Updated January 2023
Stroud is a small town in the Cotswolds and ideal as a base to explore the surrounding area of the Cotswolds.
Getting to Stroud in Gloucestershire
The train from London Paddington is a 1.5-hour journey to Stroud, giving you plenty of time to enjoy one of the best Farmer’s Markets in England.
And if you are feeling a little nostalgic, you will arrive on one of the Great Western Railway carriages.
Try to book your train ticket in advance at Loco2 for the cheaper ticket price.
Otherwise, grab a rental car.
Stroud Saturday Markets
Farmers Market and Shambles Market are one of the biggest and busiest markets in Gloucestershire, every Saturday in Stroud.
The array of stalls of food, produce and artisan crafts is amazing.
The atmosphere was enjoyable, with buskers and shoppers food tasting or having a drink at a local café in the brilliant sunshine.
We loved the Stroud market for our favourite fresh produce and bread from the Italian baker. The bread may not be as good as the Frenchman in the next stall, but he is more handsome, in Maura’s opinion.
Wander through Beautiful Stroud Town
While you are at the market, take a wander through the township of Stroud.
The charming narrow streets and stone buildings create a lovely old English shopping area.
A visit to St Lawrence’s Church and the gravestone of Lieutenant J Delmont, the last man in England to have been killed in a duel.
Away from the old town, you can walk down to the canal.
Stroud Canal is part of the system running from the Severn River to the Thames. Sections of the canal are able to be walked, while funding is still required for the repair and reconstruction of other sections.
Try a Winstones Ice-Cream
Near Rodborough Fort is the small shed where you can buy a scoop of the local ice cream made by Winstones.
While the ice cream factory was nothing to look at (out in the middle of nowhere), it is very popular, with the locals coming in carloads to enjoy their ice- cream in the afternoon sun.
Places to See Around Stroud
Woodchester Roman Villa
Woodchester was once the site of a Roman villa, one of many Roman villas discovered in Gloucestershire. The villa was occupied between the early 2nd and late 4th centuries AD, although there is nothing visible of the villa above ground.
So what makes the villa famous?
It is the Orpheus mosaic, the second largest of its kind in Europe, which dates to AD 325 and was re-discovered in 1793.
But to see the mosaic is a special event. It has been uncovered seven times since 1880, the last time in 1973, but there are no plans to reveal it again.
The mosaic depicts Orpheus charming all forms of life with his lyre and has been praised for its accuracy and beauty.
Rodborough Fort in Stroud
The Rodborough Fort on the hill in Stroud can be visited while you enjoy a Winstones Cotswold ice cream.
The large common of meandering cows and other walkers to the Rodborough Fort has great views across the valley and the surrounding area.
Day Trip into Wales
Today we planned a circular trip to the International Centre for Birds of Prey at Newent, views of River Wye Valley from Symonds Yat Rock, and Chepstow Castle in Wales.
Our road trip would take us 30km northwest past Gloucester to Newent, then 26km south to Symonds Yat and then 28km south into Wales to Chepstow. Leaving us 53km back across the River Severn to Stroud.
With the homeowner’s Dad offering to walk the dogs, we headed away at 9.30 am.
Gold Letterbox in Newent
The road trip took us past the small village of Lassington with its St Oswald’s Church tower built in 1095.
And Newent had a beautiful old market building where stalls were set up in the space under the building.
But it was a gold-painted letterbox which caught our eye.
To celebrate local equestrian Charlotte Dujardin winning gold at the Olympics, the town has the red post box in gold. This is one of only 100 dedicated to gold medal-winning athletes in the UK.
The International Centre for Birds of Prey
Only a few kilometres from Newent, the International Centre for Birds of Prey (ICBP) is a working aviary for conserving education, captive breeding, research, and rehabilitation.
Its collection of over 60 species of owls, eagles, and hawks is impressive.
Check their website for opening times and entry prices ⇒ ICBP
Your entry ticket lets you view the various birds of prey in their cages, like the large variety of vultures. But it is the 45-minute flying demonstration which is the most spectacular.
Watching eagles, hawks and owls showing their speed, manoeuvrability, and predatory skills is amazing.
It was thrilling to have the birds flying at speed just over our heads. The handlers have trained the birds to take treats of raw meat from the hand, but only after doing well.
The trip to Symonds Yat took us through some winding stone wall-lined roads and narrow lanes. Oncoming vehicles on blind corners were a little scary.
Symonds Yat at lunchtime is particularly busy as many people come here for the riverside bars and restaurants.
We managed to get a table outside with a view down the river. And after a nice pint of cider and a meal, we were ready to climb up to Symonds Yat Rock. From here, you have a viewpoint to see both east and west along the river valley.
Partway up the climb is a fallen tree where walkers have hammered a coin in dedication to their climb. Terry added 10p to the hundreds of other coins previously banged in.
And once at the top, the scenery was spectacular. The area is known as the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and it does live up to its name.
Chepstow Castle in Wales
We crossed the bridge from England into Wales at Chepstow and were greeted by the impressive Chepstow Castle.
Chepstow was the first castle built after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The building of the castle started in 1067 and continued through to 1300. What remains of the castle is mostly intact for you to wander through.
Within the walls of the castle, several sections were impenetrable with its thick walls and a steep cliff rising up from the river. Or maybe it was the resident dragon.
We returned to England via a different bridge, the impressive 1.6km Severn Bridge crossing the Severn River.
And when you cross from Wales back into England, there is no toll to pay.
Travelling from Gloucestershire to Wales and back again was a great day trip from the town of Stroud.
To Wrap Up
To discover more beautiful places in England, Gloucestershire is one of the best places to start.
And it’s one of the reasons we love housesitting, especially when homeowners tell you of great local places to visit.
Here’s a 25% discount for a popular house-sitting website, Trusted Housesitters.