Town focus: Cheltenham

The splendid regency spa town of Cheltenham once attracted gentry from around the country to its fine mineral spas.

These days, Cheltenham is better known for Cheltenham Jockey Club Racecourse (where The Festival, The Open and The International jump races are held annually) and its superb annual festivals (The Cheltenham Literature, Science, Music and Jazz Festivals) - though the town’s beautiful architecture stands as testament to its heritage (most notably the Pittville Pump Room found close to the racecourse, in the restful and scenic Pittville Park).

Today Cheltenham is a town of international importance, as it hosts the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in what is colloquially known as ‘The Doughnut’ - a distinctive circular building located to the west of the town.

Cheltenham residents and day visitors enjoy a generous range of boutiques, High Street shops, restaurants and amenities. There are three theatres (the Everyman, the Bacon, the Playhouse and the Parabola Arts Centre), a cinema and a number of cultural attractions, including the Holst Birthplace Museum, where the famous composer Gustav Holst (best known for ‘The Planets’) was born in 1874. It is one of only two composer birthplace museums in the country. 

The Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum (also called ‘The Wilson’) was extended and re-opened in 2013, and showcases a fine collection of Arts and Crafts objects. Cheltenham also possesses a pleasant public Lido - the Sandford Parks Lido - located close to the centre of town.

The many attractions of Cheltenham, as well as its proximity to more bucolic Cotswold countryside,   (and its assortment of quality schools, including Cheltenham Ladies’ College) makes it a desirable place to live - or neighbour. In 2014, Cheltenham was named the best place to raise a family (out of a shortlist of 20) by The Daily Telegraph newspaper.