We have developed a helium gas flow cryostat for use on synchrotron tender to hard X-ray beamlines. Very efficient sample cooling is achieved because the sample is placed directly in the cooling helium flow on a removable sample holder. The cryostat is compact and easy to operate; samples can be changed in less than 5 min at any temperature. The cryostat has a temperature range of 2.5-325 K with temperature stability better than 0.1 K. The very wide optical angle and the ability to operate in any orientation mean that the cryostat can easily be adapted for different X-ray techniques. It is already in use on different beamlines at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), ALBA Synchrotron Light Facility (ALBA), and Diamond Light Source (DLS) for inelastic X-ray scattering, powder diffraction, and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. Results obtained at these beamlines are presented here.