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Gloucester Docks is county's number one visitor attraction - four million expected in 2014

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 17, 2014

Comments (10)

GLOUCESTER Docks is officially the county’s most popular attraction with four million visitors expected to descend on the area in 2014.

The waterfront location leaves Gloucester Cathedral in the shadow with its visitor numbers climbing up to 500,000.

Even Cheltenham Racecourse with its 700,000 visitors doesn’t come close.

The rising success of the docks is partly attributed to the rapidly changing Gloucester Quays shopping and leisure complex. It now boasts more than 60 brands and employs more than 2,000 people. It has seen a 33 per cent increase in sales year-on-year in December and a 69 per cent increase year-on-year for January, typically the gloomiest of months for retailers.

There has been a 42 per cent rise in sales since the leisure quarter, which now includes a Cineworld, opened.

Bosses at the centre said they are expecting their busiest year yet with some four million visitors piling into the docks.

Jason Pullen, managing director of Peel Outlets, which runs Gloucester Quays, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the figures. We had a bumper Christmas and an even better January, which is often seen by retailers as the quietest part of the year.

“It has been a brilliant start to the year in which we are expecting four million visitors to come to Gloucester Quays whether it be for food, film or fashion.

“We are now Gloucestershire’s most popular attraction. With more announcements to come about new brands opening at the Quays, we are very excited about what 2014 holds.

“It all in turn gives people in Gloucester more reason to stay in the city and is attracting new people from across the region to come and enjoy what our city has to offer.”

But the city’s other attractions are fighting back and the Trip Advisor website says there are 425 attractions which marvel across the county.

Gloucester Cathedral, which was built between 1089 and 1499, is listed as a top five UK visitor attraction in Which? magazine readers’ survey.

The Cathedral is pressing ahead with Project Pilgrim – a £5million plan to redevelop the Cathedral entrance and surrounds to make it even more appealing to tourists.

Gloucester City Council leader Paul James previously said: “The Cathedral is our greatest asset and we should make the most of it. It needs to evolve to be able to continue to compete as a visitor attraction. Project Pilgrim will help it to achieve this. I think the plans are very exciting.”

Calls for the Cathedral to be put forward as a possible UNESCO world heritage site have been put on ice, however, after it emerged that it would cost in the region of £500,000 to prepare an application.


Gloucester Docks – 4 million

Cheltenham Racecourse – 700,000

Gloucester Cathedral – 500,000

Slimbridge Wetland Centre – 230,000


Gloucester Tall Ships Festival – 150,000

Gloucester Quays Home and Garden party – 60,000

Gloucester Docks Fireworks – 15,000

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  • jas37  |  February 17 2014, 9:25PM

    This report obviously only reflects part of the situation. Peel's huge investment in Gloucester has clearly paid considerable dividends to the City. The Quays draws large numbers of visitors to Gloucester many of whom wander through the Gate Streets to visit the Cathedral, City Centre shops and Museums etc. in fact it would be interesting to discover whether visitor numbers to the Cathedral increase considerably during events at the Quays. Another major benefit is the fact that many Gloucester residents now spend far more time and money in and around the City Centre rather than in Cheltenham or Cribbs Causeway. But what this report doesn't mention is the total neglect of the Docks by the City Council. The Council appear to see the Docks purely as a place that their Offices are located. There seems to be a glaring absence of vision and ambition displayed by the Council. A classic example of this is the permitted change of use of the lower floors of the Phillpotts and Lock Warehouses into Offices. There is a widely recognised, acute lack of visitor attractions and retail in the main Dock basin area and now it appears the buildings that are ideally suited for this purpose will be turned into Offices- totally against the Docks Masterplan. Gloucester has a huge opportunity to benefit due to the visitors that are attracted to the City by the Quays but have the City Council the vision and ambition required to ensure this happens? The evidence so far suggests not.

  • jas37  |  February 17 2014, 8:53PM

    supernova1, just to try and make some sense of your comments- are you actually saying that you would have preferred Peel to have invested their £200m+ in another Town or City instead of Gloucester?

  • supernova1  |  February 17 2014, 4:57PM

    peh45..................stick to rugby comments, you might be marginally nearer the truth then. Loving the way you manipulated the feedback. If you were just a tad better informed, I think you'll find most of the negative comments are from the good people of Gloucester. Not normally negative, they are however realistic, and given the choice, would tear down The Quays, and re-invest in the City centre.

  • SELINA30  |  February 17 2014, 4:19PM

    Does anyone know about the plans to erect a statue of Parmjit Dhanda overlooking the docks?

  • peh45  |  February 17 2014, 1:27PM

    I agree it is the number one attraction in the county, it's all sour grapes from the Cheltonians. Why would people go to a place that has no history to talk of, only to shop. Gloucester City on the up, Cathedral the Docks Roman remains etc etc.

    |   -19
  • toadhall99  |  February 17 2014, 12:51PM

    Sounds like counting chickens to me.... shame the city has been so badly neglected..

  • NibNobs  |  February 17 2014, 12:46PM

    And how many MORE millions from all over the UK prefer to go to Cheltenham as a shopping destination? Or to the literature festival, or to the science festival, the jazz festival, the lovely Everyman theatre, the expanding racecourse, the attractive tree lined streets like The Promenade?? You can find all of the shops in The Quays at every OTHER outlet centre...and there are lots dotted around the country, nearest being Swindon, Bicester and soon to be built at Tewkesbury. I think any person with a brain can see through this story.

  • HouseYankee  |  February 17 2014, 11:49AM

    "Gloucester Docks is county's number one visitor attraction - four million expected in 2014". What a daft story. And ridiculous statement....How can it be the number 1 visitor attraction if the Four Million haven't got here yet. ...There's nothing in the docks to see, only Tommy Neilsons place if there's a ship in dock at the time they visit and the Waterways Museum. Other than that its just shops and a housing estate with a pond....Its rubbish. And its sad..

    |   -1
  • supernova1  |  February 17 2014, 11:36AM

    I really don't see how you can call a shopping outlet a 'visitor attraction'? If that's the case, why haven't Cheltenham listed theirs? If you actually look at the top events in the docks, they probably only amass half a million at the most. And let's be honest, calling it an attraction, with other REAL attractions like the Cathedral etc, really is being disingenuous.

  • kato48  |  February 17 2014, 9:54AM

    Self Gloating Stupidity ! The statement below. "GLOUCESTER Docks is officially the county's most popular attraction with four million visitors expected to descend on the area in 2014." I would be over the moon IF the statement said GLOUCESTER CITY is the most etc. ...is the above statement not so obvious.. deprive the City and only give the public ONE option.... the Docks sheer stupidity reigns ! when are we going to be proud of the CITY ? If ever !!!!