Last week for our Instagram photo challenge we celebrated Cheltenham Festivals. 25+ major festivals a year take place in Cheltenham and we are proud to be known as The Festival Town.

A little look back in time… 250 years ago, Cheltenham was the Regency Capital of the UK, and arguably the world. People, including King George, travelled from near and far to drink from the healing spring, and to refresh their mind, body and soul. What our many recent studies and workshops have revealed is that Cheltenham is still the place to come and refresh your mind, body and soul. Only now, our healing waters have been replaced by the town’s refreshing festival vibes.

We host all kinds of annual festivals in Cheltenham from the world’s oldest literature festival – Cheltenham Literature Festival to a Chilli Festival, Wellbeing Festival and even an Open Air Theatre Festival. Of course the pandemic has prevented us from being able to come together to enjoy our festivals for the last few months however, many have entertained fans from the safety of home by going online including Cheltenham Jazz Festival & Wychwood Festival last month; Cheltenham Science Festival and Cheltenham Beer Festival last week and from today, the Cheltenham International Film Festival!

We shared fascinating facts about some of our most popular festivals over on Instagram last week and asked our followers to share their favourite festival memories. Below is a little round up. Keep reading to the end as we’ve announced the winner of the overnight stay at the George Hotel and revealed the photo challenge theme for this week!


Cheltenham Science Festival

This annual festival took place online last week due to the lockdown. Highlights of the 50 talks, workshops and live Q&A sessions included Brian Cox, Liz Bonnin, GCHQ Director Jeremy Fleming, Brian Greene and many more. 42,000 people joined in the virtual fun and workshops via the Cheltenham Festivals YouTube channel. The six-day programme is available to enjoy online until the 7 July, check it out here.

Cheltenham Balloon Fiesta

We are currently keeping our fingers (& toes!) firmly crossed that the Balloon Fiesta will return to Cheltenham Racecourse this August, (with social distancing measures in place of course). Last year was the first year for this event. It was wonderful to see the sky above Cheltenham filled with colourful hot air balloons. Dan Smith got up early to capture this beauty…

Cheltenham International Film Festival

This annual event has just kicked off for a week long online celebration of all things film (8 - 14 June). You can expect over 30 films and documentaries from around the world plus virtual Q&A sessions with film directors. Book your tickets online here

Cheltenham Paint Festival

Another festival which has entertained us through the lockdown. The organisers have been sharing a virtual Cheltenham Paint Festival on their social channels and locals have also enjoyed daily walks past many of the murals left as a legacy from past street art festivals.

We also popped by last week to check out the latest street art by Cheltenham Paint Festival co-founder, Andy Dice Davis. It’s a very touching tribute to our local NHS front line workers, located by the train station…

Wychwood Festival

Nominated each year as ‘Best Family Festival’ at the UK Festival awards. This year was its sweet 16th birthday. Normally this three-day event features over 100 acts performing across four stages, inc. live music, dance and arts workshops, a circus school, talks, comedy, kids literature festival plus MUCH more. The online festival this year took place over one day with fans enjoying the acts from their own gardens. Some of the big acts to perform in the past have included Bill Bailey, Scouting for Girls, ABC & The Stranglers. It's definitely a festival to keep in mind for next summer folks!

Light Up Cheltenham

Of course our annual Light Up event, which brightens up Cheltenham for two weeks every February, made an appearance on Instagram this week. We love this photo by Cheltenham Foodie, Louise, featuring Neptune dazzling in light on The Promenade…

Cheltenham Jazz Festival

Steve Green shared these wonderful photos with us featuring his favourite festival, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, which was formed in 1996 and is recognised by the industry as a leading Jazz Festival in Europe.

Broadcast on BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music this festival reaches over 15 million listeners! Regular DJs in recent years have included the incredible Cerys Matthews, Jo Whiley, Jamie Cullum and this year and last, the equally impressive Gregory Porter. If you are a jazz fan make sure you add the first bank holiday in May to your calendar for 2021!

Cheltenham Literature Festival

Another festival we are keeping everything crossed for this year, is the Cheltenham Literature Festival. We are justifiably proud of this annual event which celebrated its 70th birthday last year, making it is the oldest literature festival in the world.

The Festival began with just 10 events over 4 days in Cheltenham Town Hall, in a Britain struggling to recover from the impact of World War II. It has developed into a fabulous 10 day festival which features over 500 events, including the best new voices in fiction and poetry alongside literary legends (Hilary Clinton & David Attenborough!), major thinkers, sporting icons and stars of stage and screen.

Last year for the first time, the Literature and Paint Festival collaborated to showcase authors via street art as shown below via the post by @sam_art_34.

Many thanks to everyone who has taken part in our photo challenge to date. It's been a fun few weeks getting to know people passionate about Cheltenham over on Instagram.  The winner of the overnight stay at the George Hotel is, Joanne Hale, who has shared some incredible photos of Cheltenham. Congratulations Joanne!

The theme for this weeks photo challenge is Cheltenham Hidden Gems. We know many of you have enjoyed exploring and rediscovering your local area during lockdown and we look forward to seeing posts featuring any hidden gems you've found. Just tag us in at @visitcheltenham #OurChelt to enter.  We will share our favourites on Instagram stories. 

Check out our entries from previous photo challenges...

Instagram photo challenge: Places you are missing during the lockdown

Instagram photo challenge: The best views of Cheltenham

Instagram photo challenge: Cheltenham Architecture

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Cheltenham Balloon Fiesta
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Cheltenham Balloon Fiesta

Cheltenham Balloon Fiesta has sadly been cancelled for 2020. Dates for 2021 18 - 20th June.  After an amazing first year, we cannot wait to welcome back Cheltenham Balloon Fiesta to The Festival Town in 2021. It will be a three day extravaganza!

Cheltenham Literature Festival
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2020 Cheltenham Literature Festival dates: 2 - 11 October 2020. Due to COVID-19 this years festival will take place online. Literature fans can expect... ·       Streaming for free on the Cheltenham Festivals website from 2-11 October   ·       Digital hub with live-streams, audience Q&As and interactive maps

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