Trains depart London's Paddington Station several times a day for Stroud, the nearest railway station, 5km (3 miles) away. The trip takes from 1 1/2 to 2 hours, and you may have to change trains at Swindon. For rail information, call tel. 0845/748-4950 or visit www.nationalrail.co.uk. From Stroud, buses run to Painswick, some as frequently as every hour. Many taxis also wait at the Stroud railway station.
If you're driving from Cirencester, continue west along the A419 to Stroud, and then head north on the A46 to Cheltenham and Painswick.
The Painswick Tourist Information Centre is at the Painswick Library, Stroud Road (tel. 01452/813552; www.britainexpress.com/attractions.htm?attraction=1743), and is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm. These hours are true at least in theory, but the staff volunteers manning the office don't always show up. In that case, you can visit the more reliably open tourist office at Stroud, located in Subscription Rooms, George Street (tel. 01453/760960).
The Clipping Feast of Painswick, also known as the Clipping Ceremony, is an unusual, early medieval ceremony that anthropologists think may have begun in the dim Celtic prehistory of Britain. Every September, a month that coincides with the harvest ceremonies of pagans, adults and as many children as can be mustered hold hands in a circle around St. Mary's Anglican Church. The circle moves first one way, then the other, and the participants sing hymns and pray out loud in a celebration of thanksgiving. Participants and observers come from all over the region to take part in this important rite.
On Victorian Market Day, locals dressed in Victorian attire come into town from the neighboring villages. Shoppers meander through the streets, absorbing the festive atmosphere and purchasing handicrafts and other gifts. Food, based on old-fashioned recipes, is sold at various kiosks.
Contact the Tourist Information Centre for the exact day and schedule of these events.