Cheltenham is an English town in the county of Gloucestershire. It is part of the area known as the Cotswolds or English countryside, and is located 150 km from London. In this article I tell you what to see and do in Cheltenham in a day.
🚗 How to get to Cheltenham from London
One of the great advantages of travelling within the UK is that public transport is impeccable; compared to other countries such as Ireland. Here you can get to almost anywhere in the country using only trains and buses. Also, from London it’s much easier.
🚂 By train
This is the most convenient and fastest way to get to Cheltenham from London. Trains depart from Paddington Station quite frequently. There is usually more than one an hour from 5am to 8pm.
The price is usually around £30 each way. But depending on what time you travel and how far in advance you book, you can find return tickets for £30. That’s £15 each way.
I recommend you visit the Trainline website for up to date timetables and prices.
🚌 By bus
🏨 Hotels to stay in Cheltenham
Cheltenham is a great place to base yourself and discover the lovely English countryside. Some of the hotels I would recommend are
– Delta Hotels by Marriott Cheltenham Chase
– Malmaison Cheltenham
– Queens Hotel Cheltenham – Mgallery
– The Cheltenham Townhouse & Apartments
– Ellenborough Park – located on the outskirts of the town.
🚗 Parking in Cheltenham
There is a car park in the Regent Arcade shopping centre. It’s located right in the centre of town and is ideal for getting around town, without having to worry about walking a long way to get back for your car
🗺 Things to do and see in Cheltenham in a day
Cheltenham is a small town; so pretty much everything is within walking distance. We spent half a day and managed to visit almost everything on the planned itinerary, except Pittville Park – which is said to have some very nice views of Cheltenham.
📍 High Street
High Street is Cheltenham’s main street. This is the heart of the town, with numerous shops such as John Lewis, M&S, Superdrug; restaurants and cafes.
📍 Regent Arcade
Cheltenham’s largest shopping centre, with over 50 different shops. TK Maxx, River Island, H&M, Millie’s Cookies, Boots, Tiger and The Body Shop are just some of the shops you’ll find in Regent Arcade.
Also, if you’re travelling with your own car (or hire one), you can leave it in this car park and move around the city on foot.
📍 Everyman Theatre
One of the main activities I would recommend you to do in Cheltenham -although I haven’t done it yet- is to go on a theatre tour. The day we went to this city I couldn’t do it because of scheduling, but I really wanted to do it and it’s something I’ll do when I have the chance to go back to Cheltenham.
Although you can go to see a play if you feel like it too, I think having the chance to see a theatre like this from the inside is something worth doing in Cheltenham.
Overall, I found Cheltenham to be quite a nice town. Perhaps not as nice as Bath – which is on another level on my list – but much nicer than Belfast (a city about which we found mixed reviews).
In the immediate vicinity of this street is Cheltenham Town Hall, Imperial Gardens and St Andrew ‘s United Reformed Church.
📍 Montpellier Gardens
This is one of Cheltenham’s green hearts. If you’re travelling in summer, I recommend including it for a picnic in the sun. You might even catch a concert.
Montpellier Gardens has a children’s play area, public toilets, tennis court and an art gallery where works by local artists are temporarily exhibited. It also has a café – which was the main reason I included it in my itinerary.
📍 St Mary’s Church Cheltenham
This is one of Cheltenham’s churches, but I highlighted it on my itinerary because it is one of the oldest buildings in the town. So it had to become a must-see in Cheltenham.
📍 Moss Books
It’s a second-hand bookshop located at 8-9 Henrietta St. It’s not a special bookshop or a bookshop with a relevant history behind it. I just thought it looked nice in Cheltenham and we decided to pop in and have a look.
In the UK it is very common to buy second hand. There are hundreds of shops all over the country, and you can find everything. Personally I love going to second hand bookshops because I always end up finding more books than I was looking for.
📍 Cleeve Hill
This place is NOT in Cheltenham. It’s near Cheltenham, about 15 min drive from the centre. Although it took me several trips up and down the same street to find the viewpoint, I made it!
If you have the time and inclination to walk, I recommend taking a walk around here until you reach the Cheltenham viewpoint. The views are not as spectacular as I imagined, but they are still nice and it’s nice to enjoy nature for a while.