Tewkesbury is a Medieval town in Gloucestershire, it is a half-timbered town positioned at the confluence of River Severn and Avon.
Filled with special and historic sites and buildings, there are quite some things to do in Tewkesbury as well as places to visit to keep you engaged in this town.
The Battle Field of 1471 saw the emergence of a new king and the death of an heir apparent in Tewkesbury. Interestingly, the battlefield has been left unadjusted and even play host to the greatest European Medieval reenactment.
A large number of half-timbered houses here are museums and have significant stories that they tell and stand for. Let’s delve into the best things to do in Tewkesbury.
Things to Do in Tewkesbury
1. Hoo House Nursery
One of the fun things to do in Tewkesbury is visiting the Hoo House Nursery. Lovers of ornamentals and plants would not want to miss out.
For more than 30 years, they have been offering alpines and perennials to the immediate community and environs. And since 2001, they have grown and propagated their plants as much as possible with the exclusive use of peat-free compost.
Hoo House Nursery keeps a list of 900 plant varieties, the majority of them on offer, but you may need to call a nursery to ascertain the availability of what you are looking for or check up their website.
They also offer advice and suggestions on garden situation to anyone in need of a little inspiration.
Hoo House Nursery is open every day of the week from 10am to 5pm.
Address: Gloucester Road, Tewkesbury.
2. Showborough House Sculpture Garden
Showborough lies in the Vale, just between the Malverns and the Cotswolds. You can get here in 10 minutes or less if you drive from the M5, M50, or A38, as it is positioned between Tewkesbury and Pershore, outside the village of Twyning.
Showborough House Sculpture Garden is a garden having displays of sculptures amid beautiful flowers. The one and half-acre garden is opened every spring to host the Affordable Garden Art Exhibition.
Here, a vast range of good but affordable sculptures, are placed in a natural setting in this garden. Most of these works are made by upcoming or local sculptors from within or around the county. They vary in style, size, and media.
You will see wood, stone, metal, ceramic, glass, and resin arts that will capture your fancy. There is also an avenue for invited local artists to display their paintings through a small indoor exhibition.
Showborough House is a non-profit setup, thus exhibits are placed for sale to encourage the sculptors and artists. Donations are welcome however entry is free of charge
You can come, relax with a cup of coffee or tea.
Opening hours are 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. from Thursday to Monday.
Address: Showborough House Twyning, Tewkesbury.
3. Tewkesbury Cards & Gifts
The Tewkesbury Cards & Gifts is an Aladdins cave of art, cards, and gifts. An awesome shop that retail souvenirs and postcards, partyware, gossamer and silk flowers, helium balloons for parties, quality leather and fashion purses/ handbags, wallets etc.
They also sell scarves, scented candles, books, jewelry, fragrance lamps, paintings, diffusers, and other fancy items of all descriptions.
You will spend more time than you anticipated as you will be amazed by the display of goods (mostly sourced locally) in this shop. Be sure to visit this place while you are still in town.
Tewkesbury Cards & Gifts is open: Sun – Sun 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Mon – Fri 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Address: 135 High Street, Tewkesbury.
4. Tewkesbury Park Health Club
If you are a fitness fanatic or you want to get started, then there is no better selection other than the great Tewkesbury Park Health Club.
They’ve got an exciting facility, full of kits and equipment to give you a complete and comprehensive health and fitness experience.
You can enjoy the indoor pool, do some workouts age the gym house, undergo outdoor fitness classes where you are taught and as well-coached, or even immerse yourself in the outdoor hot tub.
The park has an 18-hole golf course, squash room, and 2 tennis courts, you can take to playing any of these games. Enjoy the spa sessions in the sauna and steam room remain as well as other health spots.
Just come, refresh, relax and unwind at the health club. They are open Mondays to Fridays (06:30 – 22:00) and Saturdays to Sundays (07:00 – 20:00)
Address: Leisure Club Lincoln Green Lane, Tewkesbury.
5. Tewkesbury Medieval Festival
Now, here is the biggest Medieval reenactment in Europe, the main event occurring in Tewkesbury during the summer season.
The Tewkesbury Medieval Festival throws us back to the medieval days and past events are recreated.
In mid-July, the Battle of Tewkesbury is recreated for two days, with its location at the same spot as that of 1471. People in their thousands participate in this battle, fighting with swords, bows, and pikes in a haze of gunpowder.
However, there is more to this event. Just like the historical Medieval camp, many of the participants including families spend two complete days living in the 15th century.
