Sun, ships & beer at the Gloucester Tall Ships Festival

Tall Ship, Gloucester Docks

Tall Ship, Gloucester Docks

What a weekend it has been for Gloucester! I spent time on Saturday and Sunday at the Tall Ships Festival at the Docks and it seems to have been a huge success and created a real buzz for the city. Even the comments on the Citizen website were largely positive apart from a few die hard whingers and cynics, and I suspect you will never please them. With the spectacular weather that we’ve enjoyed for the whole weekend I can only conclude that the gods are on our side too.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get to the Docks to see the ships arrive on Friday, but Eddie from the Gloucestershire Portal videoed it, so if like me you missed it check it out at

I spent Saturday afternoon at the Docks in the convivial company of a couple of friends, and we took the opportunity to go aboard one of the ships – Kaskelot I think – and it was great. The people roaming around in costume looked authentic, were friendly and really added to the experience.

Not being particularly interested in fashion (gasps of disbelief from those who know me!) I gave Gok Wan’s visit a miss. However, we did take a very quick wander through the outlet centre later on in the afternoon (my friends are female – what can you do!) and there still seemed to be a residue of Gok fever about and it was still very busy.

All of this was thirsty work, so we spent a large chunk of the afternoon at the Coots bar beer festival, which had an excellent selection of nautical themed beers. Definitely better to go on the boats before visiting the beer festival!

Having enjoyed the day and recovered from the hang-over I returned for another look and to take some photographs on Sunday afternoon. I left it fairly late, assuming that it would be quiet, but no – it was still packed when I got there at 4 o’clock. And the beer festival had almost sold out.

So in summary: fascinating ships, enthusiastic shoppers, excellent weather, great beer. Nothing to whinge about there! I continue to believe that this can be nothing but good for Gloucester – let’s hope that we can keep up the momentum.

On that note, and not wishing to end on a downer, I have heard that the council will not be running the Blues Festival this year. That seems like a great shame and a wasted opportunity to capitalise on this growing enthusiasm. If anyone knows more, please let me know. And if you happen to be on the Gloucester council – do something about it!


About Darrel Kirby

I am what I am.
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