21 exciting things to look forward to in Cheltenham in 2021

Hold tight, exciting things are coming to Cheltenham in 2021 – from anticipated restaurant and bar openings, new sports and big-name comedians to the planned return of some of the town’s most popular events.

While 2021 might not have got off to the start we’d have all liked, as the easing of lockdown measures edge ever closer there are sure signs of life returning to some normality.

From new foodie hotspots, brand new sporting imports, family stage shows and the return of festivals, in this hot list sponsored by Cheltenham Ladies’ College, SoGlos has handpicked 21 things to get excited about in Cheltenham in 2021.


About the sponsor – Cheltenham Ladies’ College

One of the most prestigious schools in the UK and the South West Independent School of the Decade, Cheltenham Ladies’ College welcomes girls aged 11 to 18-years-old to its diverse community. With boarding and day girl places, the independent school offers a supportive environment to help develop well-rounded and confident young women.

As well as its impressive academic results and varied co-curricular opportunities, Cheltenham Ladies’ College also has a state-of-the-art Health and Fitness Centre including sports halls, squash courts, a dance studio and a swimming pool for pupils to enjoy.

For more information about Cheltenham Ladies’ College, visit cheltladiescollege.org.


1. The Festival 2021 at Cheltenham Racecourse

While it won’t be quite the same, fans of The Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse can still catch all the horseracing action on TV, from Tuesday 16 March to Friday 19 March 2021 – with ITV showing live coverage of six daily races for the first time ever in 2021, including the famous The Gold Cup, which is sponsored by Cheltenham-based charity WellChild this year.


2. BAO + BBQ opening on Regent Street

One of the first new Cheltenham restaurants to open in 2021, BAO + BBQ will be replacing Koj on Cheltenham’s Regent Street – and is set to be serving up juicy steaks and fluffy bao buns, when it opens at the end of March 2021.


3. F45 boutique fitness studio opening at the Brewery Quarter

A firm favourite with celebrities including David Beckham and Mark Wahlberg, F45 boutique fitness studio is opening in Cheltenham’s Brewery Quarter once the current restrictions are lifted – offering intense 45-minute workouts that can burn up to 750 calories per session. Perfect for anyone who has been missing the gym during lockdown!


4. Rooftop restaurant launching at the Quadrangle

Cheltenham is set to get its very first rooftop restaurant in 2021, with the top floor of the Quadrangle being transformed into a glass-walled restaurant offering uninterrupted views across Imperial Gardens and the town centre. Although an official opening date is yet to be announced, construction work is due to be completed in February 2021.


5. The chance to try padel with East Glos Club

A brand new sport is coming to Cheltenham, with East Glos Club opening the south west’s first padel courts. With a £250,000 investment and work well underway, the club is hoping to introduce more people to this fast-paced and fun sport which is hugely popular in Spain and south America, with the courts scheduled to open in March 2021.


6. David Walliams Billionaire Boy at Cheltenham Racecourse

David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy is coming to Cheltenham Racecourse as part of the Covid-safe UK Car Park Party tour. The family-friendly stage production of the bestselling book has two performances scheduled on Sunday 18 April 2021.


7. Holee Clucker opening on Suffolk Street

Two years after being first announced, Cheltenham’s Holee Clucker has finally revealed it will be opening this March 2021. The new restaurant on Suffolk Street is the sister venue to popular burger joint Holee Cow and promises to serve up ‘clucking good chicken.’


8. Drive-in festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

This Easter, Cheltenham Racecourse plays host to the socially distanced drive-in festival, Parking Lot Social. There are six events taking place on Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 April 2021, with everything from a family-friendly cinema screening of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to DriveTime Drag with the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK to enjoy from your car.


9. Cheltenham Jazz Festival

Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2021 will be a two-day celebration of all things jazz, taking place online on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 May 2021, with the full line-up due to be revealed in March 2021. While there won’t be a physical event over the bank holiday weekend this year, as well as being able to enjoy exclusive online content during the Jazz Fest, Cheltenham Festivals also hopes to bring live jazz back to the town later in the year.


