a station-by-station guide for UK tourist attractions

Cheltenham Spa

National Rail | station code CNM

Gloucestershire near Cotswolds Offers & Links

The spa town of Cheltenham was developed as a pleasure and health resort for wealthy visitors in the Regency period and many of the fine buildings remain. The Promenade in the town centre has an avenue of trees and colourful bedding plants. Cheltenham Spa Rail station is 1 mile from the town centre and Royal Well Bus Station. The 'Honeybourne Line' is a signposted traffic-free route to the town centre along the old railway line to Honeybourne, look for the sign on the right as you leave the station building.

TI The Wilson. Tel. 01242 237431. | | |

Buses to town centre: Bus D from Rail Station forecourt, 10 minutes journey, M-S every 10 minutes, Sun & BH every 30 minutes. Operated by Stagecoach.
Cheltenham attractions map

The Wilson 1 mile

Cheltenham's art gallery and museum with fine art, archaeology and local history, including an Arts and Crafts Movement collection. Exhibitions and events programme. Admission free.
Open TWThFSSu 1000-1800 (1600 Sun).

The Gardens Gallery 1 mile

A community art gallery for local artists to exhibit their work. Admission free.
Open please see website for current exhibition.

Holst Victorian House 1½ miles

The Regency terraced house where Gustav Holst, composer of The Planets was born in 1874. As well as telling the story of the man and his music, the house also shows how people lived in the past with a Victorian kitchen, Regency drawing room and Edwardian nursery. Personal belongings on display include Holst's piano.
Open please see website.

Gloucestershire-Warwickshire Railway by bus then ½ mile

A 16 mile standard gauge steam and diesel railway from Cheltenham Race Course to Broadway. Heritage Trail at Toddington. Events programme. Tearooms at Winchcombe and Toddington stations.
Open please see website for operating days and train times.
Bus Bus D from Cheltenham Spa Rail Station forecourt and town centre to Racecourse Park & Ride, then follow ½ mile signposted route along Racecourse internal roads to Cheltenham Racecourse station. 20 minutes journey from Rail Station (6 minutes from town centre), M-S every 10 minutes, Sun & BH every 30 minutes. Operated by Stagecoach.

National Trust Holidays
National Trust Holidays
National Trust Holidays

Hailes Abbey EH/NT by G-W Railway

Ruins of a Cistercian abbey founded in 1246. Museum with sculptures, stonework and other finds from the site. Medieval wall-paintings in the adjacent parish church. Owned by NT but managed and maintained by EH.
Open Apr-Oct, WThFSSu 1000-1700. See website for Nov-Mar. |
G-W Railway see above, trains stop by request at Hayles Abbey Halt (note spelling), ½ mile from the Abbey. See the guard in good time (before Winchcombe) to request a stop. When returning hold your arm out as the train approaches (like hailing a bus) - avoid waving as this may be mistaken for excitement at seeing a steam train!

Hailes Abbey map
Ordnance Survey Maps
Ordnance Survey Maps
Ordnance Survey Maps

Painswick Rococo Garden by bus then ½ mile

Planted as a flamboyant pleasure garden in the 1740s this is the only surviving garden in the English Rococo style, with long vistas, geometric patterns and architectural features. Restaurant.
Open Mar-Sep, WThFSSu 1000-1700, see website for Oct-Feb.
Bus 66 from Promenade (1 mile from Rail Station) to Painswick (first stop in Painswick or Church) then ½ mile walk. 26 minutes journey, M-S hourly, Sun & BH 2-hourly. Operated by Stagecoach. Buses also operate from Stroud.

The Cotswold Way National Trail passes through Painswick.

Painswick map
Cotswolds Hideaways
Cotswolds Hideaways
Cotswolds Hideaways

Cirencester by bus

Cirencester is a market town known as 'The Capital of the Cotswolds', it was the important Roman city of Corinium. The Abbey Grounds include a section of Roman wall and the site of the demolished 12th century Abbey is outlined with paving stones.
Read an in-depth Visitor Guide to Cirencester.
Bus 51 from Promenade (1 mile from Cheltenham Spa Rail Station) to Cirencester, 40 minutes journey. M-S hourly, Sun & BH 2-hourly. Buses return from The Forum. Operated by Stagecoach. Buses also operate from Kemble and Swindon.

