The best way to get a quick and affordable journey to Cheltenham is to book with National Express. Scroll up to see your travel options to “the cultural centre of The Cotswolds”.
From as little as £5 you can travel from London Victoria to Cheltenham in just 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Lying in the beautiful Severn Valley, Cheltenham is a picturesque Regency Spa Town with famous festivals, boutique shopping and a lively pub and restaurant scene.
It also provides an excellent base to explore the rolling hills and little villages of the Cotswolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty providing one stunning picture postcard moment after another.
Were it not for the coffee shops and pizza places, the white-fronted Regency architecture of Montpellier might make you think you’d stepped back into the 1820s. Boasting parks, squares, grand houses and palatial fountains, Montpellier is an alfresco area with an unmistakably Continental feel.
Home of the pedestrianised Promenade, it is also Cheltenham’s best area for shopping – particularly if upmarket boutiques are to your liking. Otherwise, buy a coffee, take an outside seat and watch the well-heeled world go by.
Although Cheltenham, and the surrounding countryside, has no shortage of beauty spots, Pittville Park is definitely worth a visit.
The lake provides a great circular walk through patches of long grass and woodland. There are also boats for rent, an impressive children’s playground, an aviary, cafes and a small public golf course. Don’t miss the mighty pillars of Pittville Pump Room, a former hub of Georgian society and now a grand events space. When not privately booked, you can tour the Pump Room and even try the famous potable, but not palatable, spa water.
Pittville Park also lies on the Honeybourne Line, a former railway which now serves as a green walkway running right through to the town centre.
15th century Sudeley Castle sits on a stunning 1,200-acre estate, boasting nine elaborate formal gardens and a museum featuring artefacts dating to the Roman era. There’s history at every turn of the castle’s many corridors.
The aptly-named Queens Garden has been enjoyed by four of England’s queens: Ann Boleyn, Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I. Because of the focus on the gardens, the castle and its grounds are best enjoyed in good weather, although dark December brings the dazzling Spectacle of Light.
If you’re taking children along, there’s also a large multi-level wooden castle which will keep them occupied for hours.
Providing breath-taking views over Cheltenham and the Severn Valley, Leckhampton Hill is little known except to locals.
Arrive at the Daisy Bank Car Park entrance to the hill and you’ll wind your way up through captivating woodland, passing overgrown quarries until you come out at the top on to a grassy plateau. There are plenty of excellent walking trails (Leckhampton Hill is on the path of the 102-mile Cotswold Way, which runs from Bath to Chipping Campden), remains of an Iron Age Fort and a manmade tower of rocks known as “The Devil’s Chimney.”
The composer behind the Planets, the house of one of Cheltenham’s most famous sons has been transformed into a museum.
One of Holst’s most passionate beliefs was that music should be accessible to everybody, so it seems fitting that visitors can see Holst’s famous piano, look through his musical scores and explore his house – perfectly preserved in its Victorian condition. There’s a 19th-century kitchen, drawing room, and a nursery. Below stairs, visit the scullery, larder and kitchen – where authentically-costumed cooks still whip up Victorian favourites.
Cheltenham Town Hall
Cheltenham’s grand town hall is a great music and comedy venue which punches above its weight in the calibre of comedy acts it attracts.
TV regulars this year include Katherine Ryan, Bill Bailey and Simon Amstel.
There’s also an eclectic programme of music, ranging from a Roy Orbison tribute night to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.
The town hall is centrally located next to Imperial Gardens and is surrounded with some great bars and restaurants for drinks and dinner before or after the show.
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