Winchcombe(Last Updated On: June 28, 2018)
Winchcombe is elegant and timeless. Venture down the narrow side streets to find a mix of Cotswold stone cottages and black and white half-timbered buildings. The town is a famous centre for walkers yet also boasts traditional pubs, galleries, boutique clothing, interior design and antique shops to browse.
Set above the River Isbourne, Winchcombe is arguably the hidden jewel in the Cotswold crown. Wander down Castle or Vineyard Street towards the 1000 year old Sudeley Castle or venture into Dent’s Terrace for one of the finest rows of cottages in the land; these almshouses are the work of Emma Dent (Sudeley Castle – 1850’s) who forged strong links between the town and the castle.
Walking & Cycling
The Cotswold Way offers just over 100 miles of magical walking, with long distance views from the Cotswold escarpment, and journeys through picturesque villages and famous ancient sites.
Winchcombe has ‘Walkers are Welcome’ status and many lovely footpaths with interesting things to see en-route. You can visit a remote Roman villa, Belas Knap Long Barrow – a Neolithic burial site, as well as climb to the top of the Cotswold scarp and get fantastic views. Winchcombe hosts an annual walking festival in May which offers a variety of walks with local guides, orienteering and evening events.
Winchcombe’s rolling countryside is a true walkers’ paradise, with options for casual, seasoned and hardy walkers running right from the cottage’s front door. Winchcombe itself is a “walkers are welcome” town, a special status awarded to towns and villages which go above and beyond with their walking amenities, making it a fantastic destination for groups in search of a walking break.
The Winchcombe Way, a 42-mile figure-of-eight trail centred around the town, offers walkers a great way of discovering the surrounding Cotswold towns and villages section-by-section over the course of a stay, whilst there are plenty of options for those looking for a more casual, leisurely pace within a close radius of the cottage.
We recommend the Sudeley Castle Circular walk for a relaxing stroll; a 2-mile loop, taking you along the river, straight through the heart of the town and into the grounds of historic Sudeley Castle – a must-visit for any guest. The 2 ½ mile walk to Belas Knap, a Neolithic chambered long barrow sat atop Cleeve Hill, is also a great walk to try, providing you don’t mind the incline
This super figure of eight trail takes you on a tour of the stunning northern area of the Cotswolds.
The walk begins at the lovely town of Winchcombe and heads to Dumbleton via Gretton and Alderton. At Dumbleton you turn south over Dumbleton Hill and through Alstone toward Cleeve Hill and Common. Cleeve Hill is the highest point both of the Cotswolds hill range and in the county of Gloucestershire, at 1083 ft. Here you will also find Belas Knap neolithic chambered long barrow. A scheduled ancient monument in the care of English Heritage, it has been described as an ‘outstanding example representing a group of long barrows commonly referred to as the Cotswold-Severn group’.
Shortly after Belas Knap you return to Winchcombe where the next section of the walk takes to Temple Guiting, passing through Guiting Wood on the way. The path continues to Snowshill where you can explore the delightful Snowshill Manor. Here you can view Charles Wade’s collection of ‘colour, craftsmanship and design’ and enjoy the beautiful hillside gardens.
From Stanshill you continue through Buckland and Stanton before coming to another major route highlight at Stanway House. This splendid Jacobean manor house is right on the trail and open to the public. There are also beautiful gardens and a 300ft high fountain which is the tallest gravity fountain in the world.
The final section of the walk takes you back to Winchcombe, passing Didbrook and the National Trust owned Hailes Abbey with its 13th century ruins and excellent museum.
The eastern loop climbs out of Winchcombe and follows the Farmcote valley before entering Guiting Wood. From here it passes through quiet valleys and the tranquil villages of Cutsdean, Taddington and Snowshill. The route turns and follows the Cotswold escarpment through the villages of Buckland, Laverton and Stanton nestling at the bottom of the hill. The trail passes Stanway House and the recently restored watermill before passing Hailes Abbey on the return to Winchcombe.
Obtain copies of a more detailed route map from Winchcombe Tourist Information.
The western loop ascends Langley Hill with splendid views before dropping down into Gretton and across to Alderton. From here the trail skirts around Dumbleton Hill with ever changing views before heading to Alstone. From Alstone the views ahead of wooded hills inspires one to climb Nottingham Hill and onto Cleeve Common. The vast common has rare plants and spectacular views before you head to Belas Knap long barrow and descend towards Winchcombe with fine views of Sudeley Castle and the surrounding countryside.
Obtain copies of a more detailed route map from Winchcombe Tourist Information.
This waymarked trail, launched at Winchcombe’s walking festival in 2014, follows the River Isbourne from its source on Cleeve Hill to its confluence with the Warwickshire Avon at Evesham, a distance of some 14 miles.
The Cotswolds is perfect for cyclists, there are bridleways and quiet country lanes galore and while you’ll struggle to avoid a few uphill stretches at least most are relatively short and gentle and, as well as the freewheel downhill afterwards, your efforts will have earnt you a guilt free drink and meal in one of the hostelries so thoughtfully scattered along your route!
