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Cheltenham

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Cheltenham[1][2] is a historic spa town in England, which started its development in the early 1700's with the discovery of healing waters. It became very popular after the visit of King George III in 1788, and developed further. You cannot take the waters in Cheltenham, but you can visit the Pump Room to get a feeling for the ambience.

Cheltenham is now probably most famous for the Gold Cup horse race which takes place in mid-March every year. You'll need to book early to find a room, possibly as early as the previous year. Many people accept rooms anywhere within about a 50 mile radius.

Understand[edit]

A wealthy town for centuries,Cheltenham still retains its regal status. Laced with wonderful regency architecture which glimmer in summer days,with its gorgeous historic shopping areas and wonderful parks,its an town which will not disapoint.

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

Frequent rail links to London Paddington, Bristol and the south and Birmingham and the north. The station is a little outside the metropolitan area. There is a regular bus service (D) or an easy walk through Montpellier into the centre (15-20 minutes). It's too far to walk if mobility is an issue, so take a taxi.

By car[edit]

The M5 reaches Cheltenham from the North and South and the A40 from the East (from Oxford) is also a useful transport link. Parking is rarely a problem now in Cheltenham, but the one way systems can sometimes get a little confusing. With this in mind a good option would be to use the Park and Ride facility National Park and Ride Directory [3]
If you are planning a day at the races Cheltenham, has its own Racecourse Park and Ride [4] facility. Alternatively, you can combine the races with a visit to the classic Cotswold town of Winchcombe and take a steam train from there to the racecourse [[5]. There are special racegoer trains in Gold Cup week.

By bus[edit]

There are buses from Cirencester, Stroud and other local villages to Cheltenham once an hour. National bus services are also available. National Express stops at the Royal Well station (behind The Promenade) for easy links to London Heathrow and beyond. It is not possible to buy a ticket at the station outside of office-hours, so purchase online or by telephone.

Get around[edit]

Taxis[edit]

Taxis are fairly reliable. If you flag a taxi down or get one from the taxi rank you will be charged from the meter, whereas if you book with a taxi company you will be charged considerably less. Most locals use taxis at night as far as the surrounding villages as night-buses are few (apart from a regular link to Gloucester). At night taxis wait along The Promenade (it can be very busy at pub-closing times).

Buses[edit]

The main bus company is Stagecoach [6] which operates a number of buses around the town, mainly on routes with letters rather than numbers. The D bus goes from the station through the town centre to the racecourse and on to Bishop's Cleeve. A single from the town centre to the station costs £1.50, and a day ticket for all the stagecoach services within Cheltenham (Megarider) costs £3.00.

See[edit][add listing]

  • The broad, tree-lined Promenade and its continuation in Montpellier Walk (look for the caryatids) and Montpellier Street, the town's smart shopping streets (the chain stores are mercifully elsewhere, in the High Street.
  • Imperial Gardens (off the Promenade) with its colourful display of summer flowers.
  • Pittville Park, laid out in the early 19th century as the centre of the then-new residential area of Pittville. The park is arranged round an artificial lake, with Pittville Pump Room on the hillside at the north-western edge. The Pump Room is open for free visits to see the fine interior and water tasting when it is not being used for events or weddings.
  • Go for a drink at The Rising Sun Hotel. It's a bar/hotel at the top of Cleeve hill overlooking Cheltenham. If you get there for sunset the views of Cheltenham are spectacular.
  • Use the town as a touring base [7] - it's very much part of the Cotswolds.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Test the waters (and go to concerts) at the Pittville Pump Room [8] (10 minutes walk north of High Street)
  • Visit the Holst Birthplace Museum [9], where the composer Gustav Holst was born in 1874.
  • Visit the Art Gallery and Museum [10] on Clarence Steet. Its collection of furniture and other pieces by Cotswold-based Arts and Crafts Movement craftsmen such as Ernest Gimson and Edward Barnsley is particularly good. Currently closed until 2013.
  • See a production at the Everyman [11] or Playhouse [12].
  • Go shopping on the Promenade and in the elegant Montpellier area
  • Visit the heritage Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway [13] which runs steam-hauled trains between Cheltenham Racecourse and Toddington most weekends throughout the year except in January, February and early March (it re-starts for Gold Cup week), and most weekdays in summer. It often has notable visiting engines, such as the Great Western Railway 'City of Truro' which was the first in the world to exceed 100mph, in 1904.

