Cheltenham is an historic spa town in England, which started its development in the early 1700s with the discovery of healing waters. It became very popular after the visit of King George III in 1788, and developed further. You cannot take the waters in Cheltenham, but you can visit the Pump Room to get a feeling for the ambience.


Cheltenham is now probably most famous for the Gold Cup horse race which takes place in mid-March every year. You'll need to book early to find a room, possibly as early as the previous year. Many people accept rooms anywhere within about a 50 mile radius.

It's also famous for recently housing the top secret Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) responsible for signals intelligence (SIGINT) for UKUSA by Britain's best computer scientists and mathematicians, in its doughnut shaped building (designed that way for security reasons).

Get in

By train

Frequent rail links to London Paddington, Bristol and the south and Birmingham and the north. The station is a little outside the metropolitan area. There's a regular bus service (D) or an easy walk through Montpellier into the centre (15–20 minutes). An alternative off-road walking route is The Honeybourne Line but there have been muggings at night.

It's too far to walk if mobility is an issue, so take a taxi.

By car

The M5 reaches Cheltenham from the North and South and the A40 from the East (from Oxford) is also a useful transport link. Parking is rarely a problem now in Cheltenham, but the one way systems can sometimes get a little confusing. With this in mind a good option would be to use the Park and Ride facility National Park and Ride Directory. If you're planning a day at the races, Cheltenham, has its own Racecourse Park and Ride facility

By bus

There are buses from Cirencester, Stroud and other local villages to Cheltenham once an hour. National bus services are also available. National Express stops at the Royal Well station (behind The Promenade) for easy links to London Heathrow and beyond. It's not possible to buy a ticket at the station outside of office-hours, so buy online or by telephone.

Get around

By taxi

Taxis are fairly reliable. If you flag a taxi down or get one from the taxi rank you will be charged from the meter, whereas if you book with a taxi company you will be charged considerably less. Most locals use taxis at night as far as the surrounding villages as night-buses are few (apart from a regular link to Gloucester). At night, taxis wait along The Promenade (it can be very busy at pub-closing times).

By bus

The main bus company is Stagecoach which operates a number of buses around the town, mainly on routes with letters rather than numbers.

The D bus goes from the station through the town centre to the racecourse and on to Bishop's Cleeve. A single from the town centre to the station costs £1.50, and a day ticket for all the stagecoach services within Cheltenham (Megarider) costs £2.80.



The Promenade, Cheltenham



The Wishing Fish Clock in the Regent Shopping Arcade. At 45ft (13.7m), it's thought to be the world's tallest mechanical clock.

Cheltenham is a popular shopping destination in the region. The Promenade street in the centre has many high end shops including the House of Fraser department store. The High Street and Lower High Street are where you find all the usual chain-stores. There are a couple of small shopping malls, the Regent Arcade and Beechwood Place shopping malls.






The only large nightclubs in town are Moda (High St) and Blush, nothing unique but both enjoyable. Popular mainly with students.





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