There are a number of companies offering guided or self-guided cycling toursand holidays – there’s even one with electric bikes! If you prefer to do your own thing there are a number of downloadable cycle rides or just buy a map and plan your own route.
You can find routes to download at the following here, alternatively, enquire at any Cotswold Tourist Information Centre.
Eating in Winchcombe
Winchcombe and the many neighbouring Cotswolds’ market towns and villages are just a short car ride away, so you’re somewhat spoiled for choice when it comes to places to head to feed your appetite.
For gourmet-hunters, Winchcombe’s 5 North Street is just a 5-minute stroll from the cottage, offering Michelin-starred seasonal dishes created by expert husband and wife team Gus and Kate. Michelin-recommended Wesley House is also in Winchcombe’s town centre, offering exceptional cooking in the confines of a characterful 15th century house.
For fans of more relaxed cuisine, The White Hart Inn on Winchcombe’s High Street offers tasty gastropub grub in relaxed, rustic-chic surroundings, as well as The Corner Cupboard Inn; a historic 15th Century Inn serving traditional fare, supposedly haunted by a 12-year-old girl! Just 10 minutes’ down the road by car, The Pheasant Inn at Toddington is a great choice for families or groups visiting the GWSR Steam Railway station next door, whilst The Royal Oak at Gretton offers an unbeatable pub garden; perfect for sunny afternoons when only a pub pint will do.
Drinks & Nightlife in Winchcombe
If you fancy kicking back and enjoying a few drinks, why not try the following public houses conveniently located in the heart of Winchcombe? The Lion Inn, is a rustic-chic Cotswold stone coaching inn (featuring vintage furnishings, a log fireplace and a beer garden), it serves seasonal, locally sourced modern British dishes. The Old Corner Cupboard is a cosy, 16th-century inn with exposed beams, a patio garden and a comfort food menu. Or The Plaisterer’s Arms, a charming pub serving top quality real ale and traditional pub food.
- 5 North Street – Winchcombe, GL54 5LH / 01242 604566
- Wesley House- High Street, Winchcombe, GL54 5LJ / 01242 602366
- The White Hart Inn- High Street, Winchcombe, GL54 5LJ / 01242 602359
- The Corner Cupboard Inn- 83 Gloucester Street, Winchcombe, GL54 5LX / 01242 602303
- The Pheasant Inn – Toddington, GL54 5DT / 01242 621271
- The Royal Oak – Working Lane, Winchcombe, GL54 5EP / 01242 604999
The historic home and resting place of Henry VIII’s last wife Katherine Parr, is situated just a short stroll from the centre through fields from Kingfisher Cottage and is an absolute must-visit for guests. Offering plenty to keep all ages entertained, the beautiful grounds will satisfy garden-lovers and history buffs alike, whilst the adventure playground and acres of manicured lawns offer the perfect place for younger guests to stretch their legs.
One organisation, four extraordinary Cheltenham Festivals: Jazz, Science, Music and Literature. We also run extensive education and outreach programmes.
Broadway Tower is a unique Capability Brown Folly Tower open to visitors wanting to experience great English heritage in an inspiring location. It is one of England’s outstanding viewpoints and at 1024 feet (312m) above sea level, it is the second highest point on the Cotswold escarpment with unrivalled views. You can survey an expanse of a 62 mile radius and as many as 16 Counties. With Graphic displays on three floors, roof viewing platform and Tower Shop are a must for Cotswold visits. Conveniently located on the Cotswold Way, Broadway Tower is the perfect place to start your walk, be it a short circuit or hike. There is ample car parking for patrons.
Cheltenham Racecourse, home of the world-famous Cheltenham Festival, is just a 15-minute drive and the perfect day out destination for racing fans, whilst Toddington’s GWSR Steam Railway (7-minute drive) offers a fantastic day on the rails for vintage locomotive enthusiasts.
Prescott Hill Climb
A day out on the Prescott Estate truly is the quintessential “garden party”. Whether you are picnicking in the Orchard as you watch the cars flash past or wandering around the Paddock talking to the drivers while admiring their fantastic cars and motorcycles you are sure to have a fabulous day.
Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is a volunteer operated heritage railway in Gloucestershire, offering a round trip of over 24 miles.
Further afield, history buffs have Blenheim Palace (1-hour drive) and Warwick Castle (1-hour drive) to explore, whilst Shakespeare’s birthplace, the medieval market town of Stratford-upon-Avon, is just 40 minutes by car.
Parks & Nature near Winchcombe
Cotswold Farm Park
Welcome to the home of Adam Henson. Cotswold Farm Park was opened in 1971 by Adam’s father Joe to help protect some of our rare breeds of farm animal. Families will love Cotswold Farm Park (15-minute drive) and the pretty Cotswold village of Broadway, just 7 miles away, with its independent boutiques, art galleries, cafés and fantastic adventure park.
