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Six things you might not know about Gloucester

21/12/2016 Mark Tourism

You may think that Gloucester is nothing more than a quaint little city in the South West of England, but you would be dead wrong. The city may be small, but it is infinitely more interesting than one might expect.

Read on for some of the most interesting facts we have been able to find about the city of Gloucester:

1. Retired Roman soldiers once resided there

Gloucester is one of many British towns that was founded by the Romans. Eventually, it became something of a retirement area for legionaries, known as a colonia. The retired soldiers set up farms in the area, where they lived out their days.

If you embark on a hot air ballooning experience in Gloucester, you may be able to spot some evidence of past Roman occupation.

2. They roll cheese there

One of the most bizarre British traditions takes place in Gloucester. The annual cheese rolling event, which is held in the city’s Spring Bank is an unusual event, that sees a whole wheel of Double Gloucester rolled from the top of a hill. The gathered crowds then proceed to chase it to the bottom, but because it rolls at speeds of 70 mph and the hill is bumpy and uneven, there isn’t a year goes by when some participants don’t sustain a few bruises.

3. William the Conqueror got inspiration for the Domesday Book there

Following his victory at the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror had some difficulty getting his kingdom under control. England was divided, with various individuals owning different parcels of land. Many of them would not recognise William, going so far as to start a rebellion against the Monarch.

While spending the festive season of 1085 in Gloucester, he came to the conclusion that he needed to conduct a survey into the state of the country, thus the Domesday Book was born.

4. Britain’s biggest stained glass window can be found there

Gloucester Cathedral, which is particularly impressive when viewed as part of a hot air ballooning experience in Gloucester, is home to the largest stained glass window in Britain.

Standing 22 metres by 12 metres, it measures the same as a tennis court, and was at one time the largest stained glass window in the world. Installed in the mid-14th century, most of its original glass remains intact.

5. It’s home to the ice cream industry

In Gloucester, you can find one of the biggest ice cream factories in Europe. The factory, which has been in the city since 1959, manufactures some of our favourite ice creams, including Calippos and Magnums. Sadly, it is no longer open to the public, who used to purchase cheap ice creams there.

6. It’s home to England’s first toast bar

Lovers of the humble slice of toast will be delighted to know that Gloucester has a bar that serves up nothing but the golden-brown stuff. Appropriately called Toast, the bar offers a range of delicious toasties including the ever-popular Fiery Welsh Dragon, which consists of Cheddar leeks and tobacco. For the sweet toothed, you can even buy a Mars Bar toastie, but it’s not for the faint-hearted!

So, there you have it – Gloucester is a lot less unassuming that you may have thought!

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