Cheltenham in the Cotwolds – Things to see and do

As the cultural centre for the Cotswolds, Cheltenham is internationally renowned for its festival programme – and, of course, for its world famous horse racing festival.

Cheltenham’s four cutting edge festivals of jazz, science, music and literature attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to the town each year.

Sports fans are kept happy with the annual horse racing festival – featuring the Cheltenham Gold Cup – and the Cheltenham Cricket Festival, which sees Gloucestershire take up residency at the beautiful Cheltenham College ground for a week or so in the middle of the summer.

Cheltenham became a fashionable Regency town following the discovery of spa water – praised for its medicinal properties – in the 18th Century and a subsequent visit by King George III.

Cheltenham retains many of its fine Regency features, including spacious squares, crescents, terraces, promenades and beautiful formal gardens. The neo-classical Pittville Pump Room has an elegant bandstand.

Shopping in Cheltenham is a delight, with a full range of leading High Street stores complemented by some real gems in areas such as The Promenade and Montpellier.

Following a major rebuild, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum re-opened in October 2013 as The Wilson. Four new floors included four superb temporary galleries for national and international touring exhibitions.

In September 2014, Cheltenham was voted the best place in the UK to bring up a family. The Daily Telegraph compiled a list of the top 20 family-friendly areas, based on criteria such as schools, housing, leisure activities and nature.

The newspaper’s report said: “Excellent schooling, low crime rates, a thriving sporting culture and a bustling town centre all make Cheltenham a natural place for families with children. “It is a festival town, so there always seem to be special children’s events to look forward to. Both the lido and the delightful Pittville Park are deservedly popular.”

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