- Credit: Archant
The booming city of Gloucester is planning a fascinating programme of events for 2013
Gloucester. Gloucester of literature and of legend. Of Beatrix Potter, Dick Whittington and Doctor Foster. Where the ghost of Queen Mary still watches the long burned away pyre of Bishop Hooper. Where Britain’s first jet engine was born, the first singer of the Rolling Stones choked on a chip and from whence glorious, brave sons, ‘by their deeds they are known’, carried more battle honours and regimental colours than any other British line regiment.
The ancient city and the medieval city still exist amongst the Georgian, Victorian and the new. Gloucester is truly a multi-faceted jewel, a smorgasbord of culture, heritage, and vitality. From old Rome to the future yet unwritten – Glevum, Gloster, Gloucester!
The regeneration of Gloucester
Over the past few years, the council, investors and leading companies in Gloucester have been focusing on the regeneration of this wonderful city.
Gloucester has world-class heritage, having stood at the crossroads of British history for over 2,000 years. The city maintains over 500 listed buildings; the mighty Gloucester Cathedral is a stunning piece of architecture that has dominated the skyline for more than 900 years, and the glorious Victorian Docks are England’s most inland port.
Gloucester also has a lot to be proud of as a thriving 21st century city – high-quality education, a diverse and multicultural population, a successful Premiership rugby team, a colourful and varied events calendar and unique, locally-produced food that is sold worldwide.
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In 2012 the BiG (Believe in Gloucester) campaign was launched which celebrated all things that were great in Gloucester – past and present. The aim of BiG is to gather together businesses and individuals in promoting the unique aspects of Gloucester and to support investment in the city.
The launch of this campaign was followed by a summer of events – many hosted at Gloucester Quays, such as the Food Festival and Home and Garden Party – that bought Gloucester to life for the local community as well as attract tourists from miles away.
The regeneration of Gloucester’s Docks started in 2009 when the Peel Group showed their commitment to Gloucester by opening the first phase of Gloucester Quays Shopping Outlet (www.gloucesterquays.co.uk). This investment started breathing new life into the Gloucester Docks area.
Whilst developing the shopping outlet, the heritage of the Quays was preserved and enhanced with the addition of contemporary new buildings and beautiful public art and walkways. By bringing a new shopping audience to the City, Gloucester Quays also helped increase the use of surrounding attractions, including the Waterways Museum and Antiques Centre, and a string of cosmopolitan coffee shops and eateries began to thrive along the waterside.
Move forward four years to 2013, Gloucester Quays already boasts well-known high-street retailers such as Marks & Spencer, Gap Outlet, Next and White Stuff, alongside designer stores including Osprey London, Calvin Klein and Paul Costelloe. The centre also has a number of restaurants, including Pizza Express and Nandos. It has already provided the local community with hundreds of new jobs.
Gloucester Quays is fast becoming recognised for its events which annually attract crowds of up to 450,000 people. These events include the Home & Garden Party, which takes place over the Easter weekend; a summer Food Festival and of course the glorious Victorian Christmas Market & Festive Fayre. This year Gloucester Docks and the Quays also play host to the two-yearly Tall Ships Festival (www.thecityof gloucester.co.uk/tallships), taking place in May.
The centre has recently been nominated for ‘The Friendliest UK Shopping Centre’ award at a major tourism and group travel awards ceremony, and hopes to bring the trophy home to add to its already considerable collection of awards and accolades.
In July 2012, work began on Gloucester Quays’ new leisure quarter – ‘The Quayside’. This next phase of the regeneration of the Docks aims to create a destination that families and individuals alike will enjoy during the daytime and evening.
The Gym at The Quayside has already opened its doors to the public and has surpassed its projected membership to over 3,000 customers who are enjoying the amazing water views from the gym floor.
The Quayside’s 11 restaurants, 10-screen cinema and new shops will provide over 500 new jobs for the local community and hopefully influence other investment and regeneration efforts in area. This exciting new leisure offering is due to be open in autumn 2013.
With all this investment and regeneration the leisure, retail and tourist facilities that Gloucester has to offer will just keep growing and growing and with it so will the City’s prosperity and prospects.
Gloucester events 2013
• Centenary of the Gloucestershire Old Spots: until September 28
Gloucester Folk Museum, 99-103 Westgate Street, GL1 2PG, tel: 01452 396868, www.gloucester.gov.uk
• Bringing It All Back Home: April 20-June 8
Exhibition at the City Museum, Brunswick Road, GL1 1HP, tel: 01452 396131, www.gloucester.gov.uk
• CLIC Sargeant Dragon Boat Regatta: Sunday, May 12, 10am-6pm
Featuring funfair, farmers’ market, bands and food stalls with a race taking place every 15 minutes. Gloucester Docks
• Gloucester Tall Ships Festival: May 24-27
Gloucester Docks, www.thecityofgloucester.co.uk/tallships
• Barn on the Farm Music Festival: July 5-7
Over Farm Market, Over, nr Gloucester, GL2 8DB, tel: 01452 521014, www.overfarmmarket.co.uk
• Gloucester Hat Festival: July 12-13
• Rhythm & Blues Festival: July 19-28
Various locations, tel: 01452 207020, www.thecityofgloucester.co.uk
• Food Festival: July 19-21
Gloucester Quays, www.gloucesterquaysfoodfestival.co.uk
• Three Choirs Festival: July 27-August 4
Gloucester Cathedral, www.3choirs.org
• Heritage Open Days: September 12-15
• Festival of Britten: October 19-December 8
Gloucester Cathedral, tel: 01452 528095, www.gloucestercathedral.org.uk