There's many fine, beautiful and interesting things to see but it's not "pretty" in the way that similar sized towns in the Cotswolds or Gloucestershire are. It's a fairly "alternative" place with organic/biodynamic food and a long history of campaigning to save local facilities and landmarks. For many years, local people opposed letting McDonald’s build a restaurant.
The area around the town is known as the Five Valleys consisting of the valleys of Chalford, Nailsworth, Ruscombe, Slad and Painswick. There are a number of small towns and villages in the area, such as Minchinhampton and Stonehouse.
- 1 Stroud train station (very close to the centre of the town). The trains usually arrive and depart 30 minutes on weekdays.
- 2 Stonehouse railway station.
Stroud is the crossroads of the Cotswolds for buses, and stagecoach buses go further afield. Buses connect to Cheltenham (number 40, 46) and Gloucester (93).
The Cotswolds are pretty hopeless in terms of public transport, so a car might be a good idea.
To reach Stroud from the M5, turn off at junction 13 eastwards. Follow the A419 through Stonehouse. The route is sign posted.
A large multi-storey carpark is just outside the town centre.
The town is small, and much of the shopping district has been pleasantly pedestrianised. (mind the steep hills!)
There are buses every half-hour from Stroud to Stonehouse on weekdays, or it's about an hour's walk.
The town and nearby has been an industrial area for hundreds of years so there are many fine old stone mills, weavers cottages, a canal. Little of this has been given serious "heritage" treatment but it doesn't spoil the often beautiful setting in wooded valleys.
- 1 Uley Long Barrow (Hetty Pegler's Tump), Crawley Hill, Dursley, GL11 5AR, ☏ . Neolithic burial mound. Free.
- 2 Owlpen Manor, Uley, Dursley, GL11 5BZ, ☏ . Tudor manor house.
- 3 St George's Church, Church St, Nailsworth, GL6 0BP, ☏ .
- 4 Market House, 1-2 Market Square, Minchinhampton, ☏ . 17th-century.
- 5 Doverow Hill, Stonehouse.
- 6 Stonehouse Manor, Stonehouse.
- 7 Woodchester House, Woodchester Park, B4066, Nympsfield, Stonehouse, GL10 3TS, ☏ . An unfinished Victorian manor house that is apparently haunted.
Stroud is home to the Stroud part of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, which has further campuses in the Bristol area.
- The Space. Theatre and music happen here.
- Subscription Rooms has a large attractive upstairs and puts on concerts, dances and exhibitions.
- Out and About: although Stroud itself has few attractions, fans of walking and hiking, or if you just want to take the dog for a walk should visit the local information office for popular walking routes, or just take foot and find your own! The Valleys around Stroud offer spectacular views, and if you don't mind a longer walk, a White Chalk Horse can be found.
- Mountain biking: Stroud has extensive public bridleways that you can legitimately ride on
- Sports and activities: If you more of a golfer, be sure to check out Rodborough and Minchinhampton common, a large expansive grass land with a full golfing course set out for free. Nearby Minchinhampton Golf club can also accommodate you with an internationally recognised 18 holes and driving range.
Next to the Stroud College of Art and Design is the Leisure Centre, with several Tennis/Squash and badminton courts as well as a swimming pool and various 'different' activities from Trampolining to Akido.
- 1 The Cotswold Playhouse, Parliament St, GL5 1LW (in Parliament Street, Stroud, about 400 yards up the hill from the Police Station). Theatre owned by the Cotswold Players.
- Stroud's unique ‘Mayor on a Bench’, sessions, where local residents can voice their concerns to the Town Council, are held most Wednesdays in Kendrick Street from 11:30AM-12:30PM.
- Five Valleys Walk: 27 September 2020. 21 miles around Stroud in aid of Meningitis Trust. (date needs updating)
- Nailsworth Festival: 22–29 May 2021. A music festival with activities, exhibitions and workshops, and a wide array of different activities for adults and children.
- Country Market, every fourth Saturday morning in Mortimer Garden, Nailsworth.
- Nailsworth Food Festival, mid September.
- Goodwill evening, Nailsworth, last Friday in November.
Loads of shops along the pedestrian high street. Many non-chain shops too!
- 1 Stroud Farmers Market (Fresh N Local), Cornhill Market Place, GL5 2HH (North side of town, halfway up road(?)), ☏ . Sa 9AM-2PM. Dozens of stalls selling cheese, meats, plates, honey, jam, spices, vegetables, cooked food, etc. Very busy and interesting. Often has a 'performing chef!'
- 2 Shambles Market, The Shambles, High St, GL5 1AP. Half-way up the steep High Street near the church every Friday and Saturday. Stalls selling organic fruit and vegetables, cheese, fish, bric-a-brac, etc.
