Cheltenham is a large spa town in Gloucestershire, on the edge of the Cotswolds.
Cheltenham an excellent commuter base. Cheltenham Spa train station is on the Bristol-Birmingham mainline, and it has services to cities across the country. London is two hours by train, Bristol is 40 minutes, and Swindon and Birmingham are accessible within an hour. The town is right next to the M5, so commuting by car is a good option too. There are excellent bus services in and around Cheltenham and the Cotswolds, and the central bus station makes it easy to access them.
Cheltenham has excellent schooling with a large number of primary schools. There are plenty of secondary schools, including Cheltenham College, a day and boarding school that has been educating pupils since 1841. However, Pate’s Grammar School is the oldest in the town, founded in 1574.
There are fantastic shopping facilities in Cheltenham, with a great mix of well-known national chains and unique independents. The Promenade dates back to 1818, and this beautiful, tree-lined thoroughfare has a lovely collection of shops, cafes and bars. There are beautiful gardens and the stunning Neptune Fountain, which is inspired by the Trevi fountain in Rome.
The Montpellier Arcade is one of the oldest arcades in the country, and the area around it has fabulous independent fashion boutiques and antique stores. Regent Arcade Shopping Centre has over 60 retail outlets and houses some national high street stores and places to eat.
The food and drink scene in Cheltenham is as eclectic and interesting as the shopping scene, with something to suit all tastes and budgets. Fine dining is available at the Michelin starred Le Champignon Sauvage, and you can find award-winning South Asian food at Prithvi. Local favourites include Paparritos, serving up tasty burritos, and The Gloucester Old Spot, a traditional pub serving delicious food and beer.
Healthcare is provided by Cheltenham General Hospital and several surgeries across the town. There are plenty of dentists and pharmacies too.
Cheltenham is known as The Festival Town due to the number of large festivals it hosts throughout the year, including one of the largest science festivals found outside of London. The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival takes place each autumn, hosting over 50 shows in Montpellier Gardens and draws the world’s greatest authors.
Other festivals include Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival, Midsummer Fiesta, and The Cheltenham Festival, a large horse racing festival in March. Cheltenham Racecourse also has weekend-long music festivals, and its impressive auditorium called The Centaur hosts a variety of national and international music and comedy events. Cheltenham Jazz Festival has grown to become one of the greatest music festivals in the country, drawing the best blues, jazz, fusion and pop artists.
The nearby Cotswolds provide plenty of opportunities for days out in its rolling hills, including Adam Henson's Cotswold Farm Park. This is an excellent attraction with over 50 flocks and herds of animals, an adventure playground, maze, sandpits and a restaurant.