We LOVE London. It is undeniably one of the greatest cities in the world. But, if you’re looking to move out of London, Cheltenham offers an attractive substitute – with the Regency town holding its own against the capital in terms of food, festivals and lifestyle, as well as having an enviable semi-rural location.
In this hot list, SoGlos shares 10 reasons why house hunters ready to move out of the ‘big smoke’ should consider swapping life in London for life in Cheltenham.
Swap concrete and glass for Regency architecture
As the most complete Regency town in the UK, Cheltenham’s beautiful period architecture is one of its most famous features – from stunning sculptures in Montpellier, the pretty promenade, to the iconic grade I listed Pittville Pump Room. A far cry from London’s super-modern skyline.
There’s also an array of period properties on sale, including apartments, Regency townhouses, country cottages and comfortable suburban family homes.
Swap city living for the best place to live in the south west
According to The Sunday Times, Cheltenham is one of the best places to live in the south west. The town won the coveted title in 2020, with its impressive schools, fantastic location and inspiring festivals all helping it to secure the top spot.
Swap average house prices of £806,110 for £395,130
The average price paid for properties in Cheltenham is £395,130, according to Zoopla. That’s less than half of the average price paid in London, not to mention that you’ll get far more space for your money in Cheltenham too. No brainer, surely?
Swap London Literature Festival for Cheltenham Literature Festival
Cheltenham Literature Festival is the UK’s oldest literary festival, so it’s no wonder it’s such a prestigious event – with the likes of Hilary Clinton, David Attenborough, Caitlin Moran and Louis Theroux having taken to the stage in previous years.
As well as attracting some of the biggest names in literature year after year, Cheltenham is one of the only festivals in the UK that runs a lit crawl – which includes theatre performances, poetry slams and pop-up events all over the town, that are hugely popular with residents. Cheltenham Literature Festival was the only UK festival to be chosen for the Lit Crawl Global in 2020, too.
Swap Dishoom for The Coconut Tree
Described as ‘totally laid-back and completely on point at the same time’ by famously hard to please Observer food critic, Jay Rayner, Cheltenham’s The Coconut Tree can hold its own against cult London favourites like Dishoom.
With its playful menu of shareable, Sri Lankan street food-inspired dishes, boozy Cocotails, friendly atmosphere and eclectic decor, it’s easy to see why the SGGLA-winner is a firm favourite with locals. Thankfully, you won’t have to queue around the block for a table at The Coconut Tree either.
Swap Hampstead Heath for Cleeve Hill
As the highest point in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds, it’s no surprise that Cleeve Hill in Cheltenham offers spectacular views across the town and the Cotswolds countryside. Uninterrupted by skyscrapers and buildings, you can see as far as the Malvern Hills and Wales on a clear day.
There are plenty of walking trails across Cleeve Hill and Common, including part of the Cotswold Way. It’s also a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with features dating back as far as the Iron Age and plenty of local wildlife to spot.
Swap commuter chaos for walking to work
While most commuters rely on the London Underground, buses and trains to navigate the city, Cheltenham can offer a more relaxed pace – with the town centre small enough to cover on foot or by bike, as well as offering plenty of parks and green spaces to stroll through, from Imperial Gardens to Sandford Park.
And, for anyone who does have to commute, Stagecoach West offers excellent bus links, with Park & Ride facilities just outside the town centre and a direct bus route from Cheltenham to Oxford – while Cheltenham Spa station has direct trains to Bristol, Birmingham and London.
Swap Ascot for the Cheltenham Festival
For racing aficionados, The Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse is one of the most hotly anticipated events of the jump racing calendar, providing four thrilling days of racing each March.
As punters descend on the town, there’s plenty of pre- and post-race entertainment too, with everything from boozy brunches to celebratory cocktails on offer just a short walk away from the racecourse.
Swap the Serpentine for Sandford Parks Lido
Cheltenham even has its own outdoor swimming pools, with Sandford Parks Lido providing the perfect spot for locals to take a dip during the summer months.
Originally built in 1935, the lido boasts a large, heated outdoor pool, as well as a dedicated children’s pool, all set within the glorious Sandford Park. With lane swimming, family-friendly open swim sessions and fitness classes on the timetable, avid swimmers can also buy season tickets for unlimited visits.
Swap Winter Wonderland for Cheltenham at Christmas
With a brand-new covered ice rink at Imperial Gardens in 2021, as well as festive markets and the beautiful new Christmas decorations unveiled in 2020, Christmas in Cheltenham is pretty magical – especially with a trip to the Everyman Theatre pantomime to add to the festivities.
And while it’s not quite the London Eye, Light Up Cheltenham in February brings a giant observation wheel to the town – with spectacular views of all the buildings lit up in bright colours, making the festive season feel that little bit longer.