Cheltenham Spa is a spa town and borough in Gloucestershire, on the edge of the Cotswolds in the South-West region of England. It has an image of being respectable and wealthy, and is the home of the flagship race of British steeplechase horse racing, the Gold Cup, the main event of the Cheltenham Festival held every March. The town hosts several festivals of culture.
The town is famous for its Regency architecture and is said to be "the most complete regency town in England". Many of the buildings are listed, including the Cheltenham Synagogue, judged by Nikolaus Pevsner to be one of the architecturally "best" non-Anglican ecclesiastical buildings in Britain.
The Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum has a notable collection of decorative arts from the era of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The Holst Birthplace Museum contains personal belongings of the composer of The Planets, including his piano. It also includes a working Victorian kitchen and laundry, Regency drawing room and an Edwardian nursery.
The Cheltenham Civic Society has been responsible for erecting commemorative plaques in the town since 1982: blue plaques to celebrate well-known people and green plaques to celebrate significant places and events.
Every year, Cheltenham Festivals organises music, jazz, literature and science festivals in the town, attracting names with national and international reputations in each field. Events take place at venues including the Town Hall, the Everyman Theatre, The Playhouse Theatre and the Pittville Pump Room.
A fifth cultural festival, the Cheltenham Folk Festival, is separately organised but also attracts international performers. A more local event, the Cheltenham Festival of the Performing Arts (formerly Cheltenham Competitive Festival) is a collection of more than 300 performance competitions that is the oldest of Cheltenham's arts festivals, having been started in 1926.
Greenbelt, a Christian arts and music festival, and Wychwood, a family-friendly folk and world music festival, are held at Cheltenham Racecourse. The town also hosts the multi-venue Walk the line festival.
Two sporting events are also routinely described as the 'Cheltenham Festival' or 'the Festival': the Cheltenham Cricket Festival, which features Gloucestershire County Cricket Club and National Hunt racing's Cheltenham Festival.
In 2010, Cheltenham was named the UK's fifth 'most musical' City by PRS for Music.
Cheltenham has played host to a number of high profile film and TV series. The BBC TV series Butterflies, as well as the film If... (1968) were both filmed in the town.
The town was awarded a market charter in 1226, and has been a health and holiday resort since the discovery of mineral springs there in 1716. Horse racing began in Cheltenham in 1815, and became a major national attraction after the establishment of the Festival in 1902.
Cheltenham is a regional shopping centre, home to several shopping centres and department stores, the oldest being Cavendish House from 1823. It is well-known locally for its nightlife, with a wide range of pubs, wine bars, clubs and restaurants. It has a Michelin two-star restaurant, Le Champignon Sauvage.
In 2006, Cheltenham was voted the best place to live in Britain.
Gloucestershire, GL50 1QA
Nearest station : Cheltenham Spa station