Cheltenham Spa was designed as a pleasure and health resort for wealthy visitors in the 18th and 19th centuries. Drinking the local waters was seen as a fashionable way of maintaining health. The centre of the town is a conservation area and the famous Promenade and the elegant Regency houses, the gardens, squares and terraces are unchanged.
Cheltenham is well-known today for its diverse range of festivals. The Cheltenham Gold Cup held in March is part of the National Hunt Festival and is a high point in the British horse racing calendar. The famous cricket ground at Cheltenham College is the venue for the Cheltenham Cricket Festival, held in July. Cheltenham is also well represented in the world of the arts. It hosts The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival every year which brings together world famous writers and their readers. Other festivals include Jazz, Music, as well as poetry of a wide variety of types. The town is a good base for touring the nearby pretty villages of the Cotswolds, and accommodation and restaurants are plentiful.
Cheltenham insider information
Visit Cheltenham Racecourse and look round the exhibition which tells the story of steeplechasing and the Gold Cup winners since 1819. Find out more about the riders, trainers and all those royal connections.
Take the waters at the Pittville Pump Room. The ornate Pump Room overlooks Pittville Park and its sweeping lawns and is the perfect place to imagine the dances and the music of years gone by. Maybe you will feel healthier, too...
Did you know that Gustav Holst, composer of “The Planets” was born in Cheltenham? Visiting his birthplace takes you back to a Victorian terraced house preserved to look as it did in 1874, the year of Holst’s birth.
Scott’s disastrous last journey to Antarctica has continued to fascinate even more than 100 years later. Dr Edward Wilson was a member of the team who was one of the last to die with Scott in 1912. He came from Cheltenham and was well regarded by Scott, who wrote in his diary: “Wilson is a plucky man I do not know what we should do without him”. The Art Gallery and Museum tell the life story of this local man who became a national hero.