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Cheltenham guidebook

Kirsteen

Cheltenham guidebook

Food scene
Cheltenham should be THE destination for food fanatics everywhere, with our matchless blend of high street and street food, independent and award-winning. Topping the bill is of course the Michelin Star restaurant ‘Le Champignon Sauvage’ found in The Suffolks, offering an ever-changing, premier menu for the discerning diner. Harden’s, The Good Food Guide, The Michelin Guide and The Good Pub Guide all lavish praise on innumerable Cheltenham restaurants; from the East India Cafe, led by Anglo-Indian cuisine offering spices and ingredients from far-flung places to provide a food masterpieces, or “Japanese Grazing” no-sushi restaurant launched by Andrew Kojima, former Masterchef Finalist. Our ambrosia is completed by independents including Lumiere(British) (winners of the prestigious Cotswold Life Food & Drink awards 2019), L’Artisan (French), Purslane (fish), KIBOUSushi (Japanese), the restaurant at Ellenborough Park (British), Prithvi - award-winning Indian voted by TripAdvisor travellers as the sixth best restaurant in the country, The Curry Corner described by Gordon Ramsay as “exquisite flavours better than in India” (Indian) and many more. They have this year been joined by the notable Ivy Brasserie, which has lovingly restored the Rotunda building at the top of Montpellier and WoodKraft which is the latest venture from Masterchef Champion, Simon Wood and already offers a buzzing atmosphere. Not to be outdone, Cheltenham is also home to a number of notable food experiences which are perfect on-the-go or for those with a smaller budget. A few of the most popular restaurants with locals include Paparritos who offer awesome burritos,The County Kitchen who produce excellent British grub,The Gloucester Old Spot for it's great pub grub and Bar & Wok noodle bar which has been a firm local favourite for over a decade. The Coconut Tree is very worthy of a short walk from the Town Centre and offers Sri Lanken style street food with small dishes that delight. Whilst local artisan chains such as The Ox (Steakhouse) and Fat Toni’s (pizza) offer niche food done well. No food guide can be complete without afternoon tea and Huffkins, The Napier and Memsahib Gin & Tea Bar are all highly acclaimed. Nor should we overlook the plethora of bars and pubs in the town, from the likes of the Sandford Park Alehouse (CAMRA National Pub of the Year 2016) with its extensive craft ale range, to The Old Courthouse, a former courtroom designed by the surveyor of County Courts, Thomas Charles Sorby in 1869. Independent restaurants line almost every street, most using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. There are also a wide selection of well known branded food outlets, family favourites and new restaurants with awards to their name. Cheltenham is fortunate to be able to offer many al fresco dining experiences, allowing you to sample the continental atmosphere on offer, from the cafes on the Promenade to the restaurants and bistros in the districts of Montpellier and more modern Brewery Quarter. Many cafes and venues also provide evening entertainment on a regular basis, with local and well-known musicians performing, especially at weekends. Not only is there a huge list of establishments to choose from, but there are literally dozens of food and drink related festivals happening in Cheltenham throughout the year, which include the annual Food and Drink Festival in Montpellier, Cheltenham Beer Week, Cheltenham Chilli Fiesta, Cheltenham Cocktail Week and the Cheltenham Festivals series, with the Jazz, Literature, Music and Science festival all hosting a superb selection of pop-up tasty eats and tipples. The Science Festival actually looks at the science of whiskey (and yes, you can sample!). Cheltenham also has a fascinating brewery history and at certain times of the year Microbrewery tours and beery walking tours are on offer from Brewerism. We are also home to Gloucestershire’s largest cidery, Dunkertons Organic Cider. Guided tours take you on a journey from bud to bottle whilst explaining their 38 year history as organic cider and perry producers. Cheltenham Foodie Tours take place every Saturday throughout the year, starting at the Tourist Information Centre in Clarence Street, and including a visit to an award winning Cotswold bakery, speciality cheese shop, 1920's cocktail lounge and a taster of artisan chocolate and delicious artisan ice cream. If history and food combined is more to your taste buds, then the Curry & Colonels Tour ran by the Cheltenham Promenaders specialises in a historical tour around Cheltenham learning about the rule of the British Raj, finishing off with a foodie paradise in one of Cheltenham's finest Anglo-Indian restaurants, The Spice Lodge. Reenactor guide, dressed as Captain Henry Skillicorne was recently joined by none other than Cheltenham MP, Alex Chalk who thanks Phil (Captain Skillicorne) for his "great insights into Cheltenham’s history."
