Cheltenham, or Cheltenham Spa, borders the scenic Cotswolds. It’s been known as a health resort since 1716, when mineral springs were discovered in the town. The focus on creativity and the arts in Cheltenham has produced a number of famous authors, painters, actors and musicians. One of the biggest names from the town is Edward Wilson, an explorer who took part in Robert Scott’s expedition to the Antarctic.
For a convenient stopover in between trips to and from Gloucester, Cheltenham hotels fit the bill. As you might expect of a spa town, numerous hotels offer spa, sauna and relaxation facilities.
Arts and culture
Cheltenham’s museums, galleries and theatres enhance the town’s creative atmosphere. So do the festivals: there are events celebrating jazz, literature, food and drink, and science.
The Everyman Theatre is a professional acting training and education venue, and the home of Cheltenham’s Christmas pantomime. You can also catch a movie at one of the town’s independent cinemas.
There’s free entry to the Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, also known as The Wilson. Exhibitions change frequently throughout the year, and the permanent collections are of local crafts, archaeology and paintings.
Shopping in Cheltenham
Cheltenham has two main shopping centres: Beechwood and the Regent Arcade. At Beechwood, accessible from the high street, the mix of department stores, big brands and local shops is attractively diverse. The multi-storey car park has won the Park Mark award for high security. The Regent Arcade has its own tourist information centre and three quick photo booths.
The Montpellier district houses most of the upmarket and luxury boutiques. It also has several jewellery shops, high-end restaurants and wine bars.
A day at the races
The busiest times to book Cheltenham hotels are when there’s a meet at the nearby Cheltenham Racecourse. It’s the home of the Gold Cup, the UK’s most prestigious race. A festival marks the high point of the season every March, and during this time you can see the legendary Trophy Room.
After the day’s races, celebrate or commiserate at the course’s Final Flight Bar. You can also count the thousands of signatures across the AP McCoy 4000 Celebration Wall, a feature that’s unique to Cheltenham.
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