BlogEventsWartime in the Cotswolds - 25th/26th April 2020

Wartime in the Cotswolds - 25th/26th April 2020




Owing to the ongoing Coronavirus issue, and following the latest government advice, the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway has taken the decision to cancel the 2020 Wartime in the Cotswold event. Refunds for tickets purchased via our website will be automatically processed.  People who have booked via other means will be contacted individually. We apologies for the disappointment and appreciate your understanding.


We invite you to join us


Come and visit our nostalgic 1940s weekend for all the family at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway. 2020's event will have an emphasis on the Home Front. Transport yourself back to September 1940 and imagine you are waiting for a train at a small station on the Great Western Railway. During that time we had to endure bombing raids on nearly every city, for that reason “Operation Pied Piper” was launched to evacuate children by train from cities into the countryside away from targets, soldiers are going back to barracks and aircrew are heading off to airfields in the South and West. "Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag, and smile, smile, smile."


Life in a typical Cotswold village would have seen the Women's Land Army working on the farms. Men joining the Local Defence Volunteers, becoming Air Raid Wardens or joining the Auxiliary Fire Service. The Women's Institute, very much part of village life, saw the women knitting and making jam. The Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, WVS, and the Red Cross all did their bit for the war effort. The European part of the Second World War lasted six long years from 1939 to 1945.


Members of the public are encouraged to attend the weekend in British 1940's period dress, either military or civilian.


Firearms of any sort, replica or de-activated will NOT be allowed on site unless authorised in advance by the organisers.


The name of our event "Wartime in the Cotswolds" was determined by the Railway from its inception 8 years ago as an event to depict the local atmosphere and conditions. Therefore we do not hold mock battles, and German uniforms, Nazi insignia or any other depiction of enemy forces will not be allowed on site.


Travel on a train between Cheltenham Race Course Station and Broadway on this beautiful heritage railway line, stopping to look at the exhibits and entertainment on offer at Gotherington, Winchcombe and Toddington stations.


Dogs are welcome on the railway, but we would like to politely point out that this is a very busy event, with packed trains and loud noises, and we would recommend that you think about leaving your dog at home.


Disabled parking will be in the field on the east side of the railway using space set aside adjacent to platform 2. Cars carrying people with physical disabilities will be able to drop their passengers off outside the gate on the west side of the railway and then go to the disabled spaces in the field.



We are most fortunate to be able to offer a camping facility for this event.


Camping is on a first come first served basis and is available to Tents, Caravans and Motorhomes.


Camping is available adjacent to Toddington Station.  Camping opens Friday 24th April at 12:00 and all vehicles, etc. must vacate the site by Monday 27th April by 12:00. We respectfully ask that all campers respect these times and dates. There will be drinking water, toilet rinse and emptying available in the field.


Black sacks will be provided and we ask that you take your rubbish home for disposal.


There is no electricity. This is a delightful greenfield site and there is no outdoor lighting.


Re-enactors, vehicle owners and  traders wishing to camp please complete  your event application form (see bottom of this web page) and submit it all to your organiser in the usual way.


Page Quick-links

Use these links to navigate around the Wartime page:

General Public Camping Form
Tickets Timetable What's Happening
Getting to us Opening Times Saturday Dance


What to expect

A light-hearted look at life on a Railway in the West of England. As you travel the line, you will be transported back to wartime Britain by Re-Enactors and Entertainers in period costume. At stations there will be vintage vehicle displays, trade stands, music and dancing with a 1940's theme. Meet the LDV (Home Guard) and glimpse life on the Home Front during 1940. King George VI, Churchill and Monty will be with us throughout the weekend.


It is even possible that you will see one of Britain's historic world war two wartime aircraft overhead at some time during the weekend (subject to weather conditions and availability). Plenty to see and do for all the family.



Because of the popularity of this event we have put together a Special Wartime Timetable that includes early steam services from Cheltenham Race Course and Broadway Stations. These will both depart at 09.40hrs. Visitors are encouraged to make use of these services as later trains may be very busy with standing room only at times. In the evening we have added a later last train from Toddington to Cheltenham Race Course, leaving at 17.00hrs, to allow visitors to make the most of the day's entertainment.


In addition to the trains, a classic bus service will depart from Cheltenham Race Course on both days to take visitors directly to the Toddington Station.


Trains will not be stopping at Hayles Abbey Halt during the weekend.



Tickets for the event include all-day-long "rover travel" along the full length of the GWSR, short trips on the narrow gauge railway at Toddington and all entertainment except the Saturday evening dance. On-line sales will close 7 days before the event; sales of daily tickets will be available on the day from all stations (except Gotherington).


Ticket Types and Prices


Type of Ticket

One Day On the Day

One Day In Advance Online

Two Day in Advance Online

Adults £26 £22 £40
Senior (aged 65+) £24 £20 £36
Children (aged 5-15) £11 £10 £18
Family Ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children) £63 £54 £98
  • You can save money and avoid the queues at the booking office on the day by buying your tickets online in advance.
  • Please note £1 postage will be added to your order when you purchase your Wartime in the Cotswolds tickets online in advance.
  • TWO DAY TICKETS are ONLY AVAILABLE in ADVANCE and ONLINE. They cannot be purchased on the day.
  • Day dated rover tickets for dogs, charged at £3.00 each for each day, cannot be ordered online with wartime tickets, and should be purchased on the day at our booking office.


