BlogEventsWartime in the Cotswolds - 27th & 28th April 2019

Wartime in the Cotswolds - 27th & 28th April 2019


We invite you to join us


Come and visit our nostalgic 1940's weekend at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway. 2019'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. Children are being evacuated, 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 Gloucestershire Federation of the Women's Institute had been requested by the Government to grow in this County 25 ton of onions and 15 ton of outdoor tomatoes. The Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, WVS, and the Red Cross all did their bit for the war effort.


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 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.


Please  note that contrary to recent articles in the railway press, Talyllyn Railway’s locomotive ‘Douglas’ will not be visiting for our Wartime event.


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.


Camping for this event is available adjacent to Toddington Station. First come first served. There will be Drinking Water, Camping Rubbish Disposal, (please keep this to a minimum) and Toilet rinse and emptying available in the field but there is no electricity. This is a greenfield camping location and there is no outdoor lighting. For Public camping please use this form to apply.   Re-enactors, vehicle owners and  traders wishing to camp please complete Page 2 of 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:

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.


In addition to a large collection of military vehicles and jeeps, a "Star Attraction" attending this year's Wartime in the Cotswold event will be the Replica Spitfire. It will be positioned in the car park at Toddington Station. This is a unique experience as this Spitfire, EN398, is the only full size replica Spitfire in the world. It is transported by road to events and has a full original cockpit and working Merlin engine. THE MACHINE WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR YOU TO SIT IN, either with the engine running or not. To book your turn for the Spitfire Experience you will need to go to and select one of the available timeslots. We would strongly advise that if you do want to take up this chance, you book as soon as possible as there is only a limited number of slots available. PLEASE NOTE: purchasing a ticket to sit in the Spitfire cockpit does not include admission to the event.


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).




Due to popular demand 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 addition to the trains, a classic bus service will depart from Cheltenham Race Course at 10.15hrs and 10.45 hrs on both days to take visitors directly to the Toddington entertainment area.


Trains will not be stoping 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 the stations.


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 60+) £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.


Buy Event Tickets Now


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.


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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. Brand new for 2019 will be the Broadway Station Refreshment Room. 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, 1940's hair and beauty salon, and narrow gauge railway. Exhibits will include a replica Spitfire with working engine (see above for details), a World War II tank, a Roadworks Display with Steamroller 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. There will be entertainment by Kitten von Mew (Saturday) and a Ukulele Band (Sunday). The GWSR Griddle will serve hot bacon baps and burgers, teas and coffees from early in the morning to about 2.00pm. Also, visit the Allies Living History Group. Modern toilets, with baby changing facilities, are available on the platform.  There is extensive free parking at Cheltenham Race Course Station.



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. There will be light refreshments on sale and portable toilets available. The station is accessible only by GWSR train. 



Although there is no car parking at Winchcombe Station, it will be possible for visitors arriving on foot to buy a ticket and enter the event there. Also, parking will be available at Winchcombe school, GL54 5LB, which is just 100 m from the station.


See the Army Field Hospital with Dentist Exhibition, the RAF Operations Room demonstrations and a Home Front Rationing Display. Refreshments will be available at the Coffee Pot café on Platform 1 and in the Tin Hat Club on Platform 2 from about 10.00am to 4.45pm. Toilets, with baby changing facilities, are available on Platform 1. There will be exhibits, including the RAF plotting room on Platform 1 in the Tim Mitchell Building.


> Latest News - Bomb Damage. Our Tin Hat Club has suffered bomb damage and cannot be opened this year. But there is no need to panic. Visitors at Winchcombe in need of liquid sustenance should proceed in an orderly manner to platform 1 where staff at the Coffee Pot Café will be pleased to serve you.


Getting to Wartime in the Cotswolds


By Car

Free car parking is only available at 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. 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 car park are within the grounds of the racecourse and are signposted from the roundabout at the main entrance to the racecourse. There is ample free car parking. 


Broadway Station (WR12 7DF) is situated on the western edge of the village. There is NO parking at the station itself (other than a small number of 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).


Public Transport

There are some great alternatives for getting to the four GWSR main stations using public transport.  As always, you are advised to check with the transport operator before planning your journey.


Marchant's Coaches, for enquiries call 01242 257585 or 01242 257714.


Stagecoach, for enquiries telephone 0871 200 22 33


Johnsons Coaches, for enquiries telephone 01564 797 070


NN Cresswell, for enquiries call 01386 48655 (8am - 5pm Mon-Fri)


Cheltenham Race Course Station GL50 4SH

The nearest mainline railway station to the GWSR is Cheltenham Spa. Stagecoach services D and E operate from Monday to Saturday from the forecourt of Cheltenham Spa railway station to Cheltenham Race Course Park & Ride, with a bus every 10 minutes.


The Park & Ride is about a half a mile walk to the GWSR Cheltenham Race Course station. The walk is along the racecourse internal road, and is sign-posted. Our booking office is at road level, whilst the platforms and main station buildings are reached by a slope. Visitors who prefer not to walk are advised to either use a taxi or to use Winchcombe or Toddington station instead.


On Sundays and Bank Holidays, Stagecoach service D operates half-hourly.


Winchcombe Station GL54 5LD

Winchcombe Station is situated in the village of Greet and is served by the Marchant's Coaches 606 bus service Monday to Sundays, as well as their W1 and W2 services Mondays to Saturdays. See the timetables here. The buses depart from the Royal Well bus station, Cheltenham Spa. Passengers should get off the bus stop opposite Winchcombe Station.


Toddington Station GL54 5DT

Toddington is served by the Marchant's Coaches 606 bus service from the Royal Well bus station, Cheltenham Spa, Mondays to Saturdays and the 606S on Sundays. See the timetables here. Passengers should get off at Toddington Roundabout. There are about six buses a day to Toddington. You may need to change buses from the W1 or W2 to the 606 at Winchcombe.


Broadway Station

Broadway station is located on the western edge of the village, a 15 minute walk from the centre. Broadway is served by the NN Cresswell’s Rural 4 bus service from Evesham Bus Station (Stand E), Mondays to Saturdays, Johnsons Excelbus Service 1, and Marchants Coaches 606S Service from Stratford-Upon-Avon and Chipping Campden. Further details of bus services in Broadway are available on the Visit Broadway Bus Services web page. Please check the bus companies’ timetables for details.


Opening Times

Broadway, Toddington, Winchcombe, Gotherington 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 27th April 2019, start time 19:30 to 23:00.


Dance the night away to JB Swing Band.


Tickets for the dance are £11:00 available on a first-come, first-served basis only through the GWSR web site.



Buy Dance Tickets Now


Application Forms

Conditions of Entry




Vehicle Owners

Public Camping

Wartime in the Cotswolds - 27th & 28th April 2019