You will be entertained by jesters, jugglers, musicians, and dancers while the Medieval Market continues its sale of old-time clothing, cookware, games, musical instruments, and accessories.
In the Beer Tent, there is a sufficient flow of cider and Ales while period arts, crafts, and games for the younger ones take place in the children’s activity tent.
6. Tewkesbury Nature Reserve
This natural space was created in 2018 and it is situated in the southeast of the town. The reserve is on the floodplain of the River Swilgate, a stone’s throw from the town center, and provides a sanctuary for wildlife.
Over 80 bird species can be seen on-site and with more improvement, this wetland is poised to accommodate more.
There are meanders (a good number are humanly carved) with reedbeds, home to reed warblers and otters.
Do well to visit, it’s educational and comely to be in this ecosystem. The signs around will make your experience an interesting one.
7. The Roses
Here is a building from the 1970s, having transformed in 2015 to a modernist building with the inclusion of a coffee shop and a new facade.
The Roses doubles as a cinema and a stage theatre with a presentation of over 5,000 live performances and movies in a year.
The main auditorium has had musicians, books, touring and dance companies, comedians, plays and cultural figures for talks, theatre productions all sat or hosted in it.
This cinema share live screens from the Metropolitan Opera and West End theatres including new independent films, so you have a lot to catch from.
You will be glad to know that the Roses theatre is in full support of the community and shows that through the organization of about 5,000 dance and theatre classes for local children and teenagers every year.
PS: In May 1984, popular Eric Morecambe rendered his last performance at the Roses before collapsing from a cardiac arrest just after the curtain came down.
8. Old Baptist Chapel and Court
Located down Church Street and under the supervision of the John Moore’s (we’ll be seeing more soon), is a synonymous timber-framed building which started only as a common residential property.
However, in the 17th century, this building was transformed into a secret Nonconformist meeting house, before graduating to the public screen.
In the 1970s the Old Baptist Chapel and Court were restored to its supposed look in 1720 with the addition of gallery pastor’s room, baptistery, and vaulted ceilings making the cut.
This unique building was revamped with the inclusion of a recent interpretation sign as part of this fix. You will also see a cemetery from the 17th century. It was here that William Shakespeare-Hart, an afterbear of the popular playwright.
Visiting Old Baptist Chapel and Court is one of the interesting things to do in Tewkesbury and should not be missed!
9. Tewkesbury Heritage and Visitor Centre
The Heritage Centre is a well an impressive half-timbered house and a place to go if you are interested in getting facts or learning about the local history surrounding the rich architectural heritage of Tewkesbury.
You are taken back in time, where the convoluted background of the English Civil War and the Wars of Roses as well as the life pattern of early human inhabitants of this area.
You will have the privilege of being led by a 17th-century resident, Mr. Bartholomew Read when you enter. Also, you can emboss a Medieval coat of arms and even play a game of Medieval top trumps while the kids can try their hands on the helmets and armor.
10. Tewkesbury Town Museum
Now, this is another 17th-century house, the reminiscent setting for the town museum, digging deep into the heterogeneous past and the various aspects of Tewkesbury.
Here, you get to know one out of the few survivors of Captain Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition (1910-1913) and polar explorer, Raymond Priestley.
An addendum is a diorama of the Battle of Tewkesbury produced in 1871 to record its 500th anniversary and a fairground scene in scale model, skillfully put together for about 5 years (in the 1950s) to celebrate the market heritage of this town.
You will also love the maquettes made for the initial designs of the Arrival sculpture.
11. Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is a heritage railway in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. It is operated by volunteering acts and offer a trip of 29 miles. With the world changing rapidly, this railway rolls on the experience of more than 50 years back.
This trip uses a part of the route from Birmingham to Cheltenham which was plied by Great Western Railway’s mainline running through Stratford-upon-Avon.
This railway operates steam and historic diesel trains and you will enjoy spectacular Cotswolds scenery while passing through Broadway and Cheltenham Racecourse.
This line boasts of glorious views of the closeby hamlets and villages and unique imagery of the Malvern Hills and wide.
Address: The Railway Station, Toddington, Gloucestershire.
12. John Moore Museum
The John Moore Museum is a row of beautiful half-timbered houses. These houses -Abbey Cottages- date back to the 1410s and are just near Tewkesbury Abbey.
This museum is inside and was established in remembrance of the well-celebrated author and local naturalist John Moore, whose countryside writings impressed many.
So, to keep the spirit of preservation and conservation, you will find specimens of the birds and mammals which are native to Gloucestershire’s woodland, wetlands, and farmland.
