This Cotswold town offers a huge range of cultural and culinary delights
Known to many as the cultural capital of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham is a wonderful place to visit for day or for a long weekend. A short drive from Bristol and Bath and easily reached by rail links, it’s brimming with a mix of traditional and modern cultural activities and has plenty to offer, whatever you’re looking for.
Things to do
Cheltenham has a whole host of things to see and do. As the former home to many famous faces, there’s an excellent selection of museums and galleries to visit. We recommend The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum, which displays a range of permanent collections as well as hosting guest exhibitions. The towns picturesque location means it is home to a variety of public parks and gardens – Pitville Park is especially lovely. It is the only park in the country to win the Green Heritage Award, and features lakes and a splendid pump room. Cheltenham also features easy access to many striking open spaces and nature reserves, and the picture-perfect villages of the Cotswolds are close by. Finally, we can’t not mention Cheltenham Racecourse! Not just for horseracing, it’s also the South West’s leading venue for conferences and exhibitions, meaning it’s well worth a visit.
Food and drink
No matter what you fancy, Cheltenham has something to offer every palate. With a good mix of high-street and independent restaurants, it has become something of a culinary destination in recent years. If you’re looking to spend a bit of cash, then make sure you try and book at a table at Le Champignon Sauvage – a Michelin-starred restaurant located in The Suffolks. Other notable restaurants include The White Spoon and Prithvi – an award-winning Indian restaurant that has been labelled as the sixth best restaurant in the country by TripAdvisor. However, you don’t have to spend much to eat well here. The Ivy Brasserie provides a great place to enjoy reasonably priced food and wine, and other favourites such as Falafel King, The Coconut Tree and The Ox are close by.
Shopping and retail
For those who love to shop, Cheltenham is a paradise. The town naturally falls into quarters, meaning there’s retail opportunities everywhere you turn, and it boasts an enviable selection of both high-street and high-end shops. The connection of the Brewery Quarter to the high street has resulted in a modern and exciting shopping district, and includes many well-known retailers.
The Regent Arcade Shopping Centre is undercover, meaning you can still shop whatever the weather, and offers over 60 shops and dining options. John Lewis is set to open in the town centre later this month, offering even more choice to shoppers, but it’s not just high-street brands here. Wonderfully quirky independent shops are also in abundance, and can be found at The Promenade, Montpellier, The Suffolks and Bath Road.
Image credit: Flickr Kathryn