Things To Do In Cheltenham
Cheltenham, in the English county of Gloucestershire, is an attractive spa town located within the Cotswold. Mineral springs were found in the town in 1716, which brought many visitors to the town. The town is also famous for its Regency architecture and its racecourse, which is the home of jump racing and the host of the Cheltenham Festival and Gold Cup.
More recently, Cheltenham has become popular for its festivals celebrating music, science, jazz, literature, food and drink. Increased tourism has catered for with popular retailers and independents, with a wide range of dining options and arts, culture and nightlife that make it an all-round destination.
The regency town of Cheltenham offers a wide variety things to do, from enjoying nature, walks in local parks, a range of theatres and museums as well as a vast array of cultural activities and heritage sites that complement modern-day leisure and nightlife.
Throughout the spring and summer, guided town walks are offered by experienced and knowledgable locals. Throughout the year the town hosts major Festivals as well as race meetings, community events and annual celebrations for all ages and interests which attract visitors from around the world, including the annual event chasing a cheese down a steep hill!
Almost 200 years old, Pittville Park is the largest ornamental park in Cheltenham. Already a listed site for it’s historical significance, the park was also the first to win the Green Heritage Award. The park features a range of activities including a boating lake, tennis courts, putting green and more, plus the famous Grade I listed Pittville Pump Rooms, home to the spa waters. The park is divided by Evesham Road with the lesser known western side having a wild nature layout with small areas of woodland. There are many free events taking place in the park in the spring and summer months.
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) is a heritage railway with tracks running 21 kilometres between Cheltenham Racecourse and Little Buckland. The original Honeybourne Line ran between Cheltenham and Birmingham, but went out of service in 1976. The company of volunteers at the GWSR have recently extended north to Broadway, and have plans to extend almost 10km to Honeybourne and offer regular train services from Easter to the end of October.
Walks with Hawks
One of the more unusual activities in Cheltenham is Walks with Hawks, where you see fabulous birds of prey in the beautiful Cotswold countryside and get the opportunity to handle and fly birds of prey in nature on a Hawk Walk, Owl encounter or other package.
Located at the end of the High Street, Sandford Park is popular for a range of activities including walks, picnics and play. The park is divided into three sections, with the main part containing landscaped flowerbeds and a fountain with seating. The Annecy Gardens and the Italian Gardens, complete with sunken pool and fountains are to the west of the park. The massive Sandford Parks Lido has a 50-metre main pool, a children's pool and paddling pool, all of which are heated.
Imperial Gardens at the Promenade, close to the Town Hall, has magnificent floral displays created from 25,000 bedding plants. The outdoor Gardens Gallery is at the edge of the gardens, and in the neighbouring Quadrangle a rooftop bar provides views over the gardens. Other things to do during the summer at Imperial Gardens are the many outdoor events, activities and festivals including the Literature, Jazz, Science and Music Festivals.
The Everyman Theatre
The Everyman began in 1891 and offers various things to do and see, including ballet, opera, drama, dance, comedy, music events and their traditional family pantomime. The theatre also hosts community activities, education workshops and youth theatre productions. Cheltenham has a growing arts, theatre and music scene with other venues being the Town Hall, The Playhouse and The Bacon Theatre. Live entertainment also takes place in many of Cheltenham's pubs and music venues.
Take an award-winning tour of the Cotswolds Distillery in Stourton, one of only six distilleries producing English whisky and gin. Founded in 2014, the first 4000 bottles of Cotswolds whisky were released in October 2017. The Cotswolds Dry Gin contains nine botanicals including the central three botanicals of the London Dry style, juniper, coriander seed and angelica root, but also lavender which is sourced locally from the Snowshill Lavender farm, bay leaves, the fresh zest of pink grapefruits and limes, cardamom seeds and black pepper corns.
Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection
In the beautiful village of Bourton on the Water, next to the Cotswold Cottages, is a converted watermill that houses the Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection. Here you will find seven galleries packed with motoring memorabilia from the past century. There is also a fascinating collection of toys.
For those who love to be out in nature, the Cotswold Way is a 102-mile (164 km) footpath, running along the Cotswold Hills with stunning views of the Black Mountains, Gloucester Cathedral, the Vale of Evesham and more. The route passes through the classic Cotswold villages of Stanton, Stanway and Broadway through to Chipping Campden. Walks also pass Sudeley Castle, Cleeve Hill, Hailes Abbey and the Broadway Tower. One of the more energetic things to do here is to run the Cotswold Way in either a relay or single stage race.