7 Best Things To Do In Cheltenham, England

things to do in cheltenham

Home to regency spas, expansive parks and a festival for every season and interest, Cheltenham Spa is the perfect figurehead for the Cotswolds. Abundant in culture, architecture and history, Cheltenham is just waiting to be explored. Here are the best things to do in Cheltenham.

1) Have a flutter on the horses - Cheltenham Racecourse

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Arpingstone used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Cheltenham Racecourse is one of the most famous racecourses in the UK, if not the world. Cheltenham Festival, held each year in March, hosts some of the best jumping races around. Whether it is Lady’s Day Wednesday or Gold Cup Friday it is hard not to have a flutter at the bookies during Festival week.

Cheltenham Racecourse hosts a number of meets throughout the year as well as other family friendly events too. The racecourse hosts The Wychwood Music Festival every summer and puts on a phenomenal firework display every November 5.

For their latest events and to book tickets head to their website.

Race Days from London

Address: Evesham Rd, Prestbury, Cheltenham GL50 4SH, UK

Website: Cheltenham Racecourse

2) Catch a show - Cheltenham Town Hall

Cheltenham Town Hall - geograph.org.uk - 288675
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user David Stowell used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If the night life is what interests you, most look no further than Cheltenham Town Hall. The heritage building stands as the perfect back drop for music recitals, comedy shows and talks alike.

Cheltenham Town Hall regularly hosts famous television comedians before they head out for their arena tours, a great opportunity to see the stars in a more intimate environment!

The Imperial Garden Bar proves a great venue for a pre-show tipple or bite to eat. Open seven days a week and located in the secluded Skillicorne Gardens behind the Town Hall, be sure to drop by and sample their al fresco dining menu!

Cheltenham Town Hall

Address: Imperial Square, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Website: Cheltenham Town Hall

3) Learn and explore - The Cheltenham Festivals

The Champion Hurdle
Source: Photo by Flickr user Carine06 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Cheltenham is certainly fond of a festival, whether it be horse racing, science or literature, lest we forget the Jazz Festival too.

In early June each year (June 6 to 11, 2017) Cheltenham comes to life with with Science Festival. A whole host of professors, lecturers and industry specialists join together for a series of workshops, presentations and demonstrations. There is truly something for everyone!

The Literature Festival comes to town in early autumn just as the leaves turn red and the temperature drops, a timely excuse to stock up on books for your winter hibernation. From book signings to live readings from creative writing workshops to Q&A sessions with authors, the Cheltenham Literature Festival is every book worm’s dream!

The Cheltenham Festivals

Address: Cheltenham Town Hall, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Website: Cheltenham Festivals

4) Perfect for a picnic - Pittville Pump Rooms

The Pittville Pump Rooms are Cheltenham’s largest spa buildings built in 1925. Located at the top of Pitville Park, take a leisurely mile and a half stroll from the high street, enjoy a picnic in the sunshine and marvel at this magnificent piece of regency architecture.

King George III visited Pitville Pump Rooms in 1788, causing the town to become popular amongst the gentry and to this day Cheltenham is popular with the nobles of society, particularly during the Cheltenham Festival.

Pittville Pump Rooms

Address: Pittville Pump Rooms, Pitville Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Website: Pittville Pump Rooms

5) Get in the game - Cheltenham Town FC

Cheltenham Spa is home to local team Cheltenham Town FC, affectionately as ‘the Robins’ the League Two team play at Waddon Road, The LCI Rail Stadium.

Similarly to Gloucester Rugby, the Robins play in a cherry and white kit, donning their kit for Monday night matched throughout the EFL League Two season.

Back in 1998 Cheltenham played at the world famous Wemble Stadium in the FA Trophy final against Southport and lifted the cup boasting a 1 to 0 victory. Although now nineteen years ago, devoted Robins fans still mark it at the club’s greatest success!

Cheltenham Town FC

Address: Waddon Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Website: Cheltenham Town FC

6) Walk with royals - Sudeley Castle

Aerial photo of Sudeley Castle
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Wdejager used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The impressive and imposing Sudeley Castle is not to be missed on a visit to Cheltenham. Located in the picturesque market town of Whinchcombe not five miles (8 km) from Cheltenham’s Town Centre, Sudeley Castle provides a day trip to remember.

Constructed over 1,000 years ago, Sudeley Castle has been home to kings and queens a plenty. King Henry VIII’s sixth wife Katherine Parr is buried here and it is a humble experience to visit her burial site.

The castle is surrounded by immaculately kept gardens and grounds. The main garden is aptly named The Queens Garden after the four Queens of King Henry VIII who walked the grounds once upon a time.

The Pheasantry is not to be missed either; home to an aviary of over fifteen endangered and rare bird species who play a role in Sudeley’s conservation program.

Sudeley Castle

Address: Sudeley Castle & Gardens, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire

Website: Sudeley Castle

7) Shop 'til you drop - Montpellier

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Motmit used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Situated at the end of the main promenade and high street, the Montpellier area of Cheltenham is a lasting reminder of the Spa Town’s regency influence.

You cannot miss the Montpellier Rotunda as you take a stroll through the quaint and historic streets.

From quaint cafes and stylish bars from independent boutiques to specialist jewelers, Montpellier is a shopaholic’s paradise.

On the main promenade, you can find The Hare and The Minotaur statue, boldly situated in the middle of the pedestrian walkway. Initially only a temporary artistic structure, the sculpture created by Sophie Ryder has resided on the promenade since in 1998.

This area of town is the most expensive in which to buy property and it’s easy to see why, with homes dating back to the early 1890s the fashionable and vintage feel has never lost its touch.

The Hare and The Minotaur statue

Address: The Promenade, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Website: Attraction Name

So there you go...

Rich in culture and steeped in regency architecture Cheltenham has a lot on offer. Be sure to check out what events and festivals are on during your visit to make the most of this vibrant and happening town.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Molly is a full-time conservation volunteer and fundraiser, focusing primarily the Asian Elephant and blogs about her travels to keep her on the road. She has spent the last three years extensively...Read more

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