This town in England’s picturesque Cotswolds region is famous for regency architecture, pristine parks, lively shopping districts and horse racing.
Cheltenham is a lively spa town renowned for its handsome architecture, glorious parks, stylish shopping districts, festivals and sporting events. Cheltenham is in the heart of the Cotswolds, a picturesque region of meadows, hills and historic towns in south-central England. The town rose to prominence in the 1700s after the discovery of a natural spring, which attracted esteemed visitors such as King George III.
The focal points of Cheltenham are the tree-lined Promenade and fashionable Montpellier Walk. Find independent boutiques, eclectic restaurants and lively pubs inside graceful 19th-century buildings. Nearby, Imperial Square and Gardens is surrounded by colorful flower displays and Georgian houses. Relax in Montpellier Gardens, the setting for summer concerts and food and jazz festivals.
Visit local museums to learn about the town’s long history and famous sons. The Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum has ancient artifacts and celebrates local pioneers, including Antarctic explorer, Edward Wilson. Discover the life of revered composer Gustav Holst at the Holst Birthplace Museum. Enjoy an evening of music or theatrical entertainment at the Cheltenham Town Hall or century-old Everyman Theatre.
Cheltenham has numerous public parks. Centrally located Sandford Park features an ornamental garden, fountains and an outdoor swimming pool. A short walk from the town center is Pittville Park, with sprawling green lawns, a boating lake, aviaries, a golf course and skate park. Be sure to sample the medicinal spa water at the park’s architecturally impressive Pittville Pump Room.
Enjoy the thrill of horse racing at Cheltenham Racecourse. In March it’s the setting for one of the world’s most prestigious events, the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Festivals held here, such as June’s Wychwood Festival, welcome famous bands and musicians.
Although a fascinating town in its own right, Cheltenham is also a short drive from some of England’s other appealing destinations. Bath, Bristol and Birmingham are just over 50 miles (80 kilometers) away, easily reachable via trains and buses. Alternatively, board the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway for a steam train journey through the quaint towns and villages of the Cotswolds.