22 things to look forward to in Cheltenham in 2022

Bringing famous faces, as well as new shops, cafés and restaurants to the town, Cheltenham promises surprises in store throughout 2022.

By Eleanor Fullalove  |  Published
Cheltenhams reputation as the festival town may be well deserved, but venues like the Everyman, the town hall and the racecourse play host to plenty more besides.
Cheltenham’s reputation as the ‘festival town’ may be well deserved, but venues like the Everyman, the town hall and the racecourse play host to plenty more besides.
In partnership with East India Cafe  |  eastindiacafe.com
East India Cafe

Located on the Promenade in Cheltenham, East India Cafe serves Anglo-Indian fine dining inspired by the British Raj period. Open for lunch, as well as dinner, its seasonal Indian dishes with a modern twist include de-constructed vegetable samosas and the perennially popular railway lamb curry. Priding itself on using locally sourced ingredients, East India Cafe offers diners both an à la carte and an impressive seven-course tasting menu to choose from.

With new hangouts like Flight Club opening in the Brewery Quarter, visitors including astronaut Tim Peake, the return of festivals such as 2000Trees and the revival of the Wilson Gallery, 2022 will be a busy one in Cheltenham. Here are 22 things to get excited about in the year ahead…

1. See a real-life astronaut at Cheltenham Town Hall

It’s not every day an astronaut lands in Cheltenham, which is why we predict Tim Peake’s appearance at Cheltenham Town Hall on Saturday 10 September 2022 will sell out fast.

He’ll be hosting two sessions on the day, at 2.30pm and 7.30pm, where you can find out first-hand what it’s like to be sent up to the International Space Station on a rocket, spacewalk and return to earth. The photos and film footage promise to be out of this world!

2. Attend the Great British Bake off world premiere

The musical version of the nation’s favourite baking television show is coming to Cheltenham for its world premiere at the Everyman Theatre in July 2022.

While the cast is yet to be revealed, Great British Bake Off – The Musical will feature the ‘creme de la creme of performers and musicians from the West End’.

‘Take eight amateur bakers, add two presenters, two iconic judges, the most delicious original score, and the result is the ultimate showstopper!’ organisers say. Taking to the stage for the first time on Friday 22 July 2022, tickets are on sale now and cost from £22.

3. Eat, drink and play darts at the Brewery Quarter

This spring will see (at least) three new openings in the Brewery Quarter.

First up is BrewDog’s carbon-negative bar on 25 February, serving craft beer from the UK and beyond, alongside wine, spirits, and its iconic ‘Hoppy Meals’.

Vietnamese street food restaurant PHO is also on the way in early 2022. As well as being almost entirely gluten free, the menu has plenty for vegan diners to choose from.

Finally, you’ll be able to experience the unexpected joy of social darts at Flight Club as of spring. The award-winning brand is all about reinventing darts for the 21st century.

4. Experience all the Festival Town has to offer

First up on the Cheltenham festival roster is the jazz festival, from 27 April to 2 May 2022. This year, organisers are inviting musicians, dancers, artists and street performers to take part in some 100 new Around Town events designed to showcase emerging talent – applications close Tuesday 4 February 2022.

Cheltenham Science Festival follows in June, Cheltenham Music Festival in July, and Cheltenham Literature Festival in October.

5. Enchanted cocktail bar to open second floor

Owned by Sophie Wilding, who took her search for an investor right to the top in competing for Alan Sugar’s £250,000 investment on series 16 of The Apprentice, Imperial Haus in Cheltenham is set to grow both its menu and its premises in spring 2022.

The ‘enchanted’ cocktail bar on Imperial Square opened at the tail-end of 2020 in what used to be the Boogie Lounge nightclub and having filled the ground floor with bird cages and cascades of flowers, is about to start transforming the upper floor as well.

6. Minster Exchange – Hub8 urban regeneration scheme

The new Minster Exchange building in the centre of town will provide state of the art workspace for the cyber tech and creative digital sectors, alongside a Growth Hub for business support, an event space and a café.

Due to be completed by the summer, the venue will also host the SoGlos Gloucestershire Business Awards 2022 in October.

In rejuvenating the area, the grounds of Cheltenham Minster (also known as St Mary’s Church) will also benefit from much-needed improvement.

7. Get your teeth into Franco Manca on the Prom

Originally founded by an Italian called Franco, sourdough pizza company Franco Manca will be opening on The Promenade in Cheltenham on Friday 25 March 2022, taking over the former site of Café Rouge.

The chain, which comprises over 50 restaurants, prides itself on producing fresh dough for its pizzas on site and serving them alongside other Italian specialities and drinks.

With prices starting from £5.55 and both vegan and gluten-free options available, what’s not to like?

8. Explore the new improved Wilson Gallery

Cheltenham’s art gallery and museum has spent the past year undergoing refurbishment, the results of which are due to be unveiled in April 2022.

As well as a new community arts gallery on the first-floor mezzanine and an arts café on the ground floor, The Wilson wanted to add artists’ studios and establish itself as part of the new digital hub being created around The Minster.

9. Make new friends at an indie music festival

The pandemic prevented many of the acts due to perform at the independent music festival 2000Trees from attending in 2021 and the event on the outskirts of Cheltenham was ultimately cancelled.