Local pub in the village serving Ales and good gastropub food
The Royal Oak
Local pub in the village serving Ales and good gastropub food
Stylish pub and hotel, serving good food and drinks, plenty of outdoor seating in the summer and food trucks and events held here
The Frogmill
Stylish pub and hotel, serving good food and drinks, plenty of outdoor seating in the summer and food trucks and events held here
A lovely pub in a picturesque village, a nice walk across the fields takes approximately 1 hour
6
locals recommend
The Craven Arms
6
locals recommend
A lovely pub in a picturesque village, a nice walk across the fields takes approximately 1 hour
East India Cafe
103 Promenade
15
locals recommend
Prithvi
37 Bath Rd
15
locals recommend
6
locals recommend
The Coconut Tree
59 St Paul's Rd
6
locals recommend
19
locals recommend
The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie Cheltenham
3 Montpellier St
19
locals recommend
Sightseeing
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 is a must-visit town. 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. Let us share with you just a few of the reasons why you should visit Cheltenham, The Festival Town…
16
locals recommend
Cheltenham
16
locals recommend
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 is a must-visit town. 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. Let us share with you just a few of the reasons why you should visit Cheltenham, The Festival Town…
Cheltenham plays host to 25+ significant festivals a year, several of which are world leading. There’s the world’s longest-running literary festival, The Cheltenham Literature Festival, which celebrates its 70th this year. The Music Festival which has just turned 70 year’s 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 the Street Chilli Fiesta, four new festivals which have recently joined the party - Cheltenham Paint Festival, Cheltenham International Film Festival, Cheltenham Balloon Fiesta and Cheltenham Wellbeing Festival and many, many more.
87
locals recommend
Cheltenham Racecourse
87
locals recommend
Cheltenham plays host to 25+ significant festivals a year, several of which are world leading. There’s the world’s longest-running literary festival, The Cheltenham Literature Festival, which celebrates its 70th this year. The Music Festival which has just turned 70 year’s 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 the Street Chilli Fiesta, four new festivals which have recently joined the party - Cheltenham Paint Festival, Cheltenham International Film Festival, Cheltenham Balloon Fiesta and Cheltenham Wellbeing Festival and many, many more.
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 Promenade
16 Promenade
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.
96
locals recommend
Bourton-on-the-Water
96
locals recommend
72
locals recommend
Stow-on-the-Wold
72
locals recommend
Bars and Nightlife
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.
Brewery
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.
Things to do
Cheltenham offers a fantastic mix of traditional and modern culture, not to mention being the most complete Regency town in the UK. When it comes to things to do, we have a wide range of attractions, parks, theatres, museums and points of interest plus an abundance of culture and heritage to complement the modern-day leisure and nightlife scene. To offer a brief summary, “Cheltenham Spa” as it has been known for many years, is synonymous with heritage and architecture and is one of the many draws for national and international visitors. Walking tours are offered throughout the spring and summer to highlight the most notable buildings and monuments. Take to the water at the boating lake in Pittville Park or visit the 1930s outdoor lido for a real taste of nostalgia! If you enjoy relaxing in green spaces, Cheltenham has many beautiful parks and gardens, all with some historic interest. Make sure you stop by the statue of Gustav Holst, composer of The Planets and locate Chalybeate Well, which still partially survives today at Sandford Park. Pick a quiet spot and read your favourite book, take the family on a picnic, hire a rowing boat at Pittville Park or hang out with friends. Our parks can be enjoyed at any time of year as their facades change with the seasons. A great way to get around is by bike, bike hire is available from Cheltenham Spa Railway Station from The Bicycle Hub. Most notably, close by you will find Cheltenham Racecourse, home to the Cheltenham Festival and Gold Cup, the Open and many other racing and non-racing events. The Brewery Quarter offers a multiplex Imax Cinema, bowling alley, indoor adventure golf, and many high street branded restaurants and bars. Cheltenham has a superb continental café culture during the day, as well as a vibrant nightlife scene, whether you enjoy dancing, theatre or music. Cheltenham is also popular for those that enjoy a little (or a lot) of retail therapy with a superb offering of high street and independent shops, split into quirky districts. With its close vicinity to the Cotswolds, Cheltenham lends itself as an ideal base if you enjoy outdoor activities – walking, cycling, golf and equine sports are just some of the activities to tempt you into exploring the area. Whilst we are a town and seen as a cultural destination, there are many things to do in Cheltenham for families, and you will be pleasantly surprised by all that is on offer if you want a break with the children or grandchildren. When planning you visit to Cheltenham, remember to check out What’s On in Cheltenham and Attractions in Cheltenham too, and be sure to add them to your itinerary.