Events[edit]

  • Gold Cup horse racing [14]. March.
  • International Jazz Festival (first week of May)
  • Cheltenham Science Festival (early June)
  • Cheltenham International Festival of Music (3 weeks in July)
  • Fringe Festival (at the same time as the Festival of Music)
  • Cheltenham Cricket Festival (Starts late July or Early August)
  • Cheltenham Festival of Literature (October)
  • Walk the Line music festival (October) [15].
  • Wychwood Festival of music (May)

Buy[edit][add listing]

Montpellier and The Suffolks areas have unique shops, whilst The Promenade has the comparison goods. The High Street and Lower High Street are where you find all the usual chain-stores. Regent Arcade and Beechwood Place shopping malls are popular (both High Street) but limited in unique attractions.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

  • Pittville Gates. A row of popular fast-food rather than one single restaurant. Located on the nearest edge of Pittville Park. Very handy for walking back to the town from the races. Marmaris (Pizza, Kebab, Burgers) are always fresh and friendly. Chinese, Indian and British all available along the same row.
  • Wetherspoon [16] have two pubs near the High Street, The Bank House, 15-21 Clarence Street, GL50 3JL, 01242 240940 and The Moon Under Water, 16-28 Bath Road, GL53 7HA, 01242 583945. Both have real ales and main courses around £5. On Tuesdays they offer a steak and a drink for £6.
  • Old Restoration 55-57 High Street, GL50 1DX. Barracuda chain pub just to the East of the pedestrian section of the High Street, with food most nights starting at £5.
  • Hog's Head, 73-75 High Street, GL50 1DU. Modern chain pub in the pedestrian section of the High Street. Offers include fish and chips with a beer for £5.
  • Frog&Fiddle, 313-315 High Street, GL50 3HW. Admittedly you can't buy food here but the great thing about this place is you can bring in your own! There are plenty of takeaways opposite to tempt you. A great atmosphere, often gets local bands and cheap drinks (especially for students!) Pint: £3 (around £2.30 with student card)

Mid-range[edit]

  • The Brewery is a new entertainment/eating complex located behind the Lower High Street. Here you will find a selection of rather boring international chain restaurants including Nandos and Real China. Parking available (paid). Great if you like eating on industrial-estates.
  • The Curry Corner 133 Fair View Road, GL52 2EX, 01242 528449 [17] Bangladeshi cuisine, as featured on Gordon Ramsay's television show "The F Word", where Ramsay praised the restaurant for being one of the best Indian independent restaurants in the United Kingdom.
  • Daffodil 18-20 Suffolk Parade, GL50 2AE [18] Converted cinema, decorated in an art Deco style. Just off Suffolk Road
  • Flynns The Courtyard, Montpellier St, GL50 1SR in Montpellier does a decent steak at a reasonable price.
  • The Langton, [19] on London Road in Charlton Kings, offers some nice (if slightly pricy) bar food in a Regency-style building, as well as a good Sunday lunch.
  • Hotel Kandinsky Bayshill Road, Montpellier, GL50 3AS Eclectic hotel with fabulous restaurant. Wood fired pizzas / seasonal menus. Located in Montpellier. Was closed for development and has reopened as the Montpellier Chapter. [20]
  • Cafe Rouge, 31-41 The Promenade, GL50 1NW [21]. One of the best places to eat in central Cheltenham is Cafe Rouge, just off the high street. It's brilliant and the food is often good and comes with a smile!
  • Storyteller, 11 North Pl, 01242 250343 [22], is reasonably posh and nice. Very popular.
  • Zizzi's St. James Church, Suffolk Square, GL50 2DR [23] Wonderful converted Church, elegantly decorated with good Italian food and wine. Family/baby-friendly in the daytime.
  • Que Pasa beautiful cocktails and tapas dishes to suit every palate - now The Bank House.
  • Siam Smile 12 Suffolk Road, GL50 2AQ 01242 260666 [24] Good Thai and Malaysian food.

Splurge[edit]

  • Champignon Sauvage, [25]. An amazing restaurant. How could it be any better!
  • Lumière Clarence Parade, has a good reputation.

