Despite its glorious Norman cathedral and glimmer of medieval character, workaday Gloucester (glos-ter) is forever destined to live in the shadow of its more glamorous neighbour. Yet unlike glitzy Cheltenham, it’s a refreshingly unpretentious place and between the modern architectural blunders and steak-and-kidney-pie cafés, the city is beginning to transform its fortunes, redeveloping its historic docks into trendy apartments and heaving itself out of financial decline.
Gloucester began life as a Roman settlement for retired soldiers, built its wealth on profits from river trade and its reputation during a period of medieval piety. For a while the good times rolled but as trade shifted to Bristol the city fell into serious decline. In modern times Gloucester prospered on the back of heavy industry and is only today beginning to heal the scars left from this time.