There are various fast food outlets in Stroud (including Subway, McDonald's and Burger Star) despite opposition from locals. Other cafés:
- Woodruff's. Organic café at the top of the high street, offering home-made food and lots of vegetarian and vegan options. Lunchtime meal £8-12.
- Mill's café. Down a (nice) alleyway towards the top of the high street. Two different meals each day, generous and delicious. Wide selection of home-made cakes. Lunchtime meal £6-10.
- Spuds. In the Merrywalk's precinct. Cheap baked potatoes and baguettes to go, though you can sit if you wish. Relatively cheap (roughly £3 per potato or baguette)
- Mother nature. Middle of the high street, down an alleyway. Fresh made-to-order sandwiches, baps, baguettes and paninis to go.
- Hobbs House Bakery, 4 George Street,Nailsworth.
- Mark @ Street, Market Street,Nailsworth.
- William's Foodhall, Fountain Street,Nailsworth. Great oysters.
- Sophie's Restaurant, 20 High Street, Minchinhampton, ☏ . Tu-F 9AM-2PM coffee and lunch, Sa 9:30AM-12:30PM coffee and patisserie. Selected Saturday evenings, restaurant in the centre of town.
- The Kitchen, 7 High Street, Minchinhampton (40 yards down hill from the Crown Inn, town centre), ☏ . Taste of the West Gold Award winning Cafe, Best cafe and tea room in Gloucestershire 2008 & 2009.
- The Old Lodge, Minchinhampton (West of Minchinhampton, middle of the common), ☏ . pub with good beer, reports suggest good food
- The Black Horse, Littleworth, Amberly (located just on the edge of the common), ☏ . Very popular pub with fantastic panoramic views over the Nailsworth Valley. Excellent range of beers and ciders, with a great menu and good service.
There are various cafés and coffee shops in Stroud, including Mother nature, Woodruff's and Mill's mentioned above, which serve freshly-baked cakes and tarts. There is a Costa Coffee at the top of the high street.
The main club in town is the Warehouse, only open on Saturday nights and costing £6 to get in (£3 before 11:30PM). A newer, less popular club, Junction 13, is at the top of town. It's open Friday and Saturday nights and costs £4 to get in (before 11PM it's free). These clubs aren't great, though, and Stroud can get quite nasty at night. Nearby Cheltenham is much better for evening entertainment.
- 1 Golden Fleece, Nelson St, GL5 2HN, ☏ . Pub with nice atmosphere, locals' preference (check out the quote of the day on the black board outside). Part of a group of pubs including Tipputs and Brittanica (in nearby Nailsworth). Serves fantastic, restaurant-style meals and particularly nice garlic bread.
- 2 The Black Horse Inn, Littleworth, Amberley, GL5 5AL. Pub and restaurant.
- 3 The George Inn, Higher Newmarket Rd, Nailsworth, GL6 0RF, ☏ .
- Bear of Rodborough Hotel, Rodborough Common, GL5 5DE (Head Eastwards out of town centre follow signs for Minchinhampton), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Need a car to get to it. £120 for a double.
- 1 [formerly dead link] Amberley Inn, Culver Hill, GL5 5AF, ☏ . This is a restaurant, pub and hotel, reputed to be haunted. Double £69.
- 2 Egypt Mill hotel and restaurant, Stroud Road, Nailsworth, ☏ . Nice meal
- 3 Crown Inn, High Street, Minchinhampton (opposite the market house), ☏ . Serves meals all day. Local pub. Accommodation also available.
- 4 Ragged Cot, Cirencester Road, Hyde (just to the east of Minchinhampton, along main road, over the cattle grid, at the cross roads, a 15-minute walk from top of Butt Street: some of road's not nice to walk along: advise driving), ☏ . Much nicer food than Crown Inn, but less 'local' atmosphere. Very good restaurant, but pricey. Reputed to be haunted. It's a pub, restaurant and hotel.
- 5 Stonehouse Court Hotel, Bristol Road, Stonehouse, ☏ .
- 6 The Painswick, Kemps Lane, Painswick GL6 6YB, ☏ . Upscale hotel with 16 rooms in an 18th C Palladian mansion. B&B double £200.
- 7 Woodchester Valley Vineyard, Convent Lane, Woodchester GL5 5HR, ☏ . Cosy B&B in converted barns on a vineyard. No children under 12. B&B double £160.
|Routes through Stroud|
|Bristol ← Thornbury ←||SW NE||→ Gloucester/Cheltenham → Birmingham|
|Bath ← Chipping Sodbury ←||SW NE||→ becomes until Teddington Hands Roundabout → Evesham|