Fortunately, most are now planning to put in an appearance this year instead. From Jimmy Eat World to Dinosaur Pile Up, via The Amazons and The Get Up Kids, the festival’s six stages will host over 100 of the best bands, from 7 to 9 July 2022.

10. Laugh along with some top British comedians

Cheltenham Racecourse plays host to some top-level live events outside of the racing arena. It’s secured some top-quality comedians this year, with stand-up from the likes of John Bishop (Friday 11 February 2022), Alan Carr (Saturday 26 March 2022) and Dara O’Briain (Saturday 14 May 2022) to look forward to.

11. Meet Keith Brymer Jones at the town hall

Well-known for his highly collectible mugs, potter Keith Brymer Jones who helped judge C4’s The Great Pottery Throwdown is set to open the Cheltenham Craft Festival on Friday 11 March 2022. He’ll also be taking part in two ticketed Q&A sessions and signing copies of his new book.

The festival takes place at the town hall, 11 – 13 March, with workshops and demonstrations, alongside 100 exhibitors, including jewellers, furniture makers, textile artists and glassmakers from around the UK.

12. Get some tap room parties in the diary

DEYA Brewery’s tap room parties in Lansdown Industrial Estate off Gloucester Road in Cheltenham are about to get even better. Already attended by food trucks, you’ll now be able to enjoy your unfiltered and unpasteurised beer with a side of live music.

The first in a series of bimonthly ticketed events will see Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor and Spiritualized’s John Coxon embark on a 4-hour DJ set on 3 February 2022.

13. Learn all there is to know about rum

Rumour has it, everyone’s favourite local rum company is planning to open its private tasting rooms to the public this year. And to showcase the range of award-winning rums on offer, the team has come up with some inventive signature cocktails, among them: the New Rum Old Fashioned, the Neptune Mojito and the Bajan in the Med.

14. Revisit Top Gun, almost 40 years on

Fans of the original Top Gun film have waited long enough to see the follow-up, now due to be released on 27 May 2022.

With more than 30 years of service under his belt, Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is now training Top Gun graduates – including Lt. Bradley Bradshaw, son of his late friend ‘Goose’.

We can’t think of any better way to enjoy the sequel than with 4D special effects at Cineworld, or on a comfy sofa at The Tivoli with a cocktail in one hand and a sundae in the other.

15. Place your bets for Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup

Headlining day four of The Festival at Cheltenham, Boodles Gold Cup falls on Friday 18 March 2022. As the pinnacle of jump racing, previous winners like Best Mate have become household names.

Entertainment and live music from the likes of The Wickermen, The Lucky 15’s, The Hipcats, Taylor & The Masons and The Brimstones will add to the excitement off track as well.

16. Take in sky-high views over Cheltenham

Easily the most-anticipated opening of the year, the rooftop restaurant in the Quadrangle overlooking Imperial Gardens is rapidly approaching completion, the lease for the sixth storey having been signed at the end of 2021.

While the management company remains tight-lipped about who exactly has taken it on, they have revealed it’ll be a well-known name. With any luck, the outside terrace will be ready in time for summer 2022.

17. Embrace the athleisure trend at Sweaty Betty

Opening on the Promenade in January 2022, Sweaty Betty should fit right in, with Superdry’s performance sport store just a few doors down and Decathlon round the corner.

Stocking super stylish loungewear, alongside activewear designed for women who enjoy everything from running and cycling to tennis and yoga, its bestselling Power Leggings promise to shave time off your PB.

18. Support a local business by eating cake

The team behind Cheltenham’s popular Baker & Graze café, bakery and restaurant has been busy converting the old post office in Prestbury village on the outskirts of town, where it’ll open its second branch on Friday 4 February 2022.

In a nod to the heritage of the building, this one will be known as Penny Blacks, and serve the same award-winning coffee, alongside pastries and sourdough breads as its not so distant relative.

19. Enjoy a romantic meal out this Valentine’s Day

With its Anglo-Indian fine dining making the Michelin guide in 2019, 2020 and 2021, treat your special someone to dinner at the East India Cafe in Cheltenham this February 14th.

The restaurant is offering two special Valentine’s Day menus this year, including one version created with vegans and vegetarians in mind.

As well as a choice of starters and mains, diners will enjoy an amuse bouche, followed by an appetiser; an ‘interval course’ and dessert as part of this Valentine’s extravaganza.

20. Tuck into Neapolitan style pizza at Bosco Pizzeria

Having opened restaurants in Bristol and Bath already, Bosco Pizza jumped at the chance to add Cheltenham to its list, as the first eatery to sign on for the Quadrangle and is expected to open early 2022. Inspired by the best pizzerias of Naples and New York City, we won’t be short of places to eat pizza in Cheltenham this year!

21. See Tweedy in panto at The Everyman

Kicking off on Friday 25 November 2022, this year’s panto is Dick Whittington, the original story having been inspired by a Gloucestershire boy – Richard Whittington. With Tweedy’s return having already been confirmed, tickets for the annual festive production started selling even before the last one had left the stage. The show will go on until Sunday 8 January 2023.

22. Watch hot air balloons taking to the skies

Straddling Friday 17 and Saturday 18 June 2022, the third Cheltenham Balloon Fiesta held at the racecourse will bring together pilots from around the country for events including mass ascents and the famous hit air balloon glow. As well as live arena entertainment throughout the day on Saturday, the fireworks finale promises to be worth staying up for.

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