Stroud is a small market town in Gloucestershire that makes a fantastic base for exploring the Cotswolds and other nearby landmarks. However, there are plenty of wonderful things to do in Stroud itself from browsing the farmers’ market to visiting museums, trying out some restaurants, and a lot more besides.
I have friends in Stroud so visit regularly and love exploring the quaint, cobbled streets and independent shops in this hilly town in the heart of the Cotswolds. There are some great pubs around and the Stroud Brewery is one of the top places to visit if you like real ale.
As well as all the interesting places to visit in Stroud, there are some excellent day trips to nearby places of interest. Some of the nearby Cotswold villages include Slad and Castle Combe which are well worth a visit. The cities of Gloucester and Bristol are also just short train journeys away.
Best Things To Do in Stroud
Below, you’ll find a wide variety of places to visit in Stroud from cultural landmarks to food and drink venues, shopping, museums, and more. There’s plenty to keep you occupied in this pleasant Cotswold town and it’s somewhere I come back to time and again to enjoy a long weekend.
1. Browse the Stroud Farmers’ Market
Visiting the Stroud Farmers’ Market is a must on any trip to the town and one of the best things to do in Stroud if you want to get a real feel for a traditional Cotswold market town. The market has won many awards and is considered one of the biggest and best in the whole of the UK.
The market is a heaven for foodies with lots of fresh, local produce from ale, local ciders and cheeses (the Cotswold is famed for both), preserves, and much more. I love wandering around the market and usually end up picking a few goods to take home (which may or may not have a proof percentage).
The market is open every Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm at the Cornhill Market Place (see below for address and directions). Wandering around the lively market is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Stroud.
Address: Cornhill Market Place, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 2HH. Click here for directions.
2. Catch a Band at the Brunel Goods Shed
The Brunel Goods Shed is a unique venue that’s been transformed into an art and live music space in the heart of Stroud. The shed was built by engineer and architect Isambard Kingdom Brunel whole also built the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol.
The shed is run by the SVA (Stroud Valleys Artspace) which also has another branch in town on John Street; just a stone’s throw from the Brunel Goods Shed. Both locations are excellent ways to experience up-and-coming acts as well as local artists and more.
Address: Station Approach, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 3AP. Click here for directions.
3. See the Museum in the Park
If you’re looking for free things to do in Stroud then head along to the interesting Museum in the Park. This local history museum is located inside a gorgeous 17th Century stone house, inside Stratford Park. There’s also an art gallery showcasing paintings and illustrations from local students.
Facilities at the museum include a gift shop, cafe, and the Walled Garden (more on that below). The museum is open daily from 11 am to 4:30 pm and entrance is free. The beautiful Stratford Park is one of my favorite places for a walk and one of the top places to see in Stroud.
Address: Stratford Park, Stratford Road, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 4AF. Click here for directions.
4. Explore The Walled Garden
The Walled Garden is a traditional walled garden that’s split into different sections, joined by a series of interconnecting pathways. Inside you’ll find brightly colored flower beds, a pavilion, apple and pear orchards, a pond, a sun terrace and a meadow, and a kitchen garden.
If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, the Walled Garden is the place to be. This idyllic setting is perfect for reading a book, sitting in quiet contemplation, or attending one of the learning events hosted by the garden (see the website to see what’s currently going on).
Address: Stratford Park, Stratford Road, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 4AF. Click here for directions.
5. Visit Stroud Brewery
The Stroud Brewery is one of my favorite places to visit in Stroud and is somewhere friends and I usually end up on a Friday or Saturday night. There’s a large taproom here, indoor and outside seating (under a marquee), and an excellent selection of local food served too.
The brewery has an extensive list of beers and ciders with both draught and bottles available. There’s a huge selection of food available from brunch (served every day until 3 pm), burgers, wood-fired pizzas, and sharing platters. It’s no wonder the place is always packed.
The brewery holds regular events from beer and cider festivals to live music, dance workshops, and even a communal workspace for digital nomads and other remote workers (on Wednesdays). Check the website to see what’s going on during your stay. Stopping here is definitely one of the top things to do in Stroud.
Address: London Road, Brimscombe, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 2BY. Click here for directions.
