Cheltenham: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

—  Non-metropolitan district and Borough  —
Cheltenham from Leckhampton Hill

Coat of arms
Motto: Salubritas et Eruditio ("Health and Education")
Cheltenham within Gloucestershire.
Coordinates: 51°53′47″N 002°04′42″W / 51.89639°N 2.07833°W / 51.89639; -2.07833Coordinates: 51°53′47″N 002°04′42″W / 51.89639°N 2.07833°W / 51.89639; -2.07833
Country United Kingdom
Constituent Country England
Region South West England
Ceremonial County Gloucestershire
Borough Cheltenham
 - Governing Body Cheltenham Borough Council
 - Leadership Leader & Cabinet
 - Executive Liberal Democrat (council NOC)
 - MPs Martin Horwood
Area Ranked 275th
 - Borough 18 sq mi (46.61 km2)
Population ((2008 est.))Ranked 194th
 - Borough 112,000
 Density 6,221.2/sq mi (2,402/km2)

Cheltenham (pronounced /ˈtʃɛlt.nəm/), or Cheltenham Spa, is a spa town and borough in Gloucestershire, England with a population of 110,013 at the 2001 census. The inhabitants are known as "Cheltonians". Its motto is: Salubritas et Eruditio ("Health and Education").

Cheltenham is on the edge of the Cotswolds and has an image of being respectable and wealthy. The small River Chelt flows under and through the town and is subject to regular floods.[1]

Cheltenham is the home of the flagship race of British steeplechase horse racing, the Gold Cup, the main event of the Cheltenham Festival held every March. The town hosts several festivals of culture.



The town was awarded a market charter in 1226, though little remains of its pre-spa history.

Cheltenham has been a health and holiday spa town resort since the discovery of mineral springs there in 1716. The spa waters continue to be taken recreationally at Pittville Pump Room, built for this purpose and completed in 1830.[2] Cheltenham's success as a spa town is reflected in the railway station, which is still called Cheltenham Spa, and spa facilities in other towns that were inspired by or named after it.[3]

Horse racing began in Cheltenham in 1815, and became a major national attraction after the establishment of the Festival in 1902.[4] Whilst the volume of tourists visiting the spa has declined, the racecourse attracts tens of thousands of visitors to each day of the festival each year,[5] with such large numbers of visitors having a significant impact on the town.

On 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, the borough of Cheltenham was merged with Charlton Kings urban district to form the non-metropolitan district of Cheltenham. Four parishes — Swindon Village, Up Hatherley, Leckhampton and Prestbury — were added to the borough of Cheltenham from the borough of Tewkesbury in 1991.[6]

Local government

Cheltenham is split into 20 wards, with a total of 40 councillors elected to serve on the borough council. Following the May 2008 elections there were 20 Liberal Democrat members, 17 Conservatives and 3 representing People Against Bureaucracy.[7]

The Liberal Democrat group has formed the Council's administration in the form of a 7 member Cabinet which is led by the Leader of the Council.



The town is famous for its Regency architecture and is said to be "the most complete regency town in England".[8] Many of the buildings are listed, including the Cheltenham Synagogue, judged by Nikolaus Pevsner to be one of the architecturally "best" non-Anglican ecclesiastical buildings in Britain.[9]


The Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum has a notable collection of decorative arts form the era of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The Holst Birthplace Museum contains personal belongings of the composer of The Planets, including his piano. It also includes a working Victorian kitchen and laundry, Regency drawing room and an Edwardian nursery.

Commemorative plaques

The Cheltenham Civic Society has been responsible for erecting commemorative plaques in the town since 1982: blue plaques to celebrate well-known people and green plaques to celebrate significant places and events. A full list of plaques is available here.


The oldest school in Cheltenham is Pate's Grammar School (founded in 1574).[10] Cheltenham College (founded in 1841) was the first of the major public schools of the Victorian period.[11] The school was the setting in 1968 for the classic Lindsay Anderson film if.....[12] It also hosts the annual Cheltenham Cricket Festival, first staged in 1872, and the oldest cricket festival in the world.[13] The most famous school in the town, according to the The Good Schools Guide, is Cheltenham Ladies' College (founded in 1853).[14][15] Dean Close School was founded in 1886 in memory of the Reverend Francis Close (1797–1882), a former rector of Cheltenham.[16] The town also includes several campuses of the University of Gloucestershire, one other public and six other state schools, plus institutions of further education.