TI Corinium Museum. Tel. 01285 654180. | |

Cirencester map

Corinium Museum by bus

The Corinium Museum has one of the finest and most extensive Roman collections in the country. Many exhibits are from Corinium (now Cirencester) which was Roman Britain's second largest city. Mosaics, coins, buried treasure, metalwork and other archaeological finds from the Cotswolds. The museum also covers Victorian Cirencester. Café. Exhibitions programme.
Open M-S 1000-1600, Sun 1400-1600, closes 1700 Apr-Oct.
Bus see Cirencester above.

New Brewery Arts by bus

A converted Victorian brewery housing a contemporary art gallery and craft shops with demonstrations. Café. Exhibitions programme.
Open M-S 0900-1700.
Bus see Cirencester above.

Cirencester Park by bus

Home to the Bathurst family, the extensive Park is open to the public free of charge. There are several follies in the Park.
Open Daily 0800-1700.
Bus see Cirencester above.

Cirencester Amphitheatre EH by bus then ½ mile

The massive earthwork remains of one of the largest Roman amphitheatres in Britain. Admission free.
Open Daily dawn-dusk.
Bus see Cirencester above, the Amphitheatre is ½ mile from the town centre.

Bourton-on-the-Water by bus

One of the most picturesque Cotswolds villages, Bourton-on-the-Water has several bridges over the River Windrush and is known as the 'Little Venice' of the Cotswolds.
Bus 801 from Royal Well Bus Station (1 mile from Cheltenham Spa Rail Station) to Bourton-on-the-Water High Street. 55 minutes journey, M-S hourly, Sun & BH 2 hourly. Operated by Pulhams Coaches. Buses also operate from Kingham and Moreton-in-Marsh.

Bourton-on-the-Water map

Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection by bus

Vintage cars and a large toy collection. Motorsports exhibition. Blacksmith's workshop.
Open Mar-Nov, Daily 1000-1800.
Bus see Bourton-on-the-Water above.

Model Village by bus

A small replica of the beautiful village of Bourton-on-the-Water built in local Cotswold stone.
Open Daily 1000-1800 (1600 Nov-Mar).
Bus see Bourton-on-the-Water above.

Birdland Park and Gardens by bus

A wide variety of birds including penguins, parrots, flamingos, owls and emus. Dinosaur trail. Play area. Café.
Open Daily from 1000, see website for closing times.
Bus see Bourton-on-the-Water above.

Dragonfly Maze by bus

A yew maze with a pavilion at its centre. As well as navigating the maze there are clues to solve to reveal a secret.
Open SSu 1000-1500.
Bus see Bourton-on-the-Water above.

Greystones Farm Nature Reserve by bus then ½ mile

This cattle farm on the outskirts of the busy village is a tranquil nature reserve with wildflower meadows and an archaeology walk. Tel. 01452 383333.
Open Any reasonable time.
Bus see Bourton-on-the-Water above.

Upper & Lower Slaughter by bus then walk up to 2 miles

The attractive villages of Lower Slaughter (1¼ miles) and Upper Slaughter (2 miles) are a pleasant walk from Bourton-on-the-Water. Follow the path from Bourton-on-the-Water Church, passing schools, then left onto Station Road to the A429 junction. Cross at the traffic lights and walk a few yards to the right then left onto a surfaced path (the 'Warden's Way') to Lower Slaughter.
Bus see Bourton-on-the-Water above.

For walking in the Cotswolds I recommend the Ordnance Survey Explorer map The Cotswolds which covers the area in great detail.

Cottages in the Cotswolds

Cottages in Lower Slaughter built
from the local Cotswolds stone

Ultimate Travel Club
Ultimate Travel Club

Stow-on-the-Wold by bus

Stow-on-the-Wold is a market town in the Cotswolds with many antique and craft shops. The large Market Square reflects the town's former importance at the height of the Cotswolds wool industry when huge sheep fairs were held. The town becomes very busy when Gypsy Horse Fairs are held in May and October on open fields a few minutes walk from the town centre.
Bus 801 from Royal Well Bus Station (1 mile from Cheltenham Spa Rail Station) to Stow-on-the-Wold Market Square. 60-75 minutes journey, M-S hourly, Sun & BH 2 hourly. Operated by Pulhams Coaches. Buses also operate from Kingham and Moreton-in-Marsh.

Stow-on-the-Wold map

Cotswold Way National Trail Guide

Cotswold Way Trailblazer Guide

Gloucester, Cheltenham & Stroud Map

The Cotswolds Explorer Map