6. Pop Into Woodruffs Cafe (The First Organic Cafe in Britain)
Woodruffs Cafe was founded in 1998 and claims to be the first ever wholly organic cafe in Britain. Owner Jamie was once one of the stall holders at the Stroud Farmers’ Market before setting up shop in the town on a more permanent basis.
This is an excellent place to come for breakfast, brunch, or lunch and you can be assured of the finest local and organic ingredients in everything from your coffee to the many mouthwatering meals on offer (the BBQ Boston beans, eggs, and mushrooms dish is a real winner).
The cafe is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm (9:30 am to 3 pm on Sundays). If you’re looking for something healthy, ethically sourced, and most of all tasty, you can’t go wrong with Woodruffs Cafe.
Address: 24 High Street, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1AJ. Click here for directions.
7. Walk Along the Stroudwater Canal
The Stroudwater Canal runs through the heart of the town for 12 miles (19 km) and takes in the beautiful Stroud Valley area. The towpath that runs along the canal is a great place to walk (especially if you have a four-legged friend with you) as it’s away from the roads and in a gorgeous, tranquil setting.
Walking along the canal is one of the best things to do around Stroud if you want to escape into the serene nature that laps at the town. This is one of my favorite places for a walk and there are plenty of options such as The Stables Cafe or The Three Horseshoes pub to stop en route for refreshments.
8. Go Wine Tasting at Woodchester Vineyard
Woodchester Valley Vineyard is located on the outskirts of Stroud and is the perfect place for wine lovers. The winery offers guided tours and tastings and is one of the best things to do in Stroud for couples who enjoy a glass or two of vino. Learn all about viticulture and wine-making as you enjoy a tutored tasting.
The tours operate year-round and I love taking in the stunning Sroud Valley scenery from here. The vineyard holds regular events and there’s an onsite shop where you can pick up a bottle or two to take home or gift. This is a fantastic day out for those interested in England’s wine industry. See the website to book.
Address: Convent Lane, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 5HR. Click here for directions.
9. Hike the Cotswolds Way
The Cotswolds Way is a 102-mile (164 km) trail that runs through the heart of this area of outstanding natural beauty. The route starts in Chipping Campden and ends in Bath, passing right through the town of Stroud. Although the full trail is a little ambitious for a short trip, it’s possible to enjoy a day hike.
This five-mile round trip starting and finishing in Stroud offers some of the finest views in the country and takes in local beauty spots Haresfield Hill and Standish Wood. Pack some good walking shoes, a picnic, and a pair of binoculars to spot the local wildlife and set out for a day surrounded by stunning nature.
This is one of my favorite hikes and one of the best things to do in Stroud for families looking for outdoor activities. Afterward, be sure to find a good pub to rest those tired feet (I recommend The Clothiers Arms).
10. Visit the Stroud Subscription Rooms
The Stroud Subscription Rooms (known locally as The Sub Rooms) is the former town hall and home to a small tourist information center, a creative art space, and a bar and restaurant. Visiting The Sub Rooms is one of the best things to do in Stroud at night as there’s always something fun going on.
From exhibitions by local artists, workshops, comedy acts, open-mic nights, and live gigs, this is one of the top places in the town for evening entertainment. The onsite Central Bar and Cafe offers a range of light snacks and refreshments and is a great place to hang out.
Address: George Street, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1AE. Click here for directions.
11. See Castle Combe, England’s Prettiest Village
The stunning Cotswold Village of Castle Combe is just 22 miles south of Stroud and takes around 40 minutes to drive along the A46. It’s so stunning that it’s often labeled as the prettiest village in England thanks to its picture-perfect stone cottages with thatched roofs, colorful flowerbeds, and winding lanes.
If you’re after that perfect picture of a quintessential English village for Instagram, then Castle Combe is the place to find it. Explore the cobbled lanes, picturesque river, and old stone bridges in this village that time forgot. See the medieval market cross, pop into one of the pubs or tea rooms, and bask in one of the most beautiful places in England.