Please note that entry to all stations and associated facilities (shops, cafés etc) on the GWSR will be by ticket only. There will be no free site entry.


Visitors will be issued with an ID card, which could be asked for at any time and place - don't forget there is a war on.


Follow Us

Facebook Icon Please follow us on FACEBOOK by clicking on the logo for the latest information on the event.

The Quirky Parent Blog Icon Also, read what author and blogger Claire Potter wrote following her visit in 2015 by clicking on the logo. Claire is a freelance writer for The Guardian, specialising in writing about unusual and quirky places to go, with things to do with kids.




Telephone            01242 621405                     lines open 10:00am - 4:00pm


What's happening where

Once again there is a full schedule of activities happening at key locations along the railway this year. Download our printable Schedule of Events for all the details.   WARNING - WATCH OUT FOR THE SPIVS AND SPIES. They may be anywhere at any time.



See the display of 1940s vehicles, the Oxfordshire Home Guard Unit and the Forever 40's Group. The Broadway Station Refreshment Room and toilets. There will also be a classic bus operating between the station and Broadway village.



Located at Toddington will be the main exhibits, the entertainment marquee, traders, WW2 memorabilia, and narrow gauge railway. World War II tank, and Military and Civilian Vehicles. The Gardeners' Arms Beer Bus will be on hand for the supply of liquid refreshments. Hot food, drinks and light refreshments will be available at The Flag and Whistle café. The station has modern toilets, with baby changing facilities and a children's play area.



The GWSR shop on the platform will be open with lots of gifts for all ages, plus light refreshments will be available there.  Modern toilets, with baby changing facilities, are available on the platform.  There is extensive free parking at Cheltenham Race Course Station. There will be an early morning shuttle bus from Cheltenham Race Course Station to Toddington, to reduce overcrowding on the trains at approx 10:15am.



Gotherington Station will be open for this special event by kind permission of Bryan and Savita Nicholls. Exhibits will include a Burnt-Out House display and World War II Armour. Ride the pump trolley and see the Northampton Home Guard and The Royal Warwickshire Regiment. There will be light refreshments on sale and portable toilets available. The station is accessible only by GWSR train. 



See the Army Field Hospital, and The Gloucesters. Refreshments will be available at the Coffee Pot café on Platform 1.  The RAF plotting room will be on Platform 1 in the Tim Mitchell Building.


Saturday only, there will be a free vintage bus service running from Winchcombe Station to Winchcombe Town.


Getting to Wartime in the Cotswolds


By Car

Free general car parking is only available at two locations: Cheltenham Race Course (GL50 4SH) and Toddington Stations (GL54 5DT). There is no parking at Winchcombe or Gotherington Stations. Special provision will be made to accommodate disabled visitors in our car parks.


Toddington Station is an ideal joining point for visitors from the Midlands, being just 15 minutes from Junction 9 of the M5. Free parking will be signed in the field off Stow Road on the east side of the train station, with direct access to the booking office and platforms.


Cheltenham Race Course Station is the southern terminus of the GWSR, and is the most convenient joining point for visitors from Cheltenham, Gloucester and the south. The station and our car park are within the grounds of the Racecourse along the internal access road and are signposted from the roundabout at the main entrance to the Racecourse. There is ample free car parking next to the station. 


Broadway Station (WR12 7DF) is situated on the western edge of the village. There is NO parking at the station itself (other than just two Blue Badge disabled spaces) but there is a newly built council-owned Pay & Display car park near the station just off Station Road with 89 places - £5 for the day - however visitors will get £3 off one of their tickets if buying on the same day (please note, this does not include tickets purchased in advance as they are already discounted). There is another council-owned and operated Pay and Display car park at Childswickham Road (there is no money off ticket prices for parking at this one though).


By Public Transport

See our Public Transport web page for details.  As always, you are advised to check with the transport operator before planning your journey.


Opening Times

Broadway, Toddington, Winchcombe, and Cheltenham Race Course Stations will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 09:00 to 17:30.



With the large increase in passenger numbers, as well as unfamiliar sounds, movement and smells, we are finding that dogs are becoming distressed. We therefore advise you to leave them at home wherever possible. Dogs that do come need a ticket costing £3 each. Dogs may travel in standard class carriages and compartments. They are not, however, allowed in First Class or in the buffet cars, and must not sit on any seats or tables in the carriages (even on owners' blankets). Assistance dogs travel free of charge and may travel First Class. 


Saturday Evening Dancedance

In the heated Entertainment Marquee on Saturday 25th April 2020, start time 19:30 to 23:00.


Dance the night away to Jackson Sloane and The Rhythmtones.


Tickets for the dance are £10:00 available on a first-come, first-served basis only through the GWSR web site.



Application Forms

We have now removed the application form for Re-enactors from the webpage because of the large number of applications already received.

Conditions of Entry

Public Camping



Vehicle Owners

Wartime in the Cotswolds - 25th/26th April 2020