Skirting the Cotswolds and home of the Gold Cup Steeplechase, Cheltenham is a charming Gloucestershire town that has welcomed visitors and royalty to its spa waters for over 300 years. The Cheltenham Festival horse racing now attracts more visitors than the healing properties of the spa, but Cheltenham is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year. Many people come to see the most complete examples of Regency architecture in the UK, with many of the town's buildings dating back to the late 1700's, when King George III stayed here to treat his infirmities. The town also attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to its literary and music festivals held throughout the year.
Location: A South-West English town near Gloucester
An ideal location for touring the South-West of England, Cheltenham is within a short distance of Bristol (65 kilometres), Stratford Upon Avon (50 kilometres), and Gloucester (15 kilometres). Near the major road routes of the M5, the M40, and the M50 means that you are less than two hours away from London to the east and Cardiff to the west. Surrounded by hills and open fields, Cheltenham is a lovely rural town in a beautiful setting.
Business: The site for UK intelligence
The UK's Government Communication Headquarters is the largest employer in the town, with its headquarters based at 'The Doughnut' in the suburbs of the town. The infrastructure is supported by many companies, and it is no surprise that there is a wealth of high-tech electronics and engineering firms in the local area.
Culture: Gustav Holst is Cheltenham's most famous son
The childhood home of Holst, the composer of The Planets, has been turned into the Holst Birthplace Museum that contains many of his personal belongings, which includes the piano he used to create his masterpiece. The building has been restored to how it would have looked during his childhood with an Edwardian nursery, a Regency drawing room, and even a working Victorian kitchen that produces light teas for the visitor.
Activities: Enjoy a day at the races
The Cheltenham Racecourse holds the biggest steeplechase event in the horseracing calendar during the week of March. The Gold Cup is the culmination of the Cheltenham Festival that sees hundreds of thousands of people descend upon the town to enjoy the atmosphere, and perhaps have a wager on a horse race. The racecourse is also a great place to visit at less busy periods to enjoy the horseracing and the fine dining on offer in one of the three restaurants.