Every year, Cheltenham Festivals organises music, jazz, literature and science festivals in the town, attracting names with national and international reputations in each field. Events take place at venues including the Town Hall, the Everyman Theatre, The Playhouse Theatre and the Pittville Pump Room.

A fifth cultural festival, the Cheltenham Folk Festival, is separately organised but also attracts international performers. A more local event, the Cheltenham Festival of the Performing Arts (formerly Cheltenham Competitive Festival) is a collection of more than 300 performance competitions that is the oldest of Cheltenham's arts festivals, having been started in 1926.

Greenbelt, a Christian arts and music festival, and Wychwood, a family-friendly folk and world music festival, are held at Cheltenham Racecourse. The town also hosts the multi-venue Walk the line festival.

Two sporting events are also routinely described as the 'Cheltenham Festival' or 'the Festival': the Cheltenham Cricket Festival, which features Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, and National Hunt racing's Cheltenham Festival (see below).

The centre of Cheltenham. The statue is of Edward Adrian Wilson, the Antarctic explorer. The municipal offices are in the background.

Sport and leisure

Cheltenham Racecourse, in the nearby village of Prestbury, is the home of National Hunt, or jumps, racing in the UK. Meetings are hosted from October to April. The highlight of the season is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is normally held in the middle of March, during the Cheltenham Festival. This co-incidence with Saint Patrick's Day ensures that the town swells with an influx of Irish horse racing devotees.

The local football teams are Cheltenham Town F.C. who play in League Two, Cheltenham Saracens F.C. in the Hellenic League Division One West and Cheltenham Civil Service F.C. who play in the local Gloucester Northern Senior League.

Amateur rugby union clubs include Cheltenham R.F.C., Cheltenham Saracens R.F.C., Cheltenham North R.F.C., Old Patesians R.F.C., and Cheltenham Civil Service RFC.

The Cheltenham Rugby Festival is a rugby-league-nines event held in May.

The town has one golf course, Lilley Brook, in Charlton Kings.

Cheltenham has one of the largest croquet clubs in the country, and is home to the headquarters of the national body of the sport, the Croquet Association.

Sandford Parks Lido is one of the largest outdoor pools in England. There are a 50 m (164 ft) main pool, a children's pool and paddling pool, set in landscaped gardens.

The mechanical clock in the Regent Shopping Arcade, designed by Kit Williams. The distance from the duck to the fish is 14 metres.

Shopping and night-life

Cavendish House department store on the Promenade

Cheltenham is a regional shopping centre, home to department stores, the oldest being Cavendish House, from 1823,[17] and centres including the Regent Arcade and the Beechwood Shopping Centre. It has a Michelin two-star restaurant, 'Le Champignon Sauvage'.

Major employers

Cheltenham has light industry, including food processing, aerospace, electronics and tourism businesses. The Government's electronic surveillance operation Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), renowned for its "doughnut-shape" building, is in Cheltenham. Vertex Data Science, GE-Aviation, Dowty Rotol, Chelsea Building Society, Endsleigh Insurance, UCAS (Universities & Colleges Admissions Service), Kohler Mira, Zurich Financial Services, Spirax Sarco and Kraft Foods' UK headquarters all have sites in and around Cheltenham, a recent success story being TonerGraham, bought by Kelly Services.



The Town Hall, erected in 1902 to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra

Cheltenham Spa railway station is located on the Bristol-Birmingham main line, with services to Gloucester, Bristol, Swindon, London Paddington, Cardiff Central, Plymouth and the South West, Birmingham, Derby, the North West, the North East, and Scotland.

The Cheltenham Spa Express, once known as the "Cheltenham Flyer", is a named passenger train connecting Cheltenham with London.

The restored station at Cheltenham Racecourse is the southern terminus of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway heritage railway.


