With just two days to take in all that Cheltenham has to offer we recommend having a day in the town centre, and a day around the wider area.

Day 1

Delight in the most complete Regency Town in the UK and start your day in the Town Centre on the Promenade. This enchanting wide street has not only wonderful Regency buildings but also some charming local shops; treat yourself to a browse in the independent Jewellery shops of Martin & Co or Beards; enjoy a wander through Cavendish House one of the oldest shops in Cheltenham and now part of House of Fraser; or stop for coffee and a Lardy cake in Huffkins before choosing a bed time book from Waterstones.

Move up the Promenade and enjoy the long garden in front of the Municipal Building with statues of our very own explorer Edward Wilson part of the Scott Antarctic Expedition, walk up past Neptune’s fountain and enjoy Imperial Gardens on your left with the Cheltenham Town Hall situated at the front of these. On your right is 131 The Promenade – a fantastic hotel - and at the top of Imperial Gardens is the Queens Hotel which has hosted many of the famous who love to visit Cheltenham.  Follow the road round into Montpellier where you can enjoy lots more independent shops, eateries and bar and t the same time take in Montpellier Walk designed in 1843 by local architects RW and C Jearrad. It’s worth taking a peek at the cornicing detail here - each shop is supported by beautiful armless caryatids – inspired by the caryatids that support the portico of the Erechtheion temple in the Acropolis in Athens.  At the top of Montpellier look right and you will see Gordons lamp, an ornate and grand lamp named after General George Gordon who was killed in the Sudan in 1885.

Enjoy a stroll around Montpellier Gardens and visit the Art Gallery in the grounds.  Exit the gardens at the top left end and walk along to the pedestrian traffic lights where you can cross over and walk up the small street into the Suffolks. Again carefully preserved buildings house really unique businesses whether you want to browse antiques or wonderful clothes, or have a pint in a great bar the Retreat there is something for everyone, there is even a bowling club set in the middle of the Suffolk Square. Visit the converted St James Church now an Italian restaurant but with many of the original features retained and take a look inside the Daffodil Restaurant once an Art Deco cinema but now brilliant for tea, dinner or just coffee.

Leave the Suffolks and wander up to Bath Road and see one of the three brilliant independent schools in Cheltenham - Cheltenham College.  The Chapel of St Mary and St George was conceived in 1891 as the original one had too many defects to make it worth repairing.  There was a competition to select the architect and the whole project was funded by donations – however not enough money was raised to furbish the insides and the chapel was to remain a shell until 1907 when the interior was finally fully furbished.  This magnificent building is used for many events open to the public as well as by the pupils attending chapel.

Walking down from the chapel you will pass the amateur theatre and just along on the right hand side is an entrance to Sandford park another gem with water playing a big part here; from the formal pool with Inwins fountain, an ornamental pond, a meandering path leads to the restful cascade pools and the River Chelt. The name Sandford is derived from the Sandy soil and the ford over the old brook and is mentioned in the Domesday Book; it was also the site of Barretts Mill the largest of three mills that were built on the banks of the River Chelt.

Day 2

Start the day at the Local art gallery and Museum in Clarence Street and take in some of the wonderful art and crafts movement from William Morris time, through to some of our older artefacts and some of the new and modern collections that are housed there. Walk or take a bus to the train station, where you can hire bicycles from the Bike Hub at the station and pick up the Honeybourne Line. This is an old railway track that has been converted to get you across town.  Admire the wonderful painting along the way done by some famous street artists at the Cheltenham Paint Festival in September 2017, Take a look at the new bridge by Waitrose and follow the track to the end. Cross over into Pittvlille park where you can spend a few hours, walking around the lakes, visiting the animal menagerie and taking a look inside the Pump Rooms which overlooks the sweeping lawns and has hosted many events over the years.  Here you can sample – if you are brave enough - the Cheltenham Spa waters taken by George III.

Exit the park and follow the road up to Cheltenham Racecourse. Here you can pick up the Steam Train which will take you and your bikes up to Toddington and Winchcombe. These villages have a lot happening in their own right and are well worth spending some time in. If you just have the day, then visit Sudeley Castle in Winchombe; the castle rooms contain many fascinating treasures from ancient Roman Times to today. It is also the only pricate castle in England to have a queen buried within its grounds. Visitors can explore the 15th century church and visit the tomb of Kathrine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s six wives.  If you are travelling by bike enjoy a thrilling descent with stunning views down into Cheltenham via Cleeve Hill.  If on foot catch the steam train back to Cheltenham.

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