Cheltenham is home to England’s famous Regency Spa and is the gateway to the Cotswolds. There are award winning gardens, world famous music and literary festivals, superb theatres, shopping for antiques, arts and craft, beautiful regency architecture to admire and of course Cheltenham Racing. A short drive from the town gets you into the beautiful Cotswolds where you will find timeless villages and beautiful homes built in their characteristic Cotswold stone.
Below are a few of our suggestions of things to do in Cheltenham. Click on the title tabs to open links to sites with further information:
The Romantic Road - the perfect way to explore the beautiful Cotswold villages by car. There are 2 routes that both start and end in Cheltenham.
Cheltenham Races – the famous Gold Cup is held every year in March, but there are a number of other race meetings and other events at the Racecourse during the year.
Festivals and Events – there are 5 key festivals a year and many events here in Cheltenham; they offer a wide variety of activities for you to enjoy. Click on the tab to find out more about each of them.
Montpellier -Montpellier is known as one of the most attractive and fashionable areas of Cheltenham. Its distinctive architecture and many café’s and bars has gained Montpellier the reputation of having continental flavour. In the 18th and 19th centuries the name of French spa town of Montpellier had been a byword for a pleasant healthy place – and that name was chosen in 1809 by Henry Thompson for his newly established spa. Concerts – Every year Cheltenham has a wide array of concerts, from classical, jazz, pop or urban to folk and blues. There are also comedy shows and all kinds of other events to keep you entertained.
Tewkesbury Abbey - Lying at the southern edge of the old town, the Abbey quietly dominates the land and skyline with its long nave and “probably the largest and finest Romanesque tower in England” (Pevsner).
Prescott Hill Climb – Prescott Hill Climb, based just outside Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, is home to one of the world’s most prestigious motor racing venues. Set in 60 acres of glorious Cotswold countryside, the estate not only provides a beautiful setting for a range of classic car and bike weekends, but also hosts major motor racing championships. The 1127 yard course rises over 200 feet via short straights, fast and slow corners and a breathtaking hairpin, with the fastest modern racing cars completing the course in an exciting 36 seconds. The action can be viewed from strategic points along the course as well as from the restaurant terrace.
Town Hall – the Town Hall host a large number of different events throughout the year and there will always be something on for you to enjoy when you are in Cheltenham.
Pittville Pump rooms - The Pittville Pump Room was the last and largest of the spa buildings to be built in Cheltenham.The well from which the Pump Room’s waters originate was first exploited by Henry Skillicorne around 1740, about 25 years after the waters were first discovered in 1716. . In the 1820s the local landowner Joseph Pitt determined to develop the northern part of the town as ‘Pittville’, of which the Pump Room and its spa were to form an important element as part of a pleasure garden.
Ladies College - The Cheltenham Ladies’ College is an independent boarding and day school for girls aged 11 to 18. Founded in 1853, the College has been at the forefront of girls’ education for over 150 years and has a worldwide reputation for academic excellence.
Cheltenham Museum and Art Gallery – Collections include art, sculpture, archeology, local and social history and object from all over the world. The Summerfield Galleries contain displays and paintings, furniture and everyday objects from the medieval period to the present day. Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum possesses an internationally significant collection relating to the Arts and Crafts movement, recognised as outstanding by the award of Designated Museum Status in 1998.
Royal Shakespear Company (Stratford) The RSC is one of the world’s best known theatre companies. It’s their job to connect people with Shakespeare and produce bold, ambitious work with living writers, actors and artists. A treat and only 40 mins away!
Chedworth Roman Villa - Nestling in a wooded combe in the heart of the Cotswolds and surrounded by beautiful woodland walks are the remains of one of the largest Roman villas in the country.
Sudeley Castle – Usually open March – October. There are 9 magnificent gardens which sweep around the Castle and grounds, each with a unique style and design. In the original 15th century west wing of the Castle; formerly the kitchen range, then the stables and coach house and finally the banqueting hall, a number of fascinating exhibitions are also open daily, illustrating the history of Sudeley and its owners.
Gloucester Cathedral - This has been a place of Christian worship continuously for over 1300 years, since Osric, an Anglo-Saxon prince, founded a religious house here in 678-9 AD. Perhaps made even more famous by the filming of Harry Potter. Gloucester’s historic cathedral cloisters were transformed into the corridors of Hogwart’s School o f Witchcraft and Wizardry in the films of JK Rowling’s first two books – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Cotswold Wildlife Park - Cotswold Wildlife Park is set in 160 acres of parkland and gardens around a listed Victorian Manor House and has been open to the public since 1970. It has a wide variety of animals, birds and reptiles housed there.
Cotswold Farm Park - Cotswold Farm Park is the home of Adam Henson of BBC 1’s Countryfile programme. Cotswold Farm Park was opened in 1971 by Adam's father Joe to help protect some of their rare breeds of farm animal.
Blenheim Palace – Blenheim Palace is a unique example of English Baroque architecture. Inside, the scale of the Palace is beautifully balanced by the intricate detail and delicacy of the carvings, the hand painted ceilings and the amazing porcelain collections, tapestries and paintings displayed in each room. It is still the home of the Duke and Duchess of Malbrough and was the birthplace of Winston Churchill.