Montpellier Gardens lie close to the town centre and are an important part of Cheltenham’s regency landscape. Many of the buildings surrounding the gardens are listed grade one. The site has been owned by the borough council since 1893 and is part of the Cheltenham Central Conservation Area which, at over 600 hectares, is one of the largest in the country. The gardens can be broadly split into two recreational zones. You’ll find most of the park facilities in the southern section, including toilets, cafe, tennis courts and a toddlers’ play area. The larger informal northern section is used for promenading, sitting, and informal children’s play.
The 56 acre arboretum at Batsford is situated just a mile west of the historic market town of Moreton-in-Marsh in the heart of the Cotswolds. A former home to the famous Mitford family, interest in the arboretum begins in late winter when the snowdrops, aconites and early flowering daffodils spring into life, followed by magnolias, hellebores, fritillaries and the beautiful Japanese ornamental cherries – stars of the show from late March until mid April. The handkerchief tree is another show-stopper in May, as are the beautiful wildflower meadows which bloom in high summer.
Arts & Culture near Winchcombe
An intimate community theatre, presenting a mix of non-professional and small-scale professional stage productions.
Victorian theatre in the heart of Cheltenham presenting a wide range of shows from comedy,drama, musicals & opera. They also produce a family pantomime.
The Wilson, formerly known as Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum, was opened in 1899. It offers free admission, and has a programme of special exhibitions.
Essentials in Winchcombe Town Centre
- The Midcounties Co-Operative – 22-24 North St, Winchcombe, GL54 5PS
- Warner’s Budgens – Greet Rd, Winchcombe, GL54
- Vale & Hills Family Butchers – High St, Winchcombe, GL54 5LJ
- North’s Bakery – 10 North St, Winchcombe, GL54 5LH
- Tesco Superstore – Church Rd, Bishop’s Cleeve, GL52 8LR
- Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons and ASDA home delivery available.
- Abbey Private Hire – 07546 989643
- A Private Hire – 07540 437546
- Starline Taxis – 01242 250250
- Andycars – 01242 262611
- A 2 B Private Hire – 01242 580580
- Dial a Cab – 01242 242424
As a productive agricultural area, the Cotswolds is the ideal place to sample local produce and there are many farmers’ markets dotted across the region in the various market towns and villages. From locally produced cheese to speciality sausages, there is an extraordinary range of quality food created here. Take a morning out to explore one or more of the wonderful markets listed below.
The Stroud farmers’ market is one of the biggest and busiest farmers markets in the United Kingdom and is also known for being a bit of a celebrity haunt. While it has been featured by multiple cooking shows and major national publications, it has not lost its authenticity with all produce and crafts gathered or created within a 17-mile radius. It is also multi-award winning, scooping not one but two FARMA awards for Best Farmers’ Market and Radio 4’s Best Farmers’ Market in the country in 2010. The market has between 50 and 55 stalls depending on the season, including Cotswold cheeses, chutneys and preserves, speciality butchers, cooked food stalls, ice cream and certified organic traders. The market also has several special events throughout the year such as the apple day festivities in October, Christmas events in December and the occasional cooking demonstration from local celebrity chef, Robert Rees.
When: Every Saturday, 9am – 2pm
Where: Cornhill Market Place & Surrounding Streets, Stroud GL5 2HH
Named the best farmers’ market in Gloucestershire by Cotswold Life, the Cheltenham market has a variety of stalls offering produce including fruit, vegetables, preserves, cakes, cheeses, free-range meat and plants. In December this bustling market is joined by a 10-day Christmas market offering various crafts and gifts. It was established over 12 years ago and is enthusiastically supported by the local community.
When: 2nd and 4th Friday of the month, 9am – 3pm
Where: The pedestrianised area of the Promenade, outside Cavendish House or in front of the Long Gardens
Sitting beneath the medieval spires of the Church of St. John the Baptist, this charming market has a range of locally brewed beer, baking, fruit and vegetables, pies and game. All primary produce is grown in the surrounding area and secondary produce must be made locally with at least one ingredient coming from the surrounding area. Regular stallholders include Corinium Ales who recently won Best Farmers’ Market Stallholder in the Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards.
When: 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, 9am -1pm
Where: Cirencester Market Place
There has been a market in this Oxfordshire Cotswolds town since the 13th century and its medieval market square is now also the site of its monthly farmers’ market offering fresh, local food from the surrounding area. Stalls offer a variety of produce include baked goods, fruit, vegetables, meat, plants, preserves, honey, plants, beverages and dairy.
When: 3rd Saturday of the month, 8.30am-1.30pm
Where: Chipping Norton Market Plac
With between 18 and 20 stalls, this farmers’ market is one that offers an array of meat, vegetables, cheese, preserves, cakes and other produce. There are also a range of artisan craft stalls. In addition, most market days include live music giving it a festival vibe. The surrounding town is worth exploring with interesting shops and restaurants.
When: 4th Saturday of the month, 9am-1pm
Where: Mortimer Gardens, behind the Bus Station, Central Nailsworth