IF YOU are seeking a change of scenery then cross the border to visit a town that has plenty on offer.

Although it might not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a day trip, Stroud in Gloucestershire has plenty to do and see, from its windy streets to a variety of shops, cafes and restaurants.

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Five Valleys, the town is a haven for walkers. Countryside surrounds the town and there are hundreds of acres of National Trust land just a few miles from the town centre.

There’s lots of history to discover in Stroud.

It was once at the heart of the textile industry and there were woollen mills that were supplied from Cotswold sheep which grazed on the hills above.

You can take a walk using maps from the Stroudwater Textile Trust that will guide you around the town and discover the background to the growth of the local woollen cloth industry and the town.

Take a trip to the Painswick Rococo Garden, which has spectacular views of the Cotswold countryside and quaint villages including Minchinhampton, Selsley and Rodborough Commons and the Slad Valley.

There are plenty of parks to visit including Stratford Park, a green flag awarded area, and Park Gardens, Bank Gardens and Trinity Pocket Park.

There are also plenty of annual events in the town and surrounding area.

In summer there’s the Grand Village Fête where you can see everything from country dancing to ferret racing.

There are spring events of the Randwick Wap which culminates in a traditional procession and festival dating back to the Middle Ages. There is also the ceremonial cheese rolling as part of the event.

The Stroud Wassail has become one of the largest events of its kind in the UK.

Taking place in January on the twelfth night, the custom dates back to pagan times and is aimed at promoting a healthy and prosperous new year.

Groups of people, often with their faces painted and adorned with feathers, make a procession down alleyways and footpaths to fruit trees to party and please the tree spirits.

The custom does vary from place to place, and in Stroud the Subscription Rooms forecourt comes alive with activity throughout the day and plays host to a dazzling display of drama, ceilidh dancing, singing and comedy.

If shopping is more your thing then you will find an eclectic mix of independent shops selling everything from vintage items to vinyl and craft materials.

Once you’ve done exploring then take a seat at a local cafe and watch the world go by.

Discover more at visitthecotswolds.org.uk