Brimming with independent shops, cafés and galleries and home to one of the best Farmers’ Markets in the country, there are plenty of things to do in Stroud, described by Jasper Conran as ‘the Covent Garden of the Cotswolds’.

In Stroud, you will find an eclectic mix of shops selling everything from fossils to fairies and vintage to vinyl, all set against the dramatic backdrop of the beautiful Five Valleys, just 90 minutes by train from London.

Stroud is well-known for its industrial heritage and visitors can spot the former textile mills along the valleys. Attractions in Stroud include former working mills open for guided tours at certain times of year. Wimbledon tennis ball cloth and championship snooker baize are still made here today.

A number of interesting landmark buildings contribute to the town’s creative spirit. Discover the heritage of Stroud through the Museum in the Park and the Heritage Board Map Trail, available from Stroud TIC.

The Stroudwater Canal is currently being restored to its former glory. Enjoy a walk along the tow path, stopping at a traditional pub or café on the way. Visit the Canal Visitor Centre at Wallbridge Lock to find out more.

Stroud is known as a centre for contemporary arts. Many writers, artists and craftspeople live in the five sweeping valleys encircling the town, made famous by Laurie Lee’s “Cider with Rosie”.

An exciting programme of events and festivals in Stroud include the Select Festival (textiles) and month-long SITE Art Festival, where open-studio tours allow a glimpse into artists’ homes and studios. Stroud Fringe brings the town alive in August with an array of free music events.

There are plenty of activities in Stroud. The Cotswold Way runs through Stroud, popular with walkers. Rodborough, Minchinhampton and Selsley Commons overlook the town and are enjoyed by a mix of walkers, horse-riders, paragliders, and those looking for a locally-made Winstones ice-cream.

There is a wide range of accommodation in Stroud and the nearby villages including Brimscombe, Chalford, Nailsworth and Painswick.