A wonderful mix of the traditional and the new, Cheltenham nestles against The Cotswolds as the perfect place to unwind and refresh your mind, body and soul. With unique festival vibes, an abundance of independent and much loved High Street shops, and incredible dining experiences from street food to Michelin starred fine dining. Cheltenham truly is a must-visit town.
Voted the Best Place to Live in the South West 2020 by The Sunday Times with its education, culture and connectivity highlighted amongst its best attributes. As the most complete Regency town in the UK with a population of just 117,000, Cheltenham is intimate and friendly, a civilised place of culture, learning and discovery.
As you would expect from the UK’s most complete Regency town, Cheltenham is brimming with history. As you stroll along the promenade, it’s easy to see why it became the hip 18th century hang out for holidaying Brits, after the enterprising Henry Skillicorne unearthed its health-giving spa waters – even gaining the Royal Seal Of Approval after the visit of the then-reigning monarch, George III.
Cheltenham is also an exciting foodie destination, with so many unique restaurants to explore and discover. There really is something to suit every palate – from David Everitt Matthias’s Michelin-starred ‘Le Champignon Sauvage’, to dining on food from around the world, unique food from independently run eateries, guide book recommended restaurants and many award-winning restaurants.
Whether you’re enjoying a night out in The Brewery Quarter, taking in the arts at one of our four theatres, or simply relaxing in one of Cheltenham’s unique bars and nightclubs, there’s plenty to keep you entertained.
Cheltenham has successfully retained its Purple Flag award for the sixth consecutive year. The nationally recognised award is given to towns and cities that have an appealing, safe and welcoming evening and night-time economy.
Cheltenham plays host to 30+ significant festivals a year, several of which are world leading. There’s the world’s longest-running literary festival, Cheltenham Literature Festival, which celebrated its 70th birthday in 2019. The Cheltenham Music Festival which is 75 years old plus the Jazz and Science Festivals. And of course, not forgetting The Cheltenham Festival, the most prestigious jump racing event of the year, with the grand finale, the legendary Gold Cup.
There are plenty of other experiences to choose from in Cheltenham’s vibrant festival scene – including four new festivals which have recently joined the party - Cheltenham Paint Festival, Cheltenham International Film Festival, Cheltenham Balloon Fiesta, Cheltenham Wellbeing Festival and many more.
Still need a little convincing to book your stay in Cheltenham? We are proud to have received rave reviews from international press including the New York Times who described our town as enjoying a cultural renaissance with many "happening spots". The Sunday Times referred to Cheltenham as "a family-friendly spa town that puts the gloss into Gloucestershire" and the Independent called Cheltenham a "Design Destination" with stylish places to eat, drink and stay.
Previous text provided by the Cheltenham Tourist Informaiton Office.
Following text provided by Wikipedia
Cheltenham, also known as Cheltenham Spa, is a large spa town and borough on the edge of the Cotswolds in the county of Gloucestershire, England. Cheltenham became known as a health and holiday spa town resort, following the discovery of mineral springs in 1716, and claims to be the most complete Regency town in Britain. Cheltenham's success as a spa town is reflected in the railway station, which is still called Cheltenham Spa.
The town hosts several festivals of culture, often featuring nationally and internationally famous contributors and attendees; they include the Cheltenham Literature Festival, the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, the Cheltenham Science Festival, the Cheltenham Music Festival, the Cheltenham Cricket Festival and the Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival. In steeplechase horse racing, the Gold Cup is the main event of the Cheltenham Festival, held every March.
Cheltenham stands on the small River Chelt, which rises nearby at Dowdeswell and runs through the town on its way to the Severn. It was first recorded in 803, as Celtan hom; the meaning has not been resolved with certainty, but latest scholarship concludes that the first element preserves a pre-British noun cilta, 'steep hill', here referring to the Cotswold scarp; the second element may mean 'settlement' or 'water-meadow'. As a royal manor, it features in the earliest pages of the Gloucestershire section of Domesday Book where it is named Chintenha[m]. The town was awarded a market charter in 1226.
Though little remains of its pre-spa history, Cheltenham has been a health and holiday spa town resort since the discovery of mineral springs there in 1716. Captain Henry Skillicorne (1678–1763), is credited with being the first entrepreneur to recognise the opportunity to exploit the mineral springs. The retired "master mariner" became co-owner of the property containing Cheltenham's first mineral spring upon his 1732 marriage to Elizabeth Mason. Her father, William Mason, had done little in his lifetime to promote the healing properties of the mineral water apart from limited advertising and building a small enclosure over the spring. Skillicorne's wide travels as a merchant had prepared him to see the potential lying dormant on this inherited property. After moving to Cheltenham in 1738, he immediately began improvements intended to attract visitors to his spa. He built a pump to regulate the flow of water and erected an elaborate well-house complete with a ballroom and upstairs billiard room to entertain his customers.
The beginnings of Cheltenham's tree-lined promenades and the gardens surrounding its spas were first designed by Captain Skillicorne with the help of "wealthy and traveled" friends who understood the value of relaxing avenues. The area's walks and gardens had views of the countryside, and soon the gentry and nobility from across the county were enticed to come and investigate the beneficial waters of Cheltenham's market town spa.
The visit of George III with the queen and royal princesses in 1788 set a stamp of fashion on the spa. The spa waters can still be sampled at the Pittville Pump Room, built for this purpose and completed in 1830; it is a centrepiece of Pittville, a planned extension of Cheltenham to the north, undertaken by Joseph Pitt, who laid the first stone 4 May 1825.
As a Regency spa town, tourism is an important sector in Cheltenham's economy, but it also has some light industry, including food processing, aerospace and electronics businesses. The Government's electronic surveillance operation Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), renowned for its "doughnut-shape" building, is in Cheltenham. Vertex Data Science, GE-Aviation, Chelsea Building Society, Endsleigh Insurance, Archant, Nelson Thornes, UCAS (Universities & Colleges Admissions Service), Kohler Mira, Barnett Waddingham LLP, Zürich Financial Services, Douglas Equipment, Volo and Spirax-Sarco Engineering all have sites in and around Cheltenham.
Cheltenham is well known for its nightlife, with a wide range of pubs, wine bars, clubs and restaurants. It has a Michelin one-star restaurant, Le Champignon Sauvage.
The Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, also called The Wilson, hosts a programme of art exhibitions running throughout the year. The Wilson was named after polar explorer Dr Edward Wilson, who was born in Cheltenham. Cheltenham hosts the annual Cheltenham Music Festival, Cheltenham Jazz Festival and the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain.
Much of this information was provided by Visit Cheltenham.