Transport/By public transport
These are buses which serve the Cheltenham area.
- Stagecoach bus D (Hatherley - Racecourse - Bishops Cleeve) runs from railway station to Clarence Street (near Promenade & Royal Well), every 10 minutes. The return bus back to the railway station departs from near McDonalds on High Street.
- Stagecoach buses 41, 42 and 42A (Cheltenham - Tewkesbury) run from Superdry Clothing on Clarence Street to Old Gas Works on Tewkesbury Road (near Gas Green), every 15 minutes. The Old Gas Works bus stop is easily spotted by the enormous out-of-town Tesco next to it. These buses also serve the Premier Inn motel on Tewkesbury Road.
- Stagecoach bus C, goes from McDonalds on Cheltenham High Street to the Old Gas Works every 15 minutes.
An all-day pass for all Stagecoach buses in Cheltenham costs under £4. For a small additional fee you can extend this to also cover the medieval city of Gloucester, only 6 miles away. Ask for a "Cheltenham Dayrider" or a "Cheltenham and Gloucester Dayrider" when you board the bus, and avoid paying in large denomination notes (they will usually give change for £5 or £10 notes, but sometimes not for £20 or larger). Note that there are a small number of other bus services run by other bus companies; they do not accept Stagecoach tickets.
Taxis and private hire
There are taxi ranks throughout town, the most popular ones being at the railway station, the coach/bus station and on the north end of Promenade.
- Starline - telephone 01242 250250 (international +441242250250 )
- Spa Tax - telephone 01242 807666 (international +441242807666 )
- A2B - telephone 01242 580580 (international +441242580580 )
Convenient train station:
- Cheltenham Spa CNM (1 mile / 1.5km)
A taxi from the railway station to the town centre, to most hotels or to the Gas Green venue will typically cost around £6. Alternatively, use Stagecoach bus service D directly from the railway station to the town centre, then take bus C/41/42 to the venue (see local buses section above).
Convenient coach services:
- Birmingham BHX (55 miles / 90km)
- London Heathrow LHR (90 miles / 145km)
Bristol and Cardiff airports are also candidates, but not as easy to get to/from as Birmingham and Heathrow. Avoid Gatwick, Luton and Stansted unless you really have lots of time for your journey.
If you are driving from London Heathrow, you will usually find it faster to take the M4 junction 15 to Swindon, and then the A419/A417 trunk road past Cirencester, as this is usually faster than going via M40 Oxford. See Transport/By car.
We often have a sufficiently large contingent travelling from Heathrow, that they hire a car and share the cost. Ask on the mailing list.
Grand Tribunal UK attracts a notable contingent from Scandinavia. Heathrow is the obvious choice, but there are a number of alternatives. We appreciate that Scandinavia is a large place - we know that Oslo is not near Copenhagen - but here are some suggestions that might make changes easier, or that Scandinavians might be able to get a train to:
- SAS Oslo to Manchester - then train to Cheltenham, 2-3 hours
- BMI Regional Gothenberg to Birmingham - then train, 1-2 hours
- SAS Copenhagen to Birmingham
- SAS Stockholm to Birmingham
- EasyJet Copenhagen to Birmingham
Why not Gloucestershire Airport?
Cheltenham does have its own airport, but the only scheduled civilian flights from Gloucestershire Airport at Staverton are to the Channel Islands. The Isle of Man service stopped in 2014.
Staverton is a short runway, essentially an airfield, not a full service airport. It can only accommodate small high-wing airliners (STOL, 60-70 seaters, typically propeller-driven, not large jets), small private craft and helicopters. You cannot land a full-sized jet there; you would crash into the motorway or Gloucester bypass before you came to a halt.
Staverton changed its name to Gloucestershire Airport but unfortunately that did not magic any extra services - or runway - into existence.
The irony is that this is the airport used to launch the world's first jet aircraft... yet you cannot land a modern jet airliner on it.
Why not Stanstead?
Stanstead offers great value for money, for the simple reason that it is quite difficult to get from there to anywhere other than London and Cambridge. You may need to get a train or coach to London in order to get a lift or a connecting service on to Cheltenham.
East-west travel across central England is made quite difficult by the rather steep Cotswold Hills being in the way. The only fully east-west motorway is the M4, which links London to Swindon, Bristol and Wales. The Great Western train line runs nearby along a similar route. However there is no east-west motorway to the west of England from Stanstead, Cambridge, Ipswich or anywhere else in the east of England. You have to go around Birmingham or London first.
Best airports for onward public transport
You can easily get a direct coach from Heathrow LHR to Cheltenham. National Express offer a direct coach service every 2-3 hours for around £20 each way. You can also get an indirect train, change at either Reading, Swindon or Paddington, but trains near London can be expensive.
You can also easily get a train from Birmingham Airport (the train station is called Birmingham International), change at Birmingham New Street and then to Cheltenham Spa railway station. The fare is around £25 return. National Express also do a coach service, which changes at Birmingham Coach Station, but the change is very slow and you could spend a couple of hours stuck at the coach station.
Bristol airport has no railway station, but you can get an indirect coach. National Express charge around £12 each way and you will need to change at Bristol Coach Station, and the change tends to be an acceptable half hour or so with frequent alternatives. We also tend to have quite a few attendees from the south-west of England, so you stand a good chance of being able to get a lift from Bristol Airport, although it is a few miles from the motorway. There is also a transfer bus from Bristol airport to Bristol's main railway stations, from where it is easy to get a train to Cheltenham.
If you decide to go by coach or train, I strongly recommend booking at least two weeks in advance and allowing plenty of time to transfer/change. Coaches get full. Train tickets are much, much more expensive on the day, than in advance.