Places we’ve been

Gloucester Cathedral – without a doubt, the best place for educational history trips in Gloucester!  So far we have been on 2 educational sessions there, the first was to link with a project our home ed group was doing on ‘the senses’, and the second was a tudor trail.  Both were fantastic and memorable.  In fact I would say that everyone living in Gloucester should book themselves on a session as we learned so much about the history of Gloucester.

Gloucester City Museum – currently closed for a huge refurbishment, and will now cost to get in 😦 £20 a year for families to access this and the folk museum.  Pre-refurb this museum was fairly disappointing. We’ve been to 2 educational sessions here, ‘dinosours’ and ‘second world war’.  Both were disappointing, in that they were very uninspiring, and there was no attempt to find out what the children actually knew before imparting knowledge, so mostly we didn’t find out anything we didn’t already know!

Gloucester Folk Museum – again there is now a charge for entry, combined with the City Museum.  We like pottering around the museum, there is a good variety of things to look at, but there is very little to interact with. My children have always loved the games room with wendy house and puppet theatre.  My daughter found the anderson shelter in the garden really interesting when we were looking at second world war.

Chedworth Roman Villa – This is a National Trust property between Cheltenham and Cirencester.  It is in the middle of an expansion to restore and display their mosaics. We found the trip was a good way of prompting questions into the Roman way of life.  The bath houses, Roman snails, pottery, toilets, gods, mosaics etc were all covered and explained throughout the villa. There was also plenty of space for picnics.

Great Witcombe Roman villa – this is a small, open (free!)English Heritage site, which is a good starting point for Roman discussions.  There are some Roman ruins, and a small building protecting the bath house, with windows you can peer through.  The journey to the villa is also interesting as Ermin Street in Brockworth is the original Roman road from Gloucester (Glevum) to Cirencester (Corinium), which leads onto the A417, that follows the route of the original Ermin Street.

Sudeley Castle – I can recommend the exhibition at Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, on Henry VIII and his six wives.  It is also where Katherine Parr lived with her 2nd husband after Henry died, and where she later died.  The castle also boasts beautiful gardens to walk around, with exotic birds.  There is also a fantastic adventure playground for kids to explore. It is quite expensive considering the actual castle isn’t open to visitors, but we found a 50% off voucher online.

Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum – this has just closed for a huge refurbishment and will open end of 2012. Has some interesting collections and good facilities for children.

Heritage Open Days – this is now an annual event, which will be on September 2011. Many local places of interest are free to access, put on special events and many more places are opened specially for the occasion that are usually closed to the public. An excellent opportunity to access some really interesting places.

Places we want to try

Dean Heritage Centre

Corinium Museum

Cirencester amphitheatre

Roman Baths

Local Resources

Gloucester City Museum and Folk Museum – contact them for access to the Eastgate Roman site under Boots, to borrow loan boxes of resources for Second World War, Tudors Romans etc.

Library Services for Education – you can order a box of books on a particular subject from the LSE, which will then be delivered to your local library.  We ordered one on the Second World War, and received a crate of books including a dvd on the subject. We kept it for about 3 months before returning. This was really useful.

Contact: Susan Staniforth (Westwood)

Library Services for Education
Gloucestershire County Council
Quayside House, Shire Hall, Gloucester GL1 2HY
Tel: 01452 427247

Gloucestershire Archaeology Service – do tours of the Eastgate Roman site, and also a Roman Gloucester guided tour.


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