School and Playgroup Visits

Please note that we start running weekend services in March but that there are no mid-week steam trains until the start of the Summer Term. However, it may be possible to take out our diesel railcar for school special visits during March.


We are receiving increasing numbers of group bookings from schools, tour operators and private groups, and some dates in 2018 are already fully booked. To avoid disappointment, if you are considering a school booking this year, we recommend you contact our school bookings team as soon as possible. We will always do our best to help but on occasions we may have to offer alternative times or dates. Thank you for your understanding.


The GWSR welcomes school groups of all sizes and all ages. We can provide fantastic learning experiences for children from reception classes through to those studying for their GCSE exams. You can enhance learning across the curriculum, including:


  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • History
  • Geography
  • Science
  • Art
  • Music


For some children this will be their first visit to a railway and for others it may be their first sight of a steam locomotive. Our activities aim to combine education with enjoyment and we try to tailor the visit to meet a school's specific requirements. As well as general learning for all ages, we have a World War II Evacuation experience suited to Years 3 to 5 which you can find out about below.

School group


For the autumn and winter we can offer children from Reception through to KS2 a day out on the Railway, with a train ride in our diesel railcar and winter-themed activities to fit with your current classroom work. In December these can have a Christmas focus. For more details of a typical visit, click on the Foundation and KS1 link below. To discuss all of your requirements and to book please e-mail us at



Children of the train

In the summer we will be offering Teddy Bears' Picnic days for Playgroups and Reception class groups.  The day includes a trip on the steam train, teddy bear related activities, plus the opportunity to bring your lunch and join in the picnic at Winchcombe Station (indoors if it's wet, but otherwise out on the grass picnic area), making a full school day out for the children. 


To discuss all of your requirements and to book please e-mail us at

For children in Foundation and KS1, it is an opportunity to experience a ride on a train - something they may not be used to. For safety reasons we believe the ratio of children to adult should be in the region of 4 to 6 for each adult. There will always be volunteers working alongside the teachers ready to answer any questions about the railway. To discuss your requirements and to book please e-mail us at



Boarding a train

KS2 children and older school groups can enjoy a train journey to enhance their studies of a variety of subjects in the curriculum. They can travel by steam train or diesel railcar as a learning experience and may wish to pay supervised visits to the historic signal box and the weighbridge. During their visit, they may learn more about the history of the line, why it was built and why it initially closed down, and of course there are numerous opportunities to learn about how a steam engine works, how a tunnel is built, and so much more. For further details and to book please e-mail us at


Primary school pupils are taken back to the dark days of 1940 for a steam train Evacuation Experience to 'the safety of the countryside'  and to learn about wartime life. This is a joint venture with the Cheltenham Wilson Museum's Education Department and it includes a variety of activities such as a Museum presentation using genuine artefacts, fire fighting practice, air raid etc. This is particularly suited for Years 3 to 5. For more details, including forthcoming dates, click here.


Children with Special Needs are also welcome at the GWSR. Our stations at Toddington, Winchcombe and Cheltenham all have accessable parking and toilet facilities. We have a specially modified carriage with easy access for those in wheelchairs which has space for all to sit together in the main body of the coach. Again, we can provide activities appropriate to the needs and stage of the children. For further details and to book please e-mail us at

For your visit to the railway, teachers will need to conduct a Risk Assessment. For your convenience, we have prepared a standard risk assessment form which will help you with this process. To download it, click here.


Children waiting for a train

If any of your pupils have disabilities you may wish to look at our Accessibility page.


To see what other schools have said about us, please go to our School Reports page.