71
locals recommend
Cheltenham
71
locals recommend
Cheltenham offers a fantastic mix of traditional and modern culture, not to mention being the most complete Regency town in the UK. When it comes to things to do, we have a wide range of attractions, parks, theatres, museums and points of interest plus an abundance of culture and heritage to complement the modern-day leisure and nightlife scene. To offer a brief summary, “Cheltenham Spa” as it has been known for many years, is synonymous with heritage and architecture and is one of the many draws for national and international visitors. Walking tours are offered throughout the spring and summer to highlight the most notable buildings and monuments. Take to the water at the boating lake in Pittville Park or visit the 1930s outdoor lido for a real taste of nostalgia! If you enjoy relaxing in green spaces, Cheltenham has many beautiful parks and gardens, all with some historic interest. Make sure you stop by the statue of Gustav Holst, composer of The Planets and locate Chalybeate Well, which still partially survives today at Sandford Park. Pick a quiet spot and read your favourite book, take the family on a picnic, hire a rowing boat at Pittville Park or hang out with friends. Our parks can be enjoyed at any time of year as their facades change with the seasons. A great way to get around is by bike, bike hire is available from Cheltenham Spa Railway Station from The Bicycle Hub. Most notably, close by you will find Cheltenham Racecourse, home to the Cheltenham Festival and Gold Cup, the Open and many other racing and non-racing events. The Brewery Quarter offers a multiplex Imax Cinema, bowling alley, indoor adventure golf, and many high street branded restaurants and bars. Cheltenham has a superb continental café culture during the day, as well as a vibrant nightlife scene, whether you enjoy dancing, theatre or music. Cheltenham is also popular for those that enjoy a little (or a lot) of retail therapy with a superb offering of high street and independent shops, split into quirky districts. With its close vicinity to the Cotswolds, Cheltenham lends itself as an ideal base if you enjoy outdoor activities – walking, cycling, golf and equine sports are just some of the activities to tempt you into exploring the area. Whilst we are a town and seen as a cultural destination, there are many things to do in Cheltenham for families, and you will be pleasantly surprised by all that is on offer if you want a break with the children or grandchildren. When planning you visit to Cheltenham, remember to check out What’s On in Cheltenham and Attractions in Cheltenham too, and be sure to add them to your itinerary.
Arts. Galleries and Muselums
Cheltenham has been home to many famous faces in history, but none more so than Gustav Holst (composer of The Planets) and Edward Wilson, Naturalist and Explorer who died during Scott's trip to the South Pole. Both are recognised and heralded in Cheltenham through museums. The Holst Birthplace Museum pays homage to Gustav Holst in the house where he was born and raised, preserving the Regency facade and decor of the building, as well as the pianoforte used to compose The Planets piece and many other artefacts too. The museum also holds a number of interactive events throughout the year, including historic baking sessions and children's workshops to name a few. Meanwhile The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum displays a host of permanent collections as well as an exceptional calendar of guest exhibits. Of course, a must-see is the story of Edward Wilson and his explorations with Scott in the Antarctic, and there is also a world-class display of Arts & Crafts artefacts inspired by William Morris. Rebuilt in recent years, The Wilson now has four floors of exhibit space, enabling them to host international and national touring exhibits which change regularly. Cheltenham also boasts a number of public art galleries, and private collector galleries where you can mooch for the afternoon. The Gardens Gallery in Montpellier Gardens is a gorgeous space, housed in the original Proscenium building - an architectural delight in itself. This gallery is available for hire by local and emerging artists and regularly features new and unique original collections not seen anywhere else. The Parabola Arts Centre meanwhile is attached to the Cheltenham Ladies' College, and is often used as a Festival venue, as well as having a small number of public exhibits annually. The Hardwick Gallery is the most recent addition to the Cheltenham art scene, incorporated as part of the refurbishment at the University of Gloucestershire Hardwick Campus. It features a dynamic calendar of public exhibitions, talks and workshops, with a particular focus on contemporary art. For purchasing art, there is The Guild at 51, home to handmade artisan pieces, Castle Fine Art on the Promenade, The Whitewall Gallery within Cavendish House, and The Paragon Gallery in Montpellier.