Cheltenham is adjacent to the M5 motorway (between Bristol and Birmingham) and its junction with the A417 to Swindon, and the A40 runs from across the M5 through the town towards Oxford and London.

National Express operate a number of coach services from Cheltenham including the 444 to London and the 222 to Heathrow and Gatwick airports.


Cheltenham was a terminus of the Gloucester and Cheltenham Tramroad.


The parish church of Cheltenham is St. Mary's Church, which is the only surviving medieval building in the town. As a result of expansion of the population, absorption of surrounding villages, and the efforts of both evangelical and Anglo-Catholic missions, the town has a large number of other churches, including Trinity Church, one of the largest Anglican congregations outside London,[citation needed] and All Saints', Pittville, where the composer Gustav Holst's father was the organist.


The town has two notable rings of bells hung for change ringing. The first is at St. Christopher's (Warden Hill), the lightest ring of church bells in the world.[18] The bells of St. Mark's[19] are renowned for their tonal excellence and ease of "handling". The product of John Taylor's Bell Foundry, they were cast in 1885 and 2007 and have undergone a major refurbishment. There is also a ring of 12 bells dating mainly from the 19th century hung in St. Mary's Church. These were the venue in 2008 for the eliminators of the National 12 Bell Striking contest, in which teams of campanologists from around the world compete to win the Taylor Trophy.

The towers in the locality of Cheltenham belong to the Cheltenham Branch of the Gloucester & Bristol Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers. For more information about local ringing activities see the Cheltenham Branch Website.

Twin towns

The twinning emblems for Cheltenham, Göttingen and Torun

Cheltenham is twinned[20] with:

The town has 'Friendship' status with:

The Minotaur and the Hare bronze on the Promenade sculpted by Sophie Ryder in 1995

Areas of Cheltenham

Cheltenham in 1933

The districts of Cheltenham include Arle, Benhall, Charlton Kings, Fairview, Fiddlers Green, Hesters Way, Leckhampton, Montpellier, Oakley, Pittville, Prestbury, The Reddings, Rowanfield, St Marks, St Pauls, St Peter's, Springbank, Springfields, Swindon Village, Up Hatherley, Whaddon and Wyman's Brook.


Originally developed in the 1830s in conjunction with the spas, it is now known for its bars, cafés, restaurants and range of specialist shops. In April 2008 Montpellier was one of the most expensive areas in Cheltenham to buy property, with apartments ranging from £300,000 to over £1,000,000, townhouses from around £400,000, and houses over £4,000,000.

Lansdown Crescent

Lansdown Crescent is a Regency period terrace, designed by John Buonarotti Papworth for R.W. and C. Jearrad and constructed in the 1830s. The terrace is convex, and opposite the north-eastern part stands Lansdown Court, an Italianate villa possibly designed by Papworth but more probably by the Jearrads and built about 1830. Across the road is the beautiful Lansdown Parade, built with even more detail and is concave so the light catches beautifully. The four singular houses are all built differently in amazing detail, and are beautiful examples of the Georgian and Regency crossover period.

Charlton Park

Charlton Park[21] (see above map) is a former 72-acre historic park with mansion house, about a mile south-east of the town centre. From 1935 the parkland gradually became a private residential area, the main housing development taking place between 1976 and 1983. The original mansion house dated from the 13th century; alterations throughout the centuries transformed it from a medieval, timber-framed hall-house into an 18th-century brick-faced mansion in the classical style. In the 1780s the estate was emparked for deer and had magnificent Dutch-style water gardens. After 1935 the old house became part of Charlton Park Convent, and since 1987 has been part of St Edward's School.


Prestbury is a small village on the outskirts of Cheltenham towards Winchcombe and Bishops Cleeve. It contains period houses as well as their modern counterparts. The village is built around the church in the centre. The war memorial in the centre of the village is a constant reminder of the losses made through the two world wars.

Notable residents

The 30,000 capacity main stage at Greenbelt 2007

See also


  • David Verey, Gloucestershire: the Vale and the Forest of Dean, The Buildings of England edited by Nikolaus Pevsner, 2nd ed. (1976) ISBN 0-14-071041-8
  • ' Commemorative Plaques of Cheltenham' by Peter Smith & Sue Rowbotham (Reardon, 2009) ISBN 1-873877-93-5.

