As the cultural capital of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham is fast becoming a popular short-break destination with large groups and those looking to party. Plus, its incredible location means there’s tonnes of idyllic spots for those looking for a quieter experience and those wanting to try their hand at outdoor activities. Described as having a cultural renaissance in recent years, Cheltenham has also been called a Design Destination, thanks to a whole host of places to eat, drink and stay.
Although surrounded by beautiful countryside, Cheltenham is easily accessible from the M5 and is just an hour away from Bristol and Birmingham. London is just under two hours away, meaning it’s a great choice if you’ve got mates coming from all ends of the UK. Having established a reputation for fantastic shopping, theatre and festivals, this spa town is a year-round location and is sure to satisfy you.
Explore the City
Bordering The Cotswolds, one of the UK’s prized possessions, Cheltenham is a great base to explore local villages and towns. Recover from the big night out, breath in that fresh air and if you’re up to it, why not release a little friendly competition with some extreme outdoor sports?
Recognised as a key shopping destination in Britain, Cheltenham offers high street brands, designer names and unique boutiques. Known as one of the best shopping streets in the UK, Cheltenham’s Promenade is home to The Montpellier Arcade. The Suffolks, Bath Road and Regent Arcade Shopping Centre are also popular shopping haunts.
As one of the UK’s most famous racecourses, if you want to plan the ultimate weekend away then Cheltenham Racecourse will definitely be a hit. Study the odds or simply choose the funniest name, before placing your bets and finding the best spot to watch. The atmosphere is always lively and even better if you win. Plus, you’re not too far from the city centre (it’s about 10 minutes by taxi), so head back in to celebrate your win - or drown your sorrows.
The Brewery Quarter
Old meets new in the buzzing district. Offering a wide range of restaurants, bars, a bowling alley and multi-screen cinema, there’s also live gigs and entertainment on most nights. Plus, if you enjoy the finer things in life, Cheltenham has everything from Gin Tasting to Brewery Tours, Beer Walking Tours and Food-related activities.
We’re not joking when we say that Cheltenham is the home of festivals. Not only does the city host the annual Cheltenham Festival & Gold Cup, but it is also home to the Cheltenham Festival Series - Jazz, Music, Science and Literature. Look out for the Food and Drink Festival, Cheltenham Cocktail Week and The Science Festival which looks into the science of spirits. Yes, that’s right.
Nights out in Cheltenham are anything but quiet. From traditional clubs to contemporary venues, whatever your style, age, budget or taste, there’s definitely something for you.
If you’re looking for a traditional pub to start your night in, Cheltenham won’t disappoint. The award winning Sandford Park Alehouse has an extensive craft ale range and was voted National Pub of the Year 2016. Somerset craft brewery The Wild Beer Co also have their first bar outlet in the city centre and other favourites include The Royal Union, which serves only Gloucestershire Real Ales, and The Brewhouse.
Cheltenham boasts some incredible cocktail bars that not only guarantee a great night but also the perfect Instagram shot! Lily Gin’s, Monty’s and The Clarance Social boast brilliant drinks, impressive decor and quirky flavour combinations.
Wine and Spirit Bars
Whatever your tipple, Cheltenham has something for you. John Gordon’s offers two bars - one dedicated to whiskey and the other is a haven for gin. Montpellier Wine Bar and the Grape Escape are also firm favourites amongst wine lovers and even do wine tastings for large groups.
This individually styled chain bar is housed in a former church and is one of the city’s most popular hotspots. Featuring a large dance floor, extensive drinks menu and VIP area, this venue has loads to enjoy. Why not book out a table to really impress your friends?
Eat like a local
When it comes to food, Cheltenham does it well. As well as chain favourites, there’s also a vast selection of vibrant cuisines. From exotic street food vendors to local produce cafes, there’s something for everyone.
While the city may be famous for its high-end restaurants, the streets are also lined with a number of relaxed restaurants ideal for big groups. Falafel King does what it says on the tin, Paparritos serves mouth-watering burritos and Bar & Wok is favoured by locals and tourists alike.
The ideal activity for any celebration, Cheltenham is home to a number of places that do afternoon tea just right. Huffkins, The Enchanted Tea Room and Well Walk Café all offer the finest sweet and savoury treats - and if you’re feeling extra, why not make it champagne afternoon tea?
For those wanting to support local businesses, you’ve got to head to one of the many independent restaurants. Garlic and Ginger allows you to enjoy a traditional Korean barbeque, The County Kitchen serves British home cooked food, and The Coconut Tree serves Sri Lankan cuisine with plenty of vegan dishes!
Places to Stay
Cheltenham has a number of chain hotels, which are ideal for large groups and those looking for good value accommodation. As well as being centrally located, many also offer double and triple rooms.