On either side of the M5 motorway, it is dominated by Cheltenham and Gloucester. Whereas Gloucester's prosperity is due to the River Severn, Cheltenham's due to its rise as a popular spa town. On its eastern side, it takes in much of the Cotswold Hills, whereas on the western side, it is the Wye valley near Chepstow.
Cheltenham town centre is famed for its Regency architecture, much of which from its rise as a spa resort. Today, it is best known for its racecourse thanks to the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and its doughnut shaped GCHQ building. It hosts numerous festivals for literature, science, food and drink, and music. Its proximity to the M5 and excellent rail links makes for a popular conference venue.
Just as handy for the M5 motorway is the city of Gloucester. It is dominated by its canal with The Docks area forming a public open space. Warehouses have been renovated, converted into apartments, shops and bars. Some of them house the National Waterways Museum, with the Custom House being home to The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum. In the north of the city is its cathedral. The Cathedral Church of St. Peter and the Holy and Indivisible Trinity originated in 679, though the present building dates from 1089 to 1499.
Its more northerly parts of the county include Tewkesbury, a market town just off the M5 motorway with an abbey. In the north eastern part of the county, Chipping Campden and Moreton-in-Marsh. Both places are within the Cotswold Hills, along with Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water. There is a host of rural hotels and traditional inns which serve as excellent conference venues.
A little south west of Bourton-on-the-Water along the A429 is Cirencester. Originated in the Roman era, it is the largest town of the Cotswold district. Records of its immediate predecessor, Corinium Dobunnorum, date from AD 150. Sites of interest include a Roman amphitheatre and The Church of St. John the Baptist, noted for its Perpendicular porch, fan vaults and merchants' tombs. With a few conference venues nearby, it is a truly inspiring place to host your event.
Slightly south of Cirencester is Tetbury, a market town known for its Market House, with attractions including the Police Bygones Museum. In the southern part of Gloucestershire is Stroud. The town is most bohemian, being dubbed as 'the Covent Garden of the Cotswolds' or 'Notting Hill with wellies'. It has a wealth of independent shops, including Britain's first fully organic café. It also has an annual textile festival.
On the other side of the River Severn, nearest to Monmouthshire, the county borders onto Wales along the River Wye. The Forest of Dean dominates the western part of the county and a picturesque place to hold your event. Towns surrounding the Forest of Dean include Lydney, on the banks of the River Severn with a preserved railway line to the town centre. In the north eastern fringes of the forest is Cinderford and Mitcheldean. The former was an iron ore and coal mining town.
Further north towards Herefordshire is the small town of Newent, known for its onions. Each September sees the Newent Onion Fayre, which includes onion eating competitions as well as the exhibition of alliumi (vegetables of the onion family). It is also home to the International Centre for Birds of Prey. If your choice of conference venues involve eagles and owls in the mix, this is the place for you.
By rail, regular inter-city services to Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly, London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads call at Cheltenham Spa railway station. Gloucester railway station has regular services to Cardiff Central and Birmingham New Street, whereas Stroud sees regular trains to London Paddington and Swindon.
Gloucestershire's main roads include the M5 and M50 motorways, the A38 to Birmingham, the A40 to Oxford and the A417 to Swindon. Its nearest major airport is in Bristol, with a limited number of flights to Belfast City and the Isle of Man from Gloucestershire Airport.
With good road and rail connections, the Cotswold villages, the spa town of Cheltenham, and the city of Gloucester is a motorway junction away. All among several reasons to consider Gloucestershire as a future conference venue.