Historic tall ships return to Gloucester docks for festival

Tall ships in Gloucester docks as part of the 2019 Tall Ships Festival
Thousands are expected in the city for the popular event Credit: Gloucester Tall Ships Festival

The Tall Ships Festival returns to Gloucester this weekend.

The event runs from 25 May to 27 May and sees the huge sailing vessels that dominated the docks in the 1800s once again making waves in the city.

The festival was started after the 2007 floods, which affected large parts of Gloucester, as a "symbol of resilience, celebration and connection", according to organisers.

As well as the ships, visitors can enjoy live music, local food and fairground rides.

This will be the ninth festival, with the event taking place every two years.

The Phoenix, which featured in Ridley Scott's 'Napoleon' film, is among those visitors will be able to see Credit: Gloucester Tall Ships Festival

This year some Eurovision magic is being brought to the docks with a creative director from the singing competition taking over.

Robin Kemp was the Host City Creative Director for Eurovision in Liverpool in 2023.

Speaking earlier in the year, he said the docks have "a rich and extraordinary history" and they would "celebrate the fusion of ideas and cultures" that have come through Gloucester over the past 200 years.

There's also more of an emphasis on music this year, with an extra stage being added.

Headlining is folk singer Nathan Evans, who went viral with his renditions of traditional sea shanties.

But the star of show is the ships themselves.

Among them is The Phoenix, which featured in Ridley Scott's 'Napolean' film.

Visitors will have to make sure they've purchased 'Sea Legs' tickets if they want to actually set foot on the ships, while lower priced tickets give access to the rest of the entertainment on land.

Organisers say while this will be the biggest festival so far, they plan to make things even bigger in 2027 for the 10th event.