• CONTACT US if you have any problems registering for the forums.

Cotswolds Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

The most complete Regency town in Britain.

Cheltenham is recorded in Domesday and was granted a market charter by Henry III. By the Middle Ages, it was a small market town on the River Chelt, surrounded by fertile agricultural countryside. The Minster Church is one of the few survivors of Medieval Cheltenham.

It would be mainly ignored if it had not been for the discovery of its efficacious mineral waters at the start of the C18th

Henry Skillicorne recognised the significance of the discovery and the potential to attract visitors to the town. He was responsible for developing the first spa. He built a pump to regulate the flow of water and erected an elaborate well-house complete with a ballroom and upstairs billiard room to entertain his customers. This was followed by improvements to the town with tree-lined promenades and gardens.

A visit of George III and his family put Cheltenham firmly on the map and visitor began in arrive in large numbers and additional spas were opened to cater for them.

Visitors taking the waters were encouraged to stay for six weeks. The town grew rapidly to accommodate the increasing numbers of visitors with Regency terraces. The Royal Crescent was built in 1806-10.

More terraces soon followed.



Cheltenham was very much a place to be seen and work began on the Promenade in 1818 and elms and horse chestnuts were planted along it. The gardens in front of the houses were originally private, for the use of residents.




Horse racing began in Cheltenham in 1815, providing yet another attraction for visitors.

Joseph Pitt developed Pittville to the north of the town in the 1820s as a rival to Cheltenham. It was the last and largest spa to be built. The pump room was a splendid neo-classical building and was equally as impressive inside. It was surrounded by landscaped gardens and parkland including an ornamental pond and boating lake. The park included 600 large and splendid houses and was enclosed by railings and a gate. It could only be used by residents or subscribers to the spa.

Trinity Church was built in 1823 in response to the growing population.

Gloucestershire had a thriving Jewish presence in the Middles Ages and Jewish families moved into the booming spa town of Cheltenham, building a synagogue here in 1837.

St Gregory the Great, the Roman Catholic Church dates from 1854-9

St Andrew’s United Reform Church was also built in 1858.


The Queen’s Hotel (with lots of VR insignia above the windows) opened in 1837 and was one of the first hotels to be built.



In front of it were pleasure grounds, the Imperial Gardens, and a spa.

The railway arrived in 1840 bring yet more visitors and more attractions were added.

The Everyman Theatre opened in 1891 and still retains its Victorian interior.

The Neptune Fountain on the promenade was built 1893 and was reputedly modelled on the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Neptune in a shell-chariot, is drawn by four sea-horses and heralded by conch-shell blowing merman.


Large and splendid Assembly Rooms were built overlooking Imperial Gardens replacing an earlier building on High Street. This had a large Porte-cochère in front allowing coaches to drop visitors off under cove - an important consideration if it was raining! By the late C19th spas were becoming less important and in an attempt to revive Cheltenham’s fortunes as a spa in 1906, a new Central Spa serving four different kinds of medicinal waters was installed.



The Government Code and Cypher School was established in Cheltenham in after the First World War. It moved to Bletchley Park during the Second World War before moving back to Cheltenham in 1951. Now known as GCHQ, it is on the outskirts of the town and is one of the major employers.


Cheltenham’s only tower block, Eagle Tower, was built in 1969 for Eagle Star Insurance and immediately caused a lot of controversy when first built as it was not liked. Eagle Star merged with Zurich Insurance and moved out. There were plans to demolish it, but having got used to the building, there was a public but outcry to save it. Now it rented out to different businesses.

Times change and now only Pittville Pump Room survives and ‘the waters’ fed by an electric pump can still be taken here. It was taken over by the town council and is used as a concert hall, especially during the Music Festival.

Cheltenham Ladies College is built over the site of the Royal Spa in 1873. Montpellier Spa is no longer there, but the caryatids supporting the front of the buildings are.


The Assembly Rooms is now the town hall, although it has never been used as an administrative centre as the borough officers were in the Municipal Buildings on the Promenade. It is still an entertainment venue.

The Regency terraces, tree lined promenades and the gardens still survive.


Cheltenham is an attractive town to walk around and there is even a self guided tour.

The war memorial is on the Promenade.


Outside the Queen’s Hotel is the memorial to those who died in the Crimea war.



Don’t miss the statue of Dr Adrian Wilson on the Promenade. He was born in Cheltenham and accompanied Robert Falcon Scott on his ill fated expedition to the South Pole in 1912.


It has an excellent shopping centre with a wide range of both national and independent stores along High Street, down one side of the Promenade and streets around the Promenade.


There are plenty of other things to do in Cheltenham. There is the Race Course which hosts the Cheltenham Festival, the most prestigious jump racing event of the year, with the grand finale, the legendary Gold Cup.

Gustav Holst was born in Cheltenham and his birthplace is now the Holst Victorian House Museum with working Victorian kitchen, Victorian bedroom, scullery and nursery. Holst’s Music room has the piano on which he composed The Planets.and piano used by Holst.

In 1898, the third Baron de Ferrieres, a former Mayor and MP for Cheltenham, gave 43 important paintings, mostly from Belgium and the Netherlands, to the town, together with £1000 towards the building of a gallery in which to house them. This is now the Wilson Art Gallery and Museum. As well as the paintings it has an outstanding collection from the Arts and Crafts Movement fine art, as well as displays on archaeology and local history.

Cheltenham also boast three theatres, Everyman, Playhouse and Bacon Theatre.ultural events are also held at different venues around the town

There are also many festivals held throughout the year, including the literary festival, Cheltenham Literature Festival, the Music Festival as as well as the Jazz and Science Festivals.


How to Find Information

Search using the search button in the upper right. Search all forums or current forum by keyword or member. Advanced search gives you more options.

Filter forum threads using the filter pulldown above the threads. Filter by prefix, member, date. Or click on a thread title prefix to see all threads with that prefix.


Booking.com Hotels in Europe
AutoEurope.com Car Rentals

Recommended Guides, Apps and Books

52 Things to See and Do in Basilicata by Valerie Fortney
Italian Food & Life Rules by Ann Reavis
Italian Food Decoder App by Dana Facaros, Michael Pauls
French Food Decoder App by Dana Facaros, Michael Pauls
She Left No Note, Lake Iseo Italy Mystery 1 by J L Crellina

Share this page