10. Urban Fox cocktail bar opening in Montpellier

While the official opening date hasn’t been announced yet, Cheltenham’s new Urban Fox cocktail bar in Montpellier is due to open in 2021 – promising cupcakes with cocktails, high tea and bottomless brunch too.


11. Cheltenham Music Festival 2021

Cheltenham Festivals has revealed that Cheltenham Music Festival is set to return as a physical event from Wednesday 2 to Wednesday 9 June 2021, filling the town with music, from classical symphonies to film scores – plus some live jazz from Cheltenham Jazz Festival favourites.


12. Holland Cooper’s new Cheltenham showroom

Cheltenham-born designer brand, Holland Cooper, is set to open a new showroom at Dowdeswell Park in 2021. While no opening date has been revealed yet, its founder, Jade Holland Cooper, has shared some behind-the-scenes videos on social media showing the exciting retail development is well underway.


13. Cheltenham Science Festival 2021

This year, Cheltenham Science Festival is set to take place as a hybrid festival, with a mixture of online and In-person events from Thursday 10 to Sunday 13 June 2021 – with ticketed shows and a brand-new free stage being planned.


14. The SoGlos Gloucestershire Lifestyle Awards 2021

Celebrating the absolute best lifestyle businesses across the county at a time when the industry could really do with the celebration, the SoGlos Gloucestershire Lifestyle Awards sponsored by Willans LLP are back in 2021. After a hugely successful virtual event in 2020, a real-life awards will be held at Cheltenham Ladies’ College in October 2021, as long as it’s safe to do so. Nominations open in March 2021, with public voting from July 2021. And we just can’t wait!


15. Cheltenham Balloon Fiesta

Bringing colourful hot air balloons back to the town, Cheltenham Balloon Fiesta is scheduled to take place on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 June 2021 at Cheltenham Racecourse – with live entertainment, a funfair and fireworks.


16. TIVOLI Cinema opening at Regent Arcade

The hotly anticipated TIVOLI Cinema is finally set to open its doors at Cheltenham’s Regent Arcade in 2021. And while no opening date has officially been announced, we’ve heard that it will definitely by before Christmas – offering moviegoers a luxurious cinema experience with extra-wide sofas instead of seats, indulgent food and a licensed bar.


17. Russell Howard at the Everyman Theatre Cheltenham

The suspense has been killing us, Russell Howard will finally be bringing his critically-acclaimed Respite show to the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 October 2021. We think he’ll be worth the wait…


18. Cheltenham Literature Festival 2021

Literature lovers will be thrilled to hear that there are plans for The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival to return as a physical event from Friday 8 to Sunday 17 October 2021. While no names have been released for 2021 yet, last year’s festival saw the likes of Caitlin Moran, Rupert Everett, Nick Hornby, Anthony Horowitz and Dolly Alderton take part – so it’s sure to be a star-studded line-up.


19. Minster Innovation Exchange project

One of Cheltenham’s most talked about new developments, The Minster Innovation Exchange project is set to create 20,000 square feet of new commercial, community and education space, as well as a 300-capacity performance venue, in the heart of town next to Cheltenham Minster. The plans look stunning.


20. Cheltenham’s new Christmas ice rink

Cheltenham will be getting an indoor ice rink for the first time, this Christmas 2021. The indoor ice rink was originally planned to be at Imperial Gardens for the 2020 festive season, but was postponed due to the pandemic – with Cheltenham BID hoping to make it a reality this year.


21. Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime at the Everyman Theatre Cheltenham

Oh yes it is! Rescheduled from 2020, the Everyman Theatre’s annual pantomime is back, with Jack and the Beanstalk taking to the stage from Friday 26 November 2021 until Sunday 9 January 2022. And Tweedy the Clown is returning too, hurray!


For more information about Cheltenham Ladies’ College, visit cheltladiescollege.org.


By Chloe Gorman

© SoGlos
Monday 22 February 2021

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