For the kids, you will be excited to know what hedgehog prickles or badger fur feels like and also learn how the moles squeeze through tunnels with the help of their smooth fur.
Don’t miss out on the cool cottage garden growing traditional species as well as the little collection of native agricultural tools.
There’s also a small collection of agricultural tools, and a cozy cottage garden, planted with traditional species.
13. Tewkesbury Art Studios
Tewkesbury Art Studios is one place to visit, it makes one of the best things to do in Tewkesbury for art lovers.
Tewkesbury Art Studios has a mission to creating a physical space (maybe traditional or contemporary) dedicated to visual art.
Jane Clatworthy is the resident artist here, having a gallery and teaching studio on the ground floor and a personal studio upstairs. With over 30 years of experience in the world of art and is willing to share their pool of knowledge.
Their weekend classes (maximum of 6 students) offers you a closer relationship with fellow students and effective one-on-one guidance. But, if you want a taste of the portion, you can attend the 2-3 hour class in the evenings where you are taught through stages.
Develop new skills and implement new ideas here during the creative sessions and workshops hosted by this studio. They are also available for professional advice and mentoring.
Tewkesbury Art Studios is helping out in corporate events and parties rendering a bespoke artistic exhibition. So, take advantage of this while in town.
Address: Station Road Unit 1B, Tewkesbury.
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14. Croft Farm Water Park
The Croft Farm Water Park is situated only a mile in the north of Tewkesbury. Here is an old site for sand quarry and gravel and has its shores providing amazing holiday experience for the community.
There is a water sports center accredited by the Royal Yachting Association, where you can visit during your time in Tewkesbury. They are open not only for residents.
This center offers a whole lot, including tuition for water-related activities like canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, sailing, and windsurfing.
If you are a beginner with no or little foundation on any of these activities, you can sign for a course that teaches you the basic skill, theory, and safety measures.
This makes one of the top things to do in Tewkesbury, do consider for your bucket list.
15. Victoria Pleasure Gardens
Just close to the abbey on the bank of the Avon, you will see a park mapped out in 1897 for Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee.
This park can be seen as memorabilia for celebrations because in 2012 when Queen Elizabeth II wanted to celebrate her diamond jubilee, flowerbeds, decorative urns, a pergola, and three iron arches (put inset) were erected.
Victoria Pleasure Gardens majorly has a layout of the Victorian style, though the railings, a commemorative cannon, and bandstand were all taken off as scrap in the Second World War.
This makes what to do in Tewkesbury for some outdoor time, do consider for your Tewkesbury bucket list.
16. Merchant’s House
Moving down Church Street is one other building placed under the watch of the John Moore Museum.
Like the John Moore’s Museum, this is an astonishing half-timbered house that is restored and properly equipped to bring that the arrangement of the 15th century.
From the foot doors, you are led into a merchant’s shop which then takes a hall. In this hall, you will note two things: an open fireplace (very usually then) and a staircase which unfurls to a bedroom having a four-poster bed.
Behind is a Medieval kitchen containing the typical ingredients and utensils used in preparing home dishes at the time.
Visiting the Merchant’s House is lovelier with the availability of staff, dressed in Tudor attire and willing to give answers to queries of how the Tewkesbury’s home life was in the 15th-century.
17. The Battle Trail
Do you know about the Wars of the Roses? Well, on May 4, 1471, one of the conclusive battles took place in fields south of Tewkesbury. This resulted in a Yorkist victory, leading to 12 years of balance and calm until 1483 when Edward IV died.
Interestingly, Tewkesbury Battlefield is situated in the back garden of the town and most of the time it remains untampered with even at the time the battle was recorded.
The Bloody Meadow just beside the Coinbrook is highlighted because this was the horrific final destruction of the Lancastrian Army when they tried to escape across the Severn.
At the tourist information center, you get a Battle Trail leaflet which will guide you through trails leading to key sites. You can get the complete story by joining the Tewkesbury Battlefield Society for their monthly guided tour.
18. The Arrivall
In 2012, a pair of sculptures were erected at the Stonehill roundabout, in commemoration of some events.
They are timber horses placed on each side of the road to welcome you as you come into Tewkesbury through A38.
One mounted represents the victory of the Yorkist army and the other (without a riser) represents the defeated Lancastrian forces led by Henry VI, who died (or most probably murdered after a fortnight of the battle) at the Tower of London.
Every part of these figures/sculptures is symbolic. Yes, even down to the green oak timber, chosen to symbolize the numerous timber-framed houses in Tewkesbury.
