As my train pulled in to Gloucester train station, I quickly began to regret choosing to meet my Grandma here. I looked out of the windows to a disheveled station in a grim location – the wonderful sunshine didn’t even seen to make much of a difference.
I had chosen Gloucester as I was keen to visit the cathedral. I had visited when younger however I must have been far too engrossed by the fact that Harry Potter was filmed there to really take any notice of the cathedral itself. As we strolled closer to the Cathedral we passed less pound shops and an increasing amount of Georgian townhouses. Grandma knew the way and we soon popped out through some winding streets onto the green surrounding the Cathedral. There was a lovely, summery, calm to the place, with groups dotted, lounging around and enjoying the sunshine. The area isn’t commercialised at all which is good as it keeps the area pretty tourist free, however it would be a lovely spot for a few cafes so that you could sit and enjoy the view with a cup of tea!
I got a snazzy new camera from my parents for my birthday and I had been eager to try it out. Gloucester was its first real test drive and I was very pleasantly surprised at how it coped. I especially had wanted to see if it managed to take a good photo of stained glass as I have always struggled with that.
The nave of the cathedral is cavernous and Romanesque in its design. This was the core of the 11th/12th century abbey. Moving through the Cathedral into the Transcepts and Quire the architectural change to Perpendicular Gothic is clear. This change was a result of Edward III wanting to glorify the Cathedral on behalf of his late father King Edward II (the one with the unfortunate rumours about his murder from a hot poker up his bottom).
Asides from the burial of Edward II, Gloucester is also known as the coronation site of Henry III. As a fan of Henry III, this made me excited, but for anyone else the only reason you would know of any connection is by learning of a stained glass window (although Victorian) depicting the coronation.
Now the pièce de résistance at Gloucester is certainly its cloisters. They boast the most exquisite vaulting and it is thought that the popular English trend of fan-vaulting began here.
It was also here that I remembered from when I had visited last, as these cloisters had often been used as hallways in the Harry Potter film franchise. (Picture from Google)
The cathedral is free and I paid £3 for a photography pass which I was more than happy to donate, considering I had expected to pay a much higher entrance fee. There were occasional tours (also free) that ran, but I’m not a fan of big tour groups, so we decided not to go on it. However in retrospect it probably would have been better to have gone along so we would have had a better understanding of what we were looking at.
I went to Gloucester to see my Grandma, so if you were just visiting purely for the city then I guess there wouldn’t be that much to do. But if you find yourself in the area, I would certainly recommend having a look around the Cathedral.