External links

Following the Cotswold Way
Chipping Campden
16 km (10 miles) to
Leckhampton, from White's Barn
13.5 km (8 miles) to
Winchcombe, from White's Barn

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Cheltenham[1][2] is a historic spa town in England, which started its development in the early 1700's with the discovery of healing waters. It became very popular after the visit of King George III in 1788, and developed further. You cannot take the waters in Cheltenham, but you can visit the Pump Room to get a feeling for the ambience.

Cheltenham is now probably most famous for the Gold Cup horse race which takes place in mid-March every year. You'll need to book early to find a room, possibly as early as the previous year. Many people accept rooms anywhere within about a 50 mile radius.

Get in

By train

Frequent rail links to London Paddington, Bristol and the south and Birmingham and the north. The station is a little outside the metropolitan area. There is a regular bus service (D) or an easy walk through Montpellier into the centre (15-20 minutes). It's too far to walk if mobility is an issue, so take a taxi.

By car

The M5 reaches Cheltenham from the North and South and the A40 from the East (from Oxford) is also a useful transport link. Parking is rarely a problem now in Cheltenham, but the one way systems can sometimes get a little confusing. With this in mind a good option would be to use the Park and Ride facility National Park and Ride Directory [3]
If you are planning a day at the races Cheltenham, has its own Racecourse Park and Ride [4] facility. Alternatively, you can combine the races with a visit to the classic Cotswold town of Winchcombe and take a steam train from there to the racecourse [[5]. There are special racegoer trains in Gold Cup week.

By bus

There are buses from Cirencester, Stroud and other local villages to Cheltenham once an hour. National bus services are also available. National Express stops at the Royal Well station (behind The Promenade) for easy links to London Heathrow and beyond. It is not possible to buy a ticket at the station outside of office-hours, so purchase online or by telephone.

Get around


Taxis are fairly reliable. If you flag a taxi down or get one from the taxi rank you will be charged from the meter, whereas if you book with a taxi company you will be charged considerably less. Most locals use taxis at night as far as the surrounding villages as night-buses are few (apart from a regular link to Gloucester). At night taxis wait along The Promenade (it can be very busy at pub-closing times).


The main bus company is Stagecoach [6] which operates a number of buses around the town, mainly on routes with letters rather than numbers. The D bus goes from the station through the town centre to the racecourse and on to Bishop's Cleeve. A single from the town centre to the station costs £1.50, and a day ticket for all the stagecoach services within Cheltenham (Megarider) costs £3.00.

  • The broad, tree-lined Promenade and its continuation in Montpellier Walk (look for the caryatids) and Montpellier Street, the town's smart shopping streets (the chain stores are mercifully elsewhere, in the High Street.
  • Imperial Gardens (off the Promenade) with its colourful display of summer flowers.
  • Pittville Park, laid out in the early 19th century as the centre of the then-new residential area of Pittville. The park is arranged round an artificial lake, with Pittville Pump Room on the hillside at the north-western edge. The Pump Room is open for free visits to see the fine interior and water tasting when it is not being used for events or weddings.
  • Go for a drink at The Rising Sun Hotel. It's a bar/hotel at the top of Cleeve hill overlooking Cheltenham. If you get there for sunset the views of Cheltenham are spectacular.
  • Use the town as a touring base [7] - it's very much part of the Cotswolds.
  • Test the waters (and go to concerts) at the Pittville Pump Room [8] (10 minutes walk north of High Street)
  • Visit the Holst Birthplace Museum [9], where the composer Gustav Holst was born in 1874.
  • Visit the Art Gallery and Museum [10] on Clarence Steet. Its collection of furniture and other pieces by Cotswold-based Arts and Crafts Movement craftsmen such as Ernest Gimson and Edward Barnsley is particularly good.
  • See a production at the Everyman [11] or Playhouse [12].
  • Visit the heritage Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway [13] which runs steam-hauled trains between Cheltenham Racecourse and Toddington most weekends throughout the year except in January, February and early March (it re-starts for Gold Cup week), and most weekdays in summer. It often has notable visiting engines, such as the Great Western Railway 'City of Truro' which was the first in the world to exceed 100mph, in 1904.
  • Gold Cup horse racing [14]. March.
  • International Jazz Festival (first week of May)
  • Cheltenham Science Festival (early June)
  • Cheltenham International Festival of Music (3 weeks in July)
  • Fringe Festival (at the same time as the Festival of Music)
  • Cheltenham Cricket Festival (Starts late July or Early August)
  • Cheltenham Festival of Literature (October)
  • Walk the Line music festival (October) [15].
  • Wychwood Festival of music (May)