18
locals recommend
The Wilson
18
locals recommend
Cheltenham has been home to many famous faces in history, but none more so than Gustav Holst (composer of The Planets) and Edward Wilson, Naturalist and Explorer who died during Scott's trip to the South Pole. Both are recognised and heralded in Cheltenham through museums. The Holst Birthplace Museum pays homage to Gustav Holst in the house where he was born and raised, preserving the Regency facade and decor of the building, as well as the pianoforte used to compose The Planets piece and many other artefacts too. The museum also holds a number of interactive events throughout the year, including historic baking sessions and children's workshops to name a few. Meanwhile The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum displays a host of permanent collections as well as an exceptional calendar of guest exhibits. Of course, a must-see is the story of Edward Wilson and his explorations with Scott in the Antarctic, and there is also a world-class display of Arts & Crafts artefacts inspired by William Morris. Rebuilt in recent years, The Wilson now has four floors of exhibit space, enabling them to host international and national touring exhibits which change regularly. Cheltenham also boasts a number of public art galleries, and private collector galleries where you can mooch for the afternoon. The Gardens Gallery in Montpellier Gardens is a gorgeous space, housed in the original Proscenium building - an architectural delight in itself. This gallery is available for hire by local and emerging artists and regularly features new and unique original collections not seen anywhere else. The Parabola Arts Centre meanwhile is attached to the Cheltenham Ladies' College, and is often used as a Festival venue, as well as having a small number of public exhibits annually. The Hardwick Gallery is the most recent addition to the Cheltenham art scene, incorporated as part of the refurbishment at the University of Gloucestershire Hardwick Campus. It features a dynamic calendar of public exhibitions, talks and workshops, with a particular focus on contemporary art. For purchasing art, there is The Guild at 51, home to handmade artisan pieces, Castle Fine Art on the Promenade, The Whitewall Gallery within Cavendish House, and The Paragon Gallery in Montpellier.
Walking and Hiking
Whether you are an urban explorer, keen to explore history and heritage, a countryside rambler or a keen hiker, Cheltenham is a brilliant destination for all three. Our status as most complete Regency Town offers a unique historical insight into the era, and you can stroll at your leisure, or opt for a Regency tour. In the spring and summer guided tours of Regency Cheltenham take place, starting off at The Wilson, Tourist Information Centre. These are run by knowledgeable Blue Badge Guides. Meanwhile, countryside coveters can leave the verdant town behind and be in unspoiled fields, pastures and meadowland in a matter of minutes. You can leave the town centre and hit one of the many local bridleways within minutes, or a short drive will have you enjoying the likes of Cranham Woods, May Hill and Crickley Hill which are all just a short distance from Cheltenham. For hikers, Cheltenham is of course a landmark waypoint on the Cotswold Way, and you can roam for miles towards Winchcombe heading North or Painswick and Stroud heading South along this heralded National Trail. Less formal walks are also available across the many hills and scarps in the area if you just want a ramble.
8
locals recommend
Crickley Hill Country Park
8
locals recommend
Whether you are an urban explorer, keen to explore history and heritage, a countryside rambler or a keen hiker, Cheltenham is a brilliant destination for all three. Our status as most complete Regency Town offers a unique historical insight into the era, and you can stroll at your leisure, or opt for a Regency tour. In the spring and summer guided tours of Regency Cheltenham take place, starting off at The Wilson, Tourist Information Centre. These are run by knowledgeable Blue Badge Guides. Meanwhile, countryside coveters can leave the verdant town behind and be in unspoiled fields, pastures and meadowland in a matter of minutes. You can leave the town centre and hit one of the many local bridleways within minutes, or a short drive will have you enjoying the likes of Cranham Woods, May Hill and Crickley Hill which are all just a short distance from Cheltenham. For hikers, Cheltenham is of course a landmark waypoint on the Cotswold Way, and you can roam for miles towards Winchcombe heading North or Painswick and Stroud heading South along this heralded National Trail. Less formal walks are also available across the many hills and scarps in the area if you just want a ramble.
Cycling
s hosts of one stage of the Tour of Britain 2017, we can attest to being a cycling friendly town. Cycling is a great way to get around the Town, and if you don't want to bring your own bikes, then you can hire them from The Bicycle Hub based at Cheltenham Spa Railway Station. You can get off the train and grab a bike, park in the hire centre car park, or arrange for delivery to your accommodation. Cheltenham Borough Council has put togethera cycle map of Cheltenham, which can be downloaded or is available in a printed format from the Municipal Offices or the Tourist Information Centre. Of course, if you are into road cycling, then as well as hopping on a bike in the Town Centre, you can tackle one of the many hills in the area, and be out in the Cotswolds in a matter of minutes. The hills may be steep but the views are worth it - trust us!
THE BICYCLE HUB
s hosts of one stage of the Tour of Britain 2017, we can attest to being a cycling friendly town. Cycling is a great way to get around the Town, and if you don't want to bring your own bikes, then you can hire them from The Bicycle Hub based at Cheltenham Spa Railway Station. You can get off the train and grab a bike, park in the hire centre car park, or arrange for delivery to your accommodation. Cheltenham Borough Council has put togethera cycle map of Cheltenham, which can be downloaded or is available in a printed format from the Municipal Offices or the Tourist Information Centre. Of course, if you are into road cycling, then as well as hopping on a bike in the Town Centre, you can tackle one of the many hills in the area, and be out in the Cotswolds in a matter of minutes. The hills may be steep but the views are worth it - trust us!