Living in Cheltenham
What is life like in Cheltenham?
Cheltenham started life as a market town and it retains this traditional charm even today. Located on the edge of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham is a pleasant and fashionable place to live with easy access to some of the country's most beautiful countryside.
It is packed with Regency town houses and quaint country cottages, meaning there are so many stylish places to live.
People are still able to experience the spa waters that once made the town so famous at the Pittville Pump Room. It also acts as the perfect place for a summer stroll.
Arguably the centrepiece of Cheltenham is the magnificent Imperial Gardens, which contain many types of flowers and a range of colours. The focal point is an eye-catching fountain surmounted by Gustav Holst.
These days, Cheltenham is known most for its leading horse racing festival, which takes place in March and results in thousands of people flocking to the town.
Cheltenham was founded in the Anglo-Saxon era and takes its name from the River Chelt. In 1716, people discovered pigeons pecking at salt crystals in a spring, which led to the establishment of Cheltenham as a spa.
Over the years, Cheltenham's reputation as a spa destination declined, but it soon became known as a fashionable place where fine craftsmen worked. In the 19th century, horse racing emerged as a key attraction and the town was seen as a key location for the sport following the creation of the Cheltenham Festival in 1902.
Following World War II, the government's decision to base its Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) building in Cheltenham brought further prosperity to the town and it is now one of the country's most important surveillance facilities.
Professional golfer Paul Casey is one of the most famous people to have been born in Cheltenham, along with Olympic ski jumper Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards. Composer Gustav Holst was another world-famous individual to hail from the Gloucestershire town.
Entertainment, sport and days out
The town has a fascinating past and evidence of this can still be seen today. Simply wandering and marvelling at the architecture of the buildings is a great way to spend some time.
Alternatively, heading to the Pittville Pump Rooms to sample the spa water upon which the town built its name is a must, and the surrounding Pittville Park is a glorious open space that is ideal for recreation and relaxation.
Those with an interest in the legendary composer Gustav Holst will find plenty of interest at the Holst Birthplace Museum in the town, while another historic attraction is the magnificent Sudeley Castle.
For beautiful green spaces, people cannot go wrong with either Montpellier Gardens, the Imperial Gardens or the Cotswold Wildlife Park.
In sporting terms, Cheltenham is most commonly associated with horse racing, and the town's famous course is a lovely place to catch up on some equine action. Another option is to visit Cheltenham Town FC, who play home matches at their Whaddon Road stadium.
There are many stylish places to eat and drink in Cheltenham, most of which are found in the town centre. Some of the most highly recommended restaurants include Pirandello Italian Restaurant, Wesley House Restaurant , Spice Lodge and Monty's Brasserie.
Finding somewhere to drink will never be a problem in Cheltenham, as the town is famous for its friendly and traditional pubs. The Retreat and The Beehive are two venues that should be checked out by locals, while Hotel du Vin & Bistro and Montpellier Wine Bar are also worth a visit.
Shopping in Cheltenham is one of the most popular activities, with the town naturally split into four separate quarters in retail terms. The main shopping area alongside the Regent Arcade and Beechwood Shopping Centre houses many leading high street chains, while the Promenade provides a more classic experience.
Other options include the Montpellier & Suffolks zone, where distinctive and independent stores sell antiques, homeware, gifts and much more, as well as the Brewery, which is a mixed development with both retail and leisure facilities.
Schools & healthcare
Cheltenham is home to some of the most prestigious and high-performing schools anywhere in England. Cheltenham Ladies College, Cheltenham College and Dean Close are just three of the most respected institutions in the area.
Some of the most popular primary schools include St Mark's C of E, Christ Church C of E and Charlton Kings, while successful secondary options range from Pate's Grammar to Bournside.
When it comes to medical care, local people can rest assured they will be well looked after at Cheltenham General Hospital, which is found in the town centre. There are also several other local surgeries and clinics to resolve medical matters.
The town has good links to the M5, M4 and A40, which help to make destinations such as London and Birmingham easy to reach. Indeed, London is less than 100 miles from Cheltenham, so frequent trips to the capital are a realistic prospect.
Travelling by rail is just as easy, with regular services running to London and all major towns in the West Country. It takes approximately two hours and 20 minutes to travel between Cheltenham and London.
People who rely on air travel, either for business or leisure purposes, will benefit from proximity to both Birmingham and Bristol airports, while Heathrow is about two hours away.