Situated at the edge of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham is the perfect place for anyone looking for a quintessentially British getaway – with more cosy pubs, iconic landmarks and luscious greenery than you could shake a stick at. Also known as Cheltenham Spa, the town is known across the country for being a hub of traditional and modern culture, and hosts a variety of internationally-acclaimed festivals of jazz, literature, science, food & drink and more, which attract people from across the globe.
There’s so much to see and do in Cheltenham, it’s difficult to cover it all at once, but Victoria Petkovic-Short from Visit Cheltenham has shared some key points of interest to help you plan your trip:
The most complete Regency Town in the UK, Cheltenham retains much of its spa history for all to enjoy. From the Promenade to the Pittville Pump Room to the Montpellier Arcade – there’s so much history here. Hop on a bike and complete the Regency Cycle Trail for a unique way to see the town’s most iconic features, or if you want to learn more about Cheltenham’s history, be sure to visit one of the many museums.
Speaking of history, the treasured 1930s Sandford Park Lido is a great place for an outdoor dip in the summer. Or if you’d rather make the most of the weather by visiting a green space, Sandford and Pittville Parks are both great spaces for picnics and play. If you’re looking for the perfect summer activity to enjoy with the kids, the Gloucester Warwickshire Steam Railway runs through the warmer months and is a great way to explore the Cotswolds!
If you’re looking to indulge in a spot of retail therapy during your visit, Cheltenham offers an eclectic mix of high street stores and boutique outlets, so shoppers can grab a must-have or a one-of-a-kind find. The town also has a well-deserved reputation as a foodie destination, with a variety of restaurants, bars and cafes to suit all tastes and budgets – including the two-Michelin star restaurant, Le Champignon Sauvage.
We can’t mention Cheltenham without a nod to the renowned Cheltenham Racecourse. It’s famous across the UK and runs 16 race days per year, as well as 250 non-racing events, exhibitions, concerts and conferences – plus it’s hosting Cheltenham’s first World Snooker Grand Prix in 2019.
Did you know that Cheltenham was the birthplace of many famous faces over the years? Perhaps the most iconic being Brian Jones, one of the founding members of the Rolling Stones, who’s buried in the Crematorium. The town was also home to the real Alice from Lewis Carroll’s books, Edward Jenner (inventor of the vaccine) and Eddie the Eagle.
It’s safe to say that Cheltenham is one of the most influential and iconic tourist hotspots of both the 20th and 21st century, but don’t just take our word for it. Here are some of the lesser-known Cheltenham attractions, tried and tested by travel bloggers:
Sarah Lewis, blogger at Lewis Loves, says:
“If we had to pick just one thing to do in Cheltenham, it would have to be a tour of the Sibling Gin Distillery. Established by four young siblings – who grew up with parents running a micro-brewery – the distillery produces a tasty gin with hints of blueberry and vanilla. The distillery itself is a cross between a modern sculpture and a chemistry set, and is made from glass and steel. Everything is made from scratch, even the base spirit which is mashed with a canoe paddle. The tour takes around two hours and includes a distillery tour, gin making lesson, pub quiz, gin tasting and, most importantly, G&Ts for all! You’ll need to pre-book, but it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.”
Jess Cantoni, Blogger at Jess Eats and Travels, says:
“It didn’t take me very long to decide that my favourite thing to do in Cheltenham is eating! With so much choice available, it can sometimes be hard to choose where to dine. Fancy a good burger to sink your teeth into? Try the Tavern for their American Cheeseburger with smokey streak bacon – it’s simply mouth-watering!
Or maybe you’re in the mood for a BBQ with a twist? I highly recommend the Thai BBQ at The Railway. It’s nicely tucked away from the town centre, but try to get in there early to be guaranteed a seat! Looking for something a bit different? You can try any traditional Sri Lankan dishes at The Coconut Tree, and the tapas eating style is perfect for a group of friends to dip into after a day of sightseeing. You’re never far from good food when in Cheltenham, that’s for sure!”
Lucy Dodsworth, Blogger at On the Luce, says:
“If you’re looking for a night out in Cheltenham with a touch of old-school glam, head to The Daffodil Restaurant in Suffolk Parade. This former 1920s cinema is bursting with Art Deco style – from vintage movie posters to old film projectors – I love it so much I had my Art Deco-themed wedding there. These days the cinema screen at the front has been replaced with an open kitchen, but it’s the kind of place where you can get dressed up for a special night.
Head upstairs for a cocktail on the balcony – there’s a mix of classic, contemporary and a few of their own recipes on the menu. My favourite is a French 75 with champagne, gin and lemon. Walk down the sweeping staircase to the main dining room, which serves a variety of delicious dishes. One of the specialties is the Josper Grill – with grilled steaks, lobster and halloumi, but there are plenty of seasonal British dishes to try. Call in on a Sunday lunch for bottomless prosecco, or visit on Monday nights and Saturday lunchtimes to sample some live jazz.”
Laura Smith from Cheltenham Rocks, says:
“A firm favourite for families and adults, Smokey Joe’s is one of Cheltenham’s best-loved venues and with lots to amuse kids, it’s one of Cheltenham Rocks’ top picks for a tea break, brunch, lunch or dinner with the family. Smokey Joe’s is a retro diner, with free-to-play arcade games including Space Invaders and a selection of board games. Dining-wise, there’s everything from unicorn hot chocolates to waffles and gourmet hot dogs. The retro diner vibe is continued into the food presentation with funky trays and baskets.”
You know what to do in Cheltenham, now you just need somewhere to stay! Jurys Inn Cheltenham has you covered, so start planning your getaway today.
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