Set above the River Isbourne, Winchcombe is arguably the hidden jewel in the Cotswolds crown. The town became prosperous from its Abbey (one of the largest Benedictine monasteries in England), its wool trade and as a producer of tobacco. Although the Abbey has gone there is still much to see of historic Winchcombe and the wealth of the town is reflected in many of the buildings, as well as in the surrounding countryside.
No visit to Winchcombe would be complete without seeing four of the most prestigious historical sites in the area. Sudeley Castle (home of Queen Katherine Parr up to her death in 1548), Hailes Abbey (a Cistercian House founded in 1246 and owned by English Heritage), Stanway House (a Jacobean manor house with a world-famous fountain) and Belas Knap (a Neolithic long barrow dating from approximately 3800 BC) all offer a fascinating insight into the life of our ancestors.
Known as the walking capital of the Cotswolds, Winchcombe sits at the intersection of the Cotswold Way, the Gloucestershire Way, the Wardens Way, the Windrush Way and the new Winchcombe Way. Alternatively, the GWR Steam Railway provides a fantastic fun day out for the family, running from Toddington through Winchcombe to Cheltenham Racecourse.
Winchcombe has a mouthwatering selection of top quality restaurants, a wine bar, pubs, tea shops and a contemporary delicatessen/coffee shop. So whether you want a quick snack or a leisurely meal you'll be spoilt for choice.
With a vibrant Music & Arts Festival in May/June, a Country Show in August and a Christmas Festival in December Winchcombe also has a busy cultural calendar.
Food & Drink
Winchcombe is fortunate to be blessed with a variety of places to eat and drink, with the following being just a selection of the options available:
- Restaurant 5 North Street (www.5northstreetrestaurant.co.uk): A small family run Michelin starred restaurant. The cooking at North Street brings together the elements of traditional British cooking with the more sophisticated ingredients and techniques of classic French cuisine;
- Wesley House (www.wesleyhouse.co.uk): Set in a 15th century Merchant's House, Wesley House's restaurant has been awarded an AA two star rosette and has developed a reputation for excellent food, elegant surroundings and exemplary service. The vibrant Wine Bar & Grill offers a lively atmosphere, with an extensive cellar and delicious dishes in a relaxed setting;
- Wine and Sausage at The White Hart Inn (http://wineandsausage.whitehartwinchcombe.co.uk): The White Hart Inn is a charming 16th Century inn, with the Wine & Sausage Restaurant at its heart. Open daily for breakfast, morning coffee & cakes, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and bar snacks.