24 hours in Cheltenham

Only have 24 hours to spend in Cheltenham? Take a whistle-stop tour of some of the top places in the Regency spa town from its chic bars and independent restaurants to lush green spaces and famous sculpted Caryatids.

By Zoe Gater  |  Published
Make the most of 24 hours in Cheltenham with SoGlos's round up of 9 must-explore places and things to do when visiting.
In partnership with Hotel du Vin  |  hotelduvin.com/cheltenham
Hotel du Vin

Located in chic Montpellier, Hotel du Vin Cheltenham offers 49 bedrooms and suites, all decorated in its inimitable laid back French style; along with an elegant bar, providing the perfect location to unwind and socialise in stylish surrounds.

Cheltenham is teeming with things to do, places to see and incredible food and drink to enjoy, so even on the shortest of trips to the town, there’s plenty to pack in.

In this one-day in Cheltenham hot list, SoGlos cherry picks nine must-visit places and things to do when you’ve only got 24 hours in the home of jump racing. 

Tuck in to breakfast or catch up with coffee 

Whether you fancy a full English, are a fan of pancakes, or in seek of a vitamin-packed acai bowl, Cheltenham is home to an array of eateries offering bountiful breakfasts guaranteed to set you up for the day.

Try perfectly baked sourdough toast or rich buttery pastries at Baker & Graze in The Suffolks; a hearty full English or signature buttermilk pancake stacks at The Curious Cafe on Bath Road; nduja fried eggs on sourdough and brioche breakfast buns with wild mushrooms or crispy coppa at Sorrel Stores; smashed avocado on toast or a range of acai bowls at Rainbowls; and plenty more.  

See the birthplace of composer Gustav Holst

Located just outside of Cheltenham town centre in the leafy suburb of Pittville, music fans can visit the Holst Victorian House to see the place where the famous composer was born, as well as the piano on which he wrote his inimitable The Planets suite.

The home is a true capsule of 19th-century life with visitors able to see a working Victorian kitchen, bedroom, scullery and nursery, too. 

Relax in Pittville Park

Hosting plenty of events throughout the year from Cheltenham Pride to popular Parkrun's, Pittville Park is packed with plenty to do for an active day out or just a leisurely stroll with play areas, a skatepark, three cafes and a boating lake to row on in warmer months — plus an aviary of birds and rabbits to meet.

What's more, Pittville Park is also home to one of the most impressive examples of Regency architecture in town, the iconic Pittville Pump Room, which is a must-see — with visitors able to stop off for a coffee or a glass of wine at the Heritage Deco Cafe next door, too

Enjoy lunch at an independent restaurant in Cheltenham

After a stroll around the park, head back towards town to The Coconut Tree for a spot of lunch or, when the weather is good, perhaps indulge in a unique rooftop meal overlooking Cheltenham, at The Nook.

With an abundance of eateries dotted throughout the streets, there’s also Domaine 16 for a selection of cheesy — and classically French — dishes, such as a croque monsieur, gooey baked Saint Marcellin, or a cheese and charcuterie plate; the cult burger hub The Beefy Boys, with local DEYA beer on tap, too; or for the more adventurous, grab a Pinoy at the county’s first Filipino restaurant, Pyesta.

Soak up the Regency sights

In the afternoon, head to Cheltenham’s famous Promenade and admire some of the sights of the Regency town, including the Municipal Buildings and Neptune Fountain.

Take a walk up to Montpellier to see the famous Caryatids and do a spot of shopping in some of the town’s unique independent shops, including The Department of Hope, Joy and Wonder, Pink Vintage, MIMMO Studios and artisan deli Maison Chaplais. For art lovers, there’s also the Paragon Gallery with artworks for sale from both local and internationally-renowned artists.

Catch a show at the Everyman Theatre

With its impressive auditorium designed by prolific theatre architect Frank Matcham, the Everyman Theatre is not only an architectural masterpiece but one of the liveliest arts venues in the county, playing host to a diverse variety of shows all year-round.

The Everyman Theatre is undoubtedly one of Gloucestershire’s finest entertainment hubs, offering a varied line-up of drama, dance, comedy and music events — not to mention the annual pantomime — with something to enjoy most evenings.

Have dinner at one of Cheltenham’s incredible restaurants

Cheltenham is rich in restaurants for diners to indulge their taste buds. For fine dining, you’ll find Gloucestershire’s Michelin-star restaurants, Le Champignon Sauvage, on Suffolk Road, with its French-inspired menu; and elegant favourite Lumière offering artistically presented modern British cuisine; alternatively, plump for Purslane on Rodney Road for superb seafood.

For more casual dining, KIBOU on Regent Street boasts a stunning interior and beautiful Japanese cuisine; The Thai Emerald on St George's Road serving up true Thai cuisine paired with opulent traditional decor; while, tucked away in Montpellier Courtyard, there’s Sam's Montpellier, presenting guests with the chance to mix and match small plates inspired by the finest produce from earth, land and sea.

Grab a nightcap at one of Cheltenham’s bars

From candyfloss cocktails at the iconic No. 131 to opulent crystal-inspired cocktails at Imperial Haus, Cheltenham has plenty of places to enjoy a nightcap.

If cocktails aren’t your thing, John Gordons Whisky & Wine Bar in Montpellier has over 200 whiskies and 80 wines to try; 33 The Rum Bar stocks over 100 different rums; and cider enthusiasts can sample 11 varieties of award-winning cider and perry just out of town at Dunkertons dynamic tap room bar.

Spend a night at Cheltenham’s chic Hotel du Vin

For a night of pure luxury, opt for a stay at Hotel du Vin Cheltenham, located in chic Montpellier, offering 49 bedrooms and suites, all decorated in its inimitable laid back French style; along with an elegant bar, providing the perfect location to unwind and socialise in stylish surrounds.

Offering a quintessential English experience, all rooms are individual and unique, coming complete with Hotel du Vin luxuries such as handsprung mattresses, fine Egyptian linen, deep baths and powerful drench showers, plasma TVs and air conditioning.

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