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Once a Saxon settlement and then the site of a great Abbey


High Street
St Peter's Church
Sudeley Castle
Nearby Walks
Winchcombe was once an important Saxon settlement and during the middle ages a great Abbey stood here. Little remains of the Abbey now, but you can still walk the narrow streets admiring the assortment of picturesque stone cottages and buildings, many converted to shops, pubs and tea-rooms.
The High Street in particlular contains many pretty buildings, but as you stroll along, remember to look UP! as Winchcombe has some attractive timber frames and gables, plus a magnificent collection of Gargoyles on St Peter's church in the centre of the town. Winchcombe also has two interesting museums to explore, the Winchcombe Folk and Police Museum, and the Railway Museum.

Attractive buildings in Winchcombe.
Photo mick / Lumix

An antiques shop.
Photo mick / Lumix

Pretty timber frame and gables on Wesley House Restaurant.
Photo mick / Lumix

One of the Gargoyle's on the church.
Photo marsroverdriver
The immediate vicinty around Winchcombe also contains some fascinating buildings and attractions, including the remains of Hailes Abbey, which was one of the main centres of pilgrimages in Britain. Also the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway passes at nearby Greet Station.

Part of the remains of Hailes Abbey.
Photo garybembridge

Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Steam Railway.
Photo jennicatpink
Winchcombe is an ideal base for walkers as it sits on six long-distance footpaths: The Cotswold Way, the Gloucestershire Way, the Wychavon Way, St Kenelm's Trail, St Kenelm's Way, the Warden's Way and the Windrush Way. Winchcombe became a member of the Walkers are Welcome network of towns in 2009 and now holds a walking festival every May.

Photo Richard Cocks

Stanway House & Fountain

Photo Sue H J Hasker
Stanway House, near Winchcombe, is a Jacobean manor house, built in soft yellow stone leading up to triangular roofs and quaint chimneys. The majority of the furniture is original; it hasn't been outside the house's walls since the day it was made. Stanway's outbuildings are just as pretty as the manor. The gatehouse impresses with its symmetrical windows, and the unusual curves of its gables. Even the barn is spectacular, with its 14th century timber roof.
Stanway Watermill has also been recently restored to working condition. Just like always, it uses a waterwheel to power a pair of grinding stones. The public are free to watch the process - and buy the resulting product. Stanway's Water Garden is arguably England's finest. The fountain certainly is; it shoots water up 91 metres, using only the power of gravity. This makes it the tallest gravity fountain in the world.

Sudeley Castle

Photo garybembridge
Sudeley Castle is the property of Lord and Lady Ashcombe. The family still live there, but guided tours of their private apartments are conducted on certain days during the summer. Its most famous resident was Katherine Parr, a former queen and the sixth wife of Henry VIII. St. Mary's Chapel, on the castle grounds, contains her marble tomb. A dedicated exhibition displays books she wrote, love letters and a full-length portrait. There are other exhibitions in the former kitchen, stables and banqueting hall.
The gardens are maintained to an exceptionally high standard. They look much as they did in the past, when they had to be good enough for royalty to spend time in. Four queens - Katherine Parr, Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I - visited the centrepiece rose garden, which is why it's now known as the Queen's Garden. It has 70 varieties of old-fashioned rose, and in June it's nothing less than spectacular.
Visitor Information
Winchcombe Tourist Information Town Hall, High Street, Winchcombe, GL54 5LJ. Tel: 01242 602 925
Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway Operates April to December, weekends, Bank Holidays and some weekdays. Tickets cost around £12. Toddington Station, GL54 5DT. Tel: 01242 621 405
Hailes Abbey (NT) is open daily April to October, 10am to 5pm. Entry is FREE. Near Winchcombe, GL54 5PB. Tel: 01242 602 398
Stanway House & Fountain is open June to August, Tuesday and Thursday, 2pm to 5pm. Entry costs around £7. Stanway, near Winchcombe, GL54 5PQ. Tel: 01386 584 528
Sudley Castle is open daily April to October, 10.30am to 5pm. Entry costs around £11. Winchcombe, near Cheltenham, GL54 5JD. Tel: 01242 602 308

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