What’s it about?
FOUNDED by the Romans in the first century AD, and still retaining ruins from its time as Glevum, Gloucester’s pretty historical.
Though St Oswald’s Priory, dating to the 890s, is of less interest to most visitors than the inside of the cathedral, built in the 14th century and filmed in the 20th as various parts of Hogwarts. Yeah. It’s one of those unfortunate Harry Potter places.
Around the cathedral there are pretty cobbled streets and the shopfront that inspired Beatrix Potter to write The Tailor of Gloucester, and that’s where the picturesque tweeness abruptly ends and the charity shops, vape shops and branches of Greggs begin.
With the highest crime rate in the county, coming 20th in a review of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in England and Wales – and that’s post-Fred West – it’s no wonder Harry needed a patronus.
Any good points?
The aforementioned cathedral is spectacular, even if you aren’t a fan of JK Rowling’s overprivileged teenage magic pricks, and the Victorian warehouses at the docks retain old-fashioned charm.
On the outskirts of town is the incredibly diverse Barton Street where 70 different languages are spoken, which is either an excellent place to go food shopping or a den of crime and inequity, depending on how racist you are. Many locals would happily tick ‘very’.
No. The city sits on a flood-plain on the eastern side of the River Severn, so the landscape is as flat as a pissed-on pancake, though if you really squint you might be able to see the Malverns in the distance past the soulless housing estates and retail parks. No wonder everyone’s so obsessed with the cathedral.
Hang out at…
Gloucester Quays, as the docks have been rebranded, has a few decent restaurants, and hosts foodie events and a tall ships festival. These allow you to feel you’re somewhere metropolitan and interesting rather than the arse-end of the West Country.
Teenagers have the option of multiple rundown shopping centres to terrorise, including the Eastgate Market which hasn’t been updated since 1982 and is disturbingly redolent of fish, raw meat and toffee.
There are plenty of pubs where you’ll get called a pussy for ordering a half, but the safest bet is the Wetherspoons, which has retained the facade and name of the old Regal cinema while everything else around it has been developed into a generic architectural shithole.
Avoid Eastgate Street. It tends to get fighty.
Where to buy?
If you don’t mind being woken up by pissed-up shouting rugby louts every weekend, you can snap up a two-bed flat right in the city centre for a measly £73k. However, if you’ve got more money to spend, it’s worth looking somewhere a bit further out. Like Cheltenham.
From the streets:
Jack Browne, aged 16: “The Cathedral cloisters are so quiet and tranquil. The perfect spot for a weed deal.”
Lucy Parry, aged 23: “I can’t believe this is where Harry Potter went to school! It’s a shithole!”