12. Explore Woodchester Park
The gorgeous Woodchester Park dates back to the 18th Century and includes five lakes across an expanse of wooded valley six miles (10 km) south of Stroud. See an original 19th Century boathouse, scroll through many paths that wind their way through the park, and enjoy a cream tea or ice cream at the tea rooms.
Address: Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, GL10 3TS. Click here for directions.
13. Visit the Pretty Village of Slad
The nearby village of Slad is one of my favorite places to visit near Stroud thanks to its connections with one of my favorite authors (Laurie Lee) who grew up in the village and is buried in the cemetery of the Holy Trinity Church. Opposite the church is The Woolpack Inn which is a great place for a pint and offers stunning views across the hills and valleys.
Lee wrote about the village and surrounding countryside in his bestseller Cider with Rosie (which along with his complete back catalog you can pick up in the Stroud Bookshop, as I did on my last visit). Bus 228 leaves Stroud Merrywalks bus stop (Stop D) hourly and takes just four minutes to reach the village.
14. See Woodchester Mansion
Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed Victorian building that dates back to 1855. This grand mansion is hidden in a deep valley and is surrounded by lush countryside making it an excellent day out for the whole family. The house is famed as the residence of a colony of bats that roost in the upper ceilings.
The mansion is open from 11 am to 5 pm every Friday Saturday and Sunday from April to October. It’s possible to take a guided tour of the house and grounds which can be booked online. Entrance costs £9 for adults and children under 16 go free.
Address: Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, GL10 3TS. Click here for directions.
15. Take a Day Trip to Bath
The historic city of Bath is just 30 miles (48 km) from Stroud and makes an excellent day trip as it can be reached in under an hour. There are lots of wonderful things to do in Bath from exploring the ancient Roman baths (hence the name) to enjoying a reinvigorating spa day and admiring the stunning Georgian architecture.
One of the best ways to experience Bath is to take a tour like this 90-minute walking tour which includes entry to the Roman baths and showcases some of the city’s top landmarks such as Pulteney Bridge, Bath Abbey, and the Royal Crescent. Click here to find out more.
It’s around a 50-minute drive from Stroud to Bath along the A46 or you can take one of the hourly trains (via Swindon) which takes just over an hour. Visiting Bath is definitely one of the best things to do near Stroud if you’re looking for a great day trip.
Quick Travel Itineraries For Stroud
Below, you’ll find a couple of travel itineraries for sightseeing in Stroud to help you get the most out of your visit. They include all the top things to see in Stroud and some of the best day trips from the town.
1 Day in Stroud Itinerary
With just one day in Stroud, visit the Museum in the Park and Walled Garden before popping into Woodruffs for an organic brunch or lunch. In the afternoon, walk along the canal and stop by the Hill Paul Gallery. In the evening, head to the Stroud Brewery for drinks and a bite to eat. If it’s a Saturday be sure to check out the Farmers’ Market.
2-3 Days in Stroud Itinerary
Follow the above itinerary for your first day and spend more time exploring the town and its parks, river, and canal (there are lots of great picnic spots between them). Make sure you stop in one or two of the town’s excellent pubs like The Old Fleece or Fountain Inn.
1 Week in Stroud Itinerary
One to three days is the perfect amount of time to cover all there is to do in Stroud, so include day trips on spare days to gorgeous Castle Combe (the prettiest village in England) and historic Bath. Save a day or two to hike part of the Cotswolds Way to really get a feel for this beautiful part of the country.
Where to Stay in Stroud
These are a few of the best places to stay in Stroud for tourists:
The Clothiers Arms – Best for First-Time Visitors
The Clothiers Arms is an old inn located in the heart of Stroud just by the River Frome and a short walk from the railway station and all the Stroud attractions and amenities. The cozy rooms come with a desk, flatscreen TV, and complimentary toiletries, and some rooms even have a balcony. Click here to find out more.
Old Fleece Apartments – Best for Families
The Old Fleece Apartments offers cozy one and two-bedroom accommodations in Stroud; perfect for families and small groups of friends. The accommodations come with a private bathroom with a shower, a fully-fitted kitchen, and WiFi throughout. The rooms are tastefully decorated to a modern standard. Click here to book.
