Adventures around Cheltenhamwith PlusBus

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Elegantly sprawling with its Georgian terraces, on the picturesque fringes of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham combines the urban pleasures of shopping, eating out and visiting museums with easy access to some spectacular countryside. Add PlusBus when you buy a train ticket to Cheltenham Spa and you can take your pick of hilly walks, cultural outings, a collection of vintage aeroplanes and a whole lot more.

  • County: with PlusBus
  • Great for: architecture | arts | aviation heritage | flowers and gardens | hill walking | historic buildings | scenic buses | Walks |
  • Refreshments: lots of great cafes, restaurants and pubs.
  • Please note: researched/updated in March 2024. If anything’s changed or you have more tips to share, do get in touch: features@goodjourney.org.uk
  1. 3. Cotswold Way

    The 100-mile Cotswold Way is one of England’s great National Trails. Undulating through the Cotswold hills, it passes towns and villages, forests and valleys. The trail loops around Cheltenham with some incredible panoramas across the town from Charlton Kings Common. Golden gorse-fringed valleys, bluebells woods and rolling green hills: this is classic Cotswold countryside and really worth seeing.

    • One great thing about not driving is that you don’t need to get back to a parked car. Your PlusBus ticket can take you out into the beautiful countryside around Cheltenham with fabulous views from the bus windows and even better ones after a short scenic climb.
    • This roughly-three-mile stretch of the glorious Cotswold Way starts from one bus stop and ends near another, taking in one of the highlights of this long-distance route. It starts from Seven Springs, where the walk descends to a main road and immediately sets off again up a lane on the far side.
    • So, how do I get to Seven Springs by bus? Bus 51 leaves from Cheltenham’s Promenade (Stop 1) opposite the striking Neptune fountain. The journey to Seven Springs takes 18 minutes.
    • Look out of the bus window to see elegant Imperial Square and Montpelier Gardens, surrounded by the classic Georgian terraces. Next up is Cheltenham College with a neo-gothic chapel and big playing field. The bus rolls on past more parks and genteel houses with wrought iron balconies of arts-and-crafts-style rustic porches. Through the village of Charlton Kings and, just past the Clock Tower pub, the bus officially enters the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
    • From Seven Springs bus stop, you can see the Cotswolds Way coming steeply down the hill behind you. But you are heading the other way: cross the road and follow the sign right down a country lane, which soon starts to climb…
    • Beyond Charlton King’s Common, go through the gate and turn right on a stony path, leaving the Cotswold Way and leading downhill by a fence. Keep straight across a cycle trail and keep to the lower left-hand path, curving right downhill.
    • An old lime kiln stands at the foot of the path – one of many in the area. Walk past the lime kiln and take the middle path, leading down between a wall and fence. Follow this path, winding down to a lane and then follow the lane down to a road and turn right down into Leckhampton with a choice of bus stops, pubs and shops. Bus L runs back into Cheltenham roughly hourly.
    • For more car-free adventures in the area, see our car-free guide to the Cotswolds and our PlusBus tour of Gloucester.