our recommendations.