The NEW Family Discovery Trail at Gloucester Cathedral

Home schoolers, desperate parents with bored children and all those who like a more exciting way of learning, heads up! The new Family Discovery Trail at Gloucester Cathedral is a brilliant way of finding out fascinating facts in an engaging and interactive way.

Child holding Gloucester Cathedral Discovery Trail

I don't want to spoil the surprises contained in this neat little guide, held together with a sturdy ring which allows the pages to be flipped over easily, but expect scratch n sniff, puzzles, pictures and even some regal headgear. It's pitched at families but I think anyone who doesn't like a more traditional tour would enjoy it. It proved especially suitable for my autistic family members some of whom have a shorter than average attention span, especially if the activity is not screen based!

Family enjoying Gloucester Cathedral Discovery Trail

For just £4.50 you can pick up your own copy of the trail guide in the cathedral gift shop. We were amongst the first people to trial the trail for free as part of the fun at a recent Flea Ents regional blogger meet up and it was much more exciting than I expected as I am not usually a fan of such things.
reflection tables in Gloucester Cathedral

Beautiful stained glass windows at Gloucester Cathedral

My children, aged 10 and 13 thoroughly enjoyed hunting for stonemason's marks, counting fish on floor tiles and learning about some of the amazing and occasionally gruesome history of Gloucester Cathedral.
fish tiles at Gloucester Cathedral

Reflecting mirror table at Gloucester cathedral

I noticed that even some of the tinier tots were also enjoying using the guide so I'd say it's suitable from around age 4 upwards (maybe with assistance for under 8's). If doing it all in one go is too much for smaller children or those with a shorter attention span you can always do a couple of pages and come back whenever you like to complete a few more challenges.

stained glass window with view outside at Gloucester cathedral

A homeschooling mum who attended the event said she thought the Discovery Trail and the fabulous free guided tours would be amazing for home schooled children. Each trail and tour contains elements of history, architecture, art, music and more. We really enjoyed the tour which combined some fascinating snippets of information plus some Harry Potter trivia as scenes for two of the famous movies were filmed there.

corridor from Harry Potter movie, Gloucester cathedral

The guides are so knowledgeable that groups can ask for the tour to be tweaked to suit the audience. We had young (quite tired) children with us so the lovely guide simplified her spiel to suit them whilst giving the adults enough to keep us all interested. However if you are keen to know all the architectural details, religious or royal history or more they have guides with all the know how to give a detailed tour for those who want it.

You can go on a crypt, tower or library tour - check the website for details. Groups of seven or more are asked to contact the cathedral before visiting and be aware that guides are volunteers and as such may not always be available. You can however pick up a self-guiding booklet (£2) from the gift shop if you prefer to explore alone or there isn't a guide available when you visit. You can also download an app which gives lots of information and has some really fun stuff built in.

There's so much going on at the Cathedral you could combine your tour or Discovery Trail adventure with other events. We spotted the very popular Brunch and Bounce going on while we were there with the Chapter House filled with families enjoying free crafts, a bouncy castle and yummy looking brunch treats all free.

Check out the Cathedral website for details of everything going on from the showing of Disney's Fantasia with live music and classical music concerts to all the Easter services plus an egg hunt.

beautiful doorway at Gloucester Cathedral

Entry to the building is free as are many of the events but check on the website as some do carry a charge. If you want to take photographs there is a £3 charge for a photo pass. I found so much to photograph there - I could populate my Instagram account with #DoorsOfGloucesterCathedral alone for ages!

dressing up area in gallery at Gloucester Cathedral

I also loved snapping my youngsters having loads of fun in the gallery. From dressing up to building custom gargoyles and discovering the magic of the whispering gallery there's so much to do whatever the weather.
custom make a gargoyle free activity at Gloucester Cathedral

In conclusion, if you think a day out at Gloucester Cathedral would be dry and dusty, think again. We can't wait to go back and explore some more.

There is plenty of parking and the cathedral is also easily accessible by public transport. The city centre is a few steps away with lots of shops, an outlet centre and plenty of places to eat and stuff to do. The cathedral has a cafe which visitors speak highly of along with toilets. Disabled visitors are welcome and most aspects of the building are accessible with ramps and lifts. Check the website for details.
Blogger madmumof7 at Gloucester Cathedral

Disclaimer: I was gifted two copies of the Discovery Trail and enjoyed lunch free thanks to Gloucester Cathedral and Flea Ents who held a Blogger Meet-up there recently.

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