Burleigh Court Hotel – Best for Couples
If you’re looking for a little luxury while visiting the Stroud attractions then the Burleigh Court Hotel is just the place. Located four miles from the town, this four-star hotel in an old Cotswold stone manor house has rooms that feature a balcony, fireplace, and a four-poster bed. Click here to learn more.
Best Restaurants in Stroud
Stroud has some excellent pubs and restaurants utilizing the best local Cotswolds ingredients. Here are a few of my favorite places to eat in town:
Jrool Bistro: Jrool Bristro is a classy restaurant and cocktail bar in the center of town specializes in a menu of locally sourced ingredients and some excellent cocktails. From classics like scampi and chips to halloumi, chicken skewers, and burgers, you’ll be sure to find something tasty on the menu. Prices are very reasonable with mains all costing around £12. Click here for directions.
The Yard Cafe and Kitchen: Formerly Mills Cafe, The Yard is located on the High Street and is a great daytime option that serves up a selection of hot and cold snacks from sandwiches and paninis to nachos, sourdough, and noodle dishes. Click here for directions.
The Clothiers Arms: As well as an excellent place to stay in Stroud, The Clothier Arms is a traditional pub with an excellent menu of local beers, ciders, contemporary British cuisine, and pub classics. Great prices with mains from £12.95. Click here for directions.
Karibu Vegan Bar and Kitchen: If you’re looking for a meat-free meal then head along to the hugely popular Karibu bar and kitchen. There’s a sit-down cafe and options for takeaway or delivery services. The smoky red pepper goulash is amazing and they make a mean mojito – don’t just take my word for it. Click here for directions.
Simpsons Fish and Chips: Simpsons is definitely the best fish and chip shop in Stroud and has a dine-in restaurant as well as takeaway service. Simpsons is unlike most other chippies as they offer vegan and gluten-free options and are a little more upmarket with prices that reflect this (£10-£12 for fish and chips). Click here for directions.
Getting to Stroud
The nearest international airport to Stroud is Bristol which is an hour’s drive away. You’ll need a car as there aren’t any direct transport links from the airport to Stroud.
I usually get a lift to Stroud from London with friends and it’s a simple two to three-hour drive along the M4 and A419 (depending on traffic). There are multiple hourly trains from London Paddington and the journey takes around 90 minutes.
Visiting all the tourist attractions in Stroud can be done on foot as it’s not a big town, however, to get the most out of your trip hiring a car would be a good idea so you can explore more of the stunning Cotswold countryside around the town.
Things To Do in Stroud: FAQs
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about visiting Stroud:
Stroud is famous for its farmers market and as a quaint town in the heart of the Cotswolds. It’s also known for its excellent brewery (Stroud Brewery).
Spring through fall is the best time to visit Stroud to get the most out of your trip and enjoy the stunning countryside on the town’s doorstep.
Stroud is definitely worth visiting for its attractions like the Walled Garden, farmers market, and local brewery. It’s also a great place for foodies thanks to its independent cafes and restaurants specializing in local, organic produce.
Two to three days (a long weekend) is the perfect amount of time to see all Stroud has to offer, but if you wish to explore nearby places such as Slad, Castle Combe, and Bath then a week is better.
Stroud is generally safe for tourists but is not without crime. Take the usual precautions while traveling and avoid dimly lit areas and outlying estates at night.
Visiting the farmers market, shopping in the town’s many independent shops, enjoying the local food and drink, and walking in the nearby countryside are some of the most popular things to do in Stroud.
There aren’t any beaches in Stroud as it’s an inland town.
Stroud is a foodie’s dream with so many wonderful restaurants that use local Cotswold produce. Local ciders, cheeses, and meats are all available at the farmers’ market and the town’s cafes, pubs, and restaurants.
Now you know what to do in Stroud, the charming market town in the heart of the Cotswolds. From the many parks and green spaces like Stratford and Woodchester Park to the Walled Garden, museums, and art spaces, there’s plenty in the town to keep visitors occupied.
Foodies will love the diverse range of eateries in the town from the first organic cafe in Britain to vegan restaurants, traditional pubs, and of course the famous farmers’ market and brewery. It’s also a fantastic destination for hiking and exploring the rest of this beautiful region and I can’t wait to return.