Go To The Races
Even if you are not particularly interested in horse-racing or in gambling, a day out at Cheltenham races is a fun day, especially if the weather is good. You can just wander round and soak up the atmosphere, have perhaps a little interest bet on say the "toteplacepot" - where you pick a horse in each race and wager a couple of quid that each horse will be placed.
There are various bars and restaurants scattered all over the site and whilst these are usually quite busy, a little patience has it's own rewards.
In addition to the racing there are also various craft and country clothing marquees and even a bookshop which quite often has signings between races.
If you do take your racing seriously it is best to get a club pass (you can upgrade from the office just next to the main entrance to the Grandstand) which will allow access to most of the course with the exception of the members areas.
Win or lose Cheltenham is a great day out.
- Beer Tasting
- Arts and Culture
- Horse Riding
Cheltenham Open Air Art Exhibition
Cheltenham holds an annual exhibition of paintings by local artists at the Imperial Gardens in front of the Queen’s Hotel. The paintings are displayed on the fences at the opposite end of the park. Of course the exhibition is held during the summer (end of June and start of July) but, since it’s the English summer, the possibility of rain damage to the paintings is anticipated; there are canopies to protect the pictures and the visitors from the elements! The exhibition is accompanied by an open air bar and live music performances frequently take place in the gardens during this time.
As you might imagine, given the wonderful countryside and pretty Cotswold villages the region is known for, many of the artists choose local subjects for their landscape paintings and sometimes I feel like I’ve done a tour of the county by just walking across the park! Other popular subjects include flowers, portraits and animals. The work is by both professional and amateur artists (the exhibition has even included paintings by my dad a few times!) also most of the paintings you will see are for sale, often at quite low prices, so if you see something you like here, it could make the perfect memento of your visit to the area.
- Arts and Culture
Pigeons apparently discovered an underground spring in Cheltenham. New wells were built, and fashionable pump rooms opened. A building boom ensued to accommodate the influx of visitors. Today, these houses are the chief reason for the popularity of Cheltenham as a tourist centre. This is similar to what happened in Bath, except that according to my daughter, Bath is much more uniform in style of architecture, and the Regency area is smaller than in Cheltenham.
Cream-white Regency houses and wrought-iron railings around elegant garden squares make Cheltenham a delightful period piece. Further out of the town centre is the Pittville Pump Room which is another famous place.
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
The Holst Birthplace Museum
If you are interested in classical music this is a stop worth making. If you like the Victorian period and/or want a chance to see inside a typical Cheltnham Regency-style terrace house it is also a stop worth making. The museum is well staffed if you have questions, but they also let you look and wander on your own if you wish.
- Museum Visits
Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum
This is a good sized and interesting museum containing a bit of everything.
On the fine art side I liked the picture
'The Ugly Duckling' by Frank Cadogan Cowper -- of a very pretty, far from ugly, young woman.
There is also a tribute to a Cheltenham local who went to the South Pole with Scott and did not live to return.
And much, much, more.
If you never get the chance to visit, or if you have visited, you can explore 500 items from the collection on their fantastic web site.
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
Pittville Pump Room
Built between 1825 and 1830, the Pump Room was the largest of several buildings where the renowned Cheltenham Spa Waters could be taken. Situated between the Town Centre and the famous racecourse, the Pump Room is well worth a visit with the Gallery Of Fashion, a stunning collection of tiaras and even the opportunity to sample the famous water. During the two weeks of Cheltenham's International Festival Of Music in July, the Pump Room with it's fine acoustics (reputedly the best in the country), plays host to a varied range of classical music venues.
Cheltenham is the home of national hunt racing (the kind where the horses jump over either fences or hurdles). The highlight of the season is the Gold Cup Festival, for which it is essential to book in advance. The festival has great races but, like Aintree on Grand National day, the crowds are excessive. A much better option is to go to a smaller meeting where the atmosphere will still be great, but you'll stand a much better chance of seeing everything.
Cheltenham has a number of festivals through out the year, including a jazz, art and litrature fest. I will try and give a rough guide to theses dates at a later time.
There are lots of wonderfull regency buildings and people come from miles around for the great shopping here. There are plenty of cafes etc, to while away the day, and I should know!
- Theater Travel
Imperial Square is the center of Cheltenham. The Promenade encircles it, making for a very pleasant walk. Thousands of flowers, representing hundreds of species, are planted here.
- Hiking and Walking
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