Take Away[edit]

There are many take away restaurants and cafes in Cheltenham. Most are open for breakfast, lunch and tea and you will find many open late into the evening. Some included are:

  • Subway
  • Burger King
  • McDonalds
  • KFC
  • Burger Star
  • Chicken Inn

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • The Swan. A popular bar with frequent entertainment. It's located on The Strand (which connects to The High St) and has a large heated outdoor area for smokers. Serves both local and known-brand drinks.
  • The Retreat. Established wine bar in Montpellier, located on Suffolk Parade. Worth finding to enjoy the 'posh' side of Cheltenham. Popular with Cheltenham College on Friday/Saturday when it can be very busy. Ask the locals for other lesser known restaurants and bars nearby. Montpellier is not easy to explore without local knowledge.
  • EXS. Gloucestershire's only gay/lesbian club. Tends to be busy only late on Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday and varies on other dates. There is usually a cost to entry after 10PM. Located at the furthest end of The Strand. Cheltenham has a low gay population compared to other towns and cities of its size. Due to this, you may be stared at by the locals if you are/look gay.

The only large nightclubs in town are Lace (High Street), MooMoo Clubrooms, Subtone and Sekushi nothing unique but both enjoyable. Popular mainly with students.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

  • YMCA, 6 Vittoria Walk, 01242 524024 [26]. Needs more reviews There is access to wifi. A review described it as lacking character. £19 bed and breakfast. Open Weekdays 7.30AM-10PM, Weekends 9AM-10PM.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Hilden Lodge Hotel, 271 London Road (on the A40 towards Oxford, just out of town centre), 01242 583242 [27], unreviewed £35 to £50 per person, per night, newly renovated.
  • Benton's Guest House, 71 Bath Road, 01242 517417. [28] unreviewed. £25 per person.


  • Homelands Bed & Breakfast, Butts Lane, Woodmancote, Cheltenham, GL52 9QH, 01242 677227. [29] unreviewed. Single from £35 per night and Double from £60.


  • Cross Ways Guest House, 57 Bath Road, 01242 527683 [30] Unreviewed. Single £50 per night.
  • Holiday Inn Express Cheltenham Town Centre, Dunalley Street, 01242 548 200 [31] Unreviewed. Double £60 per night.
  • Central Hotel, 7-9 Portland Street, Cheltenham, GL52 2NZ, 01242 582172, [32]. checkin: 2.00PM; checkout: 10.00AM. The Central Hotel is in the Town Centre. 20 rooms are available at the hotel, the majority of which offer En-Suite facilities. The rooms have a microwave and fridge for limited self catering, and the hotel does not have a restaurant. From £36.  edit
  • Central Studios (298 Gloucester Road), 298 Gloucester Road, Cheltenham, GL51 7AG, 01242 582172, [33]. checkin: 2.00PM; checkout: 10.00AM. A range of self catering, bedsit style rooms that include microwave oven, fridge and private sink. Price is kept down by using communal bathrooms, and not having reception staff. Near railway station. From £29.  edit

Splurge[edit]

  • The Abbey hotel, 16 Bath Parade (Follow signs for A&E at the hospital, the hotel is nearby: Bath Parade is a little further along that road on the opposite side), 01242 516053 [34]. . Basic single £33.
  • Charlton Kings Hotel & Restaurant London Road (on the A40 towards Oxford, just out of town centre), 01242 231061 [35].


  • Hilden House Bed and Breakfast (B&B Cheltenham), GL52 2AB, +44 1242 582172, [36]. Various luxury rooms provided to both business travellers and holiday visitors to Cheltenham on a B&B basis Superior 4 Poster from £85.  edit
  • The Queen's Hotel, The Promenade 0870 400 8107 [37]. As you would exect from a high-end hotel; handy central Location.
  • Montpellier House, 33 Montpellier Terrace, GL50 1UX [38]. Awarded Period Living Magazine 2013 Award, a luxury self catering option.

Get out[edit]

  • Cineworld Cinema The Brewery (Just off the High St, behind Tesco), The new cinema that put the Odeon out of business. Decent screens, decent sound, comfy seats, expensive popcorn 0871 220 8000.
  • Everyman Theatre Located on Regent Street in Cheltenham, The Everyman has been serving the town since 1891. It has recently had an expensive refurbishment, and still produces to top class, West-End productions. Tickets are available for the box office at 01242 572573 or online at https://tickets.everymantheatre.org.uk/
  • The Playhouse For 60 years, the people of Cheltenham have enjoyed the notable facility of their own Theatre. A Theatre in which talented amateurs from all walks of life can work together with a single purpose; the presentation of non-professional drama of exceptionally high standards to the theatre-going public. http://www.playhousecheltenham.org/
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