The Bloody meadow at Tewkesbury witnessed the gruesome end to the Lancastrian army on the 4th May 1471. The slaughter on the banks of the Swilgate as the fleeing army tried to escape across the River Severn, gave the meadow its name. While not the end of the conflict, this decisive victory in the Wars of the Roses heralded 14 years of peace for England under Edward the IV rule.
Tewkesbury today is a Cotswolds town located just off the Junction 9 of the M5. Nestled between the banks of the mighty River Severn, and the Warwickshire Avon the town has over 350 buildings listed as being of special historical or scientific interest.
A good start to your visit is the Tewkesbury Heritage Centre. Here you can find a wealth of information of things to do and see during your visit. If you are interested in history, a battle trail map is available which will take you on a tour of the key points of the battle. For a deeper insight, Tewkesbury Battlefield Society holds monthly guided walks (first Sunday of the month in winter). The walk starts at 2 pm from Gander Lane short stay car park and may vary dependant on any river conditions.
We visited the John Moore Museum located close to the Abbey. Housed in a period building the museum provides a fascinating look at the natural history of the area. Featuring stuffed examples of mammals and Birds where you can gain an appreciation of the size of animals in relation to each other which is not always to relate to from books.
The museum has a sensory display which enables you to touch the exhibits. Compare the soft moles fur designed for a life in tunnels and compare it to the prickly defence of the hedgehog and discover information about their habitat.
The museum has a wealth of information on habitat collected over years of observation and show a real love of nature. All the specimens of mammals and birds have died from natural causes or misadventure and donated by the public.
A new attraction is the merchants house, located in a unique row of 15th-century buildings it is one of the jewels in Tewkesbury’s crown. The house has shutters that open onto the street providing a shop front for the goods and wares of the Merchant.was
An audio tour takes you round the dwelling and provides an interesting insight into how a merchant family in the 15th century would have lived and worked in Tewkesbury.
Tewkesbury Abbey dates back to 1087, however, the present building was erected in 1102 to house Benedictine Monks. The Norman abbey is said to be one of the finest examples in England dates to its consecration in 1121.
Tewkesbury Abbey is renowned for its fine stained glass and is well worth a tour. Too fully appreciate the Abbey take a walk across the river Swilegate into Vineyard fields. This area is protected from development and provides a fine view of the Abbey sitting on top of the hill on the Southern edge of the Town.
If you like a long walk, then make your way across the river Avon at Tewkesbury Mill, turn left and take a circular walk around the Severn Ham. Taking time to have a look at the weir across the Severn you arrive back at the upper end of Town where you can have a well-deserved break in one of the coffee shops or Traditional Pubs. Café’ of Chocolate is an independent coffee shop which specialises in homemade chocolates.
Tewksbury lies on the edge of the Cotswolds and provides a good base to explore the area, we stayed at Tewksbury Abbey Caravan and Motorhome Club site which has recently been completely refurbished.
Cheltenham lies 15 mins away and provides a wealth of shopping, bars and restaurants. The Building provide a fine example of Regency buildings, including the Pittville Pump Room, a remnant of Cheltenham’s past as a spa town. The Promenade provides a lovely walk with parks and gardens and on a sunny day a great place to have a picnic.
Renowned for the Cheltenham festival 4 days of horseracing which is popular each year. Probably best known for the Cheltenham Gold Cup it may be best avoided if not a horse racing fan.
However, the race course itself provides an alternative base for motorhomes and caravans looking to explore the Cotswolds. The site can be booked through the Caravan and Motorhome Club website for members.
Cheltenham also host a Jazz festival 1st to the 6th of May with well know acts and up and coming artists featured over the 6 days. The Festival is hosted in the hosted in Cheltenham’s Montpellier Gardens and tickets can be obtained from the website http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/jazz