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Take a trip to Winchcombe

The Cheltonian discovers the tourist attractions thriving in this ancient Anglo-Saxon town.

Winchcombe is situated in a beautiful Cotswold valley midway between Broadway and Cheltenham (approx 15 minutes each away by car). The name Winchcombe means 'valley with a bend', and today the town still retains the street which curves gracefully along the 'combe'. During the 11th century, the town was briefly the county town of Winchcombeshire. The Anglo-Saxon saint St. Kenelm is believed to be buried in the town. In the Restoration period, Winchcombe was noted for cattle rustling and other lawlessness, caused in part by poverty. In an attempt to earn a living, local people grew tobacco as a cash crop, despite this practice having being outlawed since the Commonwealth. Soldiers were sent in on at least one occasion to destroy the illegal crop.

No visit to Winchcombe would be complete without a visit to Sudeley Castle and its beautiful gardens where Queen Katherine Parr, one of Henry VIII’s wives is entombed. Romantic ruins, award-winning gardens and one thousand years of fascinating history are among the many reasons to visit.

Known as the walking capital of the Cotswolds and with "Walkers are Welcome" status Winchcombe sits at the intersection of the Cotswold Way, the Gloucestershire Way, the Wardens Way, the Windrush Way and the new Winchcombe Way. When it comes to eating and drinking you will be spoiled for choice with a selection of top quality restaurants, including a Michelin Star venue and the famous Wesley House. There are wine bars, pubs, teashops, a brilliant fish and chip shop and Food Fanatics, an award winning deli. Winchcombe is a selfcontained market town that has all the shopping and businesses one would require to never have to leave the towns borders. From elegant clothing boutiques to florists and antique dealers, butchers who supply the some of the best homemade sausages, to artisan bakers, beauty salons, vets, a bank and of course not forgetting the town having its own schools, one can see why Winchcombe is such an attractive place to live.

The Winchcombe Country Show, which takes place on 26th August over the Bank Holiday weekend, is growing in popularity year-by-year. The procession starts the Show off in style. Everyone meets at Abbey Fields Community Centre - Back Lane at 11 a.m. ready to leave at 11.30 a.m. walking through Winchcombe to the Show. Happenstance Border Morris Dancers, Winchcombe Fire Engine & Vintage Tractors will lead the way.
The Flower Show classes in the marquee are the centrepiece of the Show and reflect both the traditional skills and innovative creativity of the exhibitors.

You do not have to be a local resident to enter, and there are plenty of people to help you on the day. There are sections for art, crafts, floral art, photography, wine, cookery, preserves, vegetables, fruit and flowers, and a wide variety of very popular junior classes. If you live locally, you can also enter a competition to display a window box or hanging basket at your home. (Entries for this by 19th July).

The Show appeals to locals and visitors of all ages with something for everyone from Punch & Judy to Morris dancing, bouncy castle, dress the Mummy, children’s Go Karts, fortune teller, street entertainers, face painting, children’s tattoos and raffle, with fabulous prizes. Visitors can enjoy craft stalls, stonewalling, woodcarving, Winchcombe Concert Brass Band and many stalls selling their wares.

The Winchcombe Country Show is also a big day out for our furry friends. Bring your dog to compete in the Dog Scurry; a great show of family fun to see how quickly your dog can leap the bales to retrieve the dummy, with a prize for the fastest dog. There is also the Novelty Dog Show, to see who has the waggiest tail, best looking six legs etc and for the more serious, the Dog Agility, with the dog completing the fastest round wining a rosette. All competitions are open to dogs of all shapes and sizes.

For the foodies amongst you, you will find plenty of irresistible homemade cakes in the tea tent, a licensed bar, pig roast, healthy eating refreshments, doughnuts, ice cream and much more. With a host of events and features aimed at the whole family, visitors will enjoy a unique day of entertainment, a multitude of have-a-go opportunities, loads to watch and lots to experience. And new for this year will be The
Sheep Show and It’s a Knock-out! If you would like to volunteer to work at the show, please contact Sarah Day on 01242 602395. For a full programme of events including the Sudeley Castle Fun Run on 25th August, please visit the Winchcombe Country Show’s website at: