Winchcombe is a town of 5,300 people (2019) in the Cotswolds. Winchcombe is a popular destination for walkers and history fans. With people often visiting the running Gloucestershire Warwickshire Heritage Railway steam train that connects it to Broadway and the Cheltenham Racecourse; and Sudeley Castle, the burial place of Queen Katherine Parr, that lies on its outskirts.
From Cheltenham, Winchcombe is a 7 mi (11 km) drive along the B4632.
Marchant's buses run the W1 and W2 from the Royal Well bus station in Cheltenham to Winchcombe and are reasonably frequent.
Parking is available around the town and isn't expensive.
- Back Lane car park, Back Ln, GL54 5PZ (next to Winchcombe Library). Charges apply M-Sa 8AM-5:30PM and Su 12:30-5:30PM. Only a few minutes' walk from the High Street. All day: £1.
- Bull Lane car park, Bull Ln, GL54 5HX. Charges apply 8AM-5:30PM. Also close to the High Street. Up to 1 hour: £1, up to 3 hours: £2, Over 3 hours: £4.00, motorbikes are free.
- 1 Belas Knap, GL54 5AL. A Neolithic barrow dating back to around 3,000 BC, making it one of the oldest structures in the UK.
- 2 Hailes Abbey, Hailes, GL54 5PB, ☏ . adults £4.40, children £2.60, concessions £4.00.
- 3 St. Peter's Church, Gloucester St, GL54 5LU, ☏ .
- 4 Stanway House and Gardens, Stanway, GL54 5PQ, ☏ . Jacobean manor house with gardens and a fantastic fountain, which is the tallest in Britain.
- 5 Sudeley Castle, GL54 5JD, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Historic fortified house/castle with a long and turbulent history. Visitors can visit parts of the castle itself which hosts many exhibits (including a display of all of Henry VIII's wives) or work their way around the extensive grounds surrounding it. Afterwards they can visit the cafe/restaurant or purchase a souvenir from the gift shop. (Admission as of 2019, online booking save 10%) Adult £16.75, child (3-15 years) £7.75, infants (under 3 years old) free, family £45.00 (2 adults & 2 children aged 3 - 15 years).
- A structure was built on what would later be called Sudeley Castle as far back as the Anglo-Saxon Princess Goda (1004-1027).
- The castle itself and many surrounding buildings such as the chapel was constructed in 1442 by Ralph Boteler, when he acquired the title Baron Sudeley from King Stephen. Unfortunately Boteler had allegiance to the Lancastrians, which meant Sudeley Castle was requisitioned by King Edward IV and given to his brother Richard Plantagenet, Duke of Gloucester and later King Richard III to plan for the Battle of Tewkesbury (which they'd later win). Henry VII, Richard III's successor inherited the property and gave it to his uncle Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford. Then Henry VIII and his then wife Anne Boleyn visited Sudeley Castle in 1535. His 6th and final wife, Catherine Parr died in the castle and was buried in the chapel, which is unusual for any monarch.
- In 1837, Sudeley Castle was bought by the Dent family, a glove magnate from nearby Worcester whose clientele include the royal family and the actors Daniel Craig and Jack Nicholson. Since 1972, it has been owned by Lady Ashcombe (the widow of the late Mark Dent-Brocklehurst) and her family. A 2007 BBC documentary Crisis at the Castle suggested there was a family feud over whether Lady Ashcombe should have moved out to the dowry house on the estate.
- 6 Winchecombe Museum (Folk & Police Museum), The Old Town Hall, High St, GL54 5LJ. M-Sa 10AM-4PM (April-October).
- 1 Hayles Fruit Farm, GL54 5PB, ☏ . Pick your own fruit in the summer (usually June or July), follow the Nature Trail (from Easter-October), do a spot of fishing or some clay pigeon shooting.
- 2 Gloucestershire Warwickshire Heritage Railway (GSWR), 10 The Chesils, Greet, GL54 5NW, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Heritage Railway (or GSWR) operates out of Winchcombe station in nearby Greet. The line runs through Toddington, Hayles Abbey Halt, Gotherington and the Cheltenham Race Course.
Winchcombe is surrounded by beautiful Gloucestershire countryside, with many walking trails passing through it.
Being a small Cotswold town, Winchcombe's shops are mostly convenience stores such as The Co-operative or independently owned businesses. The nearest large supermarket is the Tesco's in Bishop's Cleeve.
- Farm Shop, Hayles Fruit Farm, GL54 5PB. 9AM-5PM (closed on Mondays from January-March). Sells locally sourced produce including apple juice and cider that is made on-site.
- 1 Winchcombe Pottery, Broadway Rd, Greet, GL54 5NU, ☏ . M-F 8AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM, Su (May-Sept) noon-4PM. One of the oldest craft potteries in the country.
- Orchard Tea Room, Hayles Fruit Farm, GL54 5PB, ☏ . 9AM-5PM. A small cafe. Booking isn't essential unless you are travelling as a group of 6 or more.
Winchcombe has a few pubs and inns.
The town has its own brewery, Goffs Brewery; serving brews named after medieval military units such as Goffs Jouster (though this brand seems to have had a lukewarm reception ) due to the town's proximity to Sudeley Castle.
Winchcombe primarily offers B&Bs and rooms within pubs. However there are also self-catering cottages dotted around the town.
- Hayles Fruit Farm, GL54 5PB. Hayles Fruit Farm offer a campsite for tents, caravans and motorhomes. There is a showerblock and chemical waste disposal facilities.
- 1 The Lion Inn, 37 North St, GL54 5PS, ☏ . Inn with eight bedrooms. From £79.
- 2 Wesley House, High St, GL54 5LJ, ☏ . Su-F from £75, Sa from £145.
- Sudeley Castle Cottages. Sudeley Castle rents out 15 cottages in the area. All offer free Wi-Fi and complimentary entry tickets to Sudeley Castle in the price.
Despite being part of the Tewkesbury district, Winchcombe uses Cheltenham's telephone area code of 01242 (or +44 1242). After the area code, most phone numbers have a prefix of 602.
- Winchcombe Library, Back Lane, GL54 5PZ, ☏ . M 10AM-2PM, Tu-W 10AM-1PM and 2PM-5:30PM, F 10AM-1PM and 2PM-7PM, Sa 10AM-1PM, Th Su closed. Public library with free Wi-Fi and access to computers.
- Broadway – 9 mi (14 km) – another Cotswold town, known for its tall tower and the nearby Snowshill Manor
- Evesham – 11 mi (18 km) – town
- Burford – 20 mi (32 km) – another Cotswold town, known for its garden centre and antique shops
- Stow-on-the-Wold – 20 mi (32 km) – another Cotswold town, known for its antique shops and market
- Oxford – 40 mi (64 km) – city, known for its university and museums
- Tewkesbury – 11 mi (18 km) – town, known for its abbey and its eponymous battle in 1471