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Pictures of Berkeley

in the county of Gloucestershire

About Berkeley

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Berkeley is a pretty town in a pleasant valley of the Severn Estuary, it attracts a host of visitors who find it a comfortable, friendly place with a plenty of historic reminders of the past.

The town is mostly Georgian, with the most dominant feature being its centuries old castle, surrounded by buttressed walls which are 14 ft-thick in parts. This has been the home of the Berkeley family since the 14th century, its history and beauty make it a premier tourist attraction for anyone visiting the town.

St.Mary's Church is fascinating with some original Norman features, there has been a place of worship in Berkeley since Saxon times, the present church in its lovely tranquil setting is mostly from the 13th century. It is of magnificent proportions compared to the size of the town, this possibly reflects the fact that Berkeley was an important during the Middle-Ages, with the church classified as a "Minster" church. St.Mary's is truly worthy of a visit, it has much to amaze and delight including wonderful Medieval wall paintings, and an interesting tower separated from the rest of the church. You can also see some excellent Berkeley family monuments. Edward Jenner, discoverer of vaccination, is buried in a grave beside the chancel. He was born in Berkeley in 1749, returning later to his home where he died in 1823.

The churchyard possesses a number of interesting table-top tombs, these are listed buildings in their own right. Amongst these are tombs displaying carved ships and anchors, these tell of the town's strong nautical traditions. There is also the tomb of Dickey Pearce, the last of England's court jesters, who died whilst at Berkeley Castle.

One of the best ways to discover Berkeley is to take a walking tour of the town, this points out the most important historic buildings and other places of interest. The old harbour area is particularly attractive and full of interest, this is where in the early 19th century ships arrived laden with cargoes of lovely textiles, fruit, wood and pottery. The Berkeley family barge was moored in what is now the castle meadow!

The Jenner Museum is a must for everyone interested in the history of medicine. He is the remarkable man whose discovery of vaccination has saved millions of lives throughout the world. The museum, in what was once Jenner's home gives a fascinating insight to his lifetimes work in immunology, his life and the times in which he lived.

There is a pretty garden surrounding the museum where you can see the hut where Jenner treated his patients, this is known now as "The Temple of Vaccina", close-by is the house given by Jenner to James Phipps as a "Thank You" gift.

If you are looking for somewhere to take the whole family, you need look no further than Berkeley's massive Cattle Country Park. This is located in beautiful countryside just outside the town, it offers all the fun of a giant adventure playground, but has a whole load of other attractions to suit everyone including a farm which is renowned for its collection of farm animals from around the world. The landscape is dotted with Bison, Highland Cattle, even East African Ankole and Wild Boar.

Cattle Country is a highly imaginative place, it offers peace and quiet as well as thrills and spills. There is a lovely meadow with a paddling pool, and perfect spots for enjoying an outdoor picnic.

Berkeley has a wide choice of shops, crafts and antiques, some charming old inns, in fact it has everything that goes to make a happy visit, as well as being a delightful location in which to spend a few days relaxing amidst the pleasures of a small historic town.

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