19. The Severn Ham
This is a massive island lying between the Avon and Severn, just some hundred meters from the town center. You should go over in the summer it’s a bit hard to deal with because the floods affecting the meadow for months.
This place has a special feeling, like you are a fresh agent in an unbounded countryside. You can also capture a cool view as far as the Romanesque tower of the Abbey, with the characteristic half-timbered houses at the foreground and the Abbey Mill delightful constituent.
In the summer, the wildflowers create a color sprinkle. Examples are the meadow bitter cup and lady’s smock all doing well in the alluvium of River Severn.
You will be excited by this natural view in its entirety. Do add it to your checklist.
20. Tewkesbury Town Tour
What about getting a view of the best heritage townscapes in the UK. It’s a worthy experience and you can begin by picking a guide leaflet from the Tewkesbury Heritage and Visitor Centre or simply downloading a labeled map.
Starting from the junction of Church Street and that of High Street, you’ll see the unique Cross House. This house is traced to the 15th century and is believed to be a courthouse for the Lords of Tewkesbury.
Also on the High Street, do well to note the Olde Black Bear dating to 1308. Though it is shut down in the meantime, it is probably the oldest pub in the entire Gloucestershire.
Still on High Street is a dangerously cantilevered Golden Key House from the 16th century, with its top floor (fixed in 1610) can be seen leaning over the street.
There is a lot to see on this tour, like the Ancient Grudge (1471), The Old Wheatsheaf Inn (1500), Town Hall (1788), the Abbey Mill, and the Tudor House Hotel (c. 16th cent.).
21. Tewkesbury Abbey
Tewkesbury Abbey used to be an abounding Benedictine Abbey church which survived the scourge following the Dissolution of Monasteries. It was spared because the people of Tewkesbury tagged it their parish church.
We can say a very big “thank you” to that act as the best Norman architecture in the country is preserved here.
One of them is the crossing tower, regarded by the majority as the largest Romanesque structure (amongst its kind) in Europe. The house have has eight bays which also gains support from the gigantic pillars.
You will also observe in the southwest face, the tall Romanesque circular archivolts which are very unmatched in the UK.
Entering the sanctuary, you will see the brass plate fixed on the floor. It is at the center and marks the grave of Prince of Wales (son of Henry VI), the Edward of Westminster. He died in the Battle of Tewkesbury at only 17 years and till now is the only Prince of Wales (heir apparent) to be killed in battle.
Do well to visit this abbey while in Tewkesbury, it makes one of the top things to do in Tewkesbury.
SimAir737 formerly known as Virtual Aerospace Gloucester, provides the opportunity for you to experience the thrill of flying the big jets. Though it is located in Gloucester, a nearby town, it is one of the fun things to do in Tewkesbury.
SimAir737 is the biggest flight simulator company in the world with branches in Gloucestershire, Burgess Hill, Northamptonshire, Manchester, West Sussex, and Gatwick. The first launch into the virtual skies was in December 2010.
This company is the first choice for both professional flight training and individual flight experiences. Before now, no company has provided the public so much access to flight training facilities.
So here, you have the complete experience from checking in to landing to the operational methods of an airline. While on you fly, you will be talked to on how the flight deck work in synergy with the Cabin crew.
Do well to book and gain knowledge of what happens behind the scene. Time is 10am – 7pm daily.
Address: Aviation House, Hangar SE2A Gloucestershire Airport, Cheltenham.
23. The Escape Spa
The Escape Spa offers you an opportunity to quench aches of the mind & body and also relieve tension through the individualistic massage and spa services.
There are diverse types of massage offered amongst which are Deep Tissue Massage, Therapeutic Swedish massage, and Relaxation massage. All these aids in bringing relaxation and restoration into reality.
Enjoy the wonderful full service on the menu of this Day Spa & Salon. Additional spa services can be added to your message or appointment packages, just place the demand!
Escape Spa makes what to do in Tewkesbury for a restoration, relaxation, and rejuvenation time.
Address: Puckrup Hilton Puckrup Hall Hotel, Tewkesbury.
Plan a Trip to Tewkesbury
Tewkesbury is a famous town in Gloucestershire with historic areas to visit. Known as being a half-timbered town, where most of these houses are symbolic of historic events of the past.
The museums, parks, health and fitness centers, galleries and art centers, gardens, shops, orchestra, and unique events rolled out during the year all make here a place fitting for a visit.
Start to make plans ahead of your next vacation, pin this piece to have a hands-on guide through Tewkesbury.
Enjoy your trip!