Tewkesbury is a small town in North Gloucestershire, approximately 11 miles north of the city of Gloucester. It is renowned for its medieval streetscape and large number of timber framed buildings.
Tewkesbury is easily accessible from the M50, M5 and the A38, which is the main trunk road through the town. Visitors from South Wales should use the M50, and get off at Junction 1, following the A38 into Tewkesbury. Visitors from the North or South should use the M5 motorway and leave at Junction 9. Tewkesbury is approximately 2 miles west of the junction and is well signposted from here.
Tewkesbury is served by the 'Ashchurch for Tewkesbury' railway station, which is approximately 2 miles to the east of the town centre. The number 41 and 42 bus service (see link below - use Northway, Steward Rd as a GUIDE to times.) provides a regular service between Ashchurch for Tewkesbury station and Tewkesbury town centre. The bus stop is located less than 200 metres from the station on Northway Lane.
Buses serve Tewkesbury from many neighbouring towns and cities. There are regular services from Gloucester and Cheltenham and occasional services from Worcester. Bus services also link Tewkesbury with Ledbury, Pershore, Evesham, Upton upon Severn and Hereford. Tewkesbury Bus Timetables
Tewkesbury is located at the confluence of the River Severn and the River Avon (Shakespeare's Avon), both of which are navigable. Overnight moorings are available at Tewkesbury marina and along the banks of the Avon in the town at a cost of £3 per night.
Tewkesbury is a fairly small town and very flat, and is therefore best explored on foot. There are many cycle routes throughout the town, but no bicycle hire.
Tewkesbury Abbey a truly beautiful building that can hold up its head in the same county as the fabulous Gloucester Cathedral. The Abbey boasts the largest Norman church tower in existence measuring 14 metres square and 45 metres high. The Abbey was originally walled and surrounded by monasterial buildings such as the cloisters, chapter house, library, dormitories, stables, kitchens and many more.
Abbey Mill believed to stand on 12th century foundations but it's likely there was a mill there much earlier. It has now been converted to apartments. The fictional "Abel Fletcher's Mill" in Dinah Craik's novel "John Halifax, Gentleman" is based on this mill and the fictional town of "Norton Bury" is based on Tewkesbury.
Streetscape and Architecture The mediaeval street plan with its many alleyways, courtyards and small sidestreets is virtually unchanged from its original layout and a high proportion of fine half timbered buildings still remain. Abbey terrace in Church Street is of particular note. The town is built around three main streets High Street, Barton Street and Church Street. The other roads such as Oldbury Road and East street are of lesser interest to the visitor interested in the architecture of the town having been created and built on only after the enclosure of the common land know as the Oldbury after 1860.
The Severn Ham An island to the west of the town created by the merging of the River Avon, Mill Avon and the River Severn. Best approached via Abbey Mill to appreciate some stunning medeival buildings. Walk along the Ham northwards towards the now disused Borough Mills (Healing Mills). Cross the Mill Avon via the footbridge to the town side of the Mill avon. Continue northwards appreciating the rear of the buildings. Cross the Avon Mill again at the mill. Note there are two bridges here, the flat one was for the railway. Continue northwards again, crossing the lock and finally to King Johns Bridge. This bridge was known until the nineteenth century as the long bridge. The causeway to the left as you climb the steps was originally marshy ground where the Avon flowed towards the Severn. Previously this was a simple wooden causeway. The stone bridge itself although retaining a mediaeval appearance has been much modified in recent centuries. when first built is was probably only as wide as the pavement is now.
Mill Avon is a man made cut to supply the mills with water power. it isn't known when this cut was dug though it was certainly there before the Monastery so could be a Saxon or even Roman.
The Black Bear reputed to be the oldest pub in Gloucestershire parts of it dating back to 1308. A good place to stop to eat and drink. The restaurant area was originally the stables. Of particular note is the ceiling in the front room on the street corner. This ceiling is supposed to have been made in leather by italian craft workers staying in the town.
Tudor House Hotel Another good place to stop to drink and eat. The outside appearance is rather strange, the timberwork seeming to have little structural use and is in fact timber cladding added in the 1890s. Underneath though is a sixteenth century building. The door into the secret garden still retains the axemarks where soldiers tried to break in during the civil wars. There is a priest's hole in the Mayors Parlour.
Look up As you walk along the main streets look up especially at the building rooves. Often the frontage is of a very different age to the roof indcating that the building was refronted to the latest fashion.
Join one of the guided tours to get the most out of your visit to Tewkesbury. Details available from the tourist Office, Tewkesbury Museum and most hotels.
Bloody Meadow Follow the battle trail from the town to the location of the Battle of Tewkesbury during the War of The Roses in 1471. A map and guide to the battle is available from the Tewkesbury Tourist Information Centre.
The Severn Way The longest riverside walk in the UK passes through Tewkesbury. Following the Severn Way as far as Deerhurst is a very pleasant riverside walk and you will be rewarded with the 10th century St Mary's Priory Church and 11th century Odda's Chapel. Allow 2-3 hours for a round trip.
Alley Walk A fascinating walk along the remaining alleyways of Tewkesbury. A map of the alley trail is available from the Tourist Information Centre.
Tewkesbury Town walk understand Tewkesbury's location and the importance of it to Tewkesbury's development. Learn how the changes to transport and industry shaped the changes to the town. Includes an understanding of why the alleys came to be built and what it was like to live in them and finally why many of the alley cottages were pulled down in the 1960s. www.tewkesburywalks.com
Gloucestershire Way This walk encompasses the best of the county of Gloucestershire. Starting in Chepstow, it follows a route through the Forest of Dean, Mayhill, Gloucester and the Cotswolds, ending in Tewkesbury.
Tewkesbury Medieval Festival Said to be Europes largest battle re-enactment and fair, the Medieval festival re creates the famous battle of Tewkesbury from 1471. Held over 2 days in July.
Tewkesbury Food and Drink Festival Lots of local produce, cooking demonstrations and a craft tent. Held adjacent to the Abbey in the Vineyards in May.
Tewkesbury Water Festival Celebrating Tewkesbury's rivers with a procession of boats and fireworks.
Tewkesbury Mop Fair Originally held to help the local population find work and thought to date back as far as the 12th century, the mop fair is now a modern street fair with carnival rides and street performers. Held every October.
Tewkesbury has a varied high street with a good mix of independent local shops and well know high street chains. A market is also held in the Spring Gardens car park (just off Oldbury Road) every Wednesday and Saturday.
Gupshill Manor, Gloucester Road, 01684 292278 . M-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su Noon-10:30PM. Wonderful food in one of the older buildings in Tewkesbury. £10-15.
My Great Grandfathers, 84-85 Church Street, 01684 292687. Traditional english restaurant.
Owens Restaurant, 73 Church Street, 01684 292703. Friendly restaurant using the finest local produce.
Hungry Horse (The Wheatpieces), 2 Clifford Avenue, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire GL20 7RW. Good selection of food and drink.
Ye Olde Black Bear Inn, 68 High Street. Gloucestershire's oldest pub. Situated at the north end of the high street, with a riversire beer garden.
The Royal Hop Pole, 94 Church Street. The local J.D Wetherspoons pub, serving food and drink. As mentioned in Charles Dickens' 'The Pickwick Papers'.
Hilton Puckrup Hall, Puckrup (on the A38 north of town, south of the M50), 44-01684-296200, . Set on a golf course a couple of miles north of Tewkesbury proper. £99-200.