Montpellier and The Suffolks areas have unique shops, whilst The Promenade has the comparison goods. The High Street and Lower High Street are where you find all the usual chain-stores. Regent Arcade and Beechwood Place shopping malls are popular (both High Street) but limited in unique attractions.

  • Pittville Gates. A row of popular fast-food rather than one single restaurant. Located on the nearest edge of Pittville Park. Very handy for walking back to the town from the races. Mamaris (Pizza, Kebab, Burgers) are always fresh and friendly. Chinese, Indian and British all available along the same row.
  • The Brewery is a new entertainment/eating complex located behind the Lower High Street. Here you will find a selection of rather boring international chain restaurants including Nandos and Real China. Parking available (paid). Great if you like eating on industrial-estates.
  • Daffodil Converted cinema, decorated in an art Deco style. Just off Suffolk Road
  • Laze Daze is good choice for meat dishes, on the Promenade.
  • Flynns in Montpellier does a decent steak at a reasonable price.
  • The Langton, on London Road in Charlton Kings, offers some nice (if slightly pricy) bar food in a Regency-style building, as well as a good Sunday lunch.
  • Hotel Kandinsky Eclectic hotel with fabulous restaurant. Wood fired pizzas / seasonal menus. Located in Montpellier. Currently closed for development.
  • Cafe Rouge. One of the best places to eat in central Cheltenham is Cafe Rouge, just off the high street. It's brilliant and the food is often good and comes with a smile!
  • Storyteller, 11 North Pl, 01242 250343, is reasonably posh and nice. Very popular.
  • Zizzi's Wonderful converted Church, elegantly decorated with good Italian food and wine. Family/baby-friendly in the daytime.
  • Que Pasa beautiful cocktails and tapas dishes to suit every palate.
  • Siam Smile On Suffolk Road. Good Thai and Malaysian food.
  • Champignon Sauvage, [16]. An amazing restaurant. How could it be any better!
  • Lumière Clarence Parade, has a good reputation.
  • The Swan. A popular bar with frequent entertainment. It's located on The Strand (which connects to The High St) and has a large heated outdoor area for smokers. Serves both local and known-brand drinks.
  • The Retreat. Established wine bar in Montpellier, located on Suffolk Parade. Worth finding to enjoy the "posh" side of Cheltenham. Popular with Cheltenham College on Friday/Saturday when it can be very busy. Ask the locals for other lesser known restaurants and bars nearby. Montpellier is not easy to explore without local knowledge.
  • EXS. Gloucestershires only gay/lesbian club. Tends to be busy only late on Friday/Saturday. Closes Sunday and Monday and varies on other dates. There is usually a cost to entry after 10PM. Located at the furthest end of The Strand. Cheltenham has a low gay population compared to many other towns and cities of its size. Due to this, you may be stared at by the locals if you are/look gay.

The only large nightclubs in town are Moda (High Street) and Blush, nothing unique but both enjoyable. Popular mainly with students.

  • YMCA, 6 Vittoria Walk, 01242 524024 [17]. Needs more reviews There is access to wifi. A review described it as lacking character. £19 bed and breakfast. Open Weekdays 7.30AM-10PM, Weekends 9AM-10PM.
  • Hilden Lodge Hotel, 271 London Road (on the A40 towards Oxford, just out of town centre), 01242 583242 (, unreviewed £35 to £50 per person, per night, newly renovated.
  • Benton's Guest House, 71 Bath Road, 01242 517417. unreviewed. £25 per person.
  • Cross Ways Guest House, 57 Bath Road, 01242 527683 [18] Unreviewed. Single £30 per night.
  • Holiday Inn Express Cheltenham Town Centre, Dunalley Street, 01242 548 200 [19] Unreviewed. Double £60 per night.
  • The Abbey hotel, 16 Bath Parade (Follow signs for A&E at the hospital, the hotel is nearby: Bath Parade is a little further along that road on the opposite side), 01242 516053 [20]. Unreviewed. Basic single £33.
  • Charlton Kings Hotel & Restaurant London Road (on the A40 towards Oxford, just out of town centre), unreviewed 01242 231061.
  • Queens, Montpellier
  • Cineworld Cinema The Brewery (Just off the High St, behind Tesco), The new cinema that put the Odeon out of business. Decent screens, decent sound, comfy seats, expensive popcorn 0871 220 8000.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CHELTENHAM, a municipal and parliamentary borough of Gloucestershire, England, 109 m. W. by N. of London by the Great Western railway; served also by the west and north line of the Midland railway. Pop. (1901) 49439. The town is well situated in the valley of the Chelt, a small tributary of the Severn, under the high line of the Cotteswold Hills to the east, and is in high repute as a health resort. Mineral springs were accidentally discovered in 1716. The Montpellier and Pittville Springs supply handsome pump rooms standing in public gardens, and are the property of the corporation. The Montpellier waters are sulphated, and are valuable for their diuretic effect, and as a stimulant to the liver and alimentary canal. The alkaline-saline waters of Pittville are efficacious against diseases resulting from excess of uric acid. The parish church of St Mary dates from the 14th century, but is almost completely modernized. The town, moreover, is wholly modern in appearance. Assembly rooms opened in 1815 by the duke of Wellington were removed in 1901. A new town hall, including a central spa and assembly rooms, was opened in 1903. There are numerous other handsome buildings, especially in High Street, and the Promenade forms a beautiful broad thoroughfare, lined with trees. The town is famous as an educational centre. Cheltenham College (1842) provides education for boys in three departments, classical, military and commercial; and includes a preparatory school. The Ladies' College (1854), long conducted by Miss Beale (q.v.), is one of the most successful in England. The Normal Training College was founded in 1846 for the training of teachers, male and female, in national and parochial schools. A free grammar school was founded in 1568 by Richard Pate, recorder of Gloucester. The art gallery and museum may be mentioned also. The parliamentary borough returns one member. The municipal borough is under a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. Area, 4726 acres. The urban district of Charlton Kings (pop. 3806) forms a south-eastern suburb of Cheltenham.

The site of a British village and burying-ground, Cheltenham (Celtanhomme, Chiltham, Chelteham) was a village with a church in 803. The manor belonged to the crown; it was granted to Henry de Bohun, earl of Hereford, late in the 12th century, but in 1199 was exchanged for other lands with the king. It was granted to William de Longespee, earl of Salisbury, in 1219, but resumed on his death and granted in dower to Eleanor of Provence in 1243. In 1252 the abbey of Fecamp purchased the manor, and it afterwards belonged to the priory of Cormeille, but was confiscated in 1415 as the possession of an alien priory, and was granted in 1461 to the abbey of Lyon, by which it was held until, once more returning to the crown at the Dissolution, it was granted to the family of Dutton. The town is first mentioned in 1223, when William de Longespee leased the benefit of the markets, fairs and hundred of Cheltenham to the men of the town for three years; the lease was renewed by Henry III. in 1226, and again in 1230 for ten years. A market town in the time of Camden, it was governed by commissioners from the 18th century in 1876, when it was incorporated; it became a parliamentary borough in 1832. Henry III. in 1230 had granted to the men of Cheltenham a market on each Thursday, and a fair on the vigil, feast and morrow of St James. Although Camden mentions a considerable trade in malt, the spinning of woollen yarn was the only industry in 1779. After the discovery of springs in 1716, and the erection of a pump-room in 1738, Cheltenham rapidly became fashionable, the visit of George III. and the royal princesses in 1788 ensuring its popularity.

See S. Moreau, A Tour to Cheltenham Spa (Bath, 1738).

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