Visit Cheltenham and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, 10 miles from Gloucester is intersected by the A40 and five radiating major routes, making it easily accessible from all major towns within a radius of a hundred miles or so. Set on a sheltered ridge between the high Cotswolds and the Severn Vale the town enjoys a pleasant and equable climate. Cheltenham is one of the finest spa towns in Europe, with a wealth of Regency houses bordering elegant squares, crescents, terraces and open spaces. Two hundred and fifty years ago it was a typical Cotswold stone village, but its fortune was made when a mineral spring was discovered in 1715 by means of watching the habits of some extremely healthy pigeons, according to tradition. Today the pigeon is incorporated in the city's crest standing on a roundel with bars of silver and blue symbolizing the waters. In 1738 the first pump room was built and 50 years later the spa was founded. George III, an inveterate frequenter of spas, visited the town in that year and set his seal of approval by staying at Bayshill Lodge. In this period of imperial expansion it was rapidly discovered that the mineral waters were extremely beneficial to the military officers and colonial administrators returning from the tropics with liver complaints. The medicinal reputation of the spa grew so rapidly that a small number of brilliant architects were entrusted with plans to lay out an entirely new town. Here elegance and good taste were to provide a setting in which people steeped in classical culture and with ample means for enjoying their period of retirement could live in comfort. Cheltenham was thus rebuilt as a residential town with wide streets and tree-shaded open spaces between 1800 and 1840 in the Grecian idiom, with occasional Gothic or Italianate variations. In spite of war damage and certain modern desecrations it has, on the whole, retained its unique character.
J. B. Papworth was responsible for much of the best architecture: Lansdown Place and Montpellier Parade, among similar thoroughfares, and the Rotunda, the design for its dome being based on the Pantheon in Rome. Montpellier Walk with its shops separated by caryatids must be one of the most unusual shopping precincts in the world. Many of the houses and villas still have their splendid Regency ironwork balconies and verandas. All this careful planning culminated in the Promenade which was finished about 1825. The Municipal Offices dating from this period are probably best seen floodlit at night when their detail shows to advantage. The Promenade is dominated at the far end by the Queens Hotel built in 1838 with Classical colonnades by another renowned Cheltenham architect, W. Jearrad. The Imperial Gardens opposite have colourful flower displays all the year round. Outstanding in a town with so many fine examples of Regency architecture is the Pittville Pump Room built in 1825 by J. B. Forbes in a parkland setting as an assembly hall suited to the growing social life of the spa. The interior of the dome, which has been restored since the Second World War, is particularly beautiful. Out on the Bath road are two of Cheltenham's famous schools. Cheltenham College for Boys was originally built between 1841 and 1843 by J. Wilson in early Gothic Revival style. As the college grew in importance, particularly as a public school for Sons of indian Army officers, considerable extensions to the building were made. Nearby is Cheltenham Ladies' College, founded by Miss Beale, the ardent Victorian champion of good education for girls.
Although rightly concerned with preserving its invaluable heritage, the town is none the less a lively modern community, its industries include the design and assembly of jet aircraft; the manufacture of watches and clocks and small high-precision instruments. It manufactures air-venting equipment and houses the world's largest makers of thermostatic mixing valves. On the cultural side it has established the Cheltenham Festival of Music as one of the most important in the country. While providing a platform for modern British composers is one of the Festival's main concerns, it is equally possible to hear a superb Bach choir, listen to jazz or enjoy folk-singing in the Shaftsbury Hall. Racing and cricket are the predominant sports. The Cheltenham Gold Cup is one of the main features of the English racing year. The attractive race-course is out at Prestbury Park to the North of the town.
Nearby cities: Gloucester
Nearby towns: Bourton-on-the-water, Cirencester, Northleach, Painswick, Tewkesbury, Winchcombe
Nearby villages: Andoversford, Ashchurch, Birdlip, Bishops Cleeve, Brimpsfield, Brockhampton, Brockworth, Brookthorpe, Bushley, Chaceley, Charlton Abbots, Charlton Kings, Chedworth, Churchdown, Coberley, Colesborne, Coombe Hill, Cowley, Daglingworth, Deerhurst, Dowdeswell, Down Hatherley, Elkstone, Gloucester, Golden Valley, Great Witcombe, Gretton, Harescombe, Hawling, Hucclecote, Innsworth, Leckhampton, Leigh, Little Washbourne, Little Witcombe, Long Green, Matson, Prestbury, Sevenhampton, Shurdington, Southam, Staverton, Swindon, Syde, Tirley, Toddington, Whaddon, Winchcombe, Withington
Have you decided to visit Cheltenham or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Cheltenham bed and breakfast (a Cheltenham B&B or Cheltenham b and b)
- a Cheltenham guesthouse
- a Cheltenham hotel (or motel)
- a Cheltenham self-catering establishment, or
- other Cheltenham accommodation