A Guide for Families to Living in Stroud & Surrounding Areas

The market town of Stroud is steeped in history and offers a wonderful environment in which to live, work, and raise a family. Settled at the head of the Five Valleys, Stroud brings together an array of local produce, crafts, and an active community from all directions of the Stroud District. Its valley position offers stunning views and is surrounded by a huge area of National Trust land and green space, just moments outside of the town centre.

Stroud is renowned for its vibrant arts and entertainment scene, as well as a wide variety of shops and boutiques, and cafes and restaurants you won’t find anywhere else. With so much on offer, Stroud is at the height of Cotswold living; named the national winner of the award for best place to live in the UK by The Times in 2021 and described by The Guardian as having “…a spirited community that likes nothing more than seeing off Tesco, McDonald’s and the BNP while rooting for trees, hospitals and post offices”.

Stroud is a truly unique place to live and work for its 33,000 district residents.

Top 10 Reasons to Live in Stroud

Arts and Entertainment

Stroud is a creative hub for arts and entertainment, boasting its own Cotswold Playhouse theatre, plus the Prema Arts Centre, cinema, Stroud Bowl bowling alley, and Stroud Art Space, as well as a range of exciting and unusual galleries and museums including Dr Jenner’s House, Gallery Pangolin, and the Frocester Tithe Barn.

Stroud is also home to the Stroud Arts Festival, now in its 76th year, which brings together the best of local art, music, drama and acting, poetry, and dance.

Wide range of outdoor activities for all the family

The vast areas of green space, canals, rivers, hills, and flats surrounding Stroud lend themselves to a range of exciting and nature-friendly outdoor pursuits for all the family. Experience activities for all members of the family from the Gruffalo Discovery Land at Twycross Zoo and the swimming pools of Stratford Park Leisure Centre, to family days out at the Great Witcombe Roman Villa and events for all ages at the Painswick Rococo Garden.

The rolling valleys and hills will reward those who make it to their peaks with stunning views across the area, with tracks and landscapes suitable for walkers and ramblers, horse riders, cyclists, gliders and more. For those who prefer a flatter landscape, there are plenty of locations suitable for a gentle stroll, a round of golf, and a ramble through nature.

As well as six local golf clubs, Stroud offers a selection of canal and boat trips, clay shooting, fishing, diving, a skate park, and hot air ballooning for the more adventurous among us.

More centrally, you can find the Forest Green’ New Lawn football stadium, home to the Forest Green Rovers; the world’s only vegan football team, and Stroud Rugby club, home to the Colts juniors and Stroud Rugby teams where new players of all ages are welcome.

Farmer’s market and local food and drink

Stroud’s farmers market is famous in this part of the world, and visitors flock from many miles away to visit when they can.

Held every week in Cornhill Market Place and around the streets of Stroud, this multi-award winning market is one of the biggest and most popular in the UK. You can get a feel for the range of delicious produce and high quality products for sale via the Stroud Farmer’s Market traders directory, but the only way to fully appreciate this delightful market is to visit it yourself.

The town is also home to a wide range of cafes including the world’s first totally organic café, and a host of historic pubs.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Over 50% of Stroud District is deemed a Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB), the largest in England. The hills of the Five Valleys offer magnificent views on all sides, and the abundance of wildlife is truly astounding. Having been designated this prestigious title, local residents have peace of mind that a large swathe of the area they live in will not be built upon and remains protected.

Cotswold living, period properties and reasonable average house prices

Property prices in Stroud remain reasonable but are on the rise, making now a great time to invest in Stroud property. The area offers a good mix of houses and flats, with a large number of period properties and historic houses available.

A good selection of detached and semi-detached family dwellings are currently on the market, many with generous gardens and large room sizes, perfect for families of all sizes. Prices are competitive compared to the surrounding areas, with more amenities and better transport access than some nearby towns and villages.

Great local amenities

Stroud has all the local amenities and conveniences you might expect from a town of its size, plus plenty more.

With ample numbers of NHS and private doctors’ surgeries and dental practices receiving good or very good reviews from existing patients, residents of Stroud are able to access high quality care when they need it.

The well-equipped leisure centre offers an outdoor pool in warmer weather, and the local cinema, galleries, parks, sports facilities and performing arts theatre mean there is always something on and something to do in Stroud.

Convenient transport links

Stroud is well-known for its excellent transport links and connectivity to the M5, making it an attractive option for people looking to move to the area. With convenient public transport and road links to Gloucester, Cheltenham, Cirencester, Bristol and Swindon, living in and around Stroud means living the country lifestyle with an easy commute to nearby towns and cities.

Exceptional schools and colleges

Stroud is home to a range of schools for children aged three to nineteen which are rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED, and a college rated ‘excellent’ by the ISI.

Many of these institutions have been in the area for many years and combine traditional values with modern teaching methods.

Spirit of community

Stroud is well known for the pride its residents take in their local area, and the unrivalled sense of community.

An eco-friendly town, you will notice a wide range of eco product shops throughout the area, and a good variety of vegetarian and vegan eateries. Town council teams and residents alike work hard to preserve Stroud and maintain everything that is special about it.

Vibrant and unique shopping environment

Once described as ‘the Covent Garden of the Cotswolds’ by Jasper Conran, Stroud has a lot to offer. The town centre offers a wide range of independent shops and boutiques, and with lots of high-street favourites, Stroud has everything a family needs from JoJo Maman Bebe parent and baby store, to home deliveries of food and drink from independent Stroud producers.

Places to Live in and Near Stroud

There are many attractive places to live and work in Stroud, which one will suit you best depends on what you want and need from your local area.

Westonbirt

Westonbirt is a small village with a population of around 300 people which is mainly known for its impressive arboretum. A largely affluent parish, this area suits those looking for rural living and a quiet life.

Stroud

Stroud itself is the hub of the area, offering one of the widest ranges of properties, and good for those looking for a vibrant and social lifestyle with easy access to local amenities.

Stonehouse

Stonehouse is approximately three miles west of Stroud centre and is a great option if your priorities are easy access to the best schools and great commuter links.

Offering a direct rail link to Paddington station and home to Wycliffe College, Stonehouse is a great choice for parents and families looking to be close to schools, with a good range of local amenities and a beautiful rural location.

Tetbury

Tetbury is a town with a Royal history and is the second largest town in the Cotswolds with a population of approximately 5,500. Home to Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, Tetbury offers a rich history and welcoming community.

Woodchester

Woodchester is a small village of approximately 1,200 residents based in the Nailsworth Valley. It’s picturesque high street and ancient forests and woodlands make it ideal for families with a taste for the outdoors life. It is also home to Woodchester Mansion, an abandoned gothic revival project which was never completed. Woodchester lies approximately two miles south of Stroud centre.

Schools in Stroud

Stroud is lucky to be home to a number of excellent educational facilities. This is common knowledge not only in Stroud itself, but for many miles around, meaning Stroud is a popular choice with large numbers of families with school age children.

With a good number of schools in the ‘outstanding’ OFSTED category and glowing ISI inspections, Stroud offers a number of high quality school and college options for children from three years and up. Foxmoor primary school and Marling secondary school are both rated as Outstanding at time of writing.

Wycliffe College offers exceptional education and facilities to children from ages three to nineteen, and welcomes students of all abilities; including international students and children from military families. Wycliffe offers full time and flexible boarding school facilities from the age of seven as well as day students from age three. Set within 52 acres and rated excellent at the most recent ISI inspection, Wycliffe is a truly unique educational facility offering an outstanding range of extra-curricular activities and excellent pastoral care.

Getting to Stroud

Stroud’s popularity is in part due to its easy accessibility to towns and cities both nearby and further afield. With great accessibility to the M5 (accessible within 15 minutes from Stroud), Stroud is well connected to Bristol (40 mins) and the M4 (50 mins), as well as to Cheltenham (30 mins) and Gloucester (25 mins), and towards Birmingham (1hr 20 mins) to the north. Train links to Gloucester and Swindon take just 25 minutes from Stroud, and convenient regular services run to London (90 mins), Reading, and other towns with large business hubs.

Things to Do in Stroud

Eating

Stroud is home to a wide range of independent cafes, and restaurants, as well as the famous farmers markets renowned for their high-quality local produce including bread, cheese, fish, meat and pasta.

The Five Valleys shopping centre offers a number of street food outlets for something a little less local, and Stroud offers more than the typical town centre food options, including a sushi restaurant, Venezuelan tapas, and much more.

Social Life

Stroud has a large number of pubs and bars for evening entertainment, as well as a theatre, cinema, and live music and street events so there is always something new to see and do.

Shopping

Stroud offers a vibrant highstreet and a plethora of independent outlets to cover everything from day-to-day necessities, to gifts and special purchases you won’t find anywhere else.

Attractions for the Whole Family

You will find a wide array of seasonal and permanent family attractions both in Stroud centre and in the surrounding countryside. With sports, activities, and local attractions in abundance, there truly is something for everyone when you live in Stroud.

Best things to do with young children

There’s plenty to keep young children occupied and delighted in Stroud. From bouncing around the Funky Factory soft play and trampoline centre to petting the animals at one of the largest play barns in the South-West, Dick Whittington Farm Park, Stroud caters for every child and every interest. WWT Slimbridge is close by to Stroud while you can get to Wild Place Project easily from the M5. Westonbirt Arboretum is a hit or the whole family, located about 3 miles southwest of the town of Tetbury and it is deemed one of the most important and widely known arboretums in the United Kingdom. On top of this, a new climbing park with plenty of adventure activities is coming soon to Gloucester called 270 Climbing Park so you certainly won’t run out of things to do with the kids. Stratford Park Leisure Centre has both indoor and outdoor swimming pools with sessions for all ages, and for outdoor types, Elton offers maize mazes to amuse and confuse, while the Gloucester ski and snowboard centre offers lessons for children both young and old.

These centres take not only young children but their parents into consideration, offering clean, spacious, and modern changing facilities, plus relaxing areas to take a moment and enjoy a coffee.

Top activities for older children

Older children are well catered for too. From rugby clubs to horse riding and go karting to aerial rope adventures, Stroud has it all. Teenagers and older children can enjoy a huge range of activities within just a few miles of Stroud encompassing all interests and providing lessons, camps and fun adventures for all ages.

Sport clubs

Stroud offers an abundance of sports clubs to children and teenagers, including rugby, football, hockey, athletics and much more. Children can join sports clubs for regular sessions, holiday clubs and boots camps, giving them the flexibility to play the sports they love on a schedule that suits them and their parents.

Events

Stroud is home to events of all kinds throughout the year. You will regularly find markets, classes for a range of skills and age groups, live music events, dancing, talks and more in Stroud and the surrounding villages. The sense of community enjoyed in this part of the world ensures each event is enjoyed by all.

Parks & Outdoor Spaces

Stroud has a large number of parks and green spaces, including Stratford Park and Folly Wood. Stroud itself is encircled by five beautiful valleys, offering an almost unrivalled amount of green space and opportunity for outdoor family activities.

Moving to Stroud

If you are considering moving to Stroud it is worth spending some time here to immerse yourself in life in any one of the towns and villages that comprise the district. Voted as the UK’s best address and supported by a strong community, Stroud really is the best place to live in the UK.