All Hands on Deck for Gloucester Tall Ships Festival 2024

Whether you’re a landlubber or a salty sea dog you’ll find plenty to quench your thirst for adventure and entertainment at the 2024 Gloucester Tall Ships Festival, set to take place over the upcoming Spring Bank Holiday weekend (Saturday 25th May to Monday 27th May).

The magnificent and majestic tall ships – awe-inspiring sailing vessels each with their own unique history and design – will take centre stage at Gloucester Docks. There’ll be plenty more happening too, including a music festival, immersive entertainment, exhibits, displays, fairground rides and a plethora of flavoursome food and drink from around the world.

If all the crowded festivities and the thrum of the city of Gloucester all get a bit much for you, you can factor in a diversion to the contrasting calm of the Cotswold’s countryside. Come and visit our Inn here in Edge in the picturesque Painswick Valley. We’re just 20 minutes or so away – follow the A4173 directly out of Gloucester, across the M5, to our haven of tranquility.

But let’s get back to the Tall Ships, and tell you a bit more about this biennial event which this year promises to be bigger and better than ever:

Gloucester Tall Ships Festival Highlights

There’ll be more than ever this year, like the Phoenix, which recently featured in Ridley Scott’s film “Napoleon”; Grayhound, fresh in from the Caribbean with an exotic cargo; Spirit of Falmouth, sailed by retired Armed Forces veternas; and Irene, star of movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and Alice Through the Looking Glass. If you buy a Sea Legs ticket you’ll have access to explore these iconic ships.

From folk and sea shanties to HipHop and Choral the music festival Main Stage and dockside Crane Stage line-up will be owned by a variety of top artists and performers. Headlining on the Main Stage will be Nathan Evans, renowned for his viral hit The Wellerman.

  • Capitvating Entertainment

A hearty programme of family-friendly entertainment has been lined up for the Festival, most of it with a maritime theme. Expect exhilarating live street theatre and walkabout performances, thrilling acts at the Mariners Theatre outdoor space. Stand-outs include the Acro Sailors who display incredible feats of strength, agility, balance and co-ordination, and a seafaring comedic crew performing a take on Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore.

For the kids there’ll be tall tales told, nautical craft workshops aplenty, interactive installations and games, puppetry, vintage fairground rides, and, of course, pirates galore.

Gloucester Docks

Even if you don’t make it to the Tall Ships Festival, Gloucester Docks has plenty to offer any time of year. It’s the most inland port in the country – always busy with watercraft of all shapes and sizes, lined with Victorian warehouses and dock buildings which have been converted into a vibrant cultural quarter with some enticing designer outlet shops (Gloucester Quays) and some fascinating museums.

How to Visit the Gloucester Tall Ships Festival

If you are driving to Gloucester to enjoy the Tall Ships Festival our advice is to use the Waterwells Park & Ride (postcode GL2 2AB), south of the city centre just off of the A38 in Quedgeley, 1.8 miles from M5 junction 12. This Park & Ride is serviced by the 8 bus service by Stagecoach.

Parking in the Gloucester Docks area is at a premium at the best of times, and with tens of thousands of visitors expected for the Festival you’d be wise to get to the festival site on public transport.

You need to book your tickets in advance online. Children under five enter for free, but still need to have a ticket.

There are three ticket types:

  • Sea Legs Tickets allow entry to everything ashore on the Docks and aboard the Tall Ships themselves, and start from £13 per day. (Note, these can sell out fast so availability can’t be guaranteed).
  • Landlubber tickets, starting at £8 per day, cover all the quayside fun but you won’t be able to explore the Tall Ships.
  • Stowaway tickets are for the little sailors under five, and there is no charge.

The ticket e-store allows you to get discounts on tickets if you book for two or more days of the festival, and there are also family discounts available that can be applied at checkout.

Once you have your e-ticket delivered to your email address you’ll need to show it at the entrance gates, and will then be issued with a wristband. The festival runs each day from 10am to 10pm.

If you’re heading for Gloucester this Spring Bank Holiday weekend, we hope you have a lot of fun and pop in to Edgemoor Inn for a local ale or a home made meal on your way to